Buildings Get Bike Friendly

The New York TimesMay 06, 2016

One recent morning Erik Harrison, a vice president of the Patrinely Group, stopped by 535W43, a rental complex nearing completion that his company is developing with the USAA Real Estate Company between 10th and 11th Avenues in Manhattan. But it wasn’t the 280 units in the two 14-story brick towers designed by CetraRuddy that were on his mind.


It was the bike rooms, one in each of the towers, located not in a shadowy basement but right on the ground level, with big windows letting in abundant light.


“We’re going to have a table where people can fix their bikes, and maybe we’ll hold workshops,” Mr. Harrison said, surveying the south tower’s 850-square-foot bike space as cyclists seen through the windows zipped by toward the Hudson River Greenway. “We’ll fit as many bike racks as we can.”


Driven by demand as well as a city mandate, developers and building owners are carving out bike rooms for residents to store what for some has become their transportation mode of choice.


The state-of-the-art spaces often have their own entrances, saving wear-and-tear on the lobby and passenger elevators. They also offer their own gear by way of pumps and repair stands, and, sometimes, homey touches like hooks for hanging helmets. In the fancier buildings, porters and door attendants act as bike valets.


“People come to an open house and ask, ‘Do you have a gym, a roof deck, a doorman?,’ ” said David Maundrell III, the executive vice president for Brooklyn and Queens new development of Citi Habitats. “Now they also ask, ‘Do you have a bike room?’ ”


Ridership has been growing steadily, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. A 2014 survey by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene indicated that in vast swaths of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, up to 20 percent of the population cycled several times a month. While the Citi Bike program can lay claim to some of the increase in cycling, people who own their own wheels still make up the majority of riders, according to Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group.


Of course, riders can store their bikes in their apartments, if there’s room. But “now when you’re spending a million dollars for a one-bedroom,” said Roberta Axelrod, the director of residential sales and marketing at Time Equities, “no one wants a bike in there” propped against the wall.


Residents of older buildings have been clamoring for the conversion of formerly empty or underutilized “back-of-house” space into storage for bikes.


“If you have a building with two- and three-bedroom apartments, 100 units doesn’t mean 100 bikes,” said Matthew Baron, the president of Simon Baron Development. “It could be 300 or 400.” Consequently, there are waiting lists for many of the city’s bike rooms.


As for new buildings, a zoning amendment passed in 2009 requires the provision of one bike space for every two units in structures of 10 apartments or more. The law also applies to substantially enlarged buildings and to those being converted to residential use.


“It used to be you’d build a building and then say, where should we put the bikes?” Ms. Axelrod said. “Now it’s included in the program from the beginning.”


In Downtown Brooklyn, 388 Bridge, a new 378-unit rental/condo building, created 190 bike spaces in three separate rooms in the basement, one space above its mandated quota.


Many buildings near parks or bike lanes, or ones geared to a demographic group that favors cycling, exceed the minimum number of spots. Forty2East, a new 53-unit condo building in East Williamsburg, has 36 bike spots, nine more than its quota.


In some cases, bike rooms are muscling out other types of storage. The Richard Meier-designed condominium One Grand Army Plaza, in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood, originally was going to have 75 bike slots, but even before the building opened in 2008, that number was deemed inadequate — especially considering the location, opposite Prospect Park, and the number of family-size apartments it contained. After space from the garage was folded into the bike room, it accommodated 90 bikes, and, more recently, with the addition of double-decker racks and wall hooks, it now has 117 spots.


These days, however, it seems the mere provision of space isn’t enough.


Bike rooms in buildings coming to market now are being tricked out with compression air pumps, of the sort found in bike shops and gas stations, and work stands to which one can clamp a bike while oiling a chain or fixing a flat. Tools are often on hand, and sometimes there’s a hose for washing bikes down after a muddy ride.


At 252 East 57th Street, a condominium under construction near Second Avenue, one of the door attendants stationed at the porte-cochere will be able to whisk away a bike after a ride and have it readied for the next outing.


At the Residences at Prince, a condominium project in an 1826 landmark-designated building in NoLIta that previously housed a Catholic school, the bike room will have hooks where residents can hang their helmets between rides.


Many buildings are providing the bicycles themselves, acquiring their own fleets — emblazoned with the buildings’ names — for residents’ use.


Circa Central Park, a condominium taking shape at West 110th Street and Central Park West, will have four branded single-speed recreational bikes by Priority Bicycles, according to Shlomi Reuveni, a managing director of Town New Development, which is handling sales and marketing.


At 50 West, a condominium under development in Lower Manhattan, residents will be able to take the building’s four Porsche bikes, which cost $3,700 each, out for a spin.


At least one building is even giving bicycles away. Nine52, a luxury condo soon to open on West 52nd Street in Hell’s Kitchen, will have 20 black single-speed Joulvert bikes, according to Maria Theresa Ienna of Park River Properties, the director of sales. It is also offering a bike, valued at around $450, as a closing gift to the first 25 buyers.


“Customers come in and listen to the sales presentation and say, ‘That’s a beautiful bike,’” Ms. Ienna said. “We say, ‘If you buy an apartment, the bike is yours.’ ” The least expensive unit in the building (already in contract) is a studio for $597,000.


There is usually a price for parking in a bike room, according to owners and developers. The charges, which can come in the form of a monthly or annual fee, vary widely, from a token $10 per year to $10 to $100 per month.


“It’s a decent revenue stream,” said Marc Kotler, a senior vice president for the new development group of FirstService Residential. “It can be $10,000 or $20,000 a year in income” for a building.


For some New Yorkers, even a bike room won’t do. The finicky can stow their top-of-the-line bikes in the private storage lockers that some buildings have, safe from jostling and scratching.


Or come up with other solutions. Susi Wunsch, the founder of Velojoy, a cycling lifestyle website, keeps her everyday bike, an all-black aluminum Kona Dew with disc brakes, in the bike room of her Greenwich Village building, though she isn’t a fan of wrestling it on and off overhead hooks.


She balances her Serotta Ottrott road bike — which she called her “pride and joy” — atop a bookcase in her home office. With a frame that’s clear carbon and titanium, it weighs only 16 pounds.


Meanwhile, her midnight blue Pashley Britannia, with its big wicker basket strapped to the handlebars, is parked in the dining room, where “its beauty merits ‘sculpture’ status,” she said.


It helps, she added, that she has “a very understanding husband.”

Revisiting 10 Celebrity Homes in NYC with Epic Renovations

CurbedMay 06, 2016

Most everyone likes some good celebrity real estate gawking, so in that spirit and in honor of Curbed's first-ever Renovation Week, we've rounded up 10 of the best finished and on-going renovations in celeb-owned homes.


374 Broome Street

When John Legend and Chrissy Teigen purchased their condo in Nolita's Brewster Carriage House in 2012, the space was monochromatic andsubdued. For a celebrity couple as cheeky as Legend and Teigen, that just wouldn't do. The duo brought in Don Stewart and architect Winka Dubbeldam to imbue the space with an old-school industrial look that included dark woods and brass and bronze accents. The overhaul also included turning a bathroom into a walk-in closet and adding a wall to create a vestibule. The couple listed the apartment in June. It's currently on the market for $3.995 million, down from $4.495 million.


39 Fifth Avenue

Celebrity interior designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent listed their stunning Greenwich Village duplex in November, unveiling the apartment's (unsurprisingly) lovely interiors, and a renovation that combined an adjacent one-bedroom apartment with their penthouse. Berkus and Brent are looking for $10.5 million, which is $4.5 million more than they paid for it in 2013.

J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is Selling His Decked-Out Tribeca Townhouse

Business InsiderMay 05, 2016

For the fashion-forward house hunter with $29.995 million to spend, Mickey Drexler's converted warehouse home just might be the winning ticket.


The J.Crew CEO's 9,000-square-foot downtown Manhattan townhouse has hit the market for just shy of $30 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. He bought it in 2008 for $5.5 million.


A converted coffee warehouse from the 1890s, the eclectic Tribeca home is filled with colorful design details and custom amenities, including a rooftop terrace, sauna, and commercial-sized elevator.


This is Drexler's second property currently on the market; the other is a $24.95 million townhouse, also in Tribeca. He sold a massive Hamptons estate last summer for a whopping $50 million. Drexler's primary home is reportedly an Upper East Side apartment.


This listing is with CORE's Shaun Osher and Jim St. Andre.

Here's The $30 Million Apartment The CEO Of J.Crew Calls Home

Refinery29May 04, 2016

J.Crew has become a go-to shopping spot for fashionistas and prepsters alike, and the store's CEO, Mickey Drexler, has a lot to do with that. So, what does being at the helm of one of America's favorite stores gets you?


Well, for starters, it can get you a one-of-a-kind house right in the heart of Tribeca. The Wall Street Journal reports that Drexler is listing the house, a former coffee plant, for sale. While it didn't come cheap (Drexler bought it for $5.5 million in 2008), he's selling it at a steep markup. The listing price is a whopping $29.95 million after Drexler's extensive renovations.


The house was converted into a single-family residency, with many of the industrial elements cleverly incorporated into the overhaul. And like J.Crew, the home incorporates classic American style with a modern twist.


Not included in the listing pictures? Some of the house's most luxe offerings, like a basement sauna and rooftop terrace with views of the Hudson River. But we do get a glimpse into the home's stunning interiors, which include several giant bedrooms, an elevator, and Mad Men-esque decorating that would go well with any J.Crew outfit.


So, why is Drexler leaving? According to his real estate agent, he spends most of his time at his Upper East Side residence. Considering what this house looks like, the other place must be pretty great — click through to see what we mean.

J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler Is Selling His Tribeca Townhouse for $29.95 Million

Town & CountryMay 03, 2016

What began as an industrial warehouse was transformed by French architect and designer Thierry Despont into a stunning single-family home for J. Crew chief Mickey Drexler. And now it's for sale.


The 24-foot wide, 9,000-square-foot Renaissance-style loft building, located at 464 Greenwich Street in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood, was built in 1982. After companies like the Turkish & Arabian Coffee Company, whose sign remains on the front of the building, used the building to roast coffee, Drexler bought it in 2008 for $5.5 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Speaking of sales, Drexler sold his Montauk estate formerly owned by Andy Warhol for $50 million in December.)


The house now includes five bedrooms, an elevator, sauna, gym, and roof terrace with views of the Hudson River. Its entrance hall is inspired by the Maison de Verre in Paris, and there's a "sprawling 1,500-square-foot living room with over 12-foot-high ceilings at the top of the building," according to the CORE listing. Below, a look inside.

J. Crew CEO Drexler Lists Tribeca Townhouse for $29,995,000

StreetEasy BlogMay 03, 2016

Fittingly on the heels of the Met Gala comes another extraordinary fashion unveiling: The gorgeous Tribeca townhouse owned by J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler.


Hitting the market today for $29,995,000, the five-floor townhouse occupies 9,000 square feet and includes a basement and a roof deck with views of the Hudson River, which lies two blocks to the west.


Drexler hired the services of French architect Thierry Despont to transform the building, which was once an industrial warehouse, into a sensory gift of colors, layers, and textures perfectly fitting for the CEO of one of fashion’s leading apparel outfitters.


In addition to the roof top terrace, the property has 5 bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms and 2 half-baths, a custom eat-in kitchen, gym, sauna and commercial-sized elevator.


And rather than explain the finishes, take a look yourself.

J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler Lists Tribeca Townhouse for $29.95 Million

The Wall Street JournalMay 02, 2016

Originally used as a coffee roasting plant, the downtown New York building was converted into a roughly 9,000-square-foot single-family home.


A Manhattan townhouse owned by J. Crew CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler is going on the market for $29.95 million, according to listing agents Shaun Osher and Jim St. Andre of Core.


Located in the popular downtown neighborhood of Tribeca, the home measures about 9,000 square feet with five bedrooms and a rooftop terrace with views of the Hudson River, Mr. Osher said. The house also has an elevator, and in the cellar there is a sauna and a gym, he said.


Built in the 1890s, the five-story building was originally used as a coffee roasting plant, and still has signage for one of the coffee companies that occupied it, according to the Tribeca North Historic District Designation Report. Mr. Drexler bought the building in 2008 for $5.5 million, according to public records. He worked with architect and designer Thierry Despont to turn it into a single-family home, but maintained some of the industrial feel with exposed steel, wood and brick, Mr. Osher said. The renovation was completed in 2015, he said.


Mr. Drexler couldn’t be reached for comment. Mr. Osher said he lives primarily on the Upper East Side.


Mr. Drexler has made several other significant real estate moves recently. A five-bedroom condo he owns in Tribeca, also designed by Mr. Despont, was listed in 2015 for $35 million with another firm, but was taken off the market before returning in January for $24.95 million with Messrs. Osher and St. Andre. In December, Mr. Drexler sold his Montauk estate for $50 million.

Inside This Former West Village Church Is a $12.5 Million Penthouse

Architectural DigestMay 02, 2016

What looks like a church from the outside is actually a light-filled duplex penthouse inside, complete with sweeping rooms—and former pews. The historic Romanesque-style church, built in 1860, was transformed into a boutique condo with eight units, reports StreetEasy. The apartment itself makes a dramatic impression. Think: original stained-glass windows, white Venetian plaster walls, and Brazilian walnut flooring. The showstopping feature, however, is the main level’s massive glass wall that looks out on a 500-square-foot terrace. There’s an open kitchen, a living room, and a dining room that leads to the outdoor space. A floating chrome staircase leads downstairs to the expansive media room, which is framed by those beautiful stained-glass windows. There are also three bedrooms down the hall. 



3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths

3,500 sq. ft. 

$12.5 million

CORE, 212-612-9602;

The Week in Luxury: A Map of NYC’s Priciest Apartment Sales

The Real DealMay 02, 2016

Doug Heddings' listing at 23 East 22nd Street, #43A was included in The Real Deal's round-up for priciest sales of the week.

28 Contracts Signed at $4M and Above: Olshan

The Real DealMay 02, 2016

There were 28 Manhattan luxury residential contracts signed at $4 million and above last week, including Emily Beare's PH listing at 252 Seventh Avenue and Todd Lewin and Michael Rubin's listing at 100 Grand Street. 

Alfa Development and CORE Present "The Future of Boutique Condominiums" at 199 Mott

Mann Report ResidentialMay 01, 2016

Recently, Alfa Development and luxury real estate group CORE, welcomed brokers and real estate executives for a lively breakfast and panel discussion titled, "The Future of Boutique Condominiums." Topics included the projects that now epitomize the city, the ever evolving real estate market and what's next for New York's neighborhoods.

Navigating the Turbulent Landscape of NYC Real Estate

Turn the Page with Hemda MizrahiApril 29, 2016

Agents Arthur Korant and Gerry Kendrick guest starred on radio show, Turn the Page with Hemda Mizrahi. The duo discussed how to successfully navigate the torrid waters of selling and buying in New York City and how to make the overall process as seamless as possible.

Historic on the Outside, Modern on the Inside

Wall Street JournalApril 26, 2016

This federal-style townhouse in Manhattan, built in the early 1800s, underwent a renovation that made the staircase a big attraction.


Location: Manhattan, United States

Price: $8,750,000


Ten years ago, Sarah Bartlett took advantage of something that rarely presents itself in Manhattan: the opportunity to buy a historic home in a quiet neighborhood that still has cobblestone streets. ‘You get a sense of being in the country,’ said Ms. Bartlett, dean of City University of New York’s CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. The purchase price of the federal-style townhouse in Tribeca was $3.6 million in 2006, she said. The architect was John McComb Jr., who also designed New York’s City Hall. Built in the early 1800s, the home and two others were designated for historic preservation and relocated nearby in the early 1970s.


The home had been two duplexes. When Ms. Bartlett moved in, she wanted to turn it into a single-family home, which are few and far between in the neighborhood. Though the townhouse has a historic-looking facade, it looks modern inside, said Ms. Bartlett, 60 years old. The home, which has a basement, has an atrium-like feel on the first floor with the ceilings at least 20 feet high, she said. ‘It’s like a loft on the ground floor, yet you have all this privacy that a loft doesn’t offer.’


Ms. Bartlett estimated she spent about $1 million for the gut renovation by Dean/Wolf Architects that opened up the ground floor to give her more space. Major changes included replacing a wooden staircase, putting in a new kitchen and reconfiguring the upper-floor layouts, she said. The townhouse is 3,700 square feet; its width is 25 feet.


Ms. Bartlett said one of the first things that visitors notice when they walk is the door is the modern, stainless-steel staircase, which was moved away from the wall. On one side of the staircase is stainless steel ribbons; the other side is made of glass. Guests often remark that the staircase resembles a piece of art or a gigantic sculpture, Ms. Bartlett said. During the three-year project, architect Kathryn Dean said her firm opened the center of the house, joined the duplexes and inserted the stairway to tie together the floors. ‘Dynamic Descent,’ the name of the staircase, brings light from the roof skylight down through the center of the house, she said. 


She is selling her home because her children are living on their own and the place is too large for just her. She plans to find a smaller place in the neighborhood. Tribeca is a family-friendly neighborhood with parks and good schools, she said.


The master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and a fireplace. The room is large enough that Ms. Bartlett has a workspace there. On the right is a plexiglass wall, which Ms. Bartlett said can capture the sunlight and the movement of the clouds.


The home has an asking price of $8.75 million and is listed with Shaun Osher, founder and chief executive of the real-estate brokerage CORE.

J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler’s $25 Million Tribeca Loft Is Fittingly Stylish

Architectural DigestApril 25, 2016

It’s no surprise that J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler’s Manhattan loft is as impeccably designed as the fashion company’s clothing. Located on Franklin Street in the heart of Tribeca, the sweeping space was devised by French architect Thierry Despont. Some of the luxurious details: 11-foot ceilings, arched windows, wide-plank Brazilian wood flooring, and industrial-style doors. The expansive 82-foot-wide great room houses the dining, living, and billiard areas, plus a grand salon. There are several cozy sitting rooms, a library, a gallery hall, and a stainless-steel kitchen. The master suite is separated from the guest bedrooms for optimal privacy.


5 Bedrooms
5.5 Baths
6,226 sq. ft.
$25 million


Contact: CORE, 212-612-9602;

In Growth Mode, CORE is Expanding to Brooklyn

The Real DealApril 22, 2016

Boutique real estate firm CORE is expanding beyond its, well, core footprint in Manhattan with a new office in Brooklyn.


Robert A.M. Stern Has Plans for TriBeCa

The New York TimesApril 22, 2016

Robert A. M. Stern may be best known in certain New York circles for the high-end “apartment houses” that his firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects, has designed uptown in the manner of the city’s grand and gracious prewar residences.


But the firm is also making its mark downtown with buildings like Abington House, a rental building in Chelsea, and Superior Ink, a condominium in the West Village. Another condo it designed, 30 Park Place, an 82-story tower in the Financial District, is expected to begin welcoming residents in a few months.


Now comes 70 Vestry in TriBeCa. It’s still a hole in the ground — a big one, stretching along West Street between Vestry and Desbrosses Streets, with backhoes busily digging in the dirt. But the site would be hard to beat — directly across from Hudson River Park, offering unobstructed views of the water. And the building’s developer, the Related Companies, has now opened a sales gallery a couple of blocks east, at 50 Vestry Street, that showcases the condo’s design and model rooms by the architect Daniel Romualdez, who took charge of 70 Vestry’s interiors.


For the exterior, the architects found inspiration not in the low-rise brick buildings in the immediate vicinity of the site — the sales gallery, in fact, is housed in a single-story 1920 structure that was previously an auto repair shop — but from the handsome warehouses from the turn of the 20th century that Mr. Stern and his team encountered as they wandered farther inland. He described these buildings in a phone interview as “both gutsy and refined.”


Stepping back from a six-story base, 70 Vestry will rise 13 stories. Smaller setbacks will provide terraces off many apartments on upper floors, offering views up and down the Hudson.


Like many of the firm’s New York buildings, 70 Vestry will be clad in limestone — in this case, honey-colored Beaumanière limestone quarried in France. The building’s ample casement windows will be detailed with dark metal spandrels with decorative rivets evoking New York’s gritty industrial past.


The building will wrap around a private courtyard with a cobblestone drive. Residents will enter the building from the courtyard after arriving via a portal on Vestry Street. Sheets of water coursing down a courtyard wall will create a calming hush. An automated system will whisk cars down to a parking level under the building.


Mr. Romualdez, a former member of Mr. Stern’s firm who is known for designing homes for Tory Burch and Aerin Lauder, said he chose to panel the lobby in flat-cut white oak threaded with bands of brushed brass to create “a cozy cocoon.”


The 46 apartments will range from 1,900 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet, with ceilings rising more than 12 feet in some units. Kitchens will feature four ovens: steam, convection, traditional and speed. Most apartments will also have two washers and two dryers. Honed marble master baths will have nickel-framed fluted-glass doors and large side-by-side medicine cabinets. Prices will start at $6.25 million.


According to Related, the building will top out by the beginning of next year, and is expected to open in early 2018.


Mr. Stern, 76, looks forward to it. “In the afternoon when the sun comes off the river, you’ll get fabulous colors on this facade,” he said. “The building will cast a glow back.”


The architect will retire from the deanship at the Yale School of Architecture — a position he has held since 1998 — at the end of the current term. He said he would return to teaching at Yale after taking a year off from academic life.


In the meantime, even though he had sworn he would never write another book about New York architecture — he and his collaborators have already produced five — he recently embarked on a sixth, covering the city’s buildings from 2000, where the last installment left off, to 2020.


Of course, 70 Vestry is expected to appear in it.

Inside Look: 4 Studios That Make Small Spaces Desirable in NYC

MetroApril 21, 2016

New York City renters and buyers are used to compromises - and that almost always means space. For singles — and even couples — a studio is the perfect option for those looking to move into their dream neighborhood. But small living doesn’t need to cramp your style as these four studios prove.


150 Myrtle Avenue


This Brooklyn studio promises a “unique open layout allowing for maximum comfort.” That layout includes three closets, a washer/dryer, and 11-foot-7-inch by 9-foot-2-inch open kitchen area that leads to a 12-foot-7-inch by 15-foot-3-inch living / sleeping area. The apartment, located in the Downtown Brooklyn / Fort Greene area and listed for $530,000, is all about the views - with its floor-to-ceiling windows that show the Manhattan skyline. The building is also “green” with a fitness center, 50-foot heated indoor pool, and a landscaped multi-level roof garden.

Inside Look: 3 NYC Homes That Maximize Indoor-Outdoor Living

MetroApril 14, 2016

These apartments each have their own style, but all have terraces perfect for entertaining.


New Yorkers are able to tolerate small living spaces, as the places outside their cramped quarters offer plenty of ways to escape. But there are homes in this city that offer their own escape in both indoor and outdoor living.


Here are three Manhattan and Brooklyn residences that will make you want to stay home — each with their own style — but all with terraces perfect for entertaining and windows that let in the light when it’s too cold to sit outside.


456 West 19th Street


The penthouse at 456 W. 19th St. features more than 2,800 square feet of living space with an additional 1,200 square feet of private outdoor terraces designed by Cary Tamarkin. Listed for $11,450,000 the terraces are not the only noticeable feature of the Chelsea building. The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath apartment also has floor-to-ceiling, multi-paned casement windows in the living room, which offers access to the terrace, along with the dining room and kitchen.


129 North 3rd Street


Brooklyn is (often) the place to find more space for less, outside of Manhattan, and this condominium townhouse offers four floors with two outdoor terraces. Located in Williamsburg, 129 N. 3rd St., listed for $2,850,000, has a second floor with two bedrooms and a full bath, while the top floor is a master suite. The living room has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that opens to the 400-square-foot private garden with built-in barbecue. There is also an additional terrace plus access to the private rooftop from the master suite.

Luxury Listing: Tribeca Loft with Unlimited Opulence

InmanApril 13, 2016

Vintage meets modern in this chic, sprawling Tribeca loft.


This spacious loft in Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood boasts a seemingly endless supply of comforts, with an 82-foot-wide living room, vintage bar and pool table and dramatically arched windows to take in the city.


The five-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom condo is listed at $24.95 million by Jim St. Andre and Shaun Osher with CORE.

Classic Homes Go Green

Mansion GlobalApril 11, 2016

The luxury residences being built in what used to be St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School in New York City will be modern, energy-efficient homes on the inside—but retain historic landmark status on the outside.


The property, to be known as The Residences at Prince, is just one of hundreds of old buildings around the world being transformed into luxurious yet ecologically responsible homes.


As sustainable, green living becomes more desirable in the luxury residential segment, architects and builders are finding ways to bring energy-efficient elements into old homes—even castles. London’s Windsor Castle harnesses hydroelectric power; Buckingham Palace taps its own borehole to cool the wine cellars and irrigate the gardens.


In New York, sustainable building methods and energy efficiency are top-of-mind for The Residences at Prince, said Jonathan Marvel, principal at Marvel Architects, the project’s architect. New materials needed for the renovation are being locally sourced to keep the carbon footprint low, he said.


“Materials have lifecycle costs,” Marvel said. “The mere act of reusing what’s there is the biggest energy-saving green thing you can do in any kind of construction.”


Walls have been super-insulated and the new, thermal-paned windows are landmark-approved, hitting modern standards without interfering with the building’s historic character. For even greater energy efficiency, smaller multizone heating-and-cooling units will be installed instead of larger, centralized equipment.


Some older luxury homes are being transformed into energy misers via passive building standards. In the New York metro area, for example, aging brownstones can be upgraded with continuous insulation and higher-performance windows and doors to create a net-zero or net-positive home that actually produces more energy than it consumes.


Other methods of going green may not reach the net-zero level, but they are nonetheless attractive to today’s luxury homeowners.




Maribeth Messineo Peters, executive vice president and realtor at luxury brokerage Allie Beth Allman & Associates in Dallas, is a long-time advocate of preserving old homes via energy-efficient renovation techniques.


Peters represented Dallas architect Adrienne Hennessey, who bought a 1953 architecturally significant home in Dallas in 2013.


The home was at risk of being torn down for its desirable location before Hennessey swooped in to save it. Its original owner was a member of the Caruth family—land barons who amassed thousands of acres in Dallas starting in the late 1840s.


“It was a fantastic mid-century modern with excellent bones, but it needed a lot of updating,” Peters said. “My client recognized the potential of the home and saw the provenance of the Caruth family as something she wanted to preserve and protect. When it became available, she knew she had to save it.”


Hennessey gutted the inside and renovated with a variety of “green” elements including insulation, a standing seam metal roof and energy-efficient appliances and windows.


“When you open up walls, you don’t know what you will find,” Hennessey said. “There can be additional structural requirements and hidden issues, plus everything must meet current city code,” she said. “You can spend a considerable sum of money on high-end finish-outs as well as green and sustainable materials.”


In this case, the renovation paid off. Peters was listing agent a year later when the property received multiple offers and resold in one day for $1.1 million—double its value from a year earlier.




The National Trust for Historic Preservation says old homes were built differently in the way they regulate temperature and moisture—something to be aware of when adding “green” elements that may affect air circulation.


The trust provides some recommendations:

  1. Get an energy audit. Some utility companies and city governments provide them or hire a Residential Energy Services Network certified evaluator or use a U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score assessor. The auditor/assessor will recommend the most efficient upgrades.

  2. Restore energy-efficient historic features. Take advantage of the sustainable features often present in historic homes that make them passively energy efficient. Transom windows above doors promote air circulation, for example.

  3. Consider what efficiencies makes sense. Some possibilities include tankless water heating, solar power and new insulation.

  4. Don’t lose your home’s character with your green upgrade. The preservation trust suggests asking, “If I do this, will the person living in my home in 15, 25, or 50 years be able to undo it, if necessary, without harming the building or a part that contributes to its character?”

What is the Status of the Rental Market in NYC?

Good Morning New YorkApril 11, 2016

Agent Matthew Cohen guest starred on America’s #1 online real estate radio show, Good Morning New York, with Vince Rocco this morning to discuss all things real estate including the status of the market in NYC. 

New Renderings For 70 Vestry Street, Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ TriBeCa Condos

New York YIMBYApril 08, 2016

In February, public records revealed that Related expects to rake in $700 million from selling condos at 70 Vestry Street, the 14-story building under construction next to the West Side Highway in TriBeCa. Now, we have a slew of new renderings for the limestone-clad development.


Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the building will offer 46 condos and 153,000 square feet of residential space. Apartments will range from two- to seven-bedrooms, and vary in size from 1,700 square feet to 7,000 square feet.


The building will have a laundry list of upscale amenities, including a swimming pool, squash court, exercise room, storage, billiards room, and library, as well as an automated garage for nine cars.


These new images give us a better look at the facade and entrances, which will be clad in French Baumaniere limestone. The stepped structure will have a dramatic impact on the Lower Manhattan skyline, striking a balance between Stern’s more conservative work, like 15 Central Park West, and TriBeCa’s aging brick warehouses.


Related picked up the site from Ponte Equities for $115 million two years ago. It occupies 24,360 square feet between Debrosses, Vestry, Washington, and West streets.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 / 32 / 33 / 34 / 35 / 36 / 37 / 38 / 39 / 40 / 41 / 42 / 43 / 44 / 45 / 46 / 47 / 48 / 49 / 50 / 51 / 52 / 53 / 54 / 55 / 56 / 57 / 58 / 59 / 60 / 61 / 62 / 63 / 64 / 65 / 66 / 67 / 68 / 69 / 70 / 71 / 72 / 73 / 74 / 75 / 76 / 77 / 78 / 79 / 80 / 81 / 82 / 83 / 84 / 85 / 86 / 87 / 88 / 89 / 90 / 91 / 92 / 93 / 94 / 95 / 96 / 97 / 98 / 99 / 100 / 101 / 102 / 103 / 104 / 105 / 106 / 107 / 108 / 109 / 110 / 111 / 112 / 113 / 114