Research Firm Expands at 330 Madison Avenue

Commercial ObserverMay 19, 2014

Research firm Zelman & Associates has nearly doubled its space at Vornado Realty Trust‘s 330 Madison Avenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.


The firm has signed a 9,822-square-foot lease on the building’s 34th floor, trading up from its current 5,232-square-foot space on the 20th floor, the Journalreported. Asking rent for the space, which will be built out by Vornado, was $80 per square foot.


Zelman was represented by Alex Cohen, a senior director at Cushman & Wakefield.


Zelman & Associates was founded in 2007 by equity research analyst Ivy Zelman. The firm produces research in the apartment real estate investment trust, building products, homebuilding, home center and single-family rental industries. In addition to its research business, Zelman also offers financial advisory and capital markets services.


Based in New York, the firm also operates offices in Cleveland and Boston.


What's the Deal

The Wall Street JournalMay 18, 2014

A Roundup of Commercial Real-Estate Transactions From Across the Tri-State Region.



Grace Refinancing Nets Tidy Sum for Owners


In case there's any doubt that owners of Manhattan office skyscrapers make boatloads of money, consider the new refinancing by the owners of the Grace Building.


The tower across the street from Bryant Park used to have a mortgage of $345 million; the owners, a venture of the Swig family and Brookfield Office Properties Inc., just refinanced with a $900 million mortgage.


Of the new debt, about $55 million was used to pay expenses and was set aside for future costs. The owners were able to put the rest—about $500 million in cash—in their pockets, according to loan documents.


The deal comes as the Grace Building's value has soared to an appraised $1.8 billion, up from $635 million in 2004, when the skyscraper last received a loan.


The secret to success: higher rents—much higher.


In 2004, all the large tenants paid less than $40 a square foot in rent. In the two largest deals of late, Bain & Co. is in for $93 a square foot and Cooley LLP signed a lease for $92 a square foot, according to loan documents.


Also helpful was a $34 million renovation of the lobby and elevators, said Mark Brown, Brookfield's chief investment officer, which ultimately helped the tower gain momentum.


"Over the last two years, all of that has come together," Mr. Brown said. — Eliot Brown



Avison Young Nabs CBRE Official for Retail Division


Canadian brokerage Avison Young is turning to a veteran retail expert to build its New York City retail services division, the company said.


Jedd Nero left his post as executive vice president at CBRE Group Inc. to join Avison Young as a principal and an executive managing director, based in Manhattan. Before spending 12 years at CBRE, he was with Newmark New Spectrum Retail LLC as an executive vice president.


"It has only gotten better and stronger, and more and more retailers want to have a flag here," Mr. Nero said of the city. "The markets themselves have stretched out and the boundaries keep expanding."


Mr. Nero has represented many national and international retailers, such as Hugo Boss USA and Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., as well as several prominent landlords including Silverstein Properties Inc., Western Management and Starwood.


Working closely with Mr. Nero will be Arthur Mirante, who is Avison Young's Tri-State president.


"The local market knowledge and depth of client experiences and relationships that Jedd brings to Avison Young, combined with the company's innovative client-service model, will significantly impact our presence…," Mr. Mirante said. — Keiko Morris



Consulting Firm Expands At 330 Madison Ave.


Zelman Holdings LLC has signed a lease to almost double its office space at 330 Madison Ave.


The research consulting firm is taking 9,822 square feet on the tower's 34th floor; now, Zelman Holdings occupies 5,232 square feet on the 20th floor.


Representing Zelman Holdings was Alex Cohen, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield.


The building's landlord is Vornado Realty Trust.


The asking rent was $80 a square foot, higher than firm's previous lease, which was signed in 2009 during the downturn in the market, said Mr. Cohen.


Vornado Realty Trust will build out the space for Zelman Holdings; the work should be completed within three months.


Zelman Holdings is an example of a smaller financial firm expanding in the Plaza District, the neighborhood surrounding Grand Central Terminal.


Other companies, such as hedge funds and private-equity firms, also have leased spaces of 10,000 square feet or less in the area, said Mr. Cohen.


"The smaller end has rebounded," said Mr. Cohen. "It is the large money banks that continue to consolidate." — Roland Li

Developers Woo Buyers With the Help of David Bailey and Jeff Koons

Financial TimesMay 16, 2014

Renowned for his National Geographic portrait of an Afghan girl with searing green eyes, the US photojournalist Steve McCurry has recently taken on something rather different to war photography.


McCurry has been commissioned by the property developers CIT to produce a series of 40 images of artisans on London’s South Bank. The pictures will be exhibited in the entrance of South Bank Tower – formerly King’s Reach Tower – and published in a one-off book for buyers.


The building’s 191 flats will span 30 floors (with 11 floors of offices and retail below) and will cost from £680,000 for a studio up to £9.1m for a large lateral apartment.


“We wanted someone of McCurry’s status and reputation to produce something that will appeal to our buyers who – we hope – are urbane, sophisticated arts patrons,” says George Kyriacou of CIT. “You can’t measure what impact it will have, but it helps to give the building a unique identity.”


Collaboration between developers and artists is becoming quite common in London and abroad. It is seen as a way to set a development apart from the competition and add prestige and value. Film-maker Sam Taylor-Wood and artist Nadav Kander produced photographs of Knightsbridge as marketing material for Candy & Candy’s One Hyde Park, while artist James Turrell created light installations for the exterior and interior spaces.


The Neo Bankside development, next door to Tate Modern, hosts permanent exhibitions in the public spaces around the building and some private apartments. “The close connection we have to art persuaded many of our residents to live here,” says Nicholas Gray of property developer Native Land.


Meanwhile, the photographer David Bailey was recently drafted in to produce 44 shots for The Chilterns in Marylebone, the area’s first new-build development in six years, where three-bedroom apartments begin at £7m. Buyers of the 44 apartments will each receive a signed, limited-edition book of Bailey’s photos and – possibly – one of the prints, worth £20,000 each. The rest of the images will be displayed in the building.


In Miami, which has its own art fair – Art Basel Miami Beach – the link between art and high-end property is well established. Eduardo Costantini, the Argentine property developer, philanthropist and founder of the Malba museum in Buenos Aires – home to one of the world’s biggest collections of Latin American art – invested $220m in a waterfront plot on Miami Beach in order to build Oceana Bal Harbour, a 28-storey glass cube. He wanted some artwork to match the calibre of the location, so he got in touch with Jeff Koons.


“I thought we couldn’t afford him, but we found out he was working on a new series, and we paid $14m for two pieces,” says Costantini. “It’s very expensive, but because of the size and scale of our project, we wanted to make a strong statement about the importance of art. The art speaks of the quality of the developer and, as I’m responsible for Malba, I couldn’t have a bad piece of art.” Koons’s 10ft steel sculptures, “Pluto and Proserpina” and “Ballerina”, will grace the building’s breezeway.


Yet, wouldn’t an upmarket development in this location sell as fast without the art? “As developers, we propose a way of living,” says Costantini. “It’s not about maximizing profit, but maximizing the offering you provide for buyers.”


Also in Miami, The Residences at W South Beach – where the penthouse is on sale for $12.9m and resale apartments are due to come on the market soon priced from $1m – prominently display the prolific art collection of its developer, Aby Rosen, who has used works by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat among others in exhibitions in the hotel lobby.


“Using art in property developments is becoming a very hot trend in Miami,” says Mayi de la Vega, chief executive of One Sotheby’s, which is marketing the apartments. She refers to the Ritz-Carlton Residences on Miami Beach, where buyers will have curators from Los Angeles and Argentina on tap to advise on art for their properties. “Art instils the city with a longevity,” she says. “You’re building a city that’s mindful of culture.”


In New York’s Tribeca district, Eldad Blaustein, chief executive of IGI USA, the developer behind 93 Worth – a former 1920s knitting factory converted into 92 loft-style residences – feels there is no quantifiable “dollar value” you can attach to displaying high quality art. “But as part of the whole project, it’s a valuable aspect,” says Blaustein, who has collaborated with the young Israeli photographer David Kassman to produce a series of pictures inspired by nature.


Apartments at 93 Worth originally cost from $500,000, but just four properties remain, all penthouses, priced from $7m to $10m. “Mainly our buyers are local families who are buying to live here. They appreciate art and Kassman’s photos give the building a sense of locality so that it’s more than just bricks and walls,” says Blaustein. “It’s inspirational and brings an elegance, colour and freshness to the project.”


While most developers say it is impossible to put a price tag on the value art brings to their development, Giles Hannah of Christie’s International Real Estate feels differently. “I’d say you can add 4 to 5 per cent to your sales price by having good art works – and that applies as much to single houses as new developments,” he says. “There are very wealthy buyers who circulate the globe following the art world, and property developers in Miami, Dubai and London will often launch developments to coincide with the biggest shows and auctions as it’s a way of accessing ‘qualified wealth’ at those times.


“We see a direct correlation between trophy paintings and trophy properties. Someone will buy a work of art, then want to buy a property to display it in,” says Hannah. “Increasingly, developers are using art as a major feature in their projects as good art sells a property, almost like dressing an apartment well. It gives a wow factor and adds value.”


Paul White, chief executive of Frogmore, a partner of The Chilterns project in London, is less convinced of the direct correlation between art and property value. “I’d be shocked if a buyer said they’d invested in our project because of David Bailey. If only it were that easy,” he says. “It’s about doing something new and creating a sense of locality. I only wish I’d thought of doing it years ago.”



LIC Arts Open and Real Estate Parties: TF Cornerstone, 93 Worth, Printing House

The ExaminerMay 15, 2014

Last night, the LIC Open kicked-off a five day art celebration beginning at TF Cornerstone. The Long Island City Arts openings featured various artists works on different types of mediums.


The first opening for the evening took place inside model apartments at TF Cornerstone then it was over to a nearby car dealership and finally hip hotel just a few blocks away.


This spring, real estate parties have been a big trend in nightlife adventures. Most recently, in addition to TF Cornerstone sponsored art shows, other respected firms including CORE and Corcoran Sunshine have also hosted some swanky parties to introduce potential buyers, press and others in the real estate industry to their buildings and exclusive listings.


Downtown in Tribeca, at 93 Worth Street, CORE launched Penthouse 3 produced by Apsley Designs. With guests totaling over 400, some danced to songs by the live Michael Arnella band while others had the chance to play several rounds of croquet! The model apartments featured furniture by Poliform. To learn more, please visit:


SCENE, The Observer and Peter Davis celebrated the 2014 List of Wonder Kids at The Printing House at 421 Hudson Street. Once known as an exclusive health club for New York's elite, Printing House is now a high-end condominium for artists, socialites and anyone with deep pockets looking for a chic and glamorous place to call home.


For a complete list of galleries participating in the LIC Arts Open, please visit:

Jake Gyllenhaal Eyes Tribeca Townhouse

The Real DealMay 15, 2014

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal checked out a landmarked Tribeca townhouse worth $3.8 million.


The three-story, 19th-century house at 37 Harrison Street has been off the market for at least four decades. CORE brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon, of reality show “Selling New York,” have the listing.


The Federal-style home features three bedrooms, six wood-burning fireplaces and a private garden. In December, Gyllenhaal looked at a two-bedroom penthouse at 65 Thompson Street with an asking price of $3.55 million, as previously reported.

In the News: Jake Gyllenhaal, House Hunter

Tribeca CitizenMay 15, 2014

••• “The headquarters of the Tribeca Film Festival [13-17 Laight] is being shopped around for $105 million, after trading hands for just $56 million at the end of 2012 [....] The building is ripe for conversion to luxury condominiums. Several of the commercial leases at the building are set to expire in 2014 and 2015, according to CoStar Group, which would allow the building to be repositioned. The structure has nine residential units on the upper floors, all but one of them market-rate. The property also comes with unused air rights which could allow for the construction of more units.” Any bets on whether the film festival offices stay based in Tribeca? —The Real Deal


••• “President Obama on Thursday dedicated the long-awaited museum commemorating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, with a mournful elegy to the victims, a stirring tribute to the heroes and a firm resolve to never let terrorists shatter the spirit of America.” —New York Times


••• “Like many people who were in any proximity to the events of Sept. 11, the artist Spencer Finch often thought later about the color of the sky that day, the kind of crystalline blue that pilots and meteorologists call ‘severe clear.’ And when he was chosen more than two years ago to create the only work of art commissioned for the National September 11 Memorial Museum, he knew that the sky—or more accurately its continued existence in collective memory—would be his subject.” —New York Times


••• “The original program for Thursday morning’s September 11 Museum dedication ceremony said that Christie’s remarks would be followed by an Idina Menzel performance of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ which would have been hilarious, if not entirely appropriate for such a solemn occasion. But just before the event, a museum spokesperson announced that Menzel was sick, so Broadway singer LaChanze did ‘Amazing Grace’ instead.” —Daily Intel


••• Got half a cup of garlic confit sitting around? Make Distilled‘s roasted cauliflower. —amNewYork


••• “A bearded, ponytailed Jake Gyllenhaal [...] was part of a crowd that lined up around the block in the rain one recent Sunday to get inside a Tribeca open house for a $3.75 million landmarked townhouse at 37 Harrison.” —New York Post


••• Ferry horns still driving Battery Park City residents insane. —Crain’s


••• Forgotten New York muses about Fountain Pen Hospital.

Jake Gyllenhaal Eyes $3.75M Townhouse

New York PostMay 14, 2014

A bearded, ponytailed Jake Gyllenhaal, star of the upcoming boxing drama “Southpaw,” was part of a crowd that lined up around the block in the rain one recent Sunday to get inside a TriBeCa open house for a $3.75 million landmarked townhouse at 37 Harrison St. It’s the first time the 21-foot-wide, three-story home — built in 1828 — has been up for sale in more than 40 years.


The corner brick, three-bedroom, Federal-style home — set on a charming cobblestone street — has six woodburning fireplaces and a private garden, along with an English basement with exposed stone walls, front and rear entrances and high ceilings with exposed beams.


The listing brokers are CORE’s Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon, also stars of HGTV’s “Selling New York.”

Have You Heard ...

Real Estate WeeklyMay 14, 2014

CORE Brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon are listing a rare Wilson Hunt House at 37 Harrison Street.


Available for the first time in over 40 years, the house is a three-story, currently configured with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an English basement.


It's 21 ft. wide and has front and rear entrances. Constructed in brick in a Flemish bond patter, it is considered one of the city's finest examples of Federal Style.


Built in 1828 and landmarked in 1969, the Wilson Hut House is one of a group of nine Federal houses on a site that was once the farm of Annetje Jans, to whom it was granted in 1636 by Dutch Director General, Van Twiller.


Today, the house's private garden adjoins an enclave of similarly designed houses on the cobblestone street connected by their historical pedigree and unlikely survival.

Everything You Need To Know About One57, New York City’s Most Buzz-Worthy Condo

Business InsiderMay 12, 2014

Gary Barnett’s One57 is the most talked-about residential project to hit the city since 15 Central Park West.


But while it may be providing juicy, of-the-moment fodder for the industry, the land for the 90-story skyscraper took a decade for Barnett and his team at Extell Development Company to assemble.


The long process was worth the wait for him. Barnett reportedly had to put up only 10 percent of the $700 million equity investment for the $1.4 billion tower, which is located on West 57th Street overlooking Central Park. (He convinced two Abu Dhabi–based investment funds, Aabar Investments and Tasameem Real Estate Company, to cough up the rest.) Extell and its partners are expected to gross about $2 billion in sales from the project, according to news reports.


This month, The Real Deal took a close-up look at the glassy behemoth — from its 10 closed sales to its other notable, in-contract deals. We also reviewed amendments that Extell recently filed with the state Attorney General’s office that detail some of the quirky rules that the building’s owners, wealthy and powerful as they may be, will be required to follow, and outlined the building’s operating budget and revenue intake. Needless to say, the tower shouldn’t be hurting for cash if enough owners pony up for storage bins, some of which are asking a stratospheric $4,000 per square foot.


And despite controversy along the way, which has played out in 19 civil suits against the building, the mega-project comes with outsized expectations and many unconventional flourishes. Read on for a look.


NYC’S priciest storage bins?


Deeded underground parking and maid’s quarters are old news; these days the latest “extra” up for purchase in New York’s priciest condos may be the least sexy: storage bins. At One57, there are 21 of them up for grabs, but those who need the subterranean space to stash away their bric-à-brac can expect to pay big. One57 is asking $216,000, or about $4,000 a square foot for a 54-square-foot bin, according to a recent amendment that Extell filed with the AG.


As a point of comparison, that price rivals the average per-square-foot price of a condo at Jared Kushner’s Puck Building penthouses at 295 Lafayette Street.


“I’ve never seen that at any other buildings,” said CORE’s Emily Beare, one of the city’s top luxury brokers. “Usually, buildings of that caliber would include a storage unit with the apartment.”


Three of the 30-square-foot storage bins are asking $110,000 each, or about $3,667 per square foot. In comparison, similarly sized bins at 15 CPW go for about $35,000.


Policing the pets


One57 residents are permitted no more than two “orderly domestic” pets, such as dogs, cats, caged birds and aquarium fish. And while many buildings have tight security for guests, One57 will have the same for Fido. According to the building’s bylaws, residents will be required to give the board a photograph of their pets. And owners’ furry friends cannot have visitors — non-resident pets are animalia non grata.


But Beare said that’s par for the course at high-end buildings these days and that some white-glove co-ops take their pet surveillance a step further. “Some co-ops even have ‘pet interviews,’ where a buyer’s pet has to meet the board,” she said.


That’s not the only area that the board has a say in. Buyers who wish to get into the holiday spirit might want to buy elsewhere. The building does not allow decorative lights for those who wish to deck the halls — or their own windows — for the holidays. In fact, even curtains and blinds in individual units must be approved by the board.


But these types of rules are not unique in the residential trophy tower world: 15 CPW has similar restrictions on window decorations. And the rule has not deterred buyers.


One57’s budget — revealed


Extell estimates that the building will generate $8.25 million in its first year of operations — which started on July 1. The biggest contributors to that income are projected to be residential common charges, which should come to an estimated $7.45 million, according to filings with the AG’s office. Hotel common charges should tack on another $775,000.


By comparison, during 15 CPW’s first year, the projected common charges were about $6.6 million, according to that building’s offering plan. That means that residents at the 94-unit One57 will pay a far heftier sum, on average, than their counterparts at 15 CPW, which has 202 units.


On the expenses front, One57 has earmarked $2.5 million just for heat and hot water, perhaps with the expectation that residents will be using their Tuscan marble tubs to take long baths. The tower will also dish out about $1.57 million to its staff for salaries, wages and benefits.


And the building will spend $1.43 million on electricity, and nearly $1 million on “services and supplies,” which may, at least partly, account for the cost of cleaning One57’s 8,400 windows to ensure pristine views.



Tribeca’s 93 Worth Throws a Jazzy Penthouse Launch

Buzz Buzz HomeMay 09, 2014
As Fergie would say, “A little party never killed nobody,” so enjoy these shots from 93 Worth‘s penthouse launch earlier this week.

The 92-unit development by IGI USA is 95 percent sold, fetching an average price per square foot of $1,900. The penthouses are priced from $7.5 million to $10 million.

A former textile factory built in 1924, the building was converted into loft apartments by ODA Architecture. Interiors have original exposed steel columns, white oak plank floors, solid wood doors, seven-foot windows and hand-finished patina brass fixtures.

The model unit at Penthouse 3, styled by interior designer Sharon Blaustein of B Interior, features furniture by Poliform. According to building reps, about 400 guests attended the event produced by Apsley Designs. On tap for the night: croquet, a vintage photo booth and post-sundown, a projection of The Great Gatsby on the terrace (when Leo DiCaprio isn’t gracing the screen, the penthouse also enjoys views of the Empire State Building to the north and One World Trade Center to the south).

The vaulted lobby has perforated Corian panels inspired by Tribeca’s historic textile industry. Amenities include a 24-hour concierge, panoramic rooftop with a pergola and kitchen station, gym, children’s playroom, pet wash, bicycle storage and available private storage.

CORE is marketing the property.

Photos below by Mina Magda/

Have You Heard

Real Estate WeeklyMay 09, 2014
Esther Muller has lined up a Who’s Who of real estate for her Academy for Continuing Education three-day Spring Conference May 12, 16 and 19.

Howard Lorber, chairman of Douglas Elliman, Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon, stars of HGTV’s Selling New York, Jim Gricar, president of Halstead Property, and Steve Malone, president of the Horse & Carriage Association of NYC, are just a few of this year’s presenters.

Attendance at the event qualifies for 22.5 hours of DOS-approved credit to renew your license, including the required three credit hours of Fair Housing and Human Rights presented by Jerry Feeney.

The conference takes place at the New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South. To register, call Edreana at 212-262-2662, email or go to

CORE Does it Miles Better

Real Estate WeeklyMay 09, 2014
One Museum Mile, the new residential condominium located at 1280 Fifth Avenue on Central Park in Manhattan, is now 100 percent closed or in contract, announced CORE, the exclusive sales and marketing firm for the building.

“We are very pleased with the success of One Museum Mile,” stated Tom Postilio, CORE’s director of sales for One Museum Mile. “Buyers have recognized the building’s overall value and exceptional quality of the amenities, design and finishes, as well as its prestigious Fifth Avenue location with sweeping Central Park vistas.”

The 115 residential interiors at One Museum Mile were created by Andre Kikoski, who also designed the award-winning restaurant The Wright at the Guggenheim.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP, served as design architect for the building. SLCE Architects served as architect-of-record.

Manhattan-based real estate private equity firm Brickman is the developer of One Museum Mile. Brickman is 100 percent owned by its principals Bruce Brickman and Kathleen Corton.

Sold Out in a Year

Real Estate WeeklyMay 09, 2014
Following the sale of the 20th floor penthouse, Victor Homes and CORE announced the completion of sales at 241 Fifth.

The building includes 46 condos designed by Eran Chen of ODA-Architecture and built by Triton Construction Company.

Located in the newly branded NoMad district on Fifth Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, 241 Fifth was one of the first among a growing number of new developments in the neighborhood.

“Since Victor Homes broke ground at 241 Fifth, the NoMad district has evolved into a coveted residential neighborhood in a once-ignored area of Manhattan,” said Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, exclusive sales and marketing firm for 241 Fifth.

“Closing sales in exactly one year is a testament to demand for this untapped neighborhood combined with beautiful, modern design.”

Prices ranged from $820,000 for a one bedroom to nearly $10 million for the 20th floor penthouse, commanding a building average of $2,000 psf.”

“This is perhaps the first project in the current new development cycle to be truly sold out within one year with all units fully closed in downtown New York City,” noted Doron Zwickel, director of sales, 241 Fifth.

Posh Digs Double Up on Master Beds, His-and-Her Baths

The Real DealMay 08, 2014
In a city where more is almost always more, residential developers are doubling up on their master suite offerings in new developments.

Such requests come from varied types of buyers, brokers told the New York Post, from mothers and daughters in need of space to couples with competing work schedules. Walker Tower offered four condominiums with double master suites, which were quickly snapped up at the full $12 million and $13 million asking prices, and Manhattan House at 200 East 66th Street configured double master suites out of what were previously side-by-side apartments.

“The surging demand from our clients [for double master suites] has been very pronounced,” Tom Postilio of CORE, which represents a townhouse property on East 63rd Street with two master bedrooms, told the Post. “It appears as if this growing trend will soon become mainstream, as the way we co-habitate continues to evolve.”

Hot on the heels of the double master trend is a rising interest in more his-and-her bathrooms, the Post reported. Macklowe Properties created such large bathroom suites in the forthcoming 737 Park Avenue, and Jared Kushner’s Puck building holds six new loft-like penthouses with his-and-her bathrooms in each master suite.

“It never even occurred to us not to do dual master bathrooms,” Kushner told the Post. “We approached the design of this project as if we were building six custom, one-off private homes.”

Previewing the Penthouses of Tribeca's ODA-Designed 93 Worth

CurbedMay 08, 2014
Event: Launch of the penthouse apartments at 93 Worth

In the house: The development team, project architects from ODA Architecture, Brokers, PR people, and those who were there because "it's New York City and it's a party."

Menu: Full bar with the specialty cocktails of the evening being a lemon, ginger, and vodka number and an Aperol spritz. Food included many tiny, but tasty hors d'oeuvres including crab cakes, spicy hamburgers, vegetable egg rolls, and steak on toast. Then the desserts were equally tiny, but plentiful and included brownies and a variety of macaroons.

Overheard: One guest sitting on the bed in the master bedroom speaking of, uh, a less than satisfying solo experience earlier in the day. Another guest talking to Izaki Group Investments CEO Eldad Blaustein complimenting him on how penthouse 3 was staged with full-size furniture.

Located between Broadway and Church streets in Tribeca, 93 Worth Street is a building with a rich history. It was designed and built in 1925 by the architectural firm of Jardine, Hills & Murdock, and it started life as the Knitgoods Building, a loft space for the textile industry. It spent some time as office space for the city Health Dept. before IGI-US's Blaustein purchased it in 2010 and began converting it to condos. The 92-unit building launched in late 2012 (and has seen very strong sales), and Wednesday night's event was to launch the seven penthouses, which are spread across five floors that were added to the top of the building.

Grammar Rules in Real Estate

The Wall Street JournalMay 08, 2014
Real-estate agents, better take out that red pen.

An analysis of listings priced at $1 million and up shows that "perfect" listings—written in full sentences without spelling or grammatical errors—sell three days faster and are 10% more likely to sell for more than their list price than listings overall.

On the flip side, listings riddled with technical errors—misspellings, incorrect homonyms, incomplete sentences, among others—log the most median days on the market before selling and have the lowest percentage of homes that sell over list price. The analysis, conducted by Redfin, a national real-estate brokerage, and Grammarly, an online proofreading application, examined spelling errors and other grammatical red flags in 106,850 luxury listings in 52 metro areas in 2013.

For an industry without a universal stylebook, real-estate agents vary greatly in their listing descriptions. While some brokerages have created internal guidelines, much of the actual writing is still left up to the discretion of listing agents.
"It's ubiquitous in this business. Bad grammar, misspellings, stray commas, missing periods—it's all part of listing descriptions," says Mickey Conlon, associate real-estate broker with Core in New York.

Good spelling and grammar may indicate the agent is attentive to other details as well, like pricing the home correctly and weighing offers, says Karen Krupsaw, vice president of real-estate operations at Redfin.

"You can get a sense of what the transaction will be like based on the listing description. If it's exceptionally sloppy, then it's a warning sign of a potentially sloppy transaction," Mr. Conlon says.

Aside from errors, the analysis also looked at style preferences in listings. One of the most common: phrases written in all-capital letters. These listings saw the least success in terms of sale price, with only 5.6% of homes selling above list price. The practice is most common in Las Vegas, where 28.5% of listings were written in all capital letters in 2013, compared with 8.4% of listings nationwide.
Common abbreviations, like "bdrm" for "bedroom," and short phrases fared well by comparison.

Amy Williams, a broker with Century 21 Real Estate Consultants in Charlotte, N.C., says abbreviations are necessary in multiple-listing services with low character limits. "That's why we see people resort to abbreviations, to fit everything in," says Ms. Williams, adding that her MLS caps listing descriptions at 500 characters.

Last year, Francine Chalmé Meyberg, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Encino, Calif., had a $1.499 million listing for a five-bedroom home in Bell Canyon. In addition to the home's many features, the listing boasted a kitchen "updated w/ redone cab. & recs. lit., & opens to the the bk. area & lg. fam. rm. w/ fipl. & access to the majestic outside." Her cramming paid off. She sold the property within months of listing for $1.425 million.

NoMad in Demand: Midtown Meets Downtown

Epoch TimesMay 08, 2014
NoMad, or “North of Madison Square Park,” is a comparatively new neighborhood designation spanning from 23d Street to 34th Street that has seen a boom of residential in the last couple of years.

Once just an area to pass through, the neighborhood has over 500-units in the pipeline from a variety of projects, including condo-conversions and high rises in the historic district.

It started with the development of 241 Fifth, says Shaun Osher, CEO of real estate brokerage CORE.

Victor Homes had acquired a four-story commercial building originally intended to be a hotel in 2011, and laid plans for the 46-unit condo building. Sales opened one year ago, and the building has since completely sold out.

“No one expected this frenzy,” said Doron Zwickel, director of sales at 241 Fifth. Now, he says, restaurants are opening every few weeks and retail is coming in. The building had been about 70 percent sold in just half a year, and the group raised the unit prices by 30 percent from the original listings.

“It always had the potential,” Zwickel says of NoMad. “It was built a hundred years ago, and the architecture is already there, the pre-war buildings.”

The buyers tend to be people already living in the neighborhood looking to upgrade or renters from other neighborhoods in Manhattan, but international investors have been picking up units as well.

“It’s a very interesting combination,” Zwickel said. “A lot of them are people who want to live in Midtown, but still want that Downtown cool.”

Twice is Nice as NYC Apartments Double Up on Master Suites

New York PostMay 07, 2014
As with many things in life, bigger is better — especially when it comes to Manhattan real estate. With developers building increasingly larger apartments to satisfy the desires of current buyers, master bedrooms and bathrooms are being created in twos. Why the growing demand for two of everything? Reasons can be as varied as the buyers themselves — from competing work schedules of couples to keeping a mother-daughter real estate plan more equal. Here are several buildings making things twice as nice for New Yorkers.

Master suites

“The surging demand from our clients [for double master suites] has been very pronounced,” says Tom Postilio of CORE, which represents an East 63rd Street townhouse with two master bedrooms. “It appears as if this growing trend will soon become mainstream, as the way we co-habitate continues to evolve.”

Take, for example, two sets of visitors to the Walker Tower sales center last spring — one a couple, another a mother and daughter — both looking to buy residences with two master suites. In the first case, the second master gave a couple the luxury to escape to their own private realms while still living very much together. For the latter, another master allowed the adult daughter personal space while still being able to live under her mother’s roof.

The request for dual masters required some replanning by the project’s developers. “At the time we had already designed and commenced construction,” says Elliott Joseph, a principal of Property Markets Group which developed Walker Tower, “but the overwhelming demand for larger residences inspired our team to combine units.” Four condos with double masters were created and promptly snapped up by buyers at the full $12 million to $13 million asking price — one went to the mother-daughter client, another to the couple.

Tricia Hayes Cole, the executive marketing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, has noticed that Upper East Side apartment-hunters, in particular, are hungry for two bedrooms. “Some buyers said they wanted to use both suites; others planned to use the second master suite for guests who will have an equally luxurious experience,” explains Cole.

Cole led many clients to Manhattan House, on East 66th Street: “Because it’s a conversion, the developer has the ability to make planning decisions in real time, and envisioned this new layout to meet that demand.”

That layout can be found in a new three-bedroom crafted from what were previously separate side-by-side apartments. The configuration features two master suites with spa-like bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers. It’s on the market for $6.125 million.

Across from the UN, the Foster + Partners-designed 50 United Nations Plaza will feature seven full-floor, five-bedroom penthouses on floors 35 through 41. Each just-under-6,000-square-foot unit offers double master suites at 400- to 450-square-feet a pop — and the units also include pairs of master bathrooms. Marketed and sold through Zeckendorf Marketing, prices begin at $22.25 million.

“Today’s lifestyle for many couples is complex, with business travel and schedules often interrupting normal daily routines,” says Jill Mangone, Director of Sales, Zeckendorf Marketing. “[50 UN Plaza’s] penthouses afford these buyers the luxury of maintaining individual personal routines without disrupting the routine of their spouse or partner.”

And it looks like the demand won’t be confined solely to luxury buildings: “The growing popularity of the double master-suite layout could very well transition from an emerging trend to one that is mainstream in the not too distant future,” notes Jonathan Miller, president of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Even long-standing properties are embracing double-masters: At the Prasada at 21 E. 90th St., a unit with a pair of master suites just hit the market for $2.69 million through Halstead.

Master bathrooms

Developers have taken the hint and also started adding more his-and-her bathrooms — but this is not as simple as adding a second sink. Take 737 Park Ave., where a third of its units feature an enormous, symmetrical bathroom for two. Along with room-long vanities on opposite walls, there’s a pair of glass-enclosed water closets on each side of a double-sized, glass-enclosed shower.

The unusual bathroom set-up reflects the desires of project developers, Macklowe Properties, to imbue 737 Park Ave. with the types of luxurious amenities typical of prime buildings across the Upper East Side.

“When it was built in 1940, 737 Park originally had 102 units; we’ve reduced that to 60 condos to fulfill today’s desire for larger, more modern apartments,” says Jarrett White, vice-president of marketing and sales for Macklowe Properties. “As part of this process we’ve added features more typically found in private homes … amenities like these large bathroom suites.”

Even more elaborate double bathrooms can be found at SoHo’s Puck Building. Its six new loft-like penthouses feature his-and-her bathrooms within each master suite. The massive bathrooms boast polished travertine marble, built-in linen storage/hampers, radiant-heat floors and illuminated Seura medicine cabinets with imbedded 19-inch TVs mounted above lacquer and nickel vanities. Hers has an Urban Archeology freestanding Mercer stainless-steel tub and glass-enclosed rain shower; his has a steam/rain shower with a bench and teak backrest.

Puck Building developer Jared Kushner says the penthouses’ grand scale made them a natural fit for trophy bathrooms. “It never even occurred to us not to do dual master bathrooms,” he says.

“With only six penthouses, we were able to create perfect floor plans and not be limited by space constraints. We approached the design of this project as if we were building six custom, one-off private homes.” Marketed by Douglas Elliman, a three-bedroom Puck penthouse begins at $21 million.

Also downtown, an 18th-century apartment building at 79 Horatio St. is being redesigned as a 25-foot-wide, five-bedroom townhouse priced at $22.5 million with Douglas Elliman.

The project’s pièce de résistance will be its full-floor master suite with marble his-and-her bathrooms with antique glass walls, chandeliers and radiant-heat floors. The bathrooms are the size of some studio apartments — hers at some 350 square feet; his at over 250 square feet, says Thomas Ryan, senior vice president at Greystone Properties, which is developing the project. The “hers” tub is so large it had to be hoisted via crane into place.

Grey estimates the bathrooms will cost upwards of six figures to complete. But ultimately the added space will deliver what top-market clients now crave most — space, privacy and luxury.

“There’s no doubt couples want to be together in the bedroom,” Grey says, “but when it comes to getting ready to go out or some extra pampering, our clients want some room for themselves.”

Co-op of the Day: 155 Henry Street, #2GH

BrownstonerMay 07, 2014
This second-floor apartment at 155 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights recently came on the market with an asking price of $1,750,000. There are two full-sized bedrooms and a third smaller one off the dining room that would really work better as a study. Someone clearly spent some dough renovating this place. Personally we wish they’d kept more of a prewar feel but it’s certainly a very attractive pad.

Park-Front Locales Remain NYC’s Most Valuable Properties

New York PostMay 07, 2014

In most cities, the valuable real estate is along the water.


But New York is a big global exception — our priciest real estate is along our parks.


 “We’re inward looking,” says Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “We like to look to the neighborhoods. While there’s certainly a premium to [river views] the greater premium is being in close proximity to a park.”


On the Upper East Side, Miller says that there’s a 5 to 10 percent premium on being between Madison and Fifth — a block from Central Park — than one block east.


Other real estate pros suggest that number might be too low when you account for other factors.


“Depending on the park, the apartment and the views it can be as much as double,” says Ziel Feldman, founder of HFZ Capital, which has built along Central Park, the High Line and other parks. “But [it’s at least] in excess of 20, 25 percent.”


And if you were to tick off many of the most desirable neighborhoods — Gramercy, West Chelsea, the Upper West Side — with few exceptions they have some great green spots anchoring the neighborhood.


 “What’s interesting,” says Beth Fisher, senior managing director for Corcoran Sunshine, “is that what constitutes the perfect park-front location has really changed.”


Indeed, there are old parks, new parks, private parks, elevated parks and riverfront parks. And the real estate on their periphery is some of the city’s most luxe and desirable.


These are eight of our favorites.

Victor Homes’ NoMad Condo Building Sells Out

The Real DealMay 05, 2014
All 46 units at Victor Homes’ 20-story NoMad condominium building at 241 Fifth have been sold. The three-bedroom penthouse was the last apartment to close in the building.

Half of the condos were in contract within two months of sales launching in April 2013. Prices ranged from $820,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $10 million for the penthouse. The latter was sold at the price of $2,600 per square foot.

CORE, which handled marketing for One Museum Mile, which also recently sold out, marketed the building.

The 3,200-square-foot ground-floor retail space, meanwhile, is vacant. Midtown-based developer and brokerage JTRE bought it for $6.8 million last month, as The Real Deal reported.

Good Morning New York Real Estate

Voice AmericaMay 05, 2014
Top Manhattan Brokers handle Hot Topics in a round table discussion.

Guests: Parul Brahmbhatt - CORE Group Real Estate, Justyna Czekaj - Spire Residential, Rachel Altschuler - Douglas Elliman, Nile Lundgren - Dallien Realty, JP Smith - BLU Realty Group, Debra Hoffman - Town Residential

Ten Questions with Real Estate Brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon

WorthlyMay 05, 2014
With residential sales volume totaling more than $1.5 billion, Postilio & Conlon were named CORE’s top-producers in 2013, propelling Shaun Osher & Jack Cayre’s firm to secure the #1 Brokerage spot for the third year in a row. They have been credited with breaking pricing records in several of Manhattan’s most closely watched neighborhoods, which has made CORE’s “Dream Team” the top-pick for developers looking to achieve the same results for their projects. With the successful $200 million sellout of Robert A. M. Stern’s One Museum Mile at 1280 Fifth Avenue, the record price per square foot achieved in the neighborhood was twice-shattered, reigniting interest in future new development around Upper Carnegie Hill and East Harlem. Within the past several months, they have announced the achievement of similar results in Midtown and NoMad, breaking the very pricing records they established the prior year at The Windsor Park, a Rosario Candela conversion at 58th Street, and at Sky House, a 54-story tower on East 29th Street. Postilio & Conlon are stars of HGTV’s reality series, Selling New York, which is now in its eighth season. Famous for catering to a list of celebrity clients that includes Lady Gaga, Barry Manilow, Joan Collins, Michael Feinstein, Jim Carrey and David Sanborn, they have lent their television notoriety to assisting several causes, and most recently hosted the Bailey House Gala & Auction at Chelsea Piers. Both are jurors for the 2014 Architizer A+ Awards, the largest architectural awards program in the world.

We had a chance to ask these two some great questions and they were kind enough to take the time to give us some fantastic answers. Here they are:

Manhattan’s One Museum Mile Reaches Sell-Out

Multi-Housing NewsMay 02, 2014
New York—One Museum Mile, a condo development at 1280 Fifth Ave. on Central Park in Manhattan, has sold all of its units. The 115-unit building, developed by the locally based real estate private equity firm Brickman and designed by A.M. Stern, is atop the Museum for African Art.

Initially called 1280 Fifth Ave., the property was rebranded as One Museum Mile about three years ago, coincident with the revival of the New York for-sale residential market. Since then it has sold units at a faster clip. About two years ago, a three-bedroom unit in the property sold for about $3.56 million, or a new record for the neighborhood of $2,030 per square foot.

Amenities include a 24-hour full-service concierge, landscaped roof terrace, rooftop pool and terrace overlooking Central Park, and a residents’ lounge with fireplace. There’s also a media lounge and card room, children’s playroom, teen game room, formal conference and dining room on Central Park, bicycle room, cold storage in the lobby and private storage.

A 421a tax abatement is in place at the property. 421a is a program (most recently amended in 2013) that offers eligible condo and coop owner-residents in New York a reduction in property taxes, though the specific amount depends on the taxable value of the property.

Condo and coop sales and sales prices have been steadily rising in Manhattan since the worst of the recession ended. According to Douglas Elliman, the average sales price of a condo/coop in the borough was about $1.77 million in the first quarter of 2014, up a whopping 30.9 percent compared with last year. Even so, buyers are buying: in Q1 2014, just over 3,300 for-sale properties traded hands in Manhattan; a year earlier, the total was just over 2,450.

Across the East River: Brooklyn

SCENE MagazineMay 01, 2014
“When I first moved to Brooklyn, you had to beg your friends to get their passports stamped to come here,” jokes Jay Molishever, a licensed broker at Citi Habitats. “Now it is well known this is where the creative people live. Brooklyn is what New York used to be—a city of neighborhoods and human-scaled living.”

Once the cheap alternative to Manhattan, Brooklyn has become known for its rich identity rooted in the arts and culture.

“Now, Brooklyn is a choice and a lifestyle,” says Eric Sidman, a broker at Town. “The value proposition that once existed is almost gone and people are now moving to Brooklyn because they want to.” Ten years ago, Sidman explains, Brooklyn was considerably cheaper than Manhattan and a two-bedroom in Williamsburg would go for the price of a one-bedroom in Manhattan. But the western neighborhoods in Brooklyn, especially those along the water, have become highly desirable and now scale the ranks of Manhattan’s expensive neighborhoods with prices equaling, and in the case of Dumbo surpassing, its counterparts across the river.
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