St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School will go condo following $30.7M deal

New York Daily NewsNovember 06, 2014

A former school building that is part of the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral property sold for $30.7 million, days after the Archdiocese of New York unveiled a major restructuring of its parishes.


St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School in Nolita will become condos.


Built in 1835, it is on Prince St., between Mott and Mulberry Sts., and is considered part of the landmarked old St. Patrick’s Cathedral complex. It originally served as an orphanage before it was converted to a school. Its former students include Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese.


The school suffered financial difficulties amid dwindling attendance and shuttered in June 2010. Since its closing, it has hosted various art exhibitions and parties.


The developers, Time Equities and Hamlin Ventures, plan to repurpose the federal-style three-story building as two luxury townhouses and seven condo lofts.


The archdiocese announced Sunday that 112 of its 368 parishes would be merged through various methods that include effectively closing 31 churches.


CORE, a real estate brokerage, is handling the condo sales.



“We expect to receive strong interest in 34 Prince St. given the historical and architectural significance of the building,” said Shaun Osher, CORE’s CEO.

Real or a Rendering?

The Wall Street JournalNovember 06, 2014

Rendering: When it’s completed next year, 15 Renwick in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood will have 31 units priced from $2 million for a two-bedroom unit to $10.5 million for a penthouse. The Brooklyn-based design and consulting firm March created the renderings in eight months, with six to eight people working on the project, says Brandon Hicks, co-founder of the firm. “Everybody does these renderings now, so we have to look at ways we can stand out,” he says. March renderers look for styling elements that make the space feel lived in. The faux taxidermy and the dog statue behind the chair convey a quirky character—but the space still looks real. “We consider it photography for a project that hasn’t been built yet,” says Mr. Hicks. The building was developed by IGI-USA, a subsidiary of Israel-based Izaki Group Investments, and designed by ODA Architects.

First Look: Nolita Church’s Conversion to Condos, Townhouses

CurbedNovember 06, 2014

For over a year, the St. Patrick's Old Cathedral compound on Prince Street in Nolita has been destined for a conversion. The church sold its orphanage/school/convent properties to a development team of Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities in December 2013. But the duo just now released the first rendering of their plans for the landmark, which includes seven loft-style condos (2,600 to 5,000 square feet, many with outdoor space) and two townhouses (9,000 to more than 10,000) designed by Marvel Architects and, eventually, brokered by CORE. It cost Time and Hamlin a greater-than-expected$30.7 million to acquire the properties, and St. Patrick's will use those monies to fund renovations. Of course, it's just one of many religious institutions saying "God, yes!" to cash from residential developers in order to pad their coffers.



The proposal has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Top 200 Real Estate Agents In America 2014

Real Estate ExecutiveNovember 05, 2014

Top Real Estate Agents are gaining market share and growing production just as much of their competition leaves the real estate business. 


The last five years have been turbulent in the real estate industry. Over 50% of the competition has been swept away during this time of change. For many of the nation's top producers, the consumer "flight to quality" has created a unique opportunity to grow market share. 

Top 200 Real Estate Agents In America 2014

Real Estate ExecutiveNovember 05, 2014

Top Real Estate Agents are gaining market share and growing production just as much of their competition leaves the real estate business. 


The last five years have been turbulent in the real estate industry. Over 50% of the competition has been swept away during this time of change. For many of the nation's top producers, the consumer "flight to quality" has created a unique opportunity to grow market share. 

15 Renwick Touts Pricey Condos With Steampunk Costumes

CurbedNovember 03, 2014

Event: Sales gallery launch for the condominiums at 15 Renwick Street

In the house: Developer Eldad Blaustein of IGI-USA, architect Eran Chen of ODA Architecture, the marketing and PR team, CORE brokers, targeted buyers, and friends of the above.

Menu: Plentiful finger foods both savory and sweet, a full bar, and autumn-inspired cocktails

Overheard: "I'm very kindly asking you to please put a chip in my mouth." "Everyone keeps touching me."

Observed: A lot of wigs. Mozart carrying around the tiny electric piano he stole from his two-year-old daughter.


If you're not both forward- and backward-thinking enough to want to live in a building alongside a tattooed steampunk boxer and a smartphone-toting Marie Antoinette, then you're just not zany enough to live at 15 Renwick. That's the idea behind the IF Studio-created marketing campaign for the black, glassy, and boxy new building going up on Renwick between Spring and Canal, right near the Holland Tunnel entrance. The two aforementioned characters (played by models Brett David and Clara Buchanan) came out for a Halloween-themed party to celebrate the launch of the building's sales gallery around the corner at 505 Greenwich. Note: the building's 31 condos, priced from $2M to $10.5M, are not yet officially on the market, despite a planned mid-September sales launch date and the ongoing, super-intense Victorian-themed marketing campaign.


The building, still under construction and slated for a 2015 opening, will be 11 stories tall. It will include 18 two-bedrooms ranging from $2.5 million to $3 million, six three-bedrooms ranging from $3.5 million to $4 million, three adjoining townhomes ranging from $3.995 million to $7.5 million, and four duplex penthouses ranging from $7.85 million to $10.5 million.


ODA's Eran Chen pointed out that the inset windows complete with wood trim provide extra privacy. The metal surface of the building will also change color over time. He is particularly proud of variety of units in the building and the floating piece at the top. Developer Eldad Blaustein said that all of that comes together to form something that isn't boring or average.


The evening presented the opportunity to reveal new details about the units, as well as show off new, somewhat fanciful, renderings (created by MARCH).


The two- and three-bedroom residences will range from 1,000 square feet to 1,800 square feet. The two- and three-bedroom townhomes will range from 2,100 square feet to 3,500 square feet with attached terraces starting at approximately 700 square feet. The three- and four-bedroom townhomes will range from 2,644 square feet to 3,575 square feet with attached terraces starting at approximately 700 square feet.


The lobby will feature "Bespoke Patterned Cement Tile" flooring, custom oak panel walls, and a polished stucco ceiling, plus a 24-hour-butler. The residences' flooring will be six-foot-wide custom-stained walnut plank. The kitchens will feature Sub-Zero wine coolers. The master bathrooms will feature marble floors and walls. Other amenities include a boxing gym, private parking garages, cellar storage, a zen garden, bicycle storage, a laundry room, and a roof deck.


As for the party itself, it was planned by Olivier Cheng. Attendees loved posing for photos with the characters. Many guests also loved touching the boxer, who is even more tattooed than when the campaign was launched. When they hired David and Buchanan, neither of them knew they'd also be called on to bring their characters to life at a party. Below, take a look at the model kitchen and bathrooms as well as the steampunk-clad partygoers. Plus, the colorful signage and another construction shot.

Flood of new project launches shift fortunes of marketing firms

The Real DealNovember 01, 2014

The wave of new developments hitting the market is changing more than just the skyline. It’s also shifting the fortunes of the firms that specialize in planning and selling those projects.


This month, TRD surveyed more than a dozen new development firms and compiled a ranking based on the condo and rental projects they launched since the beginning of 2013, as well as those set to come to market through the end of this year.


A few years ago, as supply withered following the downturn that put many projects on hold and tanked others altogether, new development marketers found themselves squeezed for business. Some even had to lay off staff.


But things began picking up last year.


In 2013, there were 2,384 condos launched in Manhattan — just seven units shy of the numbers from the three previous years combined, according to figures compiled by the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.


Corcoran projects 2014 will end with about 3,100 units launched in the borough. The company expects that figure to double next year, and it is one of the firms seeing the biggest gains as a result.


Yet the wide availability can be a double-edged sword: More business is enabling established firms to expand their portfolios, but it’s also luring new ones into the game. It also means more choices for buyers, making it more challenging to seal deals.


“The landscape for new development has certainly changed a bit,” Halstead Property President Stephen Kliegerman said. “There are more jobs than there were back in 2011. There are new players in the field.”


Among the firms nipping at the heels of more established players are upstart brokerage Urban Compass, which launched a new development arm this year, according to a ranking of new development marketers conducted by The Real Deal.


But with such a large amount of supply on the market, buyers have more options, and the firms are finding the environment increasingly competitive.


“For the first time in a long time, there are a lot of opportunities out there for buyers,” said Corcoran Sunshine President Kelly Kennedy Mack, adding the competition for buyers means firms have to up their game. “You have to fight a little bit harder to get the message out there.”


The leaders


The historically dominant Corcoran Group, along with its new development arm Corcoran Sunshine, came out the clear winner in the rankings, with 2,722 units across 61 projects, including banner developments such as Extell’s One Riverside Park and the Rudin Family’s Greenwich Lane.


Corcoran regained its top ranking after slipping to second place in number of units in TRD’s last ranking in 2011, when it was edged out by sister company, Citi Habitats. The boom at Corcoran Sunshine is a far cry from five years ago, when the company had to cut about 100 employees due to a lack of work.


Last year, the firm struck a huge deal with the Related Companies to market condos in the developer’s pipeline, and with projects such as Hudson Yards and the Zaha Hadid-designed 520 West 28th Street overlooking the High Line on the horizon, Corcoran is gearing up to take on the workload.


“We’re in a place now where we are hiring. We are expanding to meet the needs of our expanding portfolio,” Mack said. “Still, we’re doing so slowly, intelligently. We certainly don’t want to ever be in the place we were in 2009.”


Coming in second place behind Corcoran is Halstead Property Development Marketing, with 2,241 units at 40 projects. That’s up from the No. 6 spot in 2011.


Halstead was buoyed by large projects including the 554-unit rental Gotham West in Hell’s Kitchen and 388 Bridge Street, the Stahl Organization’s 53-story tower that is Brooklyn’s tallest residential building.


Kliegerman said the firm hired three new project managers to keep up with demand and is pumping resources into its research department.


One of the challenges in a rising market, he said, is tempering his clients’ wide eyes.


“Clients have higher expectations and usually want to raise prices,” he explained. “Managing a client’s expectations in a bull market can be very difficult.”


Douglas Elliman Development Marketing took third place, on the backs of developments such as Macklowe Properties’ 432 Park Avenue, the personal-pool equipped Soori High Line at 522 West 29th Street, and Stella Tower, the follow-up by JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group’s Walker Tower in Chelsea.


The company has 2,121 units across 35 projects.


Standing out from the pack


“I’d say what we’re seeing now is more inventory,” said Steve Rutter, director of Stribling Marketing Associates. “Buyers have more to choose from.”


With so much more product on the market, marketers said it takes extra effort to distinguish their projects.


That effort can start in the early stages of development, like making the decision to bring a pioneering project to a neighborhood or attaching a high-profile name to a building.


In the case of 151 East 78th Street, Rutter said, the team at Stribling suggested hiring architect Peter Pennoyer, a name more associated with uptown private residences.


The move was “something to differentiate themselves from the pack,” he said.


Stribling came in ninth place with 366 units across 11 projects, including Cary Tamarkin’s concrete box at 508 West 24th Street and the 65-story sculpted glass tower designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill at 252 East 57th Street.


Corcoran Sunshine’s Mack said some of the ways a marketer can push a stalled sales effort include hosting more events and pumping bigger bucks into publicity and advertising campaigns.


“When you’re the only sort of game in town, people don’t have options,” Mack said. She added that in a more crowded market, “Sometimes you have to take a more aggressive stance in terms of promoting yourself and your message and explain what you have to offer.”


At the CetraRuddy-designed 443 Greenwich, Richard Cantor of Cantor-Pecorella, No. 14 on TRD’s list, said he turned the sales gallery into a museum showcasing the Tribeca neighborhood’s history.


“That has proved to be quite important when marketing such a high-end property,” he said. Prices in the building range from $7.5 million to $20.5 million.


Losing ground


When TRD last did its ranking three years ago, Corcoran Sunshine’s usual preeminence had been edged out by sister company Citi Habitats, which capitalized on a market favoring firms that specialized in rentals.


But Citi Habitats’ fortunes soon turned, when the head of its new development department, Cliff Finn, decamped for Douglas Elliman and took a team of leaders with him.


“We didn’t have a new development team for a year,” said Jodi Stasse, who came on as Finn’s replacement last year.


Citi Habitats tumbled to the 12th spot on the list this year with just two projects: Sheldon Solow’s 209-unit Two Sutton Place North and the 88-unit No. 3 Packard Square in Long Island City.


After Finn left, Citi Habitats partnered with Corcoran Sunshine on its remaining projects, and the two companies are still sharing resources in their research and planning departments.


Brown Harris Stevens also went through a shake-up, when senior managing director Shlomi Reuveni, head of the company’s new development marketing arm, decamped for Town Residential in April.


A spokesperson for BHS said the company was in the process of selling out the few remaining homes launched under Reuveni. In February, the company launched SR Capital’s Norman Foster-designed 551 West 21st Street, where the three-bedroom penthouse equipped with a 61-foot rooftop swimming pool is listed for $50 million. That one 44-unit project had BHS ranked 17th this year.


Reuveni’s move to Town helped that firm, founded in 2010, debut at sixth on this year’s list, with 1,590 units spread across nine projects. Town handled leasing on three large Financial District rental properties developed by DTH Capital and the late Ronny Bruckner, with another 200 units set to launch early next year at 20 Exchange Place.


Town’s condo projects include the Ismael Leyva-designed The Charles on the Upper East Side, where the three penthouses are listed as in-contract on StreetEasy for a combined $96.6 million.


Rose Associates is another company that slipped, as the benefits of the saturation of rental properties a few years ago waned. The marketing arm of the storied development family has just two projects representing 329 units, dropping to 10th this year. That’s down from fourth in TRD’s last ranking, when it had more than 1,200 units.


A spokesman for Rose said it came down to “pipeline and timing,” and pointed out the company is set to launch the 612-unit rental conversion of 70 Pine Street next year.


Fortunes rising


Earlier this year, Urban Compass launched its new development wing, and in July brought in former Extell design chief Roy Kim, who worked on buildings such as One57 and the Carlton House, to lead it.


Kim, who earlier in his career worked at Corcoran Sunshine, has built a team of seven, including new development director LaVon Napoli, who previously worked as head of residential marketing for Rose Associates.


The company started with a rental project, Naftali Group’s 245 West 25th Street, and has helped launched three condo developments so far. The four projects have a total 94 units, bringing Urban Compass in at 16th in the ranking.


“We started out with rentals because it’s an easy way to break in. About six months ago we went into sales,” Kim said. “It’s really the sign of a healthy brokerage — not just doing resales but also taking on new projects.”


Leasing guru Nancy Packes began ramping up her eponymous firm in 2009 with the termination of her non-compete clause with BHS, where she worked as head of the company’s project marketing division. Packes ranked in the middle of the 2011 list with more than 600 units and, sticking with rentals, her firm shot up to the fourth spot with 1,753 units this year.


Her projects include the Strata at Mercedes House, Invesco Real Estate’s portion of Two Trees Management’s zig-zag building in Hell’s Kitchen, and the sister building on 29th Street.


Packes said she sees a cooler market ahead and smaller apartments at lower price points, a turn she thinks provides more opportunities to boutique marketing groups.


“As prices come down,” she said, “the field opens up tremendously for other firms to participate.”


Another company making inroads is the Long Island City-based Modern Spaces, which made its name in the downturn taking over condo-turned-rental projects in Queens.


The firm, 9th in the ranking, is expanding deeper in that borough and this year launched its first project in Manhattan, the 117-unit rental School House at 371 Madison Street.


“During the last few years when everybody was doing rentals, rentals, rentals, I mentally prepared myself to be a rental company,” Modern Spaces founder, president and CEO Eric Benaim said.


And as condo developments have become more prevalent in LIC, they have made up more and more of Modern Spaces’ business, accounting for half of the company’s projects over the past two years, he added. “More and more people are getting into condos, which we’re happy about.”




All told, the top 15 firms TRD surveyed brought to market nearly 16,000 condo and rental units throughout the city during the period surveyed, from 2013 to 2014.

What they’re reading now

The Real DealNovember 01, 2014

Where do you look for inspiration and insight? This month, The Real Deal polled leaders in the industry to find out what they’re reading, how the book was recommended to them and what they’ve found most compelling about it.


Maryanne Gilmartin
President and chief executive officer, Forest City Ratner Companies


What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?


“The New York Nobody Knows,” by William B. Helmreich. About a New Yorker who walks 6,000 miles of city terrain to really try and understand New York; the author spends four years and took himself to every corner of the city. So far it is a captivating and human picture of the city’s true essence. It takes me much longer to get through fun reading these days, but this is an easy one to keep me awake past bedtime.


What spurred you to read that book?


It is a book about the life of our city, which I am passionate about. [I found it at] Rough Trade in Williamsburg, which is not only an amazing record store for LPs but a great book store for special reads.


Would you recommend it to others?


I think anyone who loves New York would find this book a treat.


Mickey Conlon
Broker, CORE


What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?


Right now I am hurtling through “New York 1900,” which, chronologically, is the second installment of Robert A. M. Stern’s masterful five-volume account of the evolution of New York City. I recently finished “New York 1880” and found myself unable to pause between volumes. It’s catnip for history buffs.


What spurred you to read that book?


The entire series has long held a place of honor on the bookshelf, but it would only make its way down occasionally to be used as a reference — usually to settle bets about the history of a particular building. It was only last year that a particular passage had so captured my imagination that I decided to begin reading the entire series. At first it seemed like a herculean feat — I mean, these books are heavy — but I quickly found myself irrevocably captivated, and a little bit more muscular. These books are trainer-approved.


Has anything you read in it stuck with you? Would you recommend it to others?


For those of us who ponder the wonders of the New York skyline, it’s easy to marvel at architectural innovations simply as feats of engineering, but there’s so much more. We take for granted the simple conveniences that the telephone and the elevator afford us, but post-Civil War New Yorkers could never have imagined how these new inventions would propagate the city’s rapid growth toward the sky. I wholeheartedly recommend this series to anyone interested in architecture, the history of New York, or even sociology. The whole set contains more than 5,000 pages, which may seem daunting, but it’s worth the commitment. When devouring an entire city, it’s best to take it one bite at a time.


Bob Knakal
Chairman, Massey Knakal


What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?


“The Art of Woo.”


What spurred you to read that book?


The author is a Wharton professor (my alma mater), Richard Shell.


Has anything you read in it stuck with you? Would you recommend it to others?


It is a great book for salespeople. It looks at the art of persuasion, which is a critical skill for anyone who deals with people professionally.



Is the soaring rental market changing patterns?

The Real DealNovember 01, 2014

Pressure from New York City’s highly competitive condo arena is spilling over into the rental scene, and as a result, some long-held assumptions about the Manhattan versus Brooklyn markets are being turned on their head.


This month, The Real Deal talked to residential brokers with expertise in the Manhattan and Brooklyn rental markets to understand the impact of an influx of newcomers — would-be condo buyers priced out of the market by international buyers — on the rental market. The most troublesome result for renters: A lack of inventory is contributing to an exponential increase in prices, said Oliver Brown, a broker with CORE.


Sources report that pressure on the rental market is being released in several ways. In some cases, renters are shedding their Manhattan-centric perspective.


“Clients have become a lot more flexible in terms of where they will live. People have adapted more of a pioneering attitude. Areas that were considered ‘off-limits’ are now first-choice destinations for many people,” said Eric Hamm, senior managing director at Citi Habitats.


In another about-face, brokers report that Brooklyn is outpacing Manhattan in regards to rental prices; in some cases the Upper East Side is actually a cheaper option.


“Renters looking to Brooklyn for more space and a better deal are turning around and coming back to Manhattan. The notion of moving to Brooklyn to save money has ended, and price-shocked renters are finding better deals on the Upper West/East Side and Upper Manhattan than in many of the ‘prime’ Brooklyn neighborhoods,” Hamm said.


Brokers appear to agree that lower-priced rentals are moving fast as renters jump on deals quickly. Still, at least one broker expressed concern that rising rents may have a profound impact on the city for some people.


Lancelot Watson-Taffe, a salesperson at Bond New York, said, “I’m afraid if rents keep escalating, there will be no more affordable homes for regular people who are not so wealthy but still wish to experience the city as their home.”


Oliver Brown
Broker, CORE


What are you seeing in terms of prices for rentals in Manhattan and Brooklyn? Are you seeing the market heading up, down or sideways?


I think prices will continue to rise, especially for units located in popular neighborhoods and newer buildings. The lack of inventory throughout the market allows landlords to command higher prices.


What are you seeing in terms of inventory compared to six months ago, a year ago and two years ago?


We have much less inventory, contributing to the exponential rise in rental prices.


What differences are you seeing between the higher and lower ends of the rental markets?


Low-end rentals are immediately becoming occupied and have a short-term shelf life on the market. Proper pricing strategy is imperative in regards to the high-end rental market, as overpriced properties tend to linger.


The Real Deal and others have reported that some would-be buyers have been pushed into the rental market because sales inventory is so low. What are you seeing on that front, and how is that impacting your firm?


Managing both sales and rental transactions, I have not noticed a major influx of prospective buyers turning to the rental market.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods are you seeing emerge right now?


West Chelsea, Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg continue to grow in popularity on both the sales and rental fronts.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods have been the weakest in the recent run-up?


I think the Upper East Side is experiencing a slump in rental activity. Its northern proximity and sometimes longer commute compared to other areas may be viewed as negative attributes among renters.


With the rental market so strong, are you seeing any concessions in the rental market? If so, in what types of buildings?


Owners of older buildings that are considered less desirable are paying brokers a one-month fee or offering tenants one month of rent free as a courtesy to entice potential tenants.


What are the biggest challenges to renting apartments in the current market?


Needing good credit and meeting all the qualifying factors of approval have been a hindrance for many renters, especially for young adults.


The Real Deal has reported that some renters are opting out of the soaring Brooklyn market and are looking for Manhattan rentals instead. What are you seeing on that front?


Brooklyn is certainly outpacing Manhattan in regards to rental prices. The Upper East Side is a cheaper alternative.


What are the most positive trends you’re seeing in the Manhattan/Brooklyn rental market today?


Beautiful finishes and amenities are becoming a more regular feature in new developments and recently converted properties. Landlords who spend or renovate using high-end finishes and materials see a greater return than those who don’t. The consumer is very well educated and expects a certain level of refinement.


Alex Saltalamacchia
Director of leasing,


Are you seeing would-be buyers get pushed into the rental market?


That’s absolutely the case. Many buyers have been able to use this to their advantage, signing a one-year lease and “testing” the market, which may be very new to them. The trend we have seen is about 50 percent or so of our renters are coming directly from Manhattan, wanting to be a part of the Brooklyn scene.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods are you seeing emerge right now?


Crown Heights and Prospect Heights have been on folks’ radar this year, but Prospect Lefferts is just now beginning to take off with new developments like 123 Parkside and 33 Caton Place.


Which are the most buzzworthy rental buildings coming to the market?


Two Trees’ Domino Project. Incredibly forward thinking design and development, ultimately connecting the north and south sides of Williamsburg.


Are you seeing any concessions in the rental market?


I’m seeing concessions only given during the initial lease up of a new development, to increase absorption.


What are the biggest challenges to renting apartments in the current market?


It’s always been and continues to be qualifying. Many say it’s harder to rent an apartment than it is to purchase one.


What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing in rental market today?


The increase of renters coming directly from out of state to the boroughs — excluding the tri-state area — accounts for roughly 13 to 15 percent of our business.


Lauren Weiner
Managing principal, Siderow Residential


What are you seeing in terms of prices for rentals?


In the short term, in both markets we are seeing the normal cyclical lowering of prices during the winter months. Many people are renting and waiting to buy because they simply can’t find what they’re looking for.


What are you seeing in terms of inventory?


Vacancy rates are pretty consistent with where they were two years ago. Rental inventory is slowly increasing.


What differences are you seeing between the higher and lower ends of the rental markets?


It’s a tale of two cities, with the higher-end units staying on the market longer and the more economical options moving very quickly. Most of the new construction has been extremely high-end, high-priced condominiums. With the exception of a few new buildings, there has not been any significant contribution to the number of luxury rentals in Manhattan. Given the limited inventory of high-end rentals, landlords are … willing to wait for rents that meet their expectations.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods are you seeing emerge right now?


In Brooklyn, as Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn become more expensive, developers are seeking opportunities in Bushwick, Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights. In Manhattan, the Upper East Side has suddenly become the more affordable option for lots of people. The Lower East Side and lots of Downtown neighborhoods are as hot today as they were cold 10 years ago. In addition, there are massive developments going on, like the Seward Park [Urban Renewal Area]. And Hudson Yards will change the West Side waterfront dramatically in the long run.


Which are the most buzzworthy rental buildings you are most excited about?


We are very excited about Durst’s 625 West 57th Street, which has a tetrahedron shape that allows the building to take advantage of stunning views of the Hudson. It is located in an area that was not too long ago mostly industrial, with little residential and no luxury housing. The construction of this new building, along with the new luxury buildings built along Riverside Drive, and the success of Mercedes House nearby, demonstrates real estate developers’ belief in the future of the Far West 50s-60s. Additionally, the fact that Durst chose to build rentals and not condos signals they also believe in the long-term strength of the area.


Are you seeing renters opt out of the soaring Brooklyn market and look for Manhattan rentals instead?


We have a lot of clients moving from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side.


What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing?


Our firm is doing tons of deals for foreign investors. People talk about how many people are coming from China and other places to buy here, but to see the influx and number of deals we are doing first hand is really surprising.


What are the most positive trends?


In Manhattan, 6,000 new units are planned to come on the market in 2016. In addition, the conversion of multiple rental buildings, from the Upper East Side to Battery Park and Midtown, to condos. These units will provide new sales inventory for the 1,700- to 2,400-square-foot client who has been priced out of the market or simply can’t find inventory.


Eric Hamm
Senior managing director, Citi Habitats


What are you seeing in terms of prices for rentals?


The Manhattan and Brooklyn rental market remains strong, but recently we have seen a few cracks in the facade. The good news for apartment seekers is that we will likely see further, albeit small, asking rent reductions as we head into the holiday season, as landlords scramble to fill their vacancies before Thanksgiving.


What about inventory?


There are considerably more vacant apartments on the market now than before the summer season. In comparison to a year or even two years ago, we have at least twice the amount of rental inventory available in some neighborhoods, which is giving prospective renters a lot of options in their housing search. The fourth quarter is generally a great time to be in the market for rental housing and this year, even more so.


What differences are you seeing between the higher and lower ends of the markets?


Lower-priced apartments continue to move fast. Tenants looking to save money are jumping ondeals. In contrast, we have seen a slowdown in the higher end of the market. Tenants spending over $10,000 a month are actively trying to enter the sales arena now that the market has rebounded. In some cases, landlords are responding by offering concessions of one to two months to attract these high-end renters back.


Are you seeing would-be buyers get pushed into the rental market?


The condo market is highly competitive, with international buyers driving up the prices in some cases. Buyers who get priced out are finding themselves purchasing co-ops or going back to their current landlords and renegotiating a new lease term until the market cools down. My brokers are making sure they have a “Plan B” in case their buyers get outbid and need to find a rental in the meantime.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods are emerging right now?


In Manhattan, Morningside Heights and the West 120s are seeing big price increases with the expansion of Columbia University and the constant shortage of housing in the area. In Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant is just starting to see condo pricing above $1 million and the eastern end of Bushwick is really starting to take off.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods have been the weakest?


The Upper East Side, especially east of Second Avenue, has typically offered great values for people. There is simply a lot of inventory in the neighborhood, so there always seem to be more vacancies there, especially when compared to many of the Downtown neighborhoods. Surprisingly, we have also seen vacancy rates increase in the East and West Villages. Landlords have begun to push rents in these communities to a level where people are beginning to decide they can find better values elsewhere.


Are you seeing any concessions in the rental market?


Lately we have seen an increase in concessions, with landlords offering them earlier than usual this year. Some newer developments have already increased their concessions to over a month-and-a-half broker fee and some type of free rent for the tenant.


Are you seeing renters opt out of the Brooklyn market and look for Manhattan rentals instead?


Renters looking to Brooklyn for more space and a better deal are turning around and coming back to Manhattan. The notion of moving to Brooklyn to save money has ended and price-shocked renters are finding better deals on the Upper West/East Side and Upper Manhattan than in many of the “prime” Brooklyn neighborhoods.


What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing?


Clients have become a lot more flexible in terms of where they will live. People have adapted more of a pioneering attitude. Areas that were considered “off-limits” are now first-choice destinations for many people. Overall, the New York City rental market has become less Manhattan-centric.

Lancelot Watson-Taffe
Salesperson, Bond New York

What are you seeing in terms of prices for rentals?

Manhattan and Brooklyn both witnessed extremely strong summers characterized by the typical bidding wars, multiple applications, renter hostility and even a few tears shed because a renter missed out on that “dream apartment.” As we approach the winter, prices haven’t quite decreased but there seems to be a bit more room for negotiation on asking rents. I’m seeing more of a lateral move in asking rents staying pretty consistent.


What about inventory?


Six months ago, we saw more and more inventory progressively turning over, as April marked the start of our busy season. A year ago, things were somewhat similar to current market conditions. However, this October seems to be a bit more active with renters and high demand.


What differences are you seeing between the higher and lower ends of the rental markets?


The higher end of the rental market has been pretty hot. Although the high-end rental market is for a distinct clientele, they seem to be pretty active this year snagging the apartments with the five-digit price tags. But since many people in the city are looking for more affordable rental homes, the apartments on the lower end definitely rent much faster.


Are you seeing would-be buyers get pushed into the rental market?


Many would-be buyers have moved to renting because of low sales inventory, being out-bid, and because they’re not finding what they think is worth an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods are you seeing emerge right now?


Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights and Inwood are emerging neighborhoods in northern Manhattan that are hot on the map. These are great neighborhoods for the budget conscious, with great eats and phenomenal culture.


Which are the most buzzworthy rental buildings coming to the market?


The Nathaniel, located at 138 East 12th Street, came to the market this fall, one of the few luxury buildings in the East Village, which is awesome for the clientele that want to live in the East Village neighborhood without living with East Village un-renovated walk-up grunge.


Which Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhoods have been the weakest?


I’m not sure there are any weak neighborhoods in Manhattan. There’s demand for every inch of Manhattan, if you ask me.


Are you seeing concessions in rentals?


Concessions are returning now in about 15 percent of the inventory, not because the market isn’t strong, but as a technique for landlords to keep rent rolls high even when there are fewer prospective renters. Smart landlords know it’s more effective to lose a month’s rent than to roll back prices that have taken years to get to current levels.


What are the biggest challenges to renting apartments?


The biggest challenge is getting people to understand prices are pretty firm. Paying a year upfront does not make a landlord want to drop the rent by hundreds of dollars per month.


What are the most positive trends?


The most positive trend I’m seeing in Manhattan is the fact that people are exploring and moving to different neighborhoods such as East Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, and Inwood. We’re seeing the emergence of a lot more businesses and attractions in these neighborhoods.


What are the most troubling trends?


The climbing rents are beginning to scare me. I’m afraid if rents keep escalating, there will be no more affordable homes for regular people who are not so wealthy, but who still wish to experience the city as their home.

How to Make Video Work for Your Budget

NARNovember 01, 2014

At the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans this month, three agents with three different approaches to marketing shared their particular perspectives on how to incorporate video in their businesses.


Patrick Vernon Lilly, CRS, e-PRO, leads a team selling high-end residential property in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He told the audience that the last thing in the world he’d do is one of the most popular uses of video in real estate.


“If you’re going to invest in a video, don’t do a listing tour,” Lilly said at the “Video is Worth a Million Words” session. Instead, Lilly keeps his videos at around one minute and 20 seconds, showing only a few select shots of his listings, interspersed with neighborhood shots and clips of him describing what he likes about the property and the area. “The video’s not going to work if you can’t tell a story.”


Leigh Brown of RE/MAX Executive Realty in the Charlotte, N.C., area doesn’t do listing tours either, but for a different reason.


“One of his videos is my whole commission check!” Brown joked. She told the audience her average listing price is $226,000, and spending the hundreds of dollars that Lilly does on his videos would not be cost-effective. Instead, Brown spent around $150 to create a video that helps consumers know what to expect from her and her team. “I try to draw people in with the experience they get working with me and my team. It’s a way for them to see you are a living, breathing human being.”


Raj Qsar, principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group in the Orange County, Calif., area, does do video tours, and regularly goes over Lilly’s prescribed two-minute video cut-off. But he agreed with the idea of needing to tell a story. He was inspired back in 2009 by a wedding videographer who excelled at telling the story of a couple’s life together rather than just documenting an event. Qsar wanted to do the same thing to reach the hyperlocal market he serves. He called and asked the videographer to help him tell the story of his listing.


“It’s a lot of work. … That video took seven days to cut,” Qsar said. He said the video took so long to finish that they had an offer before it was even ready for prime time. But he shared the video with the sellers anyway, and got nine more listings in the area because other home owners in the area were impressed with his work. “They were floored. They sent that video to everyone in the neighborhood.”


Since that first “listing story,” he has used a full-time stager, purchased professional equipment, and hired a video crew to make listing stories a centerpiece of his marketing plan.


For the budget conscious, Brown said there are ways to market oneself without relying on professional equipment. She uses BombBomb to send video responses to online inquiries about her listings. Brown simply shoots video of herself using her smartphone, thanking prospects for contacting her and offering more information about schools and taxes in the area of the listing.


“They can find the easy stuff, but the consumer has no idea where to find information about schools and taxes,” she says. “That’s really jacked our conversion rate.”


Brown also noted that on-the-go video can help you solve problems that an e-mail or phone conversation would not be able to. She cited a weekend when she received an inquiry from a couple while she was with family at a girls’ softball game. Rather than having a conversation on her cell in a noisy environment, she put the setting to work for her, recording a video response that showed exactly what she was up to and telling the couple she would get back to them on Monday.


“They wanted to work with me. They didn’t even interview any other agents,” Brown said. “They said, ‘You got back to us quickly, but you did not interrupt your family time.’ They appreciated that.”


The panelists also shared mistakes they’ve made and how they learned the hard way to improve their processes. For example, Lilly learned early on to make adjustments to his narrative style to allow his true personality to come across.


“We started out with me writing out the copy and me reading it. That works for a lot of speakers, but with me it comes off as deadly,” he said. He asked his videographer to help him loosen up by goofing around and wearing Chewbacca wigs. “The videos are much more successful if I start out laughing, so I’m not coming across as this pretentious New Yorker.”


Qsar said one mistake he made early on was not preparing his sellers for the fact that video is not instant, especially with the longer-form videos in which he specializes. Now he sets up that expectation and will even drop a trailer before the video is fully produced to give a taste of what is to come.


Finally, there’s nothing more frustrating than spending a lot of time and money on a video that doesn’t get the expected exposure. Lilly suggested using YouTube over other video hosting platforms because it’s owned — and therefore indexed — by search powerhouse Google.


Qsar agreed, noting that practitioners should be sure to use the tagging functionality in the back end of YouTube to help Google understand what the video is about and where it was shot.


“There are specific tags and phrases you can use in YouTube [to describe the video],” he said. “Don’t be too general, because Google doesn’t like that. You keep doing that with every video, and Google is going to recognize it.”


Qsar also suggested e-mailing videos to specific marketing lists. Brown e-mails her video to agents so they feel more secure in referring clients to her team.


“They feel like it’s OK to talk to anyone on my team. I am the CEO of my team and I drive the bus, but I am surrounded by the best people on the planet,” she said. “Video helps you shape that.”


Regardless of how much to spend or what kind of video to shoot, the panel was in agreement that, if real estate pros are willing to take the time, video is worth it.


“It’s going to cost you more in the long term to not do video,” Qsar said. “Video will give you the most return of anything you invest in — if you do it right. Do it. Do it well.” 

Steepest, cheapest listings to hit Manhattan this week

The Real DealOctober 31, 2014

Emily Beare and Elizabeth Beare from CORE had the week’s priciest listing with a $34.5 million unit at 1040 Fifth Avenue. Related CEO Jeff Blau relisted his palatial 10-room apartment, which includes three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. Blau paid $21.4 million for the apartment in 2008 and gut renovated it. Amenities for the unit on the 14th floor of the Rosario Candela-designed landmarked building include a doorman, an elevator operator and a storage room. The apartment includes a wood-burning fireplace, original herringbone floors and a planting terrace.


The week’s second priciest listing was a $30 million condo at One57 at 157 West 57th Street. Douglas Elliman’s Janice Chang and Timothy Hsu had the listing. The 56th-floor apartment spans 3,228 square feet and has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. Costs come down to $9,293 per square foot. Christian de Portzampar designed Extell Development’s iconic tower. Earlier this week, Extell unveiled a new model unit in the tower.


The week’s third priciest listing was $19.9 million, or $4,278 per square foot, full-floor unit at the Ian Bruce Eichner-developed 45 East 22nd Street. The 55th-floor four-bedroom apartment is being listed by the 45 East 22nd Street Sales Gallery. The unit will be 4,651 square feet and includes four-and-a-half bathrooms. The Flatiron building is slated for completion in 2016.


Corcoran’s Karen Shenker had the week’s cheapest listing with a $189,000 three-bedroom apartment at 523 West 143rd Street. The Hamilton Heights unit includes one-and-a-half bathrooms and is 1,100 square feet. A total gut renovation is needed for this apartment in a pre-war elevator building, according to the listing.


Rapid Realty’s Jennifer Jones had the weeks’ second cheapest listing with a two-bedroom co-op at 1777 Madison Avenue in East Harlem for $195,000. Units 5A and 5D can be joined together as a two-bedroom, or serve as two adjoining studios, according to the listing.


The third cheapest listing this week was a one bedroom-, one bathroom-apartment at 552 Riverside Drive for $220,000. The 310-square-foot unit is being listed by its owner. The listing calls it “the cheapest one-bedroom in Manhattan.” The unit has hardwood floors and new appliances. Amenities include a roof deck, a community room, a bike room and a gym, among other things.

Short and Sweet

The New York TimesOctober 31, 2014

One-block-long streets are, and have always been, the manifestation of a theory that seems almost heretical for New York City: Bigger is not better, smaller is. The traditional single-block residential street offers less of everything — noise, traffic, neighbors, garbage and parking spots.


For that matter, many one-block wonders don’t have sidewalks, either. Just think of them as the introverts of the urban street grid. Hustle and bustle are absent. Charm is paramount. Yet they are bona fide public streets, as opposed to pedestrian-only mews or gated enclaves.


These mini-streets, some of them famous (like Jones Street, immortalized on a Bob Dylan album cover), some of them unsung (like sleepy Orient Avenue in Williamsburg), and many of them one-way (an implicit traffic deterrent), are not enjoying a renaissance or resurgence in popularity. They have never lost their audience. The appeal of their limited-edition exclusivity and self-generated hush is undiminished even in this era of vertical glass Goliaths with infinite amenities. Single-block streets are in short supply, and the housing stock, often carriage houses and brownstones, that occupies them tends to be both expensive and difficult to come by.


“If you’re looking to rent an apartment on one of those charming one-block streets in the West Village, believe me there is no haggling over the price, not even by pennies,” said Scott Sobol, a salesman at Urban Compass. “The landlords realize they’re holding on to a treasure. It’s like they tack on a $400 premium on top of the usual Village premium.”


Taking actual ownership of a piece of property on one of these rare single-block streets is even more difficult. Bidding wars over circa 19th-century Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstones have become the rule and not the exception. For example, No. 7 Arlington Place, on the market for just two days in 2013, according to the buyer, attracted a dozen bids and sold for $400,000 above its $1.3 million list price.


The winning bidder, Liz Mandarano, a fourth-generation Brooklynite, was seduced by the time-capsule essence of Arlington Place before she’d even toured the 1887 brownstone she is now restoring and, with partners, turning into an upscale bed-and-breakfast with just three guest suites. It won’t open until next summer but its name has already been chosen: Arlington Place, Bed-Stuy & Breakfast.


“I had never heard of Arlington Place, but there was something about the street that felt magical and unique,” Ms. Mandarano said. “It’s a fascinating, intimate street and just incredibly beautiful, with Queen Anne-style homes on one side and Renaissance Revival brownstones on the other. And it’s quiet. You don’t drive down this street unless you know it, and even though Fulton Street is just a half block away, you don’t see it because there’s a bend in the road.”


Zachary Stackell and Josh Doyle of the Corcoran Group spent six months scouring Brooklyn for a suitable investment property for Ms. Mandarano, a lawyer with Bikel & Mandarano, a matrimonial firm.


“We ran the gamut from empty warehouses in Williamsburg to townhouses in Clinton Hill,” Mr. Stackell said. “And then Liz began to be caught up in the idea of buying a historic home on a street that was not a conduit to anyplace else, was not an avenue or a number street. When I heard about Arlington, we jumped on it. Just walking down the street and seeing all the trees, she loved it.”


The house, one of four on the street by the architect George P. Chappell, turns out to have been a bit of a movie star: Spike Lee featured it as the family home in his film Crooklyn.” Although her original intention was to buy a property and convert it to a four-unit rental, Ms. Mandarano redefined her mission once she came upon 7 Arlington Place. “There was no way I could chop that brownstone into four apartments,” she said. “I felt a need to honor and respect the history of the street. I’m vested here. This is no flip.”


Developers have, inevitably, noticed the cachet inherent in one-block streets and are swooping in on streets not previously known for their residential attributes and rebranding them as desirable destinations. A prime example of this re-identification syndrome is happening in Manhattan on Renwick Street in the recently rezoned Hudson Square area downtown. Once a gritty, industrial afterthought between Canal and Spring Streets, it has become condominium catnip for several canny developers, including IGI-USA and Related.


At 15 Renwick, IGI-USA, the Manhattan arm of Izaki Group Investments of Israel, is erecting an 11-story, 31-unit property. Designed by ODA, the project includes four penthouse duplexes and three triplex townhouses.


The bold marketing plan, winking at the young titans of Wall Street it envisions as buyers, celebrates “the insider nature of the single-block street” and encircles the complex with a fictitious moat in renderings at its sales office. The ulterior message: Insularity has its privileges.


The price points range from around $2 million (for a two-bedroom apartment) to $10 million (for the largest penthouse), but all residents of the complex will be able to enjoy a Zen garden and a gym with a boxing facility. The anticipated completion date is fall 2015.


Eldad Blaustein, the chief executive of IGI-USA, described the transformation of Renwick as “a vision for the future that is unique in New York City because it’s almost like a secret street. Whoever comes to Renwick either lives on Renwick or is lost,” he said.


“This is not going to be a view building,” he added, “but it’s going to be like living in a private club on your very own street. You can be secluded here, but SoHo, TriBeCa and Greenwich Village are steps away.”


In TriBeCa, HFZ Capital Group is revamping a 1910 office building at 11 Beach Street into a 27-unit luxury condominium that incorporates terra-cotta embellishments and an internal origami glass pyramid as key architectural motifs. The loft-style interiors are by Thomas Juul-Hansen and the re-envisioned exterior by BKSK Architects. The prices begin at $4.5 million and one of the project’s three townhouses has already sold for $10 million. (Each townhouse has its own private spa and pool.)


According to Christophe Lagrange, the director of acquisitions for HFZ, the panache of a one-block location drove the project. “In terms of location, building on a single block makes sense,” he said, “because you have a finite amount of space, and that allows you to offer something more exclusive, but in an intimate setting. We were never talking about taking the existing building down and putting up something shiny and glassy. I think we’re enhancing the character of the street and providing a positive face-lift.”


In Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Brennan Real Estate has transformed an eyesore of a parking lot on Strong Place into three contextually appropriate brick-above-brownstone townhouses, two of which are spoken for. The largest of them, 2 Strong Place, a corner townhouse with a detached carriage-house-style garage, just entered the market at $7.5 million.


In Brooklyn Heights, a portion of Monroe Place is morphing into mansion row courtesy of the Kushner Companies, which acquired six unremarkable apartment buildings there from Brooklyn Law School for $36.5 million. Kushner recently listed 38 Monroe Place for $13 million and 27 Monroe for $16 million.


Where zoning makes it possible and the Landmarks Preservation Commission endorses it, various reinterpretations and reincarnations of one-block streets are underway, but even the most sophisticated projects are still trading on the traditional charm and drawing power inherent in the notion of an address on a single-block street. Reinventing a classic requires a certain restraint and site sensitivity: Quaintness and intimacy are the desired templates, not height and heft.


Donald Brennan, the developer of three new townhouses on Strong Place, a one-way street bookended by DeGraw and Kane Streets, said previous plans for a condo development on the parking lot had not been warmly received by the neighbors. “I reached out to make sure the community’s expectations did not clash with mine,” he said. “The block is all residential, and townhouses seemed to be the right fit. To me, small streets like this are reminiscent of a time when there was less congestion in the city, and they definitely provide a gentler environment than a typical through street. Strong Place is not by any means suburban, but it is perceived as quiet and safe.”


Barbara Wilding, a saleswoman with Brennan Realty Services, which is marketing the Strong Place properties, lives in a 150-year-old carriage house on Hunts Lane, a single-block, dead-end street in Brooklyn Heights. She and her husband bought it 12 years ago and gut-renovated it five years ago. (The renovation process proved so educational that she left a career in finance and switched to real estate.)


There are just five houses on her side of the street, Ms. Wilding said, and no sidewalks or traffic. “It’s a throwback street, very sentimental and romantic. Our kids ride their bikes and play soccer on the street. It’s like stepping into another world. But you can always walk down to Henry Street and hail a cab and return to reality.”


The street is popular with filmmakers, she said. “Last year I opened my front door and there was Colin Farrell, 10 feet away, sitting on a big white horse.”


Mr. Sobol, the salesman with Urban Compass, recently recommended a fifth-floor rental apartment on Gay Street in the West Village to his client Hallie Johnston. She had spent the past five years living in London and was nostalgic for the Notting Hill vibe she’d left behind.


“I didn’t know about Gay Street before I moved,” said Ms. Johnston, a vice president at Momentum Worldwide, a sports and entertainment marketing agency. “But I instantly fell in love with the quirky street, the architecture and the people who live there. I was looking for apartments that had exposed brick, crown molding and a sense of history and character.”


Ms. Johnston doesn’t mind the fact that Gay Street’s reputation for charm and historic ambience is hardly a secret. “It does get quite lively with tourists and photo shoots, but I think that adds to the character of it,” she said. “I love seeing tourists take ‘a quintessential New York West Village’ photo on the street, and I feel grateful to live there.”


Fhay Arceo and her boyfriend, Daniel Pettrow, felt the same way after finding a one-bedroom, $2,600-a-month top-floor rental on Orient Avenue in Williamsburg, which Ms. Arceo, a video producer for Pandora, described in an email as “a street no one has ever heard about.”


“In a city where most covet the traditional brownstone block, this neighborhood feels so much like a street out of a 1950s TV show,” she said, “but while our street has a small-town feel, we’re right off bustling Metropolitan Avenue, so we’re never far from city life when we crave it.”


The couple previously lived on what Mr. Pettrow, an actor and director, called “a very special street” in Harlem; after deciding to move to Williamsburg to be closer to friends, their quest was at a standstill until Mr. Pettrow noticed a freshly posted online ad for the apartment. “As soon as I saw the apartment, I loved it,” he said. “The street had an Old World charm and reminded me of a lot of places I’ve stayed in Europe. Very private, with views of trees and sky.”


Sandra Salander, the Town Real Estate saleswoman who listed the apartment, said Orient Avenue, a street composed mainly of three-family Victorians built in the late 1800s and often handed down like family heirlooms from generation to generation, is a one-block gem that’s not for everyone.


“It’s like a sanctuary,” she said, “and it feels like everything else in Williamsburg is evolving except here. You either don’t get it or completely fall in love with it.”


Uptown on the Far East Side sits one of the most invisible single-block streets in Manhattan, Mitchell Place, a one-way, one-sided sliver between First Avenue and Beekman Place that runs parallel to but levitates a few stories higher than East 49th Street just north of the United Nations.


The painter Henri Matisse was a frequent visitor to the charming roof deck at 10 Mitchell Place, a.k.a. Stewart Hall. There, a framed 1930 photograph in the 1928 co-op’s equally charming lobby, which has a large fireplace, shows him resting on a canvas deck chair, pondering the East River views. The co-op emanates an antiquated Left Bank sensibility.


 “One of the attractions is that Mitchell Place is a relatively unknown street,” said Deborah Ribner, a saleswoman for Warburg Realty. “But people who know the building tend to stay and wait for that perfect unit to show up.” Ms. Ribner represents No. 9B, a renovated one-bedroom apartment priced at $698,000.


“The building is run like a tight ship,” she added. “The service is impeccable in an old-fashioned way. They deliver your mail right to your door, and if you need wood for your fireplace, the shop on the corner delivers it. It’s quaint and elegant and one of a kind.”


Just like the street it inhabits.

15 Renwick launches sales with costume party: PHOTOS

The Real DealOctober 31, 2014

Funky fashions and classic characters were on hand for the launch of 15 Renwick Street, hosted at the building’s sales center at 505 Greenwich Street.


The IGI-USA-developed building features 31 condos, including three adjoining townhouse units and four duplex penthouses, which are priced between $7.85 million and $10.5 million. Prices for two- and three-bedroom units range from about $2 million to $5 million, with townhouses starting at $3.9 million.


The project, which is being marketed by CORE, took some time to get off the ground following a stall in work during the recession and a change of hands. 

On the Market in New York City

The New York TimesOctober 31, 2014

Click on the slide show to see this week’s featured properties in New York City:


• In Greenwich Village, a two-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath with a gas fireplace and a foyer that fits a dining table in a full-service, prewar building.


• In Alphabet City, a one-bedroom one-and-a-half bath with a home office in an elevator building with a laundry room.


• In East Williamsburg, a one-bedroom one-bath condo with a large terrace, a washer/dryer, central air and a deeded parking space, in a 30-unit building.

Related Companies’ Blau Relists in New York for $34.5 Million

The Wall Street JournalOctober 30, 2014

Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau is putting his money where his mouth is. One week after Related announced that it had acquired a stake in the boutique real-estate brokerage CORE, Mr. Blau is listing his Fifth Avenue apartment for $34.5 million with CORE agents—the mother-daughter team Emily and Elizabeth Beare.


Located in the Rosario Candela -designed co-op 1040 Fifth Avenue, the 10-room apartment first went on the market with the Corcoran Group for $43 million in January. It was then reduced to $38 million and was subsequently taken off the market in June.


Mr. Blau purchased the apartment in 2008 for $21.42 million, according to public records. He and his wife Lisa spent about three years gut-renovating it, Emily Beare said. Mr. Blau said he is moving because he has a growing family. He said he plans to stay in the neighborhood for now but will eventually move to Hudson Yards, where Related is developing a 28-acre project.


With views of Central Park, the apartment is currently configured as three bedrooms, with a media room and staff quarters as well as 4½ bathrooms, Emily Beare said. The prewar apartment has a wood-burning fireplace, and there is a terrace off the master bedroom.



CORE and Related, which owns and manages some $20 billion worth of real estate across the country, announced the acquisition last week. CORE will remain a separate company and maintain its three offices.

The Best Real Estate Website Design: 24 Examples

PlacesterOctober 29, 2014

Real estate website design has become increasingly sophisticated as marketers find innovative ways to grab the attention of viewers and communicate effectively online. From bold graphics to unique navigational schemes, real estate website designers are constantly devising new ways to take advantage of the web’s interactive possibilities.

We’ve compiled a list of twenty-four sites that represent the best of what’s new in real estate website design.  Even if you aren’t a web designer, or an agent looking to create a new real estate website, the “curb appeal” of these designs make them worth a look.


Scot Karp, Premier Estate Properties


From top to bottom, Karp’s real estate website design is nearly flawless. It features all of the core components needed to supply site visitors with the information they want, whether they’re just doing research or are interested in specific listings: social sharing buttons at the very top of the page, a prominent real estate search bar above the fold (the portion of a web page that’s visible without having to scroll), appealing neighborhood and listing photos, and plenty of copy detailing Karp’s value proposition and his market.


Houlihan Lawrence


As one would expect looking at a real estate website from a Christie’s International Real Estate brokerage, Houlihan Lawrence’s is impeccable. No muss, no fuss: Just the basics featured in an elegant, clean layout. The scrolling slideshow below the navigation bar allows visitors to scroll through one beautiful property after another, while the “Featured Community” section beneath it offers visitors a glimpse into one of the niche markets the firm serves, including housing data for that particular area. All in all, an exemplary website design.


Ginger Martin and Co.


In the same vein as Houlihan Lawrence, the real estate website design for California-based Ginger Martin and Co., a Sotheby’s International Realty brokerage, is simple yet effective. Whether you want to investigate properties in and around Napa and Sonoma Valley, get info on the firm’s buying and selling value, or check out some of the company’s informative real estate blog posts, you can easily find each resource.


Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate


Crisp and concise perfectly describe the homepage for Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate’s website. All of the essential search tools are above the fold — along with appealing imagery of the Vail Valley, Colorado area. Additionally, real estate website visitors can access other vital resources to aid their buying and selling experiences, including a local housing market analysis, information on moving services, real estate videos detailing the local lifestyle, and a property alert sign-up. The map at the bottom of the page showing where the agency’s offices are located statewide is especially a nice touch. You won’t find many better real estate website designs than this.


EWM Realty International


Full-bleed images as part of a real estate website design is a relatively new fad among industry pros. These photos provide a sleek aesthetic for websites and can captivate visitors (assuming the full-bleed image is an attractive one, like a listing photo of a luxury property). EWM takes advantage of this website trend with a slideshow featuring some amazing interiors and exteriors of its listings and its microsite “Lifestyle of South Florida” magazine. Below the fold are all of the other important facets real estate websites need to thrive: open house info, social sharing buttons, blog post links, and other unique real estate marketing collateral for users to consume.




Including lots of social proof on your real estate website is a guaranteed way to get visitors to stick around longer — something New York–based agency CORE knows well. Noting its designation as the top real estate brokerage in Manhattan in a big, bold font atop its homepage, the firm instantly instills trust in its audience. The symmetrical, easily navigable layout of the rest of the page is stunning. Scroll down and you see one dazzling feature after another. Moreover, the wealth of white space on the page works wonderfully for CORE’s design. (If you’re a fan of minimal layouts like this one, check out this post from web design education company Treehouse on how to use whitespace appropriately).


Edler Group


Another example of full-bleed imagery used well comes from Edler Group. In addition to showcasing its premier listings up top, the firm makes sure to provide numerous others along with the specific neighborhoods and communities where those listings are available — in other words, everything a prospective buyer needs to conduct thorough research of the local market. Despite the ample examples of homes for sale, the real estate website design isn’t bogged down or overcrowded.


The Goodhart Group


Showing off your listings is clearly a prime avenue to take with your real estate website design, but exhibiting the agents selling and buyers purchasing those listings can be powerful as well. For instance, The Goodhart Group displays its hard-working agents and those purchasing the residences it represents — another valuable form of social proof. Aside from that, everything on the homepage is evenly spaced and clearly identifiable, making the site a great one in terms of user interface and experience, both of which are very important.


The Force Realty


To get the best real estate website design, you need to get with the times. The Force Realty understands this, as it has an HTML5 real estate website. This is a type of markup language for websites that allows for unique graphics and designs (and of equal importance, Google appears to be a fan of HTML5 sites). It may seem like a small thing to have graphical elements like those on this firm’s real estate website, but they can help create a strong UX that improves your visitors’ time on site and capture leads effectively. (If you want to see more examples of HTML5 sites, take a look at this post from Creative Bloq.)


The Jills


Yet another example of agents using whitespace wisely. Hetzberg and Eber have one of the foremost easy-on-the-eyes real estate websites out there today. Three other notable qualities that make it stand out from the pack are its comprehensive search function positioned right in the middle of the homepage, The Jills’ detailed agent bios, and the numerous widgets along the right side of the page that link to their core pages — press mentions, their blog, local retail info, luxury rental details, and much more. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the broker duo are branding experts and clearly know how to make the most of their real estate website design.


DeLeon Realty


Short or small doesn’t mean substandard. Take DeLeon Realty’s homepage, for example: It may not include every last business detail or a plethora of listings, but it’s still a very efficient (and search-optimized) real estate website design. The logo and navigation atop the homepage are clearly laid out. The featured listing pops off the page, while the featured neighborhood and promotional video off to the right stand out as well. And the social proof below helps reinforce the agency’s great publicity. The real estate website homepage is minimalism at its finest.


Central Park Real Estate


Though it’s debatable if this website is the most SEO-friendly one, it’s undoubtedly a nifty real estate website design. The intent for appeal is clearly the upper-echelon buyers of Manhattan, meaning the firm’s website needs to attract that high-end audience. This intuitive design is certainly an ideal way to do just that. Scroll over each building and you get the info on every unit available. The rest of CPRE’s webpages are equally impressive. Squat New York, the real estate website designers behind the firm’s site, did an immaculate job crafting a distinct UX for luxury shoppers in the Big Apple. (Just looking at it makes you want to learn how to design a real estate website, right?)


Amanda Howard Real Estate


On the other end of the spectrum of the aforementioned short real estate websites are longer ones, like this one from Amanda Howard Real Estate. The multiple photo views above the fold and substantial search bar make for a straightforward UX, while the new, popular, and featured listings give visitors plenty to peruse off the bat. Adding in vibrant imagery for the background only bolsters this already superbly constructed real estate website design.


Riskin Associates


This HTML5 wonder is the total package. Well-spaced images and text allow for clearly discernible branding and functional elements, like the video listings and “about us” pages at the bottom. Riskin’s real estate website design is one you never get bored looking at — definitely a quality every agent should aspire to achieve with their sites.


Nancy Batchelor Team


As is the case with every aspect of your business, organization is key, and that extends to your real estate website design. Notice the neatly organized block links near the bottom of Nancy Batchelor Team’s homepage: The photos for each link are very eye-catching. Add in the blog and listing block links below it, the featured listing at the top, and the exhaustive company info right in between, and you’ve got a well-balanced real estate website.


Sue Adler


A change of pace from sites we’ve already mentioned, but nonetheless an equally practical and successful real estate website design. This site from Sue Adler Team favors function over style. Having said that, it’s certainly a modern-looking real estate website and does the job — that is, it offer buyers all they need to perform thorough home searches and access all of the pertinent details about the firm’s business.


The Engel Group


The real estate blog, client testimonials, detailed search function, business background info, recently added listings — all of the real estate website essentials are prominently featured on The Engel Group’s site, thanks in large part to a stellar design. The agency closes the deal, so to speak, by using a soft color palette and professional-looking font style to create an appealing user experience.


The Lanier Property Group


Boutique firm The Lanier Property Group adds personal touches to its Placester-built real estate website, designating spots for its favorite listings and blog posts about the Wilmington community. Its clear-cut navigation bar along the top of the homepage, and multiple search fields and lead-capture forms, make the site one for other agents to mimic.


Carol McGraw


Visitors of Carol McGraw’s real estate website can find everything they need to know about the metro San Diego housing market in minutes by navigating the undemanding, simple layout. Though there isn’t a search feature on the homepage, that doesn’t mean buyers can’t locate homes for sale of interest — the core markets McGraw operates in are linked throughout the homepage, making it a cinch for buyers to pinpoint relevant properties.


Stribling & Associates


“Elegant” is the first word to come to mind when examining Stringling & Associate’s real estate website design — which means the company’s real estate marketing is right on target, given its core audience of luxury consumers. The agency’s New York City–based niche markets are represented well on the homepage, while the firm offers industry insights in an educational video and its live Twitter stream at the bottom of the page. Arguably the most impressive part of the site is the “about us” page, where the company tells its story in style.


Nest Realty


Brokerages with multiples offices in multiple locations often benefit from having a real estate website dedicated to explaining what each group of agents offers consumers. If this fits your brokerage’s description, you’re well off taking a page from Nest Realty’s book. Six hefty-sized images represent each of the company’s six locations, allowing buyers to identify which markets to research. Consider this real estate website design an ideal one to point consumers in the right direction.


Maximum Exposure Real Estate


Go big or go home: A philosophy Massachusetts Realtor Bill Gassett adopts for his real estate website design. His blog posts, market reports, listing links, and value prop (along with just about anything else you could ever want to know about his firm) take up the majority of the screen. No, there aren’t any flashy elements or a scrolling photo slideshow, but Gassett has what he needs to succeed on his site. Take one look at it and it’s evident he’s a highly engaged agent who cares about how visitors access his company info — and is determined to turn those visitors into real estate leads.


The Agency


It’s only fitting a real estate agency from Hollywood has one of the more cinematic-esque real estate websites. Aside from featuring photos of SoCal’s best homes for sale, the firm gets right to the point with what it wants visitors to achieve: signing up for its email newsletter, accessing its blog posts, and finding the right office and agent to fill their buying needs. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more, and that couldn’t be truer here.


Reilly Realtors


Showing off tech-savviness, relatability, and comprehensive listings and business information to consumers can go a long way in helping you secure more leads. Reilly Realtors hits the trifecta with its real estate website, the design of which is clean and effective. The white-and-orange aesthetic fits the firm’s branding, while showing off testimonials and the design’s responsive capabilities across the homepage, along with clickable agent photos that lead to each respective bio page. Overall, an all-star example of website design for real estate.



Creature Comforts, à la Carte

The New York TimesOctober 24, 2014

The uninitiated buyer could be forgiven for thinking that an apartment with a price tag of $10 million, $20 million or much more comes fully loaded with amenities. But as prices for ultraluxury condos in Manhattan continue to climb, practically every extra inch in these fancy new buildings — be it in storage units in the basement or in staff quarters on a separate floor — is being sold à la carte for extraordinary sums.


Wire-mesh storage cages in the basement of 18 Gramercy Park, where a $42 million duplex penthouse closed last year, are going for $75,000, or $2,143 per square foot, for a 35-square-foot space. Private wine cellars range from $98,500 for 900 bottles to $215,000 for 1,700 bottles at 135 East 79th Street, an Upper East Side prewar revival where an apartment recently went into contract for $26.5 million. Twenty-five staff suites, commonly referred to as “maid’s rooms,” are selling for between $1.53 and $2.875 million at 432 Park Avenue, where a penthouse is in contract for $95 million. And then there are the underground parking spots at 42 Crosby Street in SoHo with price tags of $1 million apiece.


After all, this is Manhattan, where personal space — be it a place to park your Porsche, a spare room for your visiting in-laws or a spot to store your growing handbag collection — is the rarest of commodities. “It’s basic Economics 101,” said Izak Senbahar, the president of the Alexico Group, a co-developer of 56 Leonard, a 145-unit TriBeCa tower where nearly all of the 28 parking spots are in contract for $500,000 each and storage is selling for between $72,000 for a 36-square-foot space and $300,000 for a combination storage unit measuring 211 square feet. “These are valuable amenities, and demand is surpassing supply.”


Consider for a moment that start-ups like MakeSpace charge roughly $220 a month for 36 square feet of space at an offsite warehouse. And that they will pick up those golf clubs, the summer wardrobe and other off-season belongings from your apartment. Besides, there are plenty of other storage places that will gladly house the bulky items that won’t fit in your closet. But if you are buying a multimillion-dollar pad in a top luxury condo you are likely to choose one of two options: You can buy a larger apartment, said Mr. Senbahar, “or you’re going to go down to the cellar and get equal space in a private storage room at half the price.” Joking, he added, “I personally would rather do the latter to store my fur coat for the summer.” Some space, he said, “doesn’t need views.”


Space with no views at the Sterling Mason, a 33-unit condominium at 71 Laight Street in TriBeCa with 24 such areas, costs between $30,000 for a 28-square-foot storage unit (or $1,071 a square foot) to $55,000 for 94 square feet ($585 a square foot). The building’s 12 parking spots — nine of which are now spoken for — cost $275,000 apiece. Uptown at 520 Park Avenue, a 54-story luxury condo tower being built by Zeckendorf Development and its partners Park Sixty and Global Holdings, which recently made headlines for a penthouse triplex priced at $130 million, there are plans for 15 storage units ranging from $55,000 to $95,000 for the 31 apartments. Ten wine cellars will be offered for $125,000 to $275,000.


 “Storage is no longer an afterthought,” said Elizabeth Unger, a senior sales director at the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is marketing 56 Leonard and several other uber-luxury condos. “It’s as thought-out as designing a lobby.” And with many owners requesting storage space, parking spots and other extras, she added, “it’s also an income producer.”


Buyers at 56 Leonard who pay $72,000 for a storage cage will not actually own it, however. As in many new buildings with subterranean space, they are buying long-term licenses for their storage units and parking spots, entitling them to use the space as long as they are residents of the building and requiring that it be sold in the event of a move. In addition to the license fee for the storage area, there is a $19-per-month charge that goes toward utilities and payroll for cleaning and maintenance.


Not all that long ago, a visit to a storage bin in a stately co-op building might have involved negotiating a labyrinth with a flashlight and tripping over someone else’s chair. While today’s storage areas may be more organized, they are not much of an upgrade, mostly consisting of wire-mesh cages that come with electricity. Maid’s rooms are essentially glorified studio apartments. And parking spots are, well, parking spots.


But in today’s market, where land prices remain high, developers are compelled to find creative ways to justify the cost of a building. “You buy a site for top dollar and you have one chance to make your return,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. One way to maximize the return, he said, is to “leverage all the assets you have that can be made into amenities that people want.” In other words, he said, “sell everything that’s not tied down.”


And in Manhattan, where luxury condominiums have been commanding stratospheric sums, the add-ons are priced in relation to the apartments alongside which they are being sold. “These amenities are essentially proportional in value to the building they’re located in,” said Mr. Miller. With the starting price of $72,000 for the 36-square-foot storage unit at 56 Leonard, for example, the price per square foot comes to $2,000. “That kind of makes sense,” Mr. Miller said, when you consider the apartments there have been selling for as much as $4,000 a square foot.


Besides, he added, “What’s $72,000 on a $50 million sale? It’s a rounding error.”


And it isn’t just new condos that are getting high prices for amenities. Brokers say the costs of storage and other add-ons have also been going up with high-end co-op resales, although the trend is harder to pinpoint since extras are often wrapped into the overall sales price when these apartments change hands.


“The days of picking up these extra spaces at prices that could be justified easily are over,” said Kathryn Steinberg, an associate broker at the Edward Lee Cave division of Brown Harris Stevens. Paying $250,000 or more for a staff room in a stately Fifth Avenue or Park Avenue co-op “would not be unusual,” she said, noting that buyers use them for everything from guest rooms to “man caves” to personal gyms. “They’ve become, in a way, another luxury toy.”


Resales of condo extras have also been going up. Last September, a staff unit on the seventh floor of 15 Central Park West sold for $4 million, up from $1.8 million in 2011 and slightly above $1 million in 2008. In 2011, two ground-floor units in the building, designed as detached home offices, sold for a combined $3.56 million. Earlier this year, the same combination unit was sold again, this time for $7.15 million.


In new condominiums, developers often put the expensive condo accessories up for sale slowly, raising prices as more are sold. “They increase in value as we run out of them,” said Melissa Ziweslin, a managing director at Corcoran Sunshine. Sometimes these extra spaces are offered only to buyers of the largest, most expensive apartments, she added. “They’re really deepening their investment in a building they really believe in.”


At 432 Park Avenue, demand was so high for staff suites, which are essentially studios located on the 28th and 29th floors, that the developers, CIM Group and Macklowe Properties, are considering adding more to the building, which recently topped out as the tallest condo in the city. At 30 Park Place, Four Seasons Private Residences New York Downtown, so-called “accessory suites” (better known as “maid’s rooms”) start at $1.2 million. There are 11 in all for the 157-unit building. Seven staff units planned for 520 Park Avenue will be called “guest suites” and will be offered for $1.45 million to $1.57 million.


One of the few new buildings to offer enough extras, at least in parking, for every apartment is 50 United Nations Plaza, an 88-unit condo designed by Foster and Partners for Zeckendorf Development with Global Holdings. Parking licenses cost $150,000 apiece, plus a monthly fee of $295. The building is also offering 17 wine storage units starting at $50,000 for 24 square feet and 50 storage units starting at $45,000 for 50 square feet.


Not every luxury condo is selling these extra spaces separately. At Alchemy Properties’ 35XV at 35 West 15th Street, for example, where available apartments are priced from $3.95 million to $12.65 million, each of the building’s 54 residences comes with a wine cabinet that can accommodate 69 to 300 bottles, depending on the size of the apartment purchased.


Brokers encourage clients to buy extras when they have the chance, even if they don’t expect to use them.


“If they don’t buy storage or a maid’s room at the beginning they may lose the opportunity,” said Melanie Lazenby, a top associate broker at Douglas Elliman. “It may be 10 years before another will come on the market.”


On the other hand, she said, “if you are one of the few people holding one of these coveted extra parts of the building, it’s kind of buying yourself an option. If you find you don’t use it, you can resell it or rent it out even before you move.” And when it comes time to sell, she added, “it makes your apartment more attractive if you are going up against another apartment without one. It can sweeten the deal.”



On the Market: Bronx B&N Bookstore Spared; What Would Happen Without Rent Regulation?

New York ObserverOctober 24, 2014

There will probably be a lot of bad news in the coming days now that Ebola has hit New York, but at least not everything is bad: Barnes and Noble has reversed its decision to close its Bronx store, according to The New York Times, after what the newspaper described as a frenzied campaign to save the borough’s only full service bookstore. Landlord Prestige Properties has agreed not to raise the rent, as had been stipulated in the lease, for the next two years.


Meanwhile, in Citylab Sarah Goodyear examines how Barnes and Noble—a symbol of corporate greed not long ago—came to be so beloved in the borough. In short, it provides a “third space”—neither work nor home—where urban dwellers can hang out and interact, which is essential to a city’s fabric as it is bad for a business’s bottom line. But it’s something we might do well to remember with a burgeoning number of delivery services and a declining number of brick and mortar stores.


More good news: this Curbed guide to how to dress up like your favorite architect this Halloween. Just whoever you to decided to be “remember to keep your tone quixotic, your facial expression thoughtful, and, when your friends admit they don’t know who you even are, your demeanor aghast.”


While free market proponents have long advocated for the end of New York City rent regulation, arguing that all rents would go down to reasonable levels if we could free up the rent-regulated half of the housing stock, in Bloomberg  appraiser Jonathan Miller looks at what would really happen if we eliminated rent regulation. Basically, market rate rents would go down, but rent regulated rents would go up even more. According to Miller, “the rent on the average regulated unit would jump $686 a month, a 53 percent increase, while the average rent on the open market would fall $644, or 24 percent. (The smaller percentage decline for non-rent-regulated property is a reflection of how much higher rents are for open-market units.)”


More younger adults are opting to rent rather buy, according to The Times, spurring a building boom of rental apartment complexes. But are young adults simply gun shy when it comes to buying—having watched the mortgage crisis unfold—or have student loan debt and anemic employment opportunities made home ownership an impossibility for many in the generation? More of the latter, it seems. Even with the labor market improving, “they’re not going to go from living with their parents to buying a home,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.


And whether it’s a condo or a rental, more and more Americans are moving to large, full-service buildings, embracing urbanism in strongholds of suburbia like Long Island, according to The Wall Street Journal. “I lived at a big house where I had to schlep,” one woman in her 60s told the paper. “When you get to be my age it is nice to have a doorman to run up the groceries.”


Amtrak is considering developing Sunnyside Yards and could start soliciting proposals as early as next spring, according to Capital New York, who attended a ULI panel moderated by Dan Doctoroff—who, we’re sure, was beside himself with joy that this will clear the way for Olympics to finally come to New York City. The de Blasio admin, of course, has some other ideas, among them using the yards to help meet the ambitious affordable housing goals, though Amtrak has stressed that it doesn’t want to sell the yards, only lease them.


Regarding trains—subway performers rallied after the Saturday arrest of a guitarist performing on a Williamsburg subway platform. Gothamist reports that performers called for the NYPD to learn that the MTA permits artistic platform performances; the guitarist actually read the relevant section of the MTA code of conduct to the officers arresting him, who arrested him anyway and took him to jail.


Related has bought a 50 percent stake in CORE, reports The Times, making its first foray into offering residential brokerage services and offering condo buyers the same full-service management services that residents in Related’s rental developments get. CORE CEO Shaun Osher will remain in his post and  Shaun Osher and “will collaborate with Related on the development and sales of future Related projects.” Both CORE and Related are private companies; the sales price was not disclosed.


Also looking into buying is actress Jessica Chastain, who toured a $3.5 Murray Hill townhouse—how is there a Murray Hill townhouses selling for just $3.5 million?—with her boyfriend this past weekend, according to The New York Post.


Meanwhile, the opulent Upper East Side condo of Joan Rivers, valued at $35 million “how Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had had money,” will go, unsurprisingly, to her daughter Melissa, according to USWeekly.  Melissa received the bulk of her mother’s estate.


If the de Blasio is really serious about reducing serious traffic injuries and fatalities, he might start with the city’s own employees, according to a report from the comptroller. As reported in The Journal, the city faced more than 1,400 injury claims between 2007 and 2014 from pedestrians struck by city vehicles and 22 died. There is also a high financial cost to the city—more than $90 million—in that same time period.


In things we are obsessed with news: Curbed National has a story on how Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of the Washington Post who died on Tuesday and his journalist wife Sally Quinn bought and restored the Grey Gardens mansion after the Beales left. You know, it’s very hard to keep the line between the past and the present.


Big Developer and Boutique Firm Join Forces

The New York TimesOctober 23, 2014

If you are one of the hundreds of New Yorkers who live in a condominium built by the Related Companies, one of New York City’s most prolific developers, you might like to know that changes are afoot. That is because the company is making its first foray into offering brokerage services.


Related, which is behind some of the city’s most high-profile projects, including the Time Warner Center and the creation of the 28-acre Hudson Yards neighborhood, is buying a 50 percent stake in CORE, the boutique residential brokerage.


“We have built so many for-sale buildings, and we still manage every single one of them,” said Jeff T. Blau, the chief executive of Related. “But when it comes time for someone to move out, we can’t service them. This deal will allow us to keep our relationship with our original customers, many of whom become repeat buyers.”


So the relationship that begins with a buyer choosing a Related condominium and living in a Related-managed building, now can continue even as that buyer decides to move on and can choose to work with Related’s new brokerage partner, CORE. Related will continue to handle its rentals through its in-house team.


According to the terms of the deal, which was finalized Tuesday, Shaun Osher will remain as CORE’s chief executive and will collaborate with Related on the development and sales of future Related projects. Mr. Osher founded CORE with the Cayre family, which will continue to have a small stake in the company. Both CORE and Related, which are privately held, declined to disclose the sale price.


The deal marries a global developer with a carefully maintained reputation to a brokerage that came on the scene less than a decade ago with a much edgier aesthetic. CORE, after all, was one of the first agencies to sign on to “Selling New York,” HGTV’s reality series, and has marketed buildings like One Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and Walker Tower in Chelsea, which last year broke a record for most expensive downtown sale with a penthouse that sold for more than $50 million.


The investment is the culmination of a six-month negotiation. “At first I wanted to see if we could steal Shaun away and have him come work here,” Mr. Blau said. “But he is very committed to his company, and out of those conversations came the idea to make a significant investment in CORE. As the slogan goes, ‘I liked it so much I bought the company.’ ”


While the main reason for the investment was Mr. Osher — “He is No. 1, 2 and 3,” Mr. Blau says — another factor is the capacity to build a resale business for Related.


The company is also one of the city’s largest landlords of luxury rental buildings, and one of its signature features is the ability to be a full-service company for its tenants, helping them move within Related properties as they upsize or downsize. The investment in CORE will now allow Related to offer the same full-service menu to its condo buyers. CORE has 98 sales agents and three offices — in Chelsea, on Madison Avenue and the headquarters in the Flatiron district. Since its founding in 2005, CORE has marketed and sold more than 30 new development projects and generated more than $4 billion in sales. With this influx of new capital, it will continue to expand, opening offices in Brooklyn and the Upper West Side “in short order,” Mr. Blau said.



Related’s size and reach take CORE out of the boutique realm, but Mr. Osher said they would not change the younger, hipper brand that his firm has cultivated. “I worked for almost 10 years to build CORE in the city,” he said, adding that Mr. Blau “understands that the CORE brand is an extension of me.”


Related also liked that CORE could provide real-time market insight. “We have 100 agents who have their finger on the pulse of what people want, and because we are small, we can stay close to those who are really out there walking the pavement and getting the market intelligence,” Mr. Osher said.


Mr. Blau added, “Because Shaun is doing so many deals, he is very informed about the resale market and what people want, and can help make development decisions.”


Founded in 1972 by Stephen M. Ross, the Related Companies has taken stakes in other businesses that are often popular with Related residents, including the fitness chain Equinox and Union Square Events, which is backed by the restaurateur Danny Meyer. This is the first time it has invested in a brokerage firm. Previously, Related either marketed its projects using an in-house team of six agents or formed partnerships with outside brokerage firms.


Last November, it announced a deal to partner with the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group for about $5 billion worth of new developments, including 15 Hudson Yards, 35 Hudson Yards and the Zaha Hadid-designed 520 West 28th Street. The deal will continue to be honored, Mr. Blau said.


“We will see how it goes,” Mr. Blau said. “So far Corcoran Sunshine is doing a great job.” Kelly Kennedy Mack, the president of Corcoran Sunshine, said the CORE deal would have “zero impact” on Corcoran Sunshine’s agreement with Related. “We have been collaborating with Related on six different properties across the city,” she said in a statement. “We’re very excited to launch our first property with Related early next year.”


Mr. Osher said there were still many details to be worked out. “Corcoran Sunshine already formed this partnership, it was pre-existing, and it is just on a couple of projects,” he said. “Our relationship with Related is forever. They are going to be an equal-stake owner of CORE, so that is very significant and a very different type of thing.”


Related’s investment in CORE comes as several new brokerage firms have opened or expanded in New York, including Urban Compass and William Raveis Real Estate, while some developers have begun hiring in-house sales teams to market projects, rather than outsourcing the business. “There has been a lot of change in the market, and when there is a lot of flux and disturbance, deals like this seem to bubble up,” said Andrew Gerringer, the managing director of Marketing Directors, a development, leasing and marketing company.


The way in which Related handles its agreement with Corcoran Sunshine will be closely watched. “There could be some ego issues there,” said Mr. Gerringer, who worked with Mr. Osher at Douglas Elliman before he left to start CORE. “If I was Corcoran, I wouldn’t want some guy to get involved out of the blue who is eventually going to replace me, but on the other hand, in this business you need to roll with the punches.”



Related Buys 50 Percent Stake in CORE

The Real DealOctober 23, 2014

Related Companies, one of the city’s biggest landlords, is buying a 50 percent stake in CORE, a boutique residential brokerage firm.


The sale price has not been disclosed, according to the New York Times.


Shaun Osher, the chief executive officer of CORE, will stay on in his current position. Osher will work with Related on its future projects.


“We have built so many for-sale buildings, and we still manage every single one of them,” Jeff Blau, the chief executive of Related told the newspaper. “But when it comes time for someone to move out, we can’t service them. This deal will allow us to keep our relationship with our original customers, many of whom become repeat buyers.”



CORE was one of the first brokerages to sign onto HGTV’s “Selling New York” and has brokered deals in buildings such as One Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and Chelsea’s Walker Tower.

Related Companies Acquires Stake in CORE

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 23, 2014

Related Companies today announced that it has acquired a stake in CORE, a boutique real estate brokerage in Manhattan, to further expand CORE’s brand and offerings throughout New York City. 


“This is an incredible opportunity for CORE to align ourselves and work alongside one the most respected developers in the United States,” said Shaun Osher, Founder and CEO of CORE. “Our teams share a similar vision and commitment to quality, design, lifestyle and innovation. This is a game changer.”


Jeff T. Blau, CEO of Related said, “Related and CORE both have creative, collaborative, customer-focused cultures and share a commitment to great design and best-in-class product. Shaun Osher has built a great brand and assembled a strong management team and group of talented agents. We saw an attractive opportunity to help fuel the growth of the platform, invest in great talent and optimize opportunities throughout the city. Related has an over $6 billion pipeline of new condominium developments, and with this investment we will be able to bring real-time market knowledge and customer feedback even closer to our development teams. In addition, we have built over a dozen condominiums in New York City and we saw great synergies to better serve our clients with direct involvement in the resales in those buildings.”


CORE will continue to operate its services to agents and residential and commercial developers throughout the City. In addition, Shaun and his team will collaborate with Related on product development and sales of future development opportunities and build a customer-focused resale business around Related’s past developments.


CORE will remain a separate autonomous company with Shaun Osher remaining as CEO, and maintain its offices in the Flatiron District, Chelsea and on Madison Avenue.


Related’s condominium pipeline in New York City includes: 520 West 28th Street in collaboration with Zaha Hadid, 15 Hudson Yards (555 West 30th Street) in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group and 35 Hudson Yards (550 West 33rd Street) in collaboration with David Childs and SOM, as well as additional properties in Chelsea, Tribeca and the Upper East Side.



Since its first condominium development, Related has been responsible for over $7 billion in sales volume. The team of Related Sales will continue to be dedicated to the Related condominium pipeline as well as resale opportunities throughout the portfolio. In 2013, Related formed a venture with Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group on select projects including 520 West 28th Street and Hudson Yards. That venture will be unaffected by the transaction.

Suzuki Secures Construction Loan for Gramercy Condo

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 21, 2014

Developer Sam Suzuki has secured an $18 million loan to convert a former Gramercy police precinct into luxury condos.


Mortgage Equicap LLC announced this morning (Monday) that it arranged the non-recourse construction loan for a 12-unit condominium conversion near Gramercy Park.


Daniel Hilpert, managing director, said the firm was able to arrange 80 percent financing through a participation between a bank, taking the A note, and an unconventional lender, providing a highly leveraged B-piece.


In April this year, Suzuki paid $11.5 million for the property at 327 East 22nd Street along with 7,000 s/f of additional air rights. It was later reported that he planned to demolish the four-story structure that once housed the 21st Precinct and later became a group home for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender  young people.



Over the summer, Suzuki tapped residential sales and marketing firm CORE to handle sales of the two-and-three bedroom condos in the new building being designed by Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects. The building is expected to be completed in fall of 2015.

The Window Shoppers

New York ObserverOctober 20, 2014

Sometimes it only takes one open house to find the right place - but that's certainly not the norm. According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors' Profile of Home Buyers, the typical homebuyer nationwide searches for three months and views 10 homes.


But in New York City, according to a wide-range of Manhattan-based brokers, the number of showings can vary from about 12 to as much as 130-plus before a client pulls the trigger - despite the lack of inventory. 

Renwick Street in Soho Seeing Hotel, Resi Redevelopment

The Real DealOctober 17, 2014

Four residential projects are in the works along a block-long stretch of Renwick Street, between Canal and Spring streets, in Soho.


One of the projects is IGI-USA’s 31-unit loft building under construction at 15 Renwick Street.


Condos are slated to range from $2 million to $10 million in price. CORE is marketing the property, which is launching sales later this month and will open by next year. The block largely features old-school bars such as the Ear Inn, Emerald Pub and McGovern’s Bar. But in addition to several forthcoming apartment buildings, hotels have invaded.


Tommie Hotel is opening a 329-room hotel at nearby 231 Hudson Street next summer.


Fortuna Realty Group’s Morris Moinian, in partnership with developer Matthew Moinian, opened the 122-room Hotel Hugo this spring.


“There’s only so much product in the north Tribeca area, and [people] are migrating to Hudson and Renwick,” Mara Flash Blum, a Sotheby’s International Realty broker told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s like being in Soho and not being in Soho.”



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 / 115 / 116 / 117