Big Ticket: The Cosmo Girl’s Lair for $19.4 Million

The New York TimesJuly 08, 2016

Helen Gurley Brown’s turreted quadruplex atop the exclusive Beresford co-op at 211 Central Park West, where she lived for four decades until her death in 2012 and which was bedecked in midcentury glamour, has finally sold. At $19,380,000, it was the second most expensive transaction of the week, according to city records.


The priciest sale was farther down the scenic thoroughfare. A three-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath condominium at the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, near 61st Street, closed at $28 million. The 2,846-square-foot apartment, No. 38A, with a 211-square-foot terrace overlooking Central Park, has monthly carrying costs of $9,063.


Henry Hershkowitz and Heather L. McDonough of Core brought the buyer of 15 Central Park West, whose identity was shielded by the limited liability company Morningside Heights CPW. John Burger and Lauren Bankart of Brown Harris Stevens represented the seller, BZG Industries (No. 5) Ltd. of the Cayman Islands.

Manhattan Listing Volume

The Real DealJuly 07, 2016

Jim St. Andre was ranked #32 on the Real Deal’s Agents by Manhattan Listing Volume.


The 30 Most Expensive New York City Homes For Sale

CurbedJuly 06, 2016

520 West 28th Street, PH


The penthouse of the first and last New York City residential building expressly designed by the late Zaha Hadid hit the market in May asking $50 million. The price tag is no surprise: Since sales first launched in the High Line-adjacent building back in October, it's been reported that the 7,000-square-foot penthouse would ask just that. The five-bedroom triplex will be connected by a sculptural staircase designed by Hadid and have direct elevator access as well as an elevator within the apartment.

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

The Real DealJuly 05, 2016

The McDonough Hershkowitz Team's closing at 15 Central Park West, 38A was ranked as the most expensive sale of the week. The deal was finalized at $28,000,000.

6 Ways To Beat An All-Cash Offer (Yes, It's Possible)

Brick UndergroundJuly 05, 2016

They say cash is king. So, in theory, anyone who's getting a mortgage to buy an apartment will be out of luck when facing the competition of an all-cash buyer. But in reality, that's just not true. “Non-contingent but seeking financing—that’s the queen,’” says real estate agent Charlie Homet of Halstead Property, alluding to the scenario where a buyer agrees to buy regardless of whether a mortgage can actually be secured.


In fact, says Leonard Steinberg, president of Compass, many wealthy clients who can pay all-cash go the mortgage route. "You'd be surprised to see the high-end apartments that are tied to mortgages in the city," he says.


Shaun Osher, founder of CORE, points out that "at the end of the day, the seller doesn't care where the money's coming from, they care that it'll be at the closing."


Still, there's no denying the allure of a cash offer. And even though the market might be cooling a bit (as recent reports show), most of that is at the super-luxe end of the market, and there are still plenty of all-cash buyers around. So what’s a prospective buyer not flush with cash to do? There are a number of strategies for the financing buyer who wants to be taken seriously as cold hard cash—from financing less, to spending more, to simply being easy to work with. Here are six strategies for competing:


1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage but do without a traditional mortgage contingency


Having a traditional mortgage contingency clause in the contract protects you from losing your down payment—typically around 20 percent—if you or the building aren’t approved by a bank. That's great for you, and not so great for the seller. Which is why the most effective, and perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking, way to compete against all-cash is to waive the mortgage contingency altogether.


Obviously, you'll need to feel comfortable about the possibility of losing your deposit if you don't get financing. To cut down that risk and increase the seller's confidence that you'll get financing rather than walk away from your deposit, get yourself and the building pre-approved. "You need to provide enough good, solid evidence to the sellers to make them feel secure," says Steinberg.


To even further mitigate concerns for the seller, a buyer's broker should "come in with proof that the building's been approved for a loan within the last six months," says Jennifer Roberts of Engel & Volkers.


Mortgage banker and broker Julie Teitel of Everbank notes that even with a pre-approval for financing and a pre-approval of the building, unforeseen circumstances—like the loss of your job or a drop in your credit score, or an issue with the building—could put financing in jeopardy.


“No matter what, there is a chance that you can lose your down payment,” she says. Consider the worst-case scenario: Will you be able to bail yourself out? Could you get a margin loan or a loan from a relative? Would you be okay with losing the down payment?


Still, she says it's rare that buyers lose their down payment, noting that she has can refer clients to about 30 different banks, and could likely find a backup. Rather, the question at that point is how long will the seller wait for you?


Another option is to offer an appraisal contingency, says Jeff Schleider, former founder of Miron Properties and VP of Business Development at CitiHabitats.


That means that if the apartment appraisal comes in too low for the amount of the loan—a real risk in a rising market and/or where apartments sell at over ask in a bidding war—you agree to make up the difference in cash and accept a lower loan amount from the lender. For instance, if you're looking to finance 80 percent of a property listed at $1 million, and the appraisal comes in at $900,000, the bank will only finance 80 percent of that amount ($720,000 versus the $800,000 you wanted), leaving you to come up with $80,000 to close the gap.


(Plan ahead tip: If you own other property, consider refinancing and pulling cash out to have it on hand to plug up any appraisal-induced shortfall, suggests Teitel.)


Structuring a deal where you’re pre-approved, the building is pre-approved and you’ve estimated the over/under on the appraisal and have cash to close without a contingency is  "a really good tool that needs to be used carefully,” Schleider said, noting that with the right support structure, “you can get some really amazing deals.”


2. Get less financing


A second way to compete against an all-cash offer is to put more down in cash right off the bat, and take less financing.


Andrew Luftig, a partner at Chaves & Perlowitz, a real estate law firm that specializes in transactional, commercial and residential lending practices, says he sees a lot of clients who want to finance 80 percent of a property’s value because rates are so low. But if they have more available cash to put up, he thinks that dropping the financing amount to around 50 percent or 60 percent and paying cash for the rest can make an offer more attractive. You may want 80 percent, he says, "… but you want the apartment more."


The approach is seconded by Alan Perlowitz, the founder and managing partner of Chaves & Perlowitz, a real estate law firm that specializes in transactional, commercial and residential lending. He recalls a buyer who successfully competed against an all-cash asking-price offer. The buyer offered above asking price with 50% financing. In this case, even if the appraisal came in low and they had to finance more than 50 percent, their financials showed that they would be approved.


“The number one reason people don’t get financing is that the appraisal comes in low,” Perlowitz says. If this happens, it’s only someone borrowing 75 percent or 80 percent who will have an issue. Anyone borrowing less should be fine.


3. Bid higher than the competition—or throw in an extra financial incentive


Offering more money than your competition is an obvious way to get a seller's attention, Homet says. Even if another party is offering all cash, a bigger purchase price can certainly make the deal more attractive. Adds Roberts: "Consider maybe paying $25,000 more, or offering to pay the sellers' closing costs."


4. Be flexible with timing


A simple yet potentially effective tactic—particularly if a seller hasn't found a place to live yet—is to close the deal at the sellers’ convenience. Homet says he’s seen this flexibility put the buyer on top in a bidding war.


Oftentimes, being willing to move slowly is a plus, because "if you have a seller who wants to move fast, you’re going to lose to an all-cash buyer," says Steinberg. Of course, you'll have to weigh the costs of holding off on the sale. Just because it benefits the seller doesn't necessarily mean it'll make financial sense for you, the buyer. If your lease is up or you're selling your apartment more quickly, temporary housing is an option, but it's often a pricey one.


A second way to play with the timing of the deal is to negotiate a shorter period of time to obtain a loan commitment, Luftig and Perlowitz say. If the norm today is 30 to 45 days, you might ask your lender to push to turn things around in 15 days, or to move even more quickly. Experts only recommend this tactic you already have a close relationship with the lender and can ask for this--and rely on it--before promising anything to the seller.


5. Allow the seller to keep a portion of the down payment if the financing falls through


If you need financing and insist on a mortgage contingency, you might ease the sellers’ financial concerns by promising that if you don’t get financing, the seller can keep a portion of your down payment, Luftig and Perlowitz says.


The amount is often an approximation of what the seller spent during the 30 days in which the property was held up waiting for the financing. It might include any rent and maintenance, attorney expenses and some overhead.  With this provision in place, the seller will worry less about losing money if they take the offer that isn’t all-cash.


 It is "something to have in one's arsenal," says Roberts. The money would come from an escrow deposit, she says, and "could work well when combined with a shortened time period to obtain a mortgage—say 15 days versus 30."


And it does happen, says Steinberg. "We recently had a deal where the buyer offered that if the financing did not come through. the seller could keep a $100,000 'fee/fine''.


6. Show off your winning personality


When the price and other aspects of a deal are similar, sometimes personalities can seal it in one direction or the other. And convincing the sellers that you really love their home can work, too. It's something you can do in a letter, or you can ask your broker to do for you when communicating with the seller's broker. "If you tell a compelling story, that can sometimes give you a competitive edge," says Osher. "When a person resonates with the seller, that gives him in a competitive edge."


"Be nice to the brokers," suggests Engel & Volkers' Roberts.


“It’s very much still a business of people,” Homet says, noting that personalities and emotions often come into play during real estate transactions. If he, as a sellers’ broker, has a confidence in the buyer’s broker and thinks that they’re professional and have a great attitude, he says he may push his client in that direction. The attitude of the buyer themselves is also important, too, he said, noting that on the buy side, “you can’t be overly aggressive.”


He looks for a team—both a buyer and buyers’ broker—who are even-keeled, he said, and wants to know that the deal will move forward in a smooth and efficient way.  (Which is why who you choose to represent you is so important). “If you get the confidence from them, and the attitude from them, that they’re going to be the easiest people to deal with, a lot of times that can make the deal happen," he says. 

The Top Agent Bunch

The Real DealJuly 01, 2016

Manhattan’s elite residential brokers aren’t just going after the most expensive listings to stay on top. They’re also recalibrating their business models to include a wider range of clients in a rapidly changing market.

"Old New York" Fantasies In Historic Gramercy Townhouse

Brick UndergroundJune 29, 2016

In the market for an opulent residence in one of the city's stateliest neighborhoods? Look no further than this 19th-century townhouse in Gramercy, which is on the market after being owned by the same family for 150 years. The asking price is $7.5 million—a comparatively sane number for a Manhattan townhouse, and less than many four-bedroom condos on the market downtown


The main level of the house, repped by CORE, features high ceilings, marble fireplaces, and the building's original arched entryways.


There's also a back garden featuring a "100-year-old Ailanthus tree," also accessible via a separate, direct entrance located on 19th street.


The top floor of the building is something of a designated "family floor," hosting three of the home's five bedrooms, as well as a private patio, and the library area.


While the house generally looks to be in good shape, it's possible you'll want to set aside some extra cash for renovations. None of the listing's three-and-a-half bathrooms are pictured here, so it's unclear what state they're in, and the write-up also mentions a "not-yet-developed roof," another place with the potential for some light home improvement or renovation work.

New York After Brexit

The Epoch TimesJune 29, 2016

After Brexit, London may no longer be a popular city for Chinese and Middle Eastern billionaires who seek to park their wealth in penthouses. Especially in the luxury residential race, New York can push ahead and top the charts in terms of real estate investment.


Brexit is not good news for real estate investors and developers in the U.K. Although nothing will change until 2018, the U.K. property market will suffer from prolonged uncertainty, according to industry experts.


“It is little early to see what the effects would be,” said Shaun Osher, founder and CEO of CORE, a real estate firm in New York. “But it may have a positive effect on New York City, which is considered the number one safe haven.”


According to Osher, New York is not a speculative market like some other major cities and it is one of the strongest global investments, which has historically outperformed most markets.


“New York real estate would definitely become a more attractive option for a lot of foreign buyers,” said Sofia Song, executive vice president of data & research at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “It is especially appealing to the buyers in countries whose currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.”


London has always been an alternative to New York but the introduction of a 3 percent stamp duty surcharge on second homes in the U.K. in April has already weighed down investor interest, according to Song. “And now Brexit has added an immeasurable level of uncertainty to the market,” she said.


Despite uncertainties, the falling pound will make the U.K. real estate market very attractive to overseas investors, who look for bargain hunting. Particularly London’s luxury property market would become a much more attractive investment, according to Song.


“With the U.S. interest rates remaining low, and economists predicting an impending recession in the U.K., the immediate impact could definitely be a much-heightened interest for the New York real estate,” said Aleksandra Scepanovic, founder and managing director of Ideal Properties. “However, if the pound continues to slide the New York properties could become less attractive due to their rising prices and the pound losing value against the dollar.”


Some experts fear a severe initial correction in the U.K. property market. That is why U.K. house builders and real estate firms deeply rooted in the English economy took a big hit with the Brexit vote.


The country’s four major housebuilders, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Barratt, and Berkeley, have lost as much as 30 percent of their value since the referendum on June 23. About 6.5 billion pounds ($8.7 billion) has been wiped off their market values.


London focused real estate agent Foxtons issued a profit warning on June 27. The company’s shares dropped 23 percent after it warned that its 2016 revenues and profits would be significantly lower than last year. The company expects a “significant uncertainty” in the London residential markets caused by the Brexit.


In May, Chancellor George Osborne warned that property values would be affected if Britain voted to leave the European Union. He projected the immediate economic shock would cause house prices to fall between 10 percent and 18 percent by 2018.


“Whenever there is an unforeseen or unexpected political or social change in any city, people become very cautious but I think in the long term London will remain a solid contender in the global economy,” Osher said.

Former Loft of Artist Bill Alpert Hits the Market for $3.1M

6sqftJune 28, 2016

Here’s a rare opportunity to own a Soho loft that was the longtime home of an artist–most of the artist apartments of the 60s and 70s have since changed hands. This apartment at 64 Grand Street belonged to Bill Alpert, who was known for his abstract paintings and lived here from 1967 until his death last year. It is very much a raw space, with the original hardwood floors, exposed ceiling pipes, a fire escape view and walls high enough to hang nothing but artwork. We can’t imagine the price for it back in 1968, but now it’s asking just a hair over $3 million. 


Any buyer will have an impressive 2,150 square feet to work with, not to mention three exposures and 10-foot ceilings. It’s a big enough room, the listing suggests, to be transformed into a two- or three-bedroom apartment. 


The open kitchen is no frills, and is definitely not the focus of any true artist apartment. Before Soho was re-zoned for residential use, in fact, artists could only set up hot plates in their illegal warehouse conversions. 


Despite this apartment being one long, narrow space, you’re getting great light from large windows at either end.


There’s an iconic NYC fire escape view from one end of the apartment. 64 Grand Street–located in the Cast Iron Historic District–is a seven-story brick building that was constructed in the early 20th century. It has since been converted to 17 co-ops, and we bet this is the last remaining “raw” artist loft of the bunch.

The Thousand List

Real Trends/ The Wall Street JournalJune 28, 2016

CORE agents Emily Beare, Heather McDonough, Henry Hershkowitz, and their respective teams, were included in the 2016 REAL Trends “The Thousand List”.

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

The Real DealJune 27, 2016

Emily Beare and Karen Ringler's closing at 830 Park Avenue, 8C and Emily Beare's closing at 39 Fifth Avenue, PHB were on the list of the highest recorded sales in NYC last week.

George Condo’s Former $26.5M Townhouse Hits The Market

New York PostJune 23, 2016

This bourgeois dream — a $26.5 million, five-bedroom, five-story landmarked townhouse at 74 Bank St. — was once home to artist George Condo.


Now the 6,000-square-foot, 25-foot-wide home, which has two fireplaces, is being marketed as a single-family mansion.


Built in 1842 by Andrew Lockwood, the Greek Revival residence has been redone by top architects Leroy Street Studio (LSS) and Christina Markatos Design.


The home comes with 13-foot ceilings, a large formal dining room, living room, chef’s kitchen with a decked terrace and stairs leading down to a large, landscaped garden.


There’s also a home gym in the basement, and a garden surrounded by bamboo that looks out onto other gardens. The listing broker is Jim St. Andre of Core.

Mondo Condo

New York PostJune 23, 2016

THIS $26.5 million five-bedroom landmarked townhouse at 74 Bank St. was once home to artist George Condo. Now the 6,000-square-foot home, which has two fireplaces, is being marketed as a single-family mansion. Built in 1842, the residence has been redone by top architects Leroy Street Studio (LSS) and Christina Markatos Design. The home comes with 13-foot ceilings, a large formal dining room, living room and landscaped garden. The listing broker is Jim St. Andre of CORE.

Nate Berkus Sells Impeccable Village Penthouse For $9.8M

CurbedJune 21, 2016

Celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus, who ascended the ranks with an Oprah endorsement and Target collaboration, has sold his utterly charming Greenwich Village penthouse. Berkus and husband, fellow designer Jeremiah Brent, listed their Fifth Avenue digs for $10.5 million in November, less than one month after the 3BR/2.5BA duplex was featured on the cover of Architectural Digest (because of course it was.)


The duplex was originally listed for $10.5 million, but went into contract asking $9.8 million. The New York Observer says the buyer is Charles de Viel Castel, a financier-turned-jewelry designer.


No corner of Berkus and Brent’s apartment went without renovation, and that includes combining the original $6 million penthouse with an adjacent one-bedroom apartment also designed by Emory Roth. The apartment today boasts three wood-burning fireplace, a windowed shoe closet that rivals the best of them, and wrap-around terraces.


Where next for Berkus and Brent, and their daughter Poppy? The couple recently purchased a $2.36 million four-bedroom in West Hollywood, but Berkus seems enamored with Greenwich Village. "This neighborhood, particularly the blocks around West 11th and West 10th streets, has a unique magic," Berkus told AD. If judging by Berkus’s former Village pad, it’s only up from here.

8 Questions To Ask Before Buying Your First Home

CurbedJune 21, 2016

Buying your first home is a big deal, and very exciting, but you shouldn’t rush into this decision. Owning a home might not be something for which you are ready, even if you can afford it. To help first-time homebuyers figure that out, we queried real estate experts to compile the eight key questions every potential homeowner should ask before sealing the deal.


Why am I buying a home?


"I know it sounds silly," says Elizabeth Kee, a real estate broker at CORE in New York City, "but I ask everyone this question first. There are many responses, and you'd be surprised to know that many times I end up talking people out of purchasing when they are buying for the wrong reasons."


One example she shared is people who want to be investors because they heard flipping New York real estate is very profitable. "[It] can be true only if you never have to sell, and you can sell when the time is right." Kee says.


Another example is being lent money by a friend or family member so you can borrow money to buy a home. "There is a reason banks don't let you borrow money to borrow money. You should likely only buy if the money is a gift that never has to be repaid."


Can I afford to buy a home?


If you’re living in the suburbs or the country, buying a home usually means buying a single-family house. If, however, you’re in a city like New York, there are many more options.


"Knowing what your options are is very important. If you aren't someone who can qualify for a co-op, you shouldn't waste your time viewing 80 percent of the homes on the market in NYC," says Kee.


Condos are also an option in cities, and while they don’t have the same qualifications as a co-op board, they usually cost more. So you have to figure out if buying a home is something you have the budget for.

"I always start with the financials because as future buyer, or potential future buyer, you have to know whether you qualify to purchase or not," says real estate agent Elice Shikama of RE/MAX in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. "Without being able to qualify, there’s no further steps you can take."


Before you finalize the answer about being able to afford a home, Lynnette Bruno, Trulia’s Vice President of Communications, recommends you factor in staying there for five to seven years.


"There are many one-time costs associated with buying a home and moving, and you’ll unlikely be able to recoup if you sell your home in less than three years," she says. "You are gradually, over time, building your equity," says Shikama.


How much money am I qualified for?


If you have enough money to purchase a home in a cash transaction, you’re quite fortunate. But most first-time homebuyers will need a mortgage, so finding out how much of a mortgage you qualify for is a crucial step before starting the actual search for a home.


"If you don’t know how much you qualify [for], how [are] you going to know, ‘What price range should we look for?’," says Shikama.


"Many times I end up talking people out of purchasing a home when they are buying for the wrong reasons."


"Determining your buying power is crucial to determining if you can buy what you want to buy," says Kee. "Understanding how one can liquidate other investments (while limiting penalties) and learning how to borrow money, based on your income, assets, and liabilities are often overlooked. If you plan to finance any portion of your purchase, you need to understand different mortgage products and how each product can affect your repayment monthly and long term. If you don't plan to live in that studio for 30 years, why would you pay more interest every month to get a 30-year fixed mortgage?"


Who is my team?


The homebuying process usually requires a host of professionals working for you. "Buying a home is not only a significant investment, it can also be a difficult task and without the right team, success will be difficult," says Kee.


You need the right financial advisor to help you navigate your current financial situation; the right mortgage broker or banker to help you select the right mortgage product for a property they are willing to make a loan for; and someone who is committed to getting you the funds you need for your purchase.


"They need to be knowledgeable and able to be patient with you to educate you on what types of loans they can offer you for what you want to buy," Kee says. You also need a real estate attorney and a real estate agent, both local and knowledgeable, and a title agency.


Who are my trusted personal advisors?


Yes, you need to have the professionals on your side, but you also need people who really know you personally.


"These are the people who will give you an objective opinion on the purchase of your home. Don't bring the friend who doesn't want to go to the second open house because they want to go to brunch and don't bring your mother if she wants you to wait to buy a home until you get married, have a baby, or have more money," Kee says.


"Once you decide you want to buy your home, you want someone to support that decision, take it seriously and help you to make one of the most important decisions of your life."


Are there any environmental issues in the area?


Shikama says to check for nearby Superfund sites—extremely polluted sites containing hazardous materials that require long-term cleanup—or other contamination that could leach into groundwater or emit fumes. There are more than 1,300 Superfund sites across the country, all of which are identified on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.


The U.S. National Library of Medicine also maintains the TOXMAP, a tool that maps reported locations of toxic waste sites and other environmental problems. It pulls information from the EPA, as well as non-EPA datasets.


How are the schools?


If you’re not raising a family, the school system doesn’t really matter. If you are, Shikama recommends you check the local school system’s website to see if it has reports, but many real estate agents will help compile the information.


What’s the crime rate?


You love the house and the schools have excellent ratings, but is it a safe place to live? Shikama says that real estate agents themselves won’t tell you a place is safe because that could leave them liable. It’s recommended that you get in touch with the local police precinct or police department to collect statistics and make the judgment for yourself.


There are also a number of online databases that you can search. Neighborhood Scout, Crime Reports, My Local Crime, and City-Data all break out reports by location. Family Watchdog also provides information on registered sex offenders.

Nate Berkus Sells Greenwich Village Penthouse for $9.8M

6sqftJune 21, 2016

Interior design couple Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent listed their pristine Greenwich Village penthouse in November of last year for $10.5 million. Though they undertook a beautiful update (which was featured as the cover story in last September’s issue of Architectural Digest), this was a steep increase, so it’s not a total surprise that the selling price came in slightly lower at $9.8 million. According to the Observer, the buyer is “financier-slash-jewelry designer” Charles de Viel Castel.


The duplex spread was renovated to hold entertaining on one level with the family quarters (three bedrooms) below. There’s 10.5-foot coffered ceilings, four fireplaces, a wrought iron staircase, and a glass-enclosed office.


A modern kitchen opens to a formal dining room; between them, pocket doors can be opened or closed depending on the setting. The kitchen, which has a gorgeous wall of windows and skylights, is described as a “space only found in old-world New York mansions.”


The very large master suite boasts a “dressing room larger than most bedrooms,” according to the listing. The marble master bath is not too shabby, either.


Berkus and Brent had previously gushed over the pre-war co-op at the Emery Roth-designed 39 Fifth Avenue: “We couldn’t stop thinking about the apartment, believing we were meant to live there…we were able to create the home of our dreams.” Their daughter Poppy was born last March, which could be the reason for the move.

Nate Berkus Just Sold His Sky-High Manhattan Penthouse

Elle DecorJune 21, 2016

It should come as no surprise that design guru Nate Berkus is also a real estate mogul.

The interior designer has sold his Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment for $9.8 million to financier-slash-jewelry-designer Charles de Viel Castel, according to Luxury Listings NYC. That's nearly twice what he paid for the three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath pad in 2013, the Observer reports.

Highlights of the space include 10.5-foot coffered ceilings, three wood-burning fireplaces, a wrought-iron staircase, and a closet that is bigger than most apartments.

Rumor has it that Nate and his husband, Jeremiah Brent, could be on the hunt for a more kid-friendly home, but there's no word on where the family's heading next. It may not be too far away – the designer moved to this space from an apartment building just three blocks away, according to the Observer. One thing's for sure: It will be stylish beyond compare.

Nate Berkus Sells Greenwich Village Duplex For $10M

Luxury Listings NYCJune 20, 2016

Remember Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent’s absolutely dreamy Greenwich Village duplex apartment? Well, no surprise, but the interior design power duo has managed to sell the place at 39 Fifth Avenue for $9.8 million to financier and jewelry designer Charles de Viel Castel. Emily Beare of Core had the listing.

Nate Berkus Has Sold His Village Duplex For $10M

The Real DealJune 20, 2016

From Luxury Listings NYC: Remember Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent’s dreamy Greenwich Village duplex apartment? Well, no surprise, but the interior design power duo has managed to sell the place at 39 Fifth Avenue for $9.8 million to financier and jewelry designer Charles de Viel Castel.

Nate Berkus’ Gorgeous Village Penthouse Sells for $9.8M

ObserverJune 20, 2016

The Oprah-approved designer has sold his gorgeous Greenwich Village penthouse, for nearly twice the $5 million he paid for the space in 2013.


The duplex did, of course, get the full royal renovation treatment from the famed interior designer, who resided in the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath pad at 39 Fifth Avenue with his husband, fellow interior designer Jeremiah Brent, and their daughter, Poppy, who was born in March last year. Now that they have a child, perhaps they’re looking to upgrade to some kid-friendly digs, but it couldn’t have been easy to leave this prewar co-op.


It was, of course, featured in Architectural Digest–on the cover, obviously, showcasing such features as the corner living room with 10.5-foot coffered ceilings, three wood-burning fireplaces, and a formal dining room. The chef’s kitchen “offers space only found in old-world New York mansions,” per the listing held by Core broker Emily Beare, which apparently means a “Butcher block,” marble countertops, and lots of fancy appliances along with a wall of windows and skylights.


The duplex has a wrought-iron staircase, a study, and a “glass enclosed office,” perhaps so one can look out at the loveliness of the space while doing work. Which, in Berkus’ case, is designing even more pretty spaces. There’s also a master suite with eastern views, a fireplace, and what the listing promises to be a “dressing room larger than most bedrooms.”


The penthouse was scooped up by non other than financier-slash-jewelry designer Charles de Viel Castel, who paid $9.8 million for the space–sure, it’s not quite the $10.5 million that Berkus was first asking, but it’s definitely not chump change!


Burkus is a big fan of Greenwich Village–he moved to this penthouse from 23 West 9th Street, a brisk three-minute walk away. “This neighborhood, particularly the blocks around West 11th and West 10th streets, has a unique magic,” Berkus told Architectural Digest.


Well, even if he makes the daring leap outside of those two blocks, we think it’s safe to assume he’ll make it (almost) as stylish as this one. Almost.

On the Market

The New York TimesJune 19, 2016

A two-bedroom two-bath in a prewar elevator building with a live-in superintendent. 


PROS A long foyer leads to a spacious living room with an adjacent dining area. A kitchen pass-through lets in light and connects the space to the dining area. A roomy master bedroom suite has a double shower with two shower heads. There are high beamed ceilings throughout.


CONS The windows look at neighboring buildings. The second bathroom has a quirky layout with a column in the middle. The building lacks a doorman.


102 East 22nd Street, 1EF 

Gain A Competitive Edge

Crain's New YorkJune 19, 2016

When Unilever needed space for its Co-Creation (Pitch) Center—where the multinational brand works with consumers on product development—commercial broker Alex Cohen’s client, based in the U.K., was interested in opening up in Red Hook or the Lower East Side.


Cohen, lead commercial broker for New York City brokerage CORE, knew that those neighborhoods would not be ideal. He turned to an app on his iPad called CoStarGo to illustrate this. CoStarGo provides detailed listings and property data, photos and other information.


“I had to show them the Lower East Side was not developed the way the Hudson waterfront is,” he said. “It was sweatshops and tenements. It doesn’t lend itself to the kinds of creative occupancies that neighborhoods like Tribeca and SoHo do.” Unilever eventually signed the lease for a 30,000-square-foot space at 99 Hudson Street in Tribeca, moving there in 2015.


Many real estate professionals in the city are turning to specialized apps and websites to keep in touch with clients, show spaces to distant prospects, research properties and promote listings. There are plenty of tools vying for their attention, with real estate tech startups raising a record $1.75 billion in 2015, according to CB Insights.


Apps can be especially useful for on-the-go research, say brokers. When Cohen needs to learn who owns an off-market building for investors, he uses Reonomy, a real estate analytics software. That can save him precious time. “I’m negotiating right now for a NoHo building that is not on the market,” said Cohen. “We used Reonomy to identify the actual owner behind the LLCs. He’s overseas.”


Reonomy has some competition. Commercial broker Michael Vallejo and his client passed a building recently where a client was interested in the office space. Vallejo, who works for TheSquareFoot brokerage in Manhattan, quickly turned to Falkon, a real estate property research app focused on New York City, to find the owner’s name.


“I shot [the landlord] an email right there and askedhim if he had anything available that met the client’s requirements.” Though he did not, Vallejo said the app saved him from a lot of time-consuming sifting through city records.


Compass, a tech-enabled residential brokerage based in Manhattan, has developed its own apps. “New Yorkers are obsessed with data and obsessed with real estate. When you can match data with real estate, New Yorkers love you,” said James Morgan, a top broker there.


Not long ago, the technophile broke out the firm’s market data app during a pitch to a couple on Central Park West. “I’m pretty sure I got the listing because I was able to pull out my phone and share exciting news about an innovative app,” he said.


Nooklyn, a tech-enabled brokerage based in Brooklyn, has attracted more than 23,000 users to a platform where they can rent apartments, connect with roommates, and learn about neighborhoods. Nooklyn’s 116 agents list properties on it, as well. “It took off immediately,” said co-founder Harley Courts.

Mickey Drexler’s TriBeCa Home

InCollectJune 17, 2016

Mickey Drexler unloads another NYC gem.


Just last month, we reported that Mickey Drexler was selling his stylish TriBeCa residence. Now, the J. Crew CEO is unloading another stunner in the same neighborhood. The twenty-four-foot-wide, 9,000- square-foot Renaissance-style loft is located in a late-nineteenth century building designed by Hugh Getty for Samuel Crooks, a wholesale coffee and tea merchant. The building was used as a roasting plant before it went residential.


Drexler enlisted the French architect Thierry Despont to transform the space into a single-family residence. The five-bedroom home is filled with stunning fixtures, unique materials and finishes, and custom design touches that incorporate elements of the structure’s industrial past. The property boasts a grand entrance foyer with glass block inspired by the Modernist architect Pierre Chareau's seminal Maison de Verre in Paris, a 1,500-square-foot living room with soaring ceilings, a rooftop terrace, a gym, a sauna, and a commercial-sized elevator.


For the furnishings, Despont opted for rich textures, bold colors, and lustrous finishes, creating a sleek and sophisticated ambiance throughout the home. In the living room, sumptuously upholstered furniture mingles with striking mid century lighting and sculptural decorative objects, while the black-and-yellow dining room boasts graphic patterns and geometric forms, including a commanding Stilnovo chandelier. This one-of-a-kind loft is listed for $29.9 million. Click here to view the full listing.

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