Move On Up: Checking in with some of the Hottest New Developments in Manhattan

Luxury Listings NYCMay 20, 2015

This steampunk-inspired project at 15 Renwick Street — located on the western fringe of Soho on a single-block street, one of only a few in Manhattan — features 31 condos, including three adjoining townhouse units with private yards and four duplex penthouses. Each residence features wide-plank walnut flooring, eight-foot windows, Waterworks fixtures, Bosch washer/dryers and Creston home automation systems. Amenities include optional private parking, a fitness center and boxing gym, 24-hour doorman, roof deck and Zen garden. From $2.5 million.

NYC's Premier Properties

Luxury Listings NYCMay 20, 2015

Careful detailing combined with contemporary and contextual design showcase this unique 3,924-square-foot duplex. This thoughtfully planned 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home features mixed-width solid white oak flooring, recessed lighting and a grand, private terrace overlooked by the bedrooms above. Listed at CORE by Emily Beare, 212-726-0786, 

Costly Condos in Midtown

Luxury Listings NYCMay 20, 2015

Lisa Graham's listing at Museum Tower, 15 West 53rd Street, #23AF was featured in the May/June 2015 issue of Luxury Listings NYC.

Core Takes Space for Fourth Office in Manhattan

Commercial ObserverMay 19, 2015

Core has leased 5,500 square feet at 149 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District, marking the Manhattan residential real estate firm’s fourth office, Commercial Observer has learned.


The new 11th-floor digs between East 21st and East 22nd Streets will accommodate 40 to 50 agents, who will commence working there this fall, Core indicated. The firm’s director of sales, Douglas Heddings, is meeting with prospective agents to populate the new office. 


The lease, signed May 11, is for 10 years. The firm declined to provide the asking rent.


Jason Greenstein of Newmark Grubb Knight Frankrepresented the landlord, William Colavito, Inc., in the deal. Mr. Greenstein also represented Core along with Shaun Osher, the founder and chief executive officer of Core.


Core has retail sales offices at 127 Seventh Avenue and 627 Madison Avenue as well as its headquarters at 104 Fifth Avenue. Core plans to open a fifth office next year.

$7.5M Novogratz House Has Been Thoroughly Un-Novogratzed

CurbedMay 18, 2015

Last week, we reported that the Novogratz-designed townhouse at 1 Centre Market Place in Little Italy was back on the market for $7.5 million after selling at auction for $5.5 million. As the listing had no accompanying photos, we speculated that the house had not been updated since it last appeared on the market, but as it turns out we speculated too soon. The 2006 townhouse has been changed—in fact, it has been given a thorough renovation and shed any last vestiges of Novogratz-iness, and now sports "new exotic hardwood floors, new hardwood moldings, fresh paint, new light fixtures, radiant floor heating throughout the entire house" as well as new security, heating/cooling, and speaker systems, as well as "new noise cancellation/air-tight insulation throughout all of the walls/ceilings."

8 of NYC's Cutest, Tiniest Apartments On The Market Right Now

Refinery 29May 12, 2015

Shoe-box living doesn't have to equal dark rooms, cramped closets, and kitchens that double as bathrooms. In New York City, we've pretty much seen it all when it comes to surprising real estate — but the most surprising of all is when a teeny apartment actually manages to use its size to its advantage.  


When you're calling less than 600 square feet home, the littlest things can make the biggest difference — from utilizing vertical space to maximizing natural light. Think you could never make small space work this well? Think again. Ahead, see eight of the city's most adorable apartments on the market right now that make even the tiniest of spaces feel like living large.


Neighborhood: Flatiron

Address: 16 West 19th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues), #9A

Price: $795,000

Size: 460 square feet


If you're gonna call an under 500-square-foot space home, it better have tons of light. And, this L-shaped Flatiron has lots. Thanks to some oversized windows and absurdly high ceilings (by Manhattan apartment standards, at least), this little gem doesn't feel, well, so little. You're guaranteed to fall in love once you see the sleek wood floors, luxe kitchen, and modern bathroom.

Weekend Open House Tour: West Village

CurbedMay 09, 2015

This weekend on the Open House Tour, we're seeing what's on the market in the West Village. There are some nice listings, including a two-bedroom on Leroy asking $899,000, a one-bedroom on West 12th asking $2.1 million, and a two-bedroom on Perry asking $3.2 million (above).

Related’s Jeff Blau Finds Buyer For $35M Co-op

The Real DealMay 01, 2015

Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau has found a buyer for his fancy 1040 Fifth Avenue co-op.


Blau listed the pad in October for $34.5 million with CORE’s Emily and Elizabeth Beare, according to the New York Observer. He originally listed the three-bedroom apartment with the Corcoran Group for $43 million in January 2014. He bought the unit in 2008 for $21.4 million.


The apartment — inside the iconic, Rosario Candela-designed Upper East Side building — underwent a three-year renovation and includes 26 windows with Central Park views.


The Related Companies acquired a large stake in CORE last year, shortly before Blau re-listed his pad with the brokerage.

Manhattan’s mid-sized market makers

The Real DealMay 01, 2015

More nimble than industry heavyweights, but packing more punch than many smaller firms, the mid-sized brokerages on this year’s ranking acted as change agents in the industry. Like last year, the lineup of mid-sized Manhattan residential brokerages experienced a massive shift this year. The change-up came as well-established firms saw their fortunes turn and as newcomers changed the landscape of the Manhattan market.


The ranking is The Real Deal’s third annual survey of Manhattan’s mid-sized firms and only includes companies with 50-plus agents that didn’t make the biggest firms list. This ranking is done by dollar volume of active listings, which were collected by TRD from listings provider On-Line Residential on March 29 as part of a one-day snapshot.


This year, the top two firms — Sotheby’s International Realty and Compass (formerly known as Urban Compass) — prompted a recalibration of the middle segment of the market. Those companies were followed by CORE, Warburg Realty and BLU Realty.


The tony Sotheby’s, which dropped off TRD’s list of largest Manhattan firms, had a massive $1.4 billion worth of sales listings — up from $1.3 billion a year earlier. While the firm outperformed a number of brokerages on the biggest firms list, and had hundreds of millions of dollars more in listings than its mid-sized counterparts, it landed on the mid-sized list after seeing its agent count drop more than 15.5 percent, to 231 this year.


The firm’s priciest listing, marketed by veteran high-end broker Serena Boardman, is a 9,000-square-foot duplex at One Beacon Court; that penthouse is on the market for $82 million. Boardman also has the listing for a duplex at the Pierre Hotel, at 795 Fifth Avenue, that’s asking $70 million. Meanwhile, agent Nikki Field is marketing a $66 million penthouse at Jared Kushner’s Puck Penthouses, at 293 Lafayette Street.


Nabbing the No. 2 spot, Compass — which is backed by more than $70 million in venture funding — cracked TRD’s ranking for the first time this year. It had 168 agents and racked up $486.7 million worth of listings, including 71 Franklin Street, a mansion that’s asking $65 million. Top broker Leonard Steinberg, who is also Compass’ president, has that listing as well as one for a $46 million townhouse at 2 North Moore Street in Tribeca.


Of course, Compass made waves when it hired Steinberg from Douglas Elliman in 2014, and it has continued to turn heads with other high-profile hires, including Kyle Blackmon from Brown Harris Stevens, Roy Kim from Extell Development and Eugene Litvak from Citi Habitats. The firm lured more than 50 hires from the Corcoran Group alone, including managers Gene Martinez and Patrick Brennan, along with agents Lindsay Barton Barrett, Debra LaChance and others.


CEO Robert Reffkin said Compass jumped into the market in 2013 determined to upend the status quo by offering new technology for its agents.


“It’s not rocket science,” he said. When agents tell him they’ve had the same marketing support and technology for years, he said: “To me, that represents a tremendous opportunity.”


Together the top 12 mid-sized firms held $2.6 billion worth of active listings — far more than that the $1.1 billion that last year’s mid-sized companies racked up. But much of that increase is thanks to Sotheby’s presence on the list.


Strategy sessions


As the market shifts, the challenge for mid-sized companies is to adapt to the ever-changing Manhattan landscape.
CORE, which rounded out the top three on this year’s ranking, is seeing its star rise, after Related Companies acquired a 50 percent stake in the firm this past fall for an undisclosed sum.


“It’s a huge game-changer for us as a company,” said CORE’s CEO Shaun Osher.

Going forward, CORE will collaborate with Related on the development and sales of its residential projects. The firm had 119 agents as of March 29, up from 78 last year. In addition, CORE snagged $277.5 million worth of sales listings, up from $156.9 million in 2014.


Meanwhile, Warburg, which ranked No. 4, is in the midst of a major rebranding under the direction of Fred Peters, president, and his daughter Clelia Peters, who came on board last year as Warburg’s director of strategy and innovation. “It’s an interesting challenge to figure out how most effectively to compete if you are, like me, a relatively small brokerage, and you actually want to run a business that’s cash positive,” Fred Peters said.


Warburg had $262.5 million in sales exclusives, up from $166 million last year, according to TRD’s analysis. The firm’s two priciest listings are a duplex at the Eldorado, at 300 Central Park West, that’s asking $29 million, and a 12-room co-op at 998 Fifth Avenue that’s listed at $28 million.


Overall, Warburg had 141 listings on March 29, down from 153 listings last year. The firm has another 100 listings in contract, Peters said, noting that the firm’s listings ebb and flow with the market. “If anything, the market has flattened out in the last six months.”


Market shake-out


Other firms popped on and off of this year’s mid-sized ranking.


For example, Stribling & Associates, the top firm on last year’s mid-size list, once again catapulted back onto the biggest-firms ranking with 281 agents and $694 million in listings. Platinum Properties, which ranked No. 5 last year, now appears on the boutique ranking because its agent head count fell to 36 from 68.


Meanwhile, Fox Residential, a longtime presence on the boutique list, jumped to No. 7 among the mid-sized firms. The firm had more agents this year (51 this year versus 46 last year), but a lower dollar volume of listings ($36.7 million in 2015 compared with $43.9 million last year.)


Founder Barbara Fox noted that because TRD’s ranking only factors in sales listings, the firm didn’t get credit for all of its buyer-side deals. “That’s what a small brokerage does,” said Fox, who represented the buyer of a $16.5 million condo on Park Avenue last year. She also represented the buyer of unit 7K at Extell Development’s One57, which went for $30 million, she said.


Of the firm’s overall drop in listings, Fox said she personally did less business over the past 12 months because she was focused on renovating the firm’s new office at 14 East 60th Street.


Of all the mid-sized firms on this year’s ranking, Spire Group saw the largest increase in the dollar volume of its active listings. Kevin Kurland’s 100 percent-commission firm, which launched in 2011, had $21 million worth of listings, compared with just $9.7 million in 2014. At the same time, the firm’s agent count dropped to 131 from 161.


As in previous years, firms that were lower down in the ranking were dogged by a lack of Manhattan residential inventory, which translated to fewer listings but a faster pace of closing deals.


Clocking in at No. 5, BLU Realty had 31 listings, worth $80 million, compared with last year’s 22 listings, worth $92 million.


“Over the last month and a half, we have a lot of accepted offers and contracts out,” said BLU founder David Tobon. After a slow third and fourth quarter last year, Tobon said his agents are starting to do more deals. “We definitely [have seen] more bidding wars” recently, he said.


Other newer firms, which debuted in the wake of the recession, saw mixed results in 2015.


KIAN, founded in 2011 by Charles Doolan and Jae Muk Chung, attracted more agents — some 222 this year compared to 172 last year. But listings dropped to $20.8 million from $22.4 million.


KIAN’s sweet spot, between $800,000 and $2.5 million, has been particularly strapped for inventory. “There’s too much of this ultra-luxury happening,” Doolan said.

The Million Dollar Views from Atop 170 2nd Avenue

EV GrieveApril 29, 2015

There's a new listing for a penthouse unit at 170 Second Ave. at East 11th Street.

Here are the details via Core:


This pre-war penthouse with an enormous wraparound terrace is perched atop a majestic Art Deco full-service building in the heart of the Village. A rare offering, this two-bedroom aerie is centrally located at 170 Second Avenue at the corner of 11th Street, and features breathtaking panoramic skyline views to the north, south and west

This lovely residence is a "diamond in the rough," waiting to be updated into a refined "modern classic." Many of the original details have been kept intact including parquet oak floors, beamed ceilings, cut glass doorknobs and original deco light fixtures throughout.

A large central entry foyer/gallery opens onto the spacious dining room and living room which has a wood burning fireplace and 10-foot ceilings. Two sets of French doors lead directly onto that glorious terrace which wraps the home on all sides. Both spacious bedrooms boast abundant northern light and ample closet space. The large, original bathroom features a cast iron soaking tub and separate shower.

Don’t Look So Blau! Related CEO Finds Buyer for $34.5M Co-op

New York ObserverApril 29, 2015

There are instances in which a person’s new home doesn’t suggest very accurately the scale or class of his old one. A recent high-jackpot lottery winner, for example, is likely to spring, first thing, for new digs that put his old, humble ones to deep shame. And a pauper who comes unexpectedly into a grand inheritance, likewise, is apt to make radical domestic upgrades post haste. But Jeff Blau, the CEO of Hudson Yards-developer, the Related Companies, does not, by a long shot, fall into either such category.


It’s true, perhaps, that his old apartment does not quite match the splendor of former Coach creative director Reed Krakoff’s one-time mansion on East 70th Street, which he bought last month for $51 million, but that purchase does give some inkling as to the real estate bigwig’s ex co-op. And the three-bedroom pad at 1040 Fifth Avenue, which was last listed for $34.5 million with Emily and Elizabeth Beare, of CORE, just found a buyer, according to the broker’s website. (It’s nice that Mr. Blau is keeping things in the family; Related acquired a 50 percent stake in CORE last October, which just happened to be the same month the brokerage got the listing, held previously by Corcoran.)

Now, about that apartment. Serviced on a high floor of a Candela building by a private elevator, the apartment, which was subjected to a three-year, Architectural Digest-anointed renovation, boasts 26 windows that take in really excellent Park and skyline views. To one side, a central gallery gives, in Candela’s fashion, onto a flow of public spaces–library, dining and living rooms, the latter with original herringbone floors–and to the other, on private quarters both private and expansive. The vibe is bright, light, refined and restrained.


This is not, in other words, the sort of thing one buys right after winning the Power Ball.


WILD FOR WALKER: New Yorkers begin collecting apartments in buildings by rediscovered 20th Century architect Ralph Walker

New York Daily NewsApril 28, 2015

Who needs Frank Gehry when we can go back to the future with Ralph Walker?


More and more luxe condo hunters are becoming fixated on the work of Walker, who was once among the most prolific designers of Art Deco commercial buildings and is now experiencing a redevelopment renaissance.


The renewed enthusiasm for his buildings comes as a string of developers have converted three of his Manhattan towers to high-end condos. First there was Walker Tower, a 55-unit conversion on W. 18th St. by JDS Development and Property Markets Group. Then there was Stella Tower, a 51-unit conversion on W. 50th St. by the same partnership.


Now another developer is attempting to capitalize on Walker’s newfound fame by converting a massive Walker-designed tower downtown, at 100 Barclay St., beside the World Trade Center site. The new project, also known as the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building at 140 West St. and developed by Magnum Real Estate Group and CIM, will be the biggest Walker conversion yet, with a total of 161 units.


It’s also Walker’s first ever tower and the first true Art Deco skyscraper in the city.


And it doesn’t stop there. Developer Harry Macklowe is converting a Walker building at 1 Wall St. into condos, too.
Some buyers like Walker’s style so much — and are so convinced that its value will appreciate quickly — they’re snagging units in more than one of the converted buildings.


“One buyer was so impressed with the quality of the building — the structure is in a whole different league that most of the new developments that are built from scratch — and he was fixated on how beautiful it was,” luxury broker Vickey Barron, who has worked on sales at all three buildings. “He loved it so much that when Stella Tower opened up I said to him, ‘You might want to buy another one.’ He said, ‘I would invest in a Ralph Walker building any day of the week.’ ”


In the end, eight of the 47 buyers who bought at Walker Tower went on to purchase at another unit at Stella Tower, Barron said. Now, some of those same buyers are eyeing units at 100 Barclay St.


"People will eventually collect these like they collect apartments in Frank Lloyd Wright buildings,” said Barron, who also collects Walker gems.


"My accountant said to me last week, 'You have all your eggs in one basket and who is Ralph Walker?' He wants a deferred benefit plan. I said, 'I'd rather put it with Ralph Walker.'"


Resale values in Walker’s buildings are already among the most impressive in the city, with the value of some units having risen by 30% in less than a year.


Little over a year ago, real estate speculator Burt Freiman listed an apartment in Walker Tower for nearly $8 million, just a week after closing on it for a comparatively paltry $5.03 million. Savvy Freiman got $7.78 million for the pad just a few months later, raising eyebrows and expectations marketwide.


Spurred by such resales, more buyers are trying their own flips. One of Barron’s clients listed his Stella Tower unit for $8.95 million last month, after closing on it with a couple of investment partners for just $5.8 million at the end of January.


Even one of Walker Tower’s developers, Elliott Joseph of Property Markets Group, is getting in on the action, having snagged two penthouse units for himself, for just short of $28 million last year. He’s now relisted them for a combined $44.5 million with broker Michael Graves of Douglas Elliman.


Graves, who sold the first unit at Walker Tower, said he fought an uphill battle to convince early buyers that they should pay far and above the average price per square foot for projects in the neighborhood.


"At that time, many people were scratching their heads at those prices in Chelsea but I don't have a single client that's sorry now that they made that leap of faith,” he said.


Every new resale creates even more buzz about the Walker name.


“There are people who put a lot of stock in the brand,” said Michael Stern, one of the developers at Walker Tower. “Every time another one of those sales goes through, it’s an extra notch on Ralph Walker’s belt.”


The surge of interest of work by Walker, who died in 1973, has in no way been accidental.


The development team behind Walker Tower, which began selling in 2012, worked with branding expert Richard Pandiscio and spent months delving into Walker’s story in a bid to educate prospective buyers on the importance of the architect’s work and the quality of his buildings, even going so far as to commission a book on the subject.


“The developers and I had never heard of Ralph Walker, but through our research, we soon discovered that he was one of the most revered architects of his generation,” said Shaun Osher, CEO of brokerage CORE, the firm that first marketed the units at Walker Tower. “From the moment I walked into the building, I recognized that the architecture and the fundamental bones of the building were nothing like anything I’d seen before."


The building was a home run and attracted a who’s who of A-listers, including Cameron Diaz.


What makes Walker’s buildings so special?


Some of the buildings, they say, have oversized floor plates that are not so conducive to condo conversion. They wonder if a few lesser conversions could negatively affect the overall cachet Walker’s name has begun to command.


“At the end of the day, not every Ralph Walker building is created equal. Some are great for conversion and some are not,” Osher quipped. “Now, others are trying to ride on the coattails of that initial success, but, as they say in the movie business, the sequels are never as good as the original.”


But Walker’s fans know that good design speaks louder than anything else.


“I want to be wowed when I walk into an apartment,” said condo sales guru Andy Gerringer of the Marketing Directors. “That’s what’s going to sell it to me, not that Ralph Walker’s name is on the door.”


For one thing, they’re great examples of New York City’s Art Deco history, with impressive lines and details. They’re also some of the city’s sturdiest structures. Walker was the architect of choice for the New York Telephone Co., and many of his buildings were used for storing heavy telephone equipment, meaning they had to support a great deal of weight.


“These building were overbuilt and incredibly robust,” Stern said. “The average residential building floor plates can support 40 pounds per square inch. Walker buildings can support more like 100 pounds.”


Such fortress-like heft famously paid off for one Walker building during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The tan brick property now being converted at 100 Barclay sustained major exterior damage from debris, from the falling Twin Towers but survived.


But some industry insiders wonder whether Walker’s name, which fell out of circulation after a dispute between the architect and the American Institute of Architects over modern design, will hold its value in the long-term.

41 Contracts For $4M Or More Signed Last Week

The Real DealApril 27, 2015

Manhattan saw 41 contracts signed for $4 million or more — the highest number in one week so far in 2015 — last week, according to the latest Donna Olshan luxury market report.

Last week also saw the highest number of co-ops sold since the first week of December. Condos still outsold co-ops 28 to 11. Two townhouses went into contract.


The biggest deal of the week was Related’s Jeff Blau’s former unit 14A at 1040 Fifth Avenue for $34.5 million. The three-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom pad first hit the market for $43 million in January 2014. Blau bought a townhouse at 113-115 East 70th Street last month for $51 million.


The second biggest contract of the week was a $25 million townhouse at 14 East 63rd Street. The 8,519-square-foot home includes seven bedrooms, five bathrooms and gallery space.

One Madison Lost Tom, Gisele, and Rupert, But It Has Croquet

CurbedApril 24, 2015

The dark, modern tower at the southeast corner of Madison Square Park is shedding celebrities like a molting bird: Rupert Murdoch wants $72 million for his triplex penthouse (which he hasn't even lived in); meanwhile, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen rented their place for $40,000-ish/month. But lest anyone think One Madison has lost its luster, enter unit 8A, which hit the market today asking $10.95 million. The three-bedroom, 3.5-bath has a massive L-shaped terrace that overlooks the park and has views up to the Empire State Building, with room for a proper lawn (staged with croquet equipment) as well as a big outdoor dining table and grill. All lit, at night, by candle- and lantern-light, of course. The space could also be used, as per the brokerbabble, for "badminton, a yoga/meditation platform overlooking the city or even a putting green!!" The owner, shielded behind an LLC, closed on the apartment for $8.25 million in August of 2014, so the turnaround here is pretty quick. Was there time for a renovation?

When the Extras Are Extraneous

New York ObserverApril 24, 2015

There are times—say, when you’re having an important package delivered or need help hustling luggage out the back of an idling taxi—when living in a doorman building is great.


Other times, it can be, well … not so much.


For instance, Will Meyerhofer, a therapist with a number of clients in the fashion industry, recalls once having to admonish the doorman of his Battery Park rental building for trying to pick up one of his supermodel patients.


“The doorman hit on [this] client to the point where I had to speak to him about it,” he said.


It’s perhaps understandable, then, that when Mr. Meyerhofer and his husband began looking for a place to buy several years ago, a doorman wasn’t high on their list of desired amenities. It wasn’t just the doorman they chose to do without, though. In fact, the couple decided they’d actually prefer a building with no amenities at all.


“I always feel that amenities are stuck onto a building to compensate for the fact that the apartments aren’t very nice,” Mr. Meyerhofer told the Observer. “I went to some buildings in FiDi, and they were bragging about their weight room and common room and terrace. Meanwhile, the apartments were the size of a postage stamp.”


“Simplify, simplify,” advised the great 19th century real estate scribe Henry David Thoreau. (What, after all, is Walden, but a man’s reflection on owning a country house?) In Thoreau’s case, this maxim led him to a one-room cabin outside Concord, Mass. In Mr. Meyerhofer’s case, it led him to a bare bones, 1,400-square-foot Tribeca loft.


“It was basically a great big box that needed to be gutted,” he said. But the lack of frills meant that even after renovations, the purchase price came in at under $1,000 per square foot, Mr. Meyerhofer notes. And the unit’s common charges, including taxes, total around $1,500 a month—a fraction of what he would pay in a ritzier building.


New York’s residential developers are engaged in a great amenities arms race, a city-wide game of one-upmanship involving perks like pet spas, wine rooms, golf simulators and boxing gyms. Some buyers, though, are opting out.


“I see a lot of buyers asking for [buildings with] less amenities,” said Core broker Steve Snider. “I have a client right now, for instance. He already belongs to a gym. He likes his gym, has friends there. So to move into a building [with a gym] and pay for it, he would never benefit from that.”


“It’s a competitive and frothy market, and when you are buying property you aren’t just looking at the purchase price, you’re looking at your monthly nut,” said Douglas Elliman broker Rob Gross. “So if a lot of your common charges or maintenance is going towards payroll for doormen or upkeep of amenities, it can add up.”


Indeed, says Sonya Auvray, a client of Mr. Snider’s currently looking to buy in Chelsea, while building extras like a full-time doorman are nice, “I just don’t want to pay for that luxury.”


With two young children, ages 4 and 6, Ms. Auvray is exactly the sort of buyer who might be expected to appreciate the perks of a full-service building. But, she said, “I’m not fussy. I’d rather have the [extra living] space over the amenities.”


In fact, she notes, she and her husband would ideally like to buy a commercial space they can convert to residential. “Those are very hard to find, but they are out there, and you can get something for close to $1,000 a square foot if you can find it,” she said.


Another potential amenities downside—to Mr. Meyerhofer’s mind, anyway—is having to shell out to repair common area damages you had nothing to do with.


“One of my friends is in a building with a hot tub, and you end up with Trustafarians dropping their margaritas in there,” he said. “And then somebody has to drain the thing and get the glass out and fix it, and you’re on the hook for that.”


And while potential buyers might like the idea of amenities like a dog-washing station or game room, few actually use them regularly once they move in, Mr. Snider says.


“A wine cellar?” he scoffed. “Really? I’m going to put my $400 bottle of wine in a common wine cellar with my name on it like it’s in the office refrigerator?”


“I show people things like a 28-seat movie theater, and they’re like ‘What the heck is this? I don’t have 27 people over, ever,’ ” he added.


The one exception is a roof deck, Mr. Snider said. “I think everyone likes to have a roof deck.”


But even here, Mr. Meyerhofer demurred. “The fact is, a roof deck in New York you can use for about three months [out of the year], and they tend to be kind of windy and cold, and they get dirty,” he said.


The rise of online shopping and dining apps has helped devalue certain traditional amenities, as well, said Mirador Real Estate managing partner Karla Saladino, whose firm has in recent months conducted a number of focus groups aimed at determining what building features buyers most value. For instance, she says, “The word ‘concierge’ is kind of a dead word. People are like, ‘I can use StubHub and OpenTable just fine without you.’ ”


Rising in popularity, on the other hand, are perks like in-home beauty and pet services delivered by outside parties, Ms. Saladino said.


Buyers who do go the high-amenity route can find themselves stuck with no way to shrink their monthly nut short of selling, cautioned Robb Pair, president of real estate firm Harlem Lofts.


“You can’t cut [the common charges] even if you want to,” he said.


“I used to live in a condo in Midtown that had a doorman, a concierge, all that. And I have to tell you, when I was on vacation, I would be up all night thinking about how I was wasting money because I was paying for all that common stuff I wasn’t using.”


Mr. Pair recently helped developer Valerie Feigen find a building in central Harlem that she plans to convert to a four-unit, low-amenity condo project.


The building, at 56 East 130th Street, will offer a virtual doorman, package area, rooms for bikes and strollers, and a shared rooftop that Ms. Feigen said she thinks “have become sort of basic necessities.” Beyond that, though, the plan is to eschew amenities in order to keep sales prices and common charges low.


“Everything is a choice,” she said. “And to me the choice more and more people are going to make is for individual space [over communal amenities].”


Elliman’s Mr. Gross is likewise working with a developer, whom he declined to name, on a 35-unit East Village condo project that he says will take an amenity-light approach.


“I don’t see us getting a doorman, though we’re not sure if we’re going to put in a virtual doorman,” he said. “There is a roof deck, because the building has a roof. There will be bike storage. But this is going to be an incredible price play, so we want to keep our monthlies low.”


Of course, it’s possible that in trying to shed amenities, you’ll find yourself more enmeshed in them than ever: Mr. Meyerhofer, the man who never wanted a doorman, has himself become a doorman of sorts.


“The crazy thing is, I work from home, so I am the doorman for my building,” he said. “UPS has kind of figured out that I’m the guy to buzz. So I get packages for all the neighbors.”

The Week In Real Estate Market Reports

The Real DealApril 22, 2015

The latest batch of reports from around the industry found that overall average asking office rents in Manhattan reached their highest point since 2008 and investment sales hit a record $20.8 billion in the first quarter of the year.




Q1 2015 Residential sales: REBNY


The New York City residential sales market had stronger sales volume and higher average sales in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to a quarterly report from the Real Estate Board of New York . Sales volume totaled $10.1 billion, a 21 percent increase from the previous quarter, and the average price for a home was up 12 percent to $898,000. 


Q1 2015 Brooklyn new development sales: MNS


New development sales volume in Brooklyn nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter, according to an MNS report. The Clinton Hill neighborhood had the strongest quarterly growth, with median sales up 34.7 percent from the previous quarter to $1.2 million. 


Q1 2015 Manhattan new development sales: MNS


Manhattan’s new development sales volume increased 16.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to a report from MNS. However, the median price per square foot for new developments fell 12.5 percent from the previous quarter, and the median sales price fell 21.1 percent. 


Manhattan luxury contracts April 6-12, 2015: Olshan Realty


Thirty contracts were signed for apartments priced $4 million and above during the second week in April, with an average asking price of $6.4 million, according to the Olshan Luxury Market Report. The priciest contract signed during the week was for a 4,160-square-foot condo at 224 Mulberry Street, which had an asking price of $13.5 million. 




Q1 2105 Manhattan office leasing: Cushman & Wakefield


Manhattan leasing activity was steady in the first quarter of 2015, pushing overall vacancy rates down to 9.2 percent, a 1.3 percent decline year-over-year, according to a quarterly report from Cushman & Wakefield. Average asking rents were up across all markets, and overall asking rent in Manhattan rose to $69 per square foot. 


Investment sales


Q1 New York City investment sales: Cushman & Wakefield


Investment sales hit a record $20.8 billion in the first quarter of 2015, a 26 percent increase in dollar volume from the previous quarter according to a quarterly report from Cushman & Wakefield. 

Charming ‘Back House’ Apartment Is a Tiny Treasure in the West Village

6SqftApril 21, 2015

The cool thing about tiny living spaces is how it makes you so aware of all the wasted space you have in your own home. This micro apartment at 340A West 11th Street makes the most of every inch of its usable space, and if storage is key, then this pad has the combination. We think you’ll quickly see that inside this red brick “back house” less really is more.


Enter to find your adorable 13-by-13 living room, complete with old world touches like oak wood floors, built-in bookcases, and a wood-burning fireplace. The tiny kitchen has everything a New Yorker really needs (because who in NYC uses a kitchen anyway?). There’s an abundance of cupboards to store your winter sweaters—we mean dishes—and a four-burner stove, mini fridge, and a freezer for the ultimate culinary experience. The space also features a deep farmhouse sink and thick Carrera marble countertops and backsplash.


Believe it or not, the bedroom can actually accommodate a queen-sized bed. And the amount of storage in this space can put bedrooms three times its size to shame.


Now, if you’re looking to stretch your legs, this gorgeous co-op already has a solution. This $625,000 historic home, built around 1850, is surrounded by a private landscaped garden with flowers, a 50-foot elm tree, and multiple sitting areas.


340A West 11th Street is a pet-friendly co-op between Washington and Greenwich Streets, hidden behind a cast iron gate. The peaceful home is just a short walk from all the West Village action, including the Hudson River Park, the High Line, and famous restaurants.

Wee West Village Apartment Hidden From Street Asks $625K

CurbedApril 21, 2015

If charm per square inch was quantifiable, this place would be off the charts. The tiny one-bedroom apartment not only has its wood-burning fireplace, numbered built-ins, and oak floors working for it, but it's also hidden from the street and opens onto a lovely planted courtyard (h/t 6sqft). As if that all isn't enough, the apartment on West 11th Street between Greenwich and Washington streets is asking a similarly wee $625,000.

Core interprets New York neighborhoods through illustrations

Luxury DailyApril 17, 2015

Real estate brokerage firm Core is taking an artistic approach to marketing New York neighborhoods by releasing illustrations that depict the culture of 12 areas within the city.


These districts of Manhattan are illustrated and noted by Todd Selby and available on Core’s Web site. Since New York is one of the top real estate markets in the world, creating a whimsical campaign that embodies the neighborhoods through illustrations and facts will offer interested consumers a quick insight prior to purchasing.


“Our services are bespoke and tailored to support our clients’ real estate decisions, so the neighborhood essays are an extension of this sensibility and add dimension to the consumer experience,” said Elizabeth Kosich, director of marketing and digital strategy for Core, New York.


Illustrated exploration

Mr. Selby has previously worked with luxury brands and publications such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Vogue, Architectural Digest France and the New York Times’ T magazine.


The Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Flatiron, Chelsea, Gramercy, Lower East Side, SoHo, Tribeca, NoMad, Greenwich Village, West Village and the East Village are all represented on Core’s Web site through a single image.


When one clicks on the neighborhood of interest, they are brought to a page that offers a description of the area and several illustrations of various attractions and facts about both the area and the city. Also, a quote about New York is set in the middle of the images.


For instance, the Upper West Side image is a drawing of a T-Rex’s skeleton in honor of the neighborhood’s Museum of Natural History. Once on the page a description is at the top speaking about Woody Allen movies filmed in the area and the sidewalk cafes and marathoners and soul-cyclers that are often present.


The illustrations reflect this description with illustrations of a stationery bike for soul-cycling, the subway stops speak to the neighborhood’s access to public transportation, a bagel with lox and cream cheese represents the cafes, a dog focuses on the area’s access to Central Park and an image of Lincoln Center addresses the performances and culture in the neighborhood. A quote from Woody Allen completes the page.


All 12 neighborhoods are set up in similar fashion offering insights in a light manner.


Alternate route 


Core has previously turned away from typical real estate marketing tactics.


For instance, in July, Core took an unorthodox approach to marketing a new building in the Hudson Square neighborhood of New York.


Although real estate purchases are arguably the most important commercial choices a consumer can make, real estate marketing tends to follow a dry and formulaic approach. Core sought to break away from this format by creating a campaign that resembled something closer to what a fashion brand might produce.


Narrowing in on specific regions of New York allots a space for real estate firms and publications to give more information about the city to those unfamiliar.


The New York Times also delved into neighborhoods with its “Block by Block” video series featuring locals from different areas within New York.


A new area will be highlighted each month, with the first episode looking at the up-and-coming Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Real estate agents and marketers will be able to use these videos to offer insight and context to clients looking to purchase in a specific neighborhood.

Focusing on specific locations within one city can provide much greater detail to interested buyers.


“The New York City real estate market is a collection of submarkets, all of which offer a wildly different residential experience,” Ms. Kosich said.


“Todd Selby was tasked with bringing each area to life by capturing the nuances that make each neighborhood so special,” she said. “The result is a celebration of each neighborhood’s personality, which is meant to build excitement, interest and intrigue for the consumer.”

Real Estate Experts Weigh in on the Future of NYC's Sustainable Properties

HabitatApril 17, 2015

Real Estate Experts Weigh in on the Future of NYC's Sustainable Properties


Every time Earth Day draws near, terms such as "sustainability" get bandied about on green-friendly sites and across social media platforms. Perhaps it's thanks to the likes of celebrity homeowners like Leonardo DiCaprio who have been so gung-ho about green condo living in the city, but it looks as if sustainability might be gaining momentum in the high-end residential market. CORE, a real estate brokerage firm in Manhattan, hosted a broker roundtable during which nine real estate experts discussed sustainable design and its impact on the luxury market.


The panel weighed in with varying opinions about how much affluent buyers care about buildings being green, and if so, how much. One thing the group reached consensus on was that sustainability matters more to a younger demographic.


Ginger Brokaw, associate broker for Town Residential, said, "During a project this past year, we found that buyers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s were most interested in green. They asked many questions regarding the structure, what paint was used, and what the operating systems were."


Richard Steinberg, senior managing director at Warburg Realty, agreed: "[T]his is an age issue — the younger you are, the more interested you are in the green environment. Not that we [older people] are disinterested, but we’re less interested."


So are younger people affecting sales? Steinberg's firm worked on a project with Greystone Development at 180 East 93rd Street, and used green amenities to market the units. He credits that strategy with increasing the realty's sales "by approximately 20 percent on offering plan prices."


Sure, the more cynical among us might think that the younger wealthy people snapping up sustainable property in Gotham are only doing so because celebrities have made it chic, but if it helps the planet even a little bit, who can complain?

N.Y. vs. L.A. Home Prices: What $3.2 Million Gets You in Each City

The Hollywood ReporterApril 16, 2015

Los Angeles — $3.2M


This 3,013-square-foot house (above) with infinity pool in the Brentwood hills, built in 1963, was owned first by Ronald Reagan's chief of staff Fred Ryan Jr., who sold to Oval Office decoratorMichael Smith (who sold to former Warner Bros. president Jeff Robinov, who gave it up for $2.85 million in 2006). "It's much more about the exterior," says Smith of the 21,344-squarefoot estate that sold for $3.2 million in January. "You have this beautiful view of the canyon. It was built into the hill, so well-designed for the land. It's like a castle once inside the house and gate," with floor-to-ceiling windows, three bedrooms, three baths, beamed ceilings and two fireplaces. He adds: "The house has such an organization outside. That's the thing about California: You can be one with nature."


New York — $3.2M


Zachary Quinto's recent New York shoots for I Am Michael, Girls and The Slap no doubt were behind his NoHo loft purchase, originally listed for $3.7 million. "If you walk by the entrance of 43 Great Jones [Street], you'd never think multimillion-dollar, exquisitely finished residences were above," says listing agent Martin Eiden of CORE Group. It was an upgrade for Quinto: His Los Feliz house was 790 square feet smaller and, at a selling price of nearly $1.3 million, cost $2 million less than this two-bed, two-bath, 2,295-square-foot space with walnut flooring. Worth it? Says Eiden of the coastal switch: "From experience, many high-profile people move to New York from L.A. so they can live normal, relatively anonymous lives. They enjoy walking and riding bikes instead of always driving."

What 3.2 Million Gets You

The Hollywood ReporterApril 16, 2015

Martin Eiden’s sale on Great Jones is covered by The Hollywood Reporter. 

Shaun Osher on tripling his net worth when he launched his real estate career

InmanApril 16, 2015

Shaun Osher on tripling his net worth when he launchd his real estate career NYC brokerage CEO talks common sense, working as a rental agent and more

Shaun Osher, the CEO of CORE, talked about the very first real estate deal he ever did as a new agent in New York — and how common sense helped set his career on fire. Publisher Brad Inman interviewed Osher at Inman Connect New York 2015 in January.

10 NYC Apartments With Covetable Outdoor Space for $1M

CurbedApril 13, 2015

Welcome to a semi-regular feature, Price Points, in which we pick a relatively low asking price and a type of apartment, then scour StreetEasy to find the best available options around the city. Today's task: apartments with private outdoor space for around $1 million.


The mercury has risen above 60 on the thermometer, which means that those enviable New Yorkers with balconies, patios, terraces, and roof decks are pruning their plants and sunning themselves, safely out of sight from public park-goers. But you too could be one of the lucky ones. Searching StreetEasy for apartments listed in the last month with private outdoor space resulted in this round-up of the best 10. They all have pretty sweet, undeniably sunny al fresco escapes. The best part? Almost all of them are Six-Digit Clubbers, or less than $1 million. Our real estate is ready for spring, and we are, too.
—Hana R. Alberts and Jessica Dailey


Both bedrooms and the living room of this Murray Hill co-op open up onto a sizable private terrace, which has room for two seating areas. The planters look like they've survived winter in decent shape and the light-green patio furniture certainly induces visions of spring. The asking price is $975,000.


For just under $1 million, there's a two-bedroom apartment on the top floor of a townhouse in Cobble Hill. The outdoor space is a 13.5' by 10' private roof deckwith Manhattan views, and inside, it has great hardwood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, and a washer/dryer. The brokerbabble makes a point to note that the building, a self-managed co-op, is "financially stable," which, uh, is always positive. The asking price is $999,000.


This apartment on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn may be on the "canyon of mediocrity" that divides Park Slope and Gowanus, but its L-shaped patio is anything but average. The outdoor space totals 900 square feet, trumping the two-bedroom, two-bathroom interior, which comes in at 833 square feet. For an ask of $1.05 million, the carpet is whimsical and the views are expansive.


On the Upper West Side, this new-to-market one-bedroom is asking$925,000. It has a 25-foot long terrace with built-in seating and a wooden pergola, as well as a few built-in planters. It's located in the Chesterfield, a condo building just a block from the Natural History Museum with a 24-hour doorman and live-in super.


For $995,000, there's a 1,200-square-foot triplex in a converted warehouse inWilliamsburg. Technically, it has two outdoor spaces, but one is just a large Juliet balcony, weirdly described on the floorplan as a "new metal grate balcony." Thankfully, the other outdoor space, a 300-square-foot roof deck with room for chaise lounges, a 6-seat table, and a grill, makes up for it.


On the Upper East Side, a cute 1BR/1.5BA on tony Park Avenue is asking$1.1 million. The 800-square-foot apartment contains the crimson-hued living room and kitchen on the ground level, with a circular staircase up to the master bedroom, which has sliding door and a wrought-iron gate that opens up onto the 400-square-foot terrace with a semi-circular couch. Plus, the building sports beautiful terra cotta detailing on the facade.


Because it's up in Riverdale, this two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo is large—almost 1,500 square feet. The building, the Solaria, has a commuter shuttle to Manhattan. And because if its location on the banks of the Hudson, the terrace (despite not being particularly enormous or pretty) has some top-notch river views. Ten bucks the sunsets are gorgeous. All for $945,000.


 East 35th Street near Fifth Avenue is the last place that one would expect to find a peaceful garden oasis, but this 1,070-square-foot duplex comes with a lush 400-square-foot patio that has a secret garden air to it. The interior has been recently renovated, and the kitchen features new marble floors and stainless steel appliances. It also has two full bathrooms, two walk-in closets, and two wood-burning fireplaces, and it's listed for $950,000.


Urban gardeners will swoon over the backyard of this 1,273-square-foot condo in Fort Greene. At 825 square feet, it is, as the brokerbabble says, "positively gargantuan," and it is lined on two sides by elevated planting beds. Inside, the layout can be rearranged to go from two bedrooms to three or one of the bedrooms can be turned into a larger office. If the yard isn't enough outdoor space for you, the building also has a shared rooftop deck. It's asking $999,999.


Meet a one-bedroom co-op on 25th Street in Kips Bay, asking $1,075 million, where there are four closets, a washer/dryer, and a rather pleasant terrace. Though it's currently outfitted with seating and a barbecue grill, its best asset might be the views. They span south, east, and north, depending on where you sit, and contain everything from the Madison Square Park clocktower to the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

Top residential agents of the week

The Real DealApril 10, 2015

Price: $12,918,589
Listing broker: Hilary Landis of the Corcoran Group
Address: 737 Park Avenue


Price: $10,437,062
Listing broker: Tim Crowley of Flank Brokerage
Address: 224 Mulberry Street


Price: $10,300,000
Listing brokers: Deanna Kory and Lynn Nguyen of the Corcoran Group
Address: 300 Central Park West


Price: $10,000,000
Listing brokers: Patricia Wheatley and Nikki Field of Sotheby’s International Realty
Address: 1158 Fifth Avenue


Price: $7,900,000
Listing brokers: Lydia Sussek, Alex Ionescu and Irene O’Halloran of the Corcoran Group
Address: 225 Fifth Avenue


— Tess Hofmann

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