Evolving East Houston Street

The New York TimesOctober 30, 2016

CORE broker Henry Hershkowitz was quoted in The New York Times offering his thoughts on the latest residential projects and developments happening on East Houston Street.

Hello East Houston Street

The New York TimesOctober 28, 2016

For decades, East Houston Street was more a place to cross — and quickly, to avoid speeding cars — than a destination. Residential developers, too, seemed to shun it, wary of its commercial character and odd-shaped scraps of lots.


That was then. In the last few years, a spate of rental and condominium projects have appeared up and down the once-ignored street, which runs for about two dozen blocks between Broadway and the East River, and divides the Lower East Side and the East Village.


“It’s not something I would have ever envisioned happening,” said Henry Hershkowitz, an associate broker with Core who went to school at nearby New York University in the late 1980s and lives in the East Village today. “I just always thought of it as just a thoroughfare.”


The latest major project to be unveiled is 287 East Houston Street, an 11-story, 28-unit condominium planned for a site near Clinton Street that is being jointly developed by Hogg Holdings and Vinci Partners USA, a firm with a Brazilian parent company that is undertaking its first American project. The developers bought the building site, a narrow midblock lot, in November 2014 for $15.2 million.


With a brick-and-steel facade the color of coal, an increasingly popular hue for new apartment buildings, 287 East Houston offers one- to three-bedroom apartments, including a pair of maisonettes with private outdoor space.


Like the neighborhood, the interior finishes of the building, which broke ground this month, have evolved and become more luxurious over time.


All appliances will be from Miele, a higher-end brand, he said.


Likewise, the master baths will have marble slabs or tiles on every surface but the ceiling. Originally, Mr. Grabowsky said, the stone was to be deployed much less extensively.


Other features of the apartments include floor-to-ceiling windows, in a building that will stand above most of the surrounding blocks, courtesy of a 2008 rezoning that allowed taller structures on major streets and avenues.


Prices at the project average about $2,100 a square foot, starting at $1.15 million for a one-bedroom. Corcoran Group Marketing is handling sales, which began last month with the opening of a sales office on nearby Essex Street.


Widened a few times in the mid-20th century to allow for easier driving, East Houston was once dotted with gas stations, parking areas and weedy lots.


Over the last decade, the look and feel of the street have changed, as a long-running and still-unfinished city project to improve the streetscape reclaimed some car lanes for pedestrians, while adding median strips with plantings.


At the same time, residences have been replacing businesses. For its part, 287 East Houston will rise on a site where a commercial building once stood.


“We decided that the market was responding to a better product,” said Jose Antonio Grabowsky, who is in charge of real estate investments in the United States for Vinci.


Similarly, a Mobil gas station at Avenue C on a trapezoidal plot at 350 East Houston has been razed to make way for a 10-story, 46-unit apartment building with 5,000 square feet of retail space to open in late 2017, according to Ivan Hakimian, the president of HPNY, which is developing the site with BLDG Management.


“I thought the area was going to change,” said Mr. Hakimian, whose partnership has controlled the site since 2012. “But I didn’t think it was going to change that fast.”


Of the dozen or so market-rate residential projects that have opened on or near the street in the last few years, or plan to open soon, are Jones L.E.S., a rental at No. 331, at Ridge Street; the Adele, a rental at 310 East Second Street, at Avenue D; and 215 Chrystie Street, a condominium atop a hotel.


There’s also 196 Orchard, a 94-unit development that began sales on Sept. 22. Prices there average $2,400 a square foot, said Ben H. Shaoul, the president of the Magnum Real Estate Group, which is developing it with the Real Estate Equities Corporation.


To construct the condominium, which is expected to open in 2018, the developers demolished a long row of restaurants on the block, which is also bounded by Ludlow Street. The condo will give back some retail space; 196 Orchard will offer an Equinox gym, and possibly a pharmacy or a bank, Mr. Shaoul said. But it’s clear the vibe will be different.


“It’s evolving into more of a luxury neighborhood from a grungy neighborhood,” Mr. Shaoul said. “But it’s still a very cool, very hip spot.”


A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Rental Property

Realtor.comOctober 28, 2016

If you’re lucky enough to own one home and have cash to spare, you may consider buying rental property. After all, collecting rent from tenants every month can be a nice way to pad your pocketbook and dip a toe into the world of real estate investment. But as the saying goes, with great reward comes great risk. Here’s everything you need to know about the process before starting your search.


Research the rental property market


Before purchasing a rental, do a deep dive of research into the market where you’d like to buy (® can help point you to all kinds of properties). First-timers should probably start with their own area of residence, suggests real estate trainer Dean Graziosi.


You should know the major employers, what drives people to move there, and the economic outlook for at least the foreseeable future, he notes.


You should also watch out for your own financial future. Maybe you can justify stretching your budget for your primary home, but when you’re looking at investment property, every cent matters. Don’t dig into your savings just because you like the backyard—now is not the time to let flights of fancy take hold. Remember, this is a money-making venture, not a place you will live yourself, so your own personal preferences should take a back seat to what makes good ol’ dollars and cents.


Figure out your cash flow and costs


Working out the cash flow of a rental property isn’t just a simple equation of rent > mortgage. You also need to consider the other operating expenses, like HOA fees, taxes, repairs, and property management fees. Will you be paying for utilities, or will that be the tenant’s responsibility? Keep in mind your new rental property may not be occupied 100% of the time—and that needs to be factored into your business plan, too.


This is called determining the capitalization rate (or “cap rate” for short), which “estimates the net stabilized return on an investment, in comparison to projected income from alternative investments,” says Alex Cohen, a commercial specialist with CORE in New York City. Translation: This can help you decide between good, great, and terrible deals.


Find financing for your rental property


Most banks require at least 20% down for an investment property, especially if you own multiple rentals. Even if you’re able to buy with a lower down payment, think long and hard before purchasing a rental property without much money down. With so many variables in play, from potentially unreliable tenants to a broken dishwasher needing immediate repair, you need a strong financial base before investing. (You can find out how much house you can afford with the mortgage calculator.)


However, there is a mortgage bonus when purchasing a rental: Your bank may consider the potential income stream from this property when determining how much you can borrow. This can allow you to purchase a larger or nicer home, since the odds are good that your rental revenue will help you foot the bill.


Managing the rental property


Once you’ve purchased your rental property, you’re ready for tenants! Next, do you want to be a landlord or hire someone to manage your investment? Newbie investment owners should consider a property manager, who will handle all the annoying nitty-gritty details of owning a rental property. For a fee, a third party will draw up leases, collect rent, deal with maintenance issues, and take over the nasty parts—like evictions.


Before choosing a property management company, be sure to do your research. Get (and contact) references. An excellent manager makes owning rental property a breeze, but with a bad egg, it could be a nightmare, turning your rental property into a terrible investment.

Charming SoHo Co-op

CurbedOctober 27, 2016

Welcome back to The Six Digit Club, in which we take a look at a newish-to-market listing priced under $1 million, because nice things sometimes come in small packages. Send nominations to the tipline.


The brokerbabble promises this West Soho co-op is “the embodiment of downtown charm and character,” and honestly, that appears to be a rather apt description. The place is loaded with pre-war details—hardwood floors, exposed brick (so much exposed brick), and an enormous arched window in the bedroom. There’s also a relative abundance of closets, which is to say that there are two (one walk-in.)


Listed at $625,000, the apartment is not what one would call palatial. The kitchen is adorable, but tiny—so tiny that it’s currently equipped with what looks to be a mini-fridge (the listing, for what it’s worth, makes no mention of appliances at all). The bathroom isn’t pictured either, but the floor plan suggests it does indeed exist.


Maintenance for the place is $833 a month, and the building is friendly to both pets and pied-à-terres.

Space Race

New York PostOctober 27, 2016

As residential buildings continue to replace parking lots and garages around New York City, finding permanent space for your car has never been harder.


But drivers looking to buy their own space now have a reason for hope.


The Parking Club, a renovated 130-space parking garage at 185-187 Pacific St. in Cobble Hill, has just launched sales with pricing from $185,000 per spot, The Post can reveal.


It’s not the city’s first parking garage “condo” — defined as a garage whose spaces sell as deeded condominiums — but it’s the first to pair those spaces with Beverly Hills-style valet service for buyers.


Thanks to a partnership with parking and valet app Luxe, space owners get pick-ups and drop-offs anywhere in the company’s Manhattan and Brooklyn service areas. In Manhattan, coverage runs up to 125th Street and, in Brooklyn, across a swath that includes Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill.


Valet service also includes gas fills, car washes, monthly maintenance and yearly registration inspections. Should owners want to pick up their rides themselves, the 20,000-square-foot facility also sports a lounge with newspapers and coffee, where they can wait until their wheels are delivered.


“As parking continues to disappear, I think it’s an opportunity for developers going forward to build parking developments,” says Jamie Anthony of Lonicera Partners, which developed The Parking Club. “Demand is going to continue to go up … it’s going to become more of a valuable commodity.”


It sounds profitable for developers, and buyers get quite a deal themselves. Just like a condominium apartment, space owners pay common charges ($140 per month) and taxes ($200-$230 per quarter). Most of all, a number of new residential developments, like 565 Broome Soho and 42 Crosby, include parking in their plans, but they’re reserved for homebuyers. At the latter, spaces cost a cool $1 million apiece, so The Parking Club’s costs come at a much greater value for folks unwilling (or unable) to shell out for seven-figure parking spots.


Sales are being handled by Compass.


NYC Exclusive Club

CurbedOctober 27, 2016

Clubs and rich people are like peas in a pod (see the Knickerbocker Club; Gramercy Park, in so far as you have to own a surrounding property to gain access (or do you?); and Soho House.) Now there’s some good news for the folks out there thinking that there aren’t enough clubs of this variety. There is now a club dedicated to the crappiest of tasks: parking in New York City.


The Parking Club, based out of a Cobble Hill garage at 185 Pacific Street, isn’t a place where weary drivers come together to empathize with each other over the routine and soul-draining task of spot-hunting. Actually, members don’t even have to set foot in this club. Membership for The Parking Club, which starts at $185,000 for a spot, includes on-demand service where valets materialize to deliver or whisk a car away. The garage’s developers, Lonicera Partners, have partnered with parking app Luxe to provide the valet service.


The spaces in the garage sell as deeded condos—and, reminder, are as big as some condos—meaning that buyers own the spots in perpetuity. Belonging to this club has its perks; the Post notes that the valet service also includes fill-ups, charging for electric cars, car washes, monthly car maintenance, and yearly inspections.


Valet service is available within Luxe’s Manhattan and Brooklyn areas of service. In Manhattan, that’s up to 125th Street and in Brooklyn it includes Cobble and Boerum hills, Park Slope, and Brooklyn Heights. The facility also includes a lounge with coffee and papers where folks can wait for their wheels.


While the parking spot is expensive, it’s pocket change compared to the cost of a spot at Annabelle Selldorf’s 42 Crosby Street, where the building’s 10 underground parking spaces go for $1 million a pop.

Tom and Giesele are Moving

New York PostOctober 26, 2016

When supermodel Gisele Bündchen and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady move into their new $20 million digs at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed 70 Vestry, they’ll be towing along two chic children and three A-list pooches.


Fortunately the brood — including kids Vivian Lake (3) and Benjamin (6), plus Lua (their pitbull mix), Scooby (their beagle) and Fluffy (their recently rescued puppy) — will have 5,000 square feet and five bedrooms to roam in the posh Tribeca pad.


If the moving stress is too much for the furballs, they can check into the building’s Dog City pet spa, whose services include day care, grooming and boarding.


The family’s former home — a sprawling apartment in One Madison that they bought for $14 million in 2013 — is now on the market (through Core’s Jim St. André and Stephanie McDonough) for $17.25 million.


That 3,310-square-foot unit has four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms — no word on the number of doggie doors.

Simple and Sweet

6sqftOctober 21, 2016

It’s hard to find any complaints about this uncomplicated one-bedroom co-op at 57 Thompson Street asking $625,000. The coveted Downtown location east of 6th Avenue where Soho meets Tribeca is prime. While cozy, it’s not a studio; there are decent-sized rooms, generous closets and even an entry foyer. Pre-war charm is present and accounted for, and windows and paint keep it bright and cheerful.


6sqft previously featured a unit on the same floor, a tad bigger and a bit more renovated, but asking almost $100,000 more. Like its neighbor, this unit features that big arched window, high ceilings and hardwood floors throughout. If your budget’s bigger and you’re looking for a nice-sized dream pad, buy ’em both and combine.


When to Subtract a Home Addition

The Wall Street JournalOctober 21, 2016

Jim St. André was featured in The Wall Street Journal providing advice on less-is-more home renovations.

Subtract a Home Addition

The Wall Street JournalOctober 20, 2016

Real estate agent Jim St. André with CORE, who wasn't involved in the sale of Mr. Hirsh’s home, says reductions that sacrifice floor space for light and volume are reviving the market for brownstones, which sometimes lack natural light. “It was a groundbreaking moment for people who hadn’t considered townhouses before,” he said. One of the most expensive sales in the neighborhood, an $18.96 million townhouse sale in 2012, sold after a similar reconfiguration, he said.

Stairs with Flare

MetroOctober 19, 2016

Michael Rubin and Cameron Culver's listing at 228 West 21st Street, 8 and Shaun Osher and Emily Beare's listing at 27 Harrison Street were featured in Metro for their unique staircases.

Move On Up

MetroOctober 19, 2016

New Yorkers normally hear the word stairs and think walk-up.


There’s a reason that five-floor walk-ups are cheaper — between groceries, strollers and just being tired at the end of the workday — most city dwellers would prefer to live in an elevator building and join a gym for their daily exercise.


But in these three NYC homes, the stairs could actually draw in buyers.


228 W. 21st St., 8



The staircase in this Chelsea duplex leads to a third en-suite bedroom with a large walk-in closet and access to front and back terraces. But it’s the actual stairs that may get buyers’ attention. The contemporary spiral staircase is currently painted red on the outside with black stairs that are a bright contrast to the downstairs' white walls and Eastern White Pine floors.


27 Harrison St.



This Tribeca townhouse offers four levels in 3,700 square feet, plus a large private garden. The three-bedroom, three-bath house has a modern feel that is apparent right away in its open plan kitchen and living room. But the custom staircase anchors this contemporary feel with its design that matches the kitchen's light wood and stainless steel details.


Sunny Alcove Studio

CurbedOctober 17, 2016

Before condos occupied the building at 120 East 87th Street, a Gimbels Department Store, the once-popular department store (and Macy’s rival) stood in place, nearly two decades ago. Now, on the building’s 16th floor lies a sunny and fairly spacious studio that’s asking $700,000.


The condo is complete with 14-foot ceilings, oversized windows, built-in shelving, a sunken living room, and a separate sleeping space—allowing it to feel more like a one-bedroom . Though small, the galley kitchen offers full-sized (but dated appliances) and two closets within the expansive bathroom as well as overhead storage space in the sleep alcove offer plenty of places to keep all your essentials.


Aside from the apartment itself, the location isn’t too bad either. Central Park is just two blocks away, as is many stores and subway stations. Common charges are $619 per month—not terrible.

New Crop of Condos

Brick UndergroundOctober 13, 2016

There’s no shortage of inventory in this development-hungry city. And as these newest additions to the real estate stockpile prove: Developers are eager to offer something for everyone in the amenity department. Health takes center stage, of course, with virtually all buildings offering fitness facilities, but some still take the cake with such over-the-top features as golf simulators and private saltwater pools.


42 Crosby


A seven-story building with ten units comprised of nine three-bedroom apartments and one five-bedroom penthouse. The building will have on-site private parking with a car elevator and electric car charging port, private storage rooms, electronic key-card security system, porte-cochere, cold storage, and a package room.

Address: 42 Crosby Street

Sales: Launching now, with occupancy slated for January 2017

Pricing: Starts at $8.25 million

Developer: Atlas Capital Group and Square Mile Capital

Marketing and sales: CORE


With Mother Earth In Mind

MetroOctober 12, 2016

It’s not easy being green, but in these environmentally-friendly apartments it’s not too difficult.


With energy-efficient features and reclaimed materials, it’s also never been so simple to save money while not skimping on high-end design. And these homes prove it.


121 West 20th St., PH5D


This Chelsea loft, listed for $2,825,000, boasts ambience with two French door Juliette balconies, a fireplace and 864-square-foot outdoor space. But the two bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom centers around the master suite, especially the bathroom. Featuring a freestanding tub, steam shower, dressing area and five large closets, the wash room is environmentally-friendly with bamboo floors, a double flush toilet, low voltage lighting and energy efficient washer/dryer.

Co-op with Modern Updates

CurbedOctober 05, 2016

Welcome back to The Six Digit Club, in which we take a look at a newish-to-market listing priced under $1 million, because nice things sometimes come in small packages. Send nominations to the tipline.


Soho is full of apartments that have been revamped to incorporate vintage details with amenities that are up to snuff with 21st-century desires, and this one-bedroom co-op is no different. Located in a pre-war building on Thompson Street, the tiny pad has some of the apartment's original details—exposed brick, arched windows—along with more modern updates. That exposed brick, for example, has been painted white (as has most of the apartment); the kitchen, meanwhile, has modern appliances, and the bathroom is brand new.


Caveats: The bedroom is small, as is the apartment as a whole; and though this is a six-digit listing, it’s a bit on the higher end. The asking price $730,000 with an additional monthly maintenance fee of $1,220.

Cozy but Charming Co-op

6sqftOctober 05, 2016

This very cute one-bedroom co-op at the Soho building 57 Thompson Street has hit the market at a price of $730,000. Besides the good location, just east of 6th Avenue, it’s got nice details like painted exposed brick, arched windows and some newer finishes in the kitchen and bathroom. It’s a small pad, sure, but it packs in enough charm to impress.


Through a long foyer you enter a living room with an open kitchen to your left. The living area doesn’t look large enough to hold a dining table, but the kitchen boasts a reclaimed wood breakfast bar that provides some extra counter space and seating.


The bedroom’s small, too, but at least its got a big window and some painted, exposed brick character.


The bathroom was renovated with marble tiles, while the kitchen got new stainless steel appliances.


57 Thompson Street is a six-story co-op that was built in 1931. It holds 32 apartments, mostly studios, one- and two-bedrooms. Perks include an elevator, live-in super, laundry room and common storage area. But we’re especially digging the central SoHo location of the building, right between Broome and Spring streets.