A ‘Blank Space’ in Soho Becomes a Family Home

The Wall Street JournalFebruary 28, 2017

Location: Manhattan, NY  


Price: $5,850,000


Attracted by a 65-foot-long wall of windows, the owners renovated this 3,000-square-foot loft—Sarah Tilton


Mike and Lori Gelhard were living in Mamaroneck, N.Y., with their family of five and wanted a place in New York City. This loft in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood fit one of their main requirements: The circa 1890s space needed everything. ‘It was a rare blank space. It meant we could create exactly what we wanted,’ says Mrs. Gelhard, an artist and designer.


‘I’d been commuting to Wall Street and we wanted a pied-à-terre in the city,’ says Mr. Gelhard, a retired banker. ‘We looked for about a year. When we saw this one we walked in and knew.’ Mrs. Gelhard says it was the light from the 65-foot-long wall of windows overlooking Crosby Street that also sold them. ‘That’s what really struck us. When you’re in the space there’s a lot of natural light,’ she says.


The couple paid $2.4 million for the approximately 3,000-square-foot home in 2011. They spent two years and another $1.6 million redoing it, they say. The building once housed a printing company, Mrs. Gelhard says. The kitchen is one of her favorite places in the home with the windows and the view of the great room.


The Gelhards describe themselves as ‘serial renovators.’ This is their 20th project in 30 years. ‘How we like to renovate is to stay as authentic to the building as possible,’ says Mrs. Gelhard. They left some of the ceiling beams exposed and painted the columns which are original. ‘When you’re in the space you can imagine what it was once like,’ she says.


Mrs. Gelhard did the painting in the entry area. They replaced the original floor boards, which were narrow, with 11-inch-wide white oak. The ceilings are approximately 10.5 feet high.


The floating headboard in the master bedroom is cedar painted with a silvered finish. ‘I wanted it to look like barn siding,’ says Mrs. Gelhard.


The couple chose a sliding door for the shower and black porcelain tile in the master bath. The long sink adds to the industrial look, says Mrs. Gelhard.


In their daughter’s bedroom, the couple dropped a portion of the ceiling while keeping some of the original beams exposed. The floating ceiling highlights the 45-degree angle of the wall that the bed sits against, says Mrs. Gelhard.


The home has three bedrooms and 3½ baths.


The couple, both age 55, are selling as they spend less time in the city now that Mr. Gelhard has retired. They also have homes in Australia and California. There are closets on either side of the Murphy bed, shown here.


They will miss the location. ‘You just walk out the door and everything you could possibly want is there,’ says Mr. Gelhard. The home has an asking price of $5.85 million. Todd Lewin and Michael Rubin of Core share the listing.

Brooklyn Real Estate Listings Six Months Later

BrownstonerFebruary 24, 2017

The weekend is almost here, and it’s time for us to take a look back six months and check in on how four of our featured listings fared on the market.


It’s been quite a while since all four of our featured listings sold, but that’s the case this week. Even more remarkable, they all sold for above ask — that might be a first.


Next we are looking at an estate-condition Italianate brownstone in Bed Stuy. It needs work, but with a load of original detail and stately proportions, it has the makings of quite a grand residence. It’s at 33 Monroe Street, on a particularly nice block near the Clinton Hill border. This former House of the Day sold in January for $2.135 million, $300,000 above ask.


33 Monroe Street
Price: $1.835 million
Area: Bed Stuy
Broker: Core (John Harrison, Paul Johansen)
Sold in January for $2.135 million

Chelsea Penthouse with a Tricked-out, Rooftop Cabana

Brick UndergroundFebruary 23, 2017

If a Chelsea penthouse condo with expansive views and high-end fixtures and finishes doesn't quite impress you, note that this two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath unit also comes with a rooftop cabana that's irrigated, landscaped, and outfitted with a full kitchen. Given the spring-like weather this week, the tricked-out perch strikes us as an especially appealing spot. The apartment, listed by CORE, could be all yours for $3.495 million—a mite high even for the neighborhood, but outdoor space in NYC usually comes at a premium.


The condo's high-floor position and multiple exposures mean that the living space gets lots of sunshine, which highlights the warm oak floors. The open kitchen offers ample storage, and is jazzed up with a marble-pattern backsplash and upmarket appliances. Note, though, that you may be a bit squeezed for dining space. 


The north-facing master suite boasts a walk-in closet, plus a rain shower and a luxe-looking bath with a marble double vanity and deep tub; there's a large mirror if you're inclined to gaze approvingly at yourself as you soak. 


The second bedroom, at the south end of the unit, is almost as spacious as the master, and comes with its own large closet and full bath.


But we're especially intrigued by this cabana, which is primed for warm-weather parties. The apartment also includes an in-unit washer and dryer, and separate storage; elsewhere in the building, amenities include a gym, lounge, media room, and library. 

The High Line's transformative real estate boom, mapped

CurbedFebruary 21, 2017

The arrival of the High Line and a coinciding neighborhood rezoning has spurred a high-end real estate boom that’s still playing out across West Chelsea. Some of the city’s most prolific developers, and the world’s leading architects—including Rafael Viñoly, Isay Weinfeld, and the late Zaha Hadid—have all left their mark on the area. For it, the neighborhood has been transformed both physically and economically: an August 2016 dive by StreetEasy into apartment pricing near the High Line shows that condos along the linear park’s southern end are twice as expensive as those just one block away. The area’s cachet is undeniable, and as construction continues to boom that will become even more true.


Now, take a peek at what developments are still playing out along the 1.45-mile park—from recently launched condo projects to sites snatched by developers that are laying in wait, here’s what’s going on along the city’s most desirable stretch of real estate.


17. 520 West 28th Street


The late Zaha Hadid’s condo at 520 West 28th Street embodies so much of what the High Line corridor has become known for: stand-out architecture (that comes at a hefty price) by some of the world’s greatest architects. The condos of 520 West 28th Street hit the market in October 2015 with its famed—and still-on-the-market—$50 million penthouse following several months later. The final touches are now being put on the futuristic-looking building. The building’s first residents are expected to move in this year.


20. 515 West 29th Street


The lesser-known sister project to Soori High Line, 515 Highline is also designed by architect Soo K. Chan and, as the Times put it in a 2014 profile, “will be rippled like the surface of a sea.” Unlike Soori High Line, sales have yet to launch at this 12-apartment project. The full- and half-floor pads are expected to ask between $5 million and $25 million. A High Line condo wouldn’t be complete without an outrageous amenity—here that translates to personal outdoor fire pits for each apartment.




5 NYC Apartments Perfect for Pet Owners

GOTHAMFebruary 17, 2017

When you’re looking for a new apartment, a place that’s also a fit for Fido is important. Luckily, some of the city’s best real estate is pet friendly and sure to make your furry friends feel at home.


101 W. 24th St., 15B


This two-bedroom condo in the elegant Chelsea Stratus affords panoramic views of the city. But when you and your pet need a break from the expansive 1,242-square-foot space—which features everything from high ceilings to state-of-the-art appliances to hardwood floors—there’s a dog run and park among this full-service building’s many amenities. $2.4 million; contact CORE agent Adie Kriegstein, 917-921-6929


Chelsea Open Houses This Weekend

CurbedFebruary 17, 2017

Welcome to the weekly Open House Tour, because who doesn't love a little real estate gawking? This time around, we're looking at what's on the market in Chelsea.


On West 23rd Street, $675,000 buys you this sunny one-bedroom. It’s been designed with oak floors, high ceilings, and a kitchen equipped with custom cabinets. The bedroom is separated from the living room with a set of unique sliding doors and a huge walk-in closet neighbors the large bathroom. 


When: Sunday, February 19th (1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

Inside Look: 4 luxury lofts for rent

MetroFebruary 15, 2017

Decades ago lofts were the opposite of luxury, but today they are reserved for those looking for open space and contemporary details. Here are four lofts for rent — from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan.


242 Lafayette St., 3S




Described as a “classic Soho floor-through loft,” this apartment comes furnished in 1,350 square feet. There are two bedrooms and one-and-a-half-bathrooms, with an open kitchen. Unforgettable details includes the 12-foot tin ceilings, exposed brick and oversized windows. The furniture includes a mix of modern and antique pieces to compliment the home.

Homes with Private Saunas

Brick UndergroundFebruary 10, 2017

Flu season is, unfortunately, upon us. You can start by arming yourself with plenty of fluids, boxes of tissues, and an arsenal of pain relievers, cough expectorants, and nasal decongestants. Better yet, take it one step further and sweat out the toxins from the hot and humid comfort of your own personal sauna or steam rooms. Here, a few apartments that have you covered.


The master en-suite of this loft-like four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo at 135 West 70th Street (priced at $3.95 million) is decked out with an enormous dressing room, plus a bathroom with separate areas for the soaking tub, rainforest shower (outfitted by WaterWorks), and a sauna.

New Century Artistry

d+AFebruary 10, 2017

87 Leonard was featured in d+A for the building's quintessential TriBeCa design and architecture.

Foreign Buyers in NYC

Brick UndergroundFebruary 10, 2017

Buyers from overseas don't always have the greatest reputation in the world of New York City real estate. There's a broad perception that international investors are snatching up luxury condos which then sit empty, leaving beautiful-but-vacant boxes scattered across the city skyline. Last year, the New York Post even tried to extract some vigilante justice, calling for an unmasking of the foreign buyers who are turning the city "into a secrecy haven to stash their cash through the use of shell companies."


But is that reputation deserved? As with anything in New York City, though, it's hardly that simple, and foreign buyers are not a monolith. We spoke to real estate experts who have worked with international clients to find out what this particular cohort is really like.


An introduction to the "average" foreign buyer

First, when it comes to people from overseas looking to purchase New York real estate, the word "average" doesn't really apply. "By definition, if they're able to buy an apartment in NYC, they're not average," says Keren Ringler, a broker for CORE, referring to the fact that being able to afford a part-time home in New York is hardly within the purchasing power of the average person. 


That said, she adds that the typical foreign buyer tends to be using their NYC real estate as a second home or an investment property rather than a permanent residence. "There are usually three scenarios," Ringler explains. "The foreign buyer who wants to purchase something for their child who's studying in NYC, the buyer who wants to invest in NYC, and the buyer who wants an apartment in NYC to use as a pied-à-terre."


This seems to spell considerable wealth, but Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, says that foreign buyers don't always represent the top one percent. "There's a sense that the average foreign buyer is buying at the very high end of the market. I see them all over the map and much more spread out across price points and geography," he says.


There isn't data that crunches the numbers for foreign buyers in NYC specifically, due to concerns about Fair Housing laws, but Miller estimates that about 15 percent of all real estate transactions in New York come from people from overseas. A National Association of Realtors survey of international clients who made investments in American real estate offers some insights into who makes up this group. The survey reveals that while they are spending more on homes than Americans, their mean purchase price—$499,600—doesn't represent the peak of luxury.


In terms of country of origin, the NAR survey suggests that buyers from China represent the largest proportion—16 percent—of investors in American real estate, closely followed by buyers from Canada (14 percent). When it comes to Europeans, the largest cohorts of international buyers hail from the U.K., France, and Germany; Indians, Mexicans, and Venezuelans also made significant purchases in 2015.


Miller notes that in 2013 and 2014, there was a major upswing in NYC real estate purchase from foreign buyers. "We were in recovery from the financial crisis and interest rates across the globe were at record laws, so investors were chasing higher returns," he says. Now, with the American dollar stronger, we're seeing a more average amount of interest from international buyers, Miller adds.


According to Adie Kriegstein, a broker with CORE, fluctuations in currency can have a big impact on the amount of foreign investments in U.S. real estate, as can political uncertainty—certainly a factor in these post-election days. "I've had a handful of clients say that things aren't looking good," she says. "But at the same time, other foreign buyers say that because of conditions in their home countries, they still want to invest in the U.S., but they're being extra picky about the product because of the volatility of the real estate market."


What are foreign buyers looking for?


Kriegstein agrees with Ringler that most foreign buyers are often either using NYC real estate as an investment, or purchasing a home for a child who is studying or working in the city. In both cases, she says, "they want the biggest bang for their buck."


Much of what is on a foreign buyer's wishlist, according to Kriegstein, would appeal to most New Yorkers, too: views, great light, a lot of amenities, and the promise of a good return on their investments.


One notable distinction is that foreign buyers may be less drawn to charming, prewar co-ops or historic brownstones. Instead, Kriegstein says, they're interested in condos in relatively new developments in locations where they can expect to get top dollar by the time they're ready to sell. This is not only a matter of taste, but also due to the fact that it's more challenging for foreigners to purchase co-ops, due to strict requirements about finances and the tendency of some boards to not permit pied-à-terres. (More on that below.)


This can mean neighborhoods undergoing some dramatic revamping, where the next few years promise to bring new residential and commercial developments; think areas like Two Bridges and Hudson Yards.


"15 Hudson Yards is the first residential building located in the center of Hudson Yards, and apartments there just started selling," Kriegstein says. "[Foreign buyers] are investing there based on what Hudson Yards will do for the entire city. It's good to get in early."


Another area to keep an eye on? Hudson Square, at the confluence of Soho and Tribeca, which was rezoned in 2013 to make way for higher density development, per DNA Info. "That area is going to take off, so it's a prime spot for investors," says Kriegstein.


Kriegstein cautions, though, that because NYC is still in the midst of a luxury construction boom, there could be a high supply of high-end units once foreign buyers are ready to sell. For some, that risk rules out some of the more burgeoning areas of the city.


To that end, Ringler has found that some of her clients are drawn to the more tried-and-true, covetable corners of NYC, like the Upper West Side, or the neighborhoods around Columbia and NYU, if their children are college students.


And in terms of the amount of space foreign buyers are looking for, "two-bedrooms are the sweet spot," Kriegstein says. "It optimizes their investment return when they sell or rent it out, because it appeals to the widest number of would-be purchasers or tenants."


What are some of the challenges foreign buyers face?


One of the main reasons that foreign buyers are more inclined toward condos is that it's much more difficult for them to get co-op board approval. Ringler notes that boards are hesitant for financial reasons: Would-be homeowners from abroad lack social security numbers, have their money in foreign accounts, and present challenges when it comes to running credit checks. (Some co-ops also have policies forbidding pied-à-terres, narrowing the field of options for investors who won't be living there full-time.)


Nevertheless, Ringler works with international clients who do want that old-school, co-op charm. In these cases, she says, "the challenge is how to present the buyer so that the board can feel confident they're making the right decision. That comes from providing excellent letters of references, having good bank balances, and choosing a co-op that understands this buyer will be a good shareholder because they'll look after the apartment."


And according to a Nest Seekers International guide for foreign buyers, opening a bank account in the U.S., or transferring the necessary funds to an escrow account, will help ease the financing process.


She says that many co-op boards appear to be reconizing the need to loosen some of their stricter requirements. "I do think co-ops are realizing that the market has changed and foreign buyers are going to be an important part of the buying portfolio," she says.


Taxes can pose another major obstacle: Barron's offers a rundown of some of the levies foreign buyers might face here, like the 40 percent inheritance tax that the heirs of foreign investor could end up paying here when the property is passed down to them.


Many buyers opt to use an LLC for their purchase, because it helps to minimize such tax burdens: Barron's explains that if it's technically a foreign company rather than an individual that owns the U.S. property, the U.S. government is unable to charge an inheritance tax. Such companies are also occasionally used for more unscrupulous reasons. It's enough of a problem, Housing Wire reports, that the Treasury Department launched an investigation of international investors using American real estate to launder money.


For her average clients, though, the concerns are far more mundane: Foreign buyers need a little extra help navigating the very complex world of NYC real estate, so it comes down to providing in-depth explanations, Kriegstein says, and occasionally when there are language barriers, a translator's help.

Renovated Options in Bed-Stuy

MetroFebruary 08, 2017

Bed-Stuy has turned from “do or die” to gentrified. Those looking to benefit from rising real estate prices or earn some cool points are moving into the Brooklyn neighborhood at a rapid pace. And with these buyers and renters come renovations. Here are two Bed-Stuy properties — one rental and one brownstone for sale — that show the transformation.


752 Jefferson Ave., 1



This renovated rental promises modern luxuries with charm dating back to the 1900s. The garden level apartment features a private entrance that opens up to a large living space. There is also a separate dining with an arched feature dividing the two.


Modern finishes include stainless steel appliances and Caesarstone countertops in the kitchen; and the bathroom has beautiful touches, including subway tiles and brushed bronze fixtures. The massive bedroom has two windows, with views of the backyard, and access to the shared basement, which includes storage, a full sized washer/dryer and a half bath.

155 Attorney Street Launches

CurbedFebruary 08, 2017

Name/Address: 155 Attorney Street

Developer: Midtown Equities

Architect: Studio V

Interiors: GRADE Architects

Size: Seven stories, 37 apartments

Prices: from $3,400/month to $5,700/month

Sales and Marketing: CORE


It’s been a while since we last checked on the boxy new development at 155 Attorney Street. But four years after plans for the building were announced, the Midtown Equities-developed project is complete and ready to accept its new tenants. This seven-story rental building may not look like the home of high-end luxury, judging from its unassuming facade, but if there’s any confirmation, it’s definitely the high rent prices.


The low-rise building has 37 one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging in configurations and price tags. The cheapest unit is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom for $3,400/month while a two-bedroom, two-bathroom can go for as much as $5,700/month. There are also two penthouses with private terraces, though those homes don’t appear to be available just yet.


Each of the Studio V-designed rentals has floor-to-ceiling windows, relatively high ceilings with recessed lighting, a practical kitchen space with stainless steel appliances, and a washer/dryer setup. There’s a decent amenity package in place for the building as well (there should be, if you’re paying that much in rent), offering a virtual doorman, bicycle storage, a landscaped yard, and a rooftop terrace.


At least 15 of the building’s apartments are available for leasing and move-ins are set to begin on March 1.

Cool Comfort

New York PostFebruary 08, 2017

A subdued quality especially inspires architect Thomas Hickey, whose Manhattan firm GRADE is popular with financiers and entertainers like Oprah Winfrey.


“Our work is restrained and understated so it makes the cacophony of everyday life disappear,” says Hickey, who works a lot in highly saturated grays. Hickey and his firm design their own furniture and finishes, and GRADE’s homes feature lots of rift cut wide-plank oak and walnut, and metal finishes like polished nickel and blackened alloys.


“We’re creating opportunities for comfort, but it doesn’t have to look like a big teddy bear,” says Hickey. “Our clients tend to be 35- to 50-year-olds who don’t want to go from bachelor pad to Martha Stewart. They want to raise a young family without feeling like they’ve thrown in the towel and lost all sense of style.”

Architect Thomas Hickey, of New York-based GRADE, carefully designed this subdued interior for this apartment at 87 Leonard St. in Tribeca to stave off the stresses of the city.


On the Market

The New York TimesFebruary 05, 2017

Jasmin Abrol and Patrick Lilly's listing at 171 West 73rd Street, 2 was featured in The New York Times' "On the Market" section.

On the Market in NYC

The New York TimesFebruary 03, 2017

Upper West Side Co-op • $979,000 • MANHATTAN • 171 West 73rd Street, No. 2

A two-bedroom, two-bath duplex with a washer-dryer and a large patio shared with five neighboring units in a townhouse.


MAINTENANCE $1,824 a month


PROS The apartment, which is less than two blocks from Central Park, has brick walls, wood floors and a renovated kitchen.


CONS The lower level, used as a master bedroom suite, is below ground and does not get much light.


Bespoke Residences Designed by Taylor Spellman New York

House MagazineFebruary 02, 2017

This bold yet chic living space lends comfortability and access to anyone who enters. The Tribeca mom, the kids, the bachelor, the family friends and the new neighbors – there’s a sense of commonality to everyone when the use of neutral tones comes into play and everyone can find comfort on the beige couches next to a cozy fireplace.


87 Leonard blends historic authenticity with contemporary luxury in the heart of Tribeca. Units range from 3,000 to 7,000 square feet… so there is a lot of room to play with. There is also a lot of space that can easily be misused, so it is crucial to make different focal points and different sitting places within the room. “My aim was to create a space that has something for everyone,” explains Taylor Spellman, designer, staging expert and owner of Taylor Spellman New York. “A little bit of everything, but cohesive.”


Not doing a lot of color can still be bold and chic and not look too staged. As an example, the goal in the great room was to let the eyes fall upon the industrial aspects, from the beautiful wooden beam to the tall columns, but still insert soft furniture and an elegant fireplace for a fully-rounded composition.


“For me, New York is everything. I'll walk down the street for half a block and I'm immediately rejuvenated and inspired,” expressed Spellman. “The electric energy is my fuel!”


Layering a variety of textures throughout the bedscape elevates the use of natural, neutral tones; creating a calm vibe for the end of the day and a fresh start in the morning.


As much as she loves the energy of the city, Spellman gets a great deal of inspiration from the quiet. “It’s hard to find it, but I love to settle in late at night with a glass of wine and create.During that uninterrupted time, I always come up with my best ideas.”


This room brings the outdoors inside for the NYC kid, harnessing different textures and bold colors to bring out the fun and adventure for the up-and-coming city dweller.