New York Luxury Condo Prices Rise, But Transactions Drop in Q1: Report

Luxury DailyMay 22, 2014

A quarterly report from CityRealty found that average square foot prices for the top 100 condominiums in New York rose 19.4 percent from the year-ago period.


There were 169 total sales among the examined buildings in Q1, which represents a 7.6 percent drop from the first quarter in 2013. Part of the decline stems from a lack of inventory, and also from incessantly rising prices.


“I don’t see a lot that’s negative about [the luxury market],” said Pete Culliney, director of research and analytics at CityRealty, New York. “The robustness is stronger than the marketplace overall.


“The tight market is pushing down the number of deals that are closing,” he said. “People don’t want to cut their prices.


“We see waves come through, but it all has to do with a new building, or a new conversion coming to the market.”


The CityRealty 100 Report is a quarterly briefing on the 100 top condo buildings in New York City.


Scouting for land

The top sale during this period occurred at One Madison, where a triplex penthouse unit went for $43 million at $6,279 per square foot. At 15 Central Park West, a unit sold for $24 million at $8,693 square feet.


Fifteen Central Park West ranked as the most expensive building overall. Sales at the property averaged $5,944 per square foot. The following most expensive buildings include Time Warner Center, Residences at Mandarin Oriental, One Madison and Superior Ink.


Tribeca, the Flatiron District and the West Village all feature promising properties.


However, as inventory continues to fall, buyers and developers are beginning to consider traditionally overlooked neighborhoods, a trend that will increase and in many ways flatten out the city’s diversity.


Mr. Culliney said that neighborhoods throughout the city are being converted into luxury hot spots. New developments geared toward the ultra-affluent are going up and historic buildings are being transformed to fit the expanding amenity desires of luxury consumers.


Also, the number of units in buildings are shrinking so that developers can reap the maximum price per square foot. A large three bedroom apartment that sells for $7,000 per square foot brings in more than three studio apartments that sell for $2,000 per square foot.


“I think this shows a real fundamental change in the kinds of units that rate coming to market,” Mr. Culliney said.


Many properties are being marketed as ideal for art collectors, with an emphasis placed on capacious galleries, sturdy walls for hanging heavy pieces and outdoor space.


New-age amenities such as vitamin C-infused shower water at 66 E 11th St are also being pitched as differentiating factors.


On the rise

New luxury development projects in the NoMad, north of Madison Square Park, district of Manhattan indicate that the once-overlooked neighborhood is on the rise as other areas become squeezed.


Real estate firm Core recently closed sales for the residential condo 241 Fifth, commanding prices ranging from $820,000 to $10 million. Not to diminish the potential of other neighborhoods in the city, Core also wrapped up sales further up Fifth Avenue for the property One Museum Mile on the same day (see story).


“The level of safety, the diminished level of crime,” Mr. Culliney said. “These are things that add to why New York has become this kind of the market.


“Has it removed some of the gritty feel that everyone loves about the city?” he said. “To a certain degree.”

Swoon-Worthy Luxury Walk-in Closets

Leverage Global PartnersMay 22, 2014

For true clothes lovers, a walk-in closet is a luxurious necessity. It’s a home for your beloved belongings. It can even be your inspiration for how you want to present yourself for the day.


Just in time for spring-cleaning and your latest wardrobe update, we’ve gathered several ultra luxe walk-in closets from our Leverage Global Partners. Picture your clothes hanging here. Get ready to swoon.

Jake Gyllenhaal Checked Out $3.75 Million New York City Townhouse

Realty TodayMay 21, 2014

Guess who was home-hunting this past Sunday? Jake Gyllenhaal!


The "Prince of Persia" actor was spotted taking a look at a townhouse in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.


The New York Post first reported seeing the actor at an open house for the $3.75 million townhouse at 37 Harrison Street.


Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon of Core Group Marketing are representing the four-level landmarked home.


Floor plans of the residence show that the entrance of the house opens into the main level's large living plus dining room. There is an eat-in kitchen on the level and a backyard garden too.


The upper level of the house is accessed through a flight of staircase. The level has two bedrooms with huge walk-in closets. The master suite takes up the entire top floor of the townhouse.


There is a basement level below the main floor that offers ample storage space. It can be used as an office too.


Interiors of the home feature tiled and hardwood flooring, French windows and wooden doors along with drywall and beamed ceilings.


The listing describes the place as, "architecturally rich and rare house at 37 Harrison Street (originally 327 Washington Street) retains a remarkable abundance of its original detail."


The listing also notes the home's rich history.


"Built in 1828 and landmarked in 1969, the Wilson Hunt House is one of a group of nine Federal houses whose scale and profile exist nowhere else in New York City. Located on a site that was once the well-known farm of Annetje Jans, to whom it was granted in 1636 by Dutch Director General, Van Twiller, the area surrounding the house has evolved a bit over the last several centuries."


Check out the home here.


According to Curbed, Gyllenhaal has been on the prowl for a new house for about five months now. The "Source Code" actor was spotted taking a look at another penthouse on 65 Thompson Street in West Village sometime in December last year. The home was listed for $3.5 million and the website speculates that Gyllenhaal's budget maybe something in the range of $3.5 million to $4 million.


Gyllenhaal was spotted sporting a bearded and ponytailed look at the open house. That is his get-up for his upcoming flick "Southpaw," which will be shot in Pittsburgh. The actor has already shot in the area while filming "Love and other Drugs."


Listing of the Day: 35-45 79th Street, #3D

Brownstoner QueensMay 20, 2014

This two-bedroom unit at Jackson Heights’ Hampshire House is being offered as both a co-op and a rental. As a co-op, it’s priced at $395,000 with a monthly maintenance of $831. As a rental it’s priced at $2,395 a month. Here’s the low down: prewar details like hardwood floors and built-ins, a renovated open kitchen, and a private garden in the building. It’s a sponsor unit so no board approval is required. Overall, it looks like quite a nice space. What do you make of those prices?

Home Shopping…The Old Fashioned Way

Real Estate WeeklyMay 20, 2014

CORE’s Chelsea office is hard to overlook. Straddling the corner of Seventh Avenue and 18th Street, it sits behind floor-to-ceiling glass windows that showcase the brokerage’s latest listings on classic print-outs. Through the windows, passers-by can see couches in the waiting area and photos of brownstone walk-ups on the walls.


Everything about the office is designed to draw people’s attention – with some success. CORE broker Steve Snider said pedestrians often stop to look at the listings and end up walking in, leading to an average of 25 to 30 additional clients each week. This year alone, Snider has won $5 million in listings from walk-ins.


“We pay a ridiculously high amount of rent, but we also get a tremendous amount of people,” he said.


His colleague Paul Johansen added that he gets as much as 90 percent of his business from walk-in clients.


There is no doubt that CORE’s Chelsea office is successful. But does it have a future?


A number of observers argue that brokerage storefronts are a dying breed in the internet age.


As more and more information on listings is brought online, the argument goes, brokerage storefronts will eventually share the fate of book- or CD-stores and become redundant.


Somewhat belatedly, the internet has started to transform the brokerage business. Online listing databases like Craigslist, Streeteasy and Trulia have been growing rapidly over the past decade, taking business away from traditional brokerage offices. The city’s newest brokerage, Urban Compass, chose to showcase its listings exclusively online and doesn’t have a single storefront.


And yet the brokerage storefront has proved to be a remarkably resilient model. REBNY doesn’t track their total number in New York City, but reckons it “probably increased” over the past years. Whenever firms enter an emerging neighborhood, they still usually start by opening a retail office there: just two months ago, Halstead announced it would open its first storefront in Bed-Stuy.


If anything, retail storefronts seem to have become more important for New York City’s brokerages in recent years.

Aleksandra Scepanovic, who heads the mid-sized Brooklyn brokerage Ideal Properties Group, believes brokerage storefronts are thriving because people tend to prefer face-to-face contact when it comes to real estate.


“You can read books or listen to music online, but you can’t live in an apartment on the internet,” she said. “You have a physical need for physical space, and you can’t resolve that physical need merely by browsing through the internet.”


“Looking for a place to call your home is a very emotional and face-to-face process. Some clients prefer to initiate human contact sooner rather than later.”


Scepanovic said walk-ins at the brokerage’s four storefronts make up about 20 percent of its new clients. Even if clients initiate contact online, they often still prefer to then meet up in the office.


Another reason why brokerages continue to bank on storefronts is the high retention rates they generate.


Scepanovic estimates 68 to 72 percent of people who walk into one of Ideal Properties Group’s storefronts to inquire about a listing or offer one end up becoming clients – compared to a mere 43 percent of people who inquire online or via telephone.


Douglas Elliman broker Mark Menendez, who works in the firm’s Tribeca office, puts its walk-in retention rate somewhat lower at 40 to 50 percent. But he agreed that storefronts increase the likelihood of browsers becoming customers.


“When you meet face-to-face it’s a lot more personable. There’s a lot more commitment from both sides, and you can establish a connection,” he said. “When you have someone in front of you, people tend to open up a lot more.”


While clients’ preferences for face-to-face contact and high retention rates seem to spell a bright future for brokerage storefronts in New York City, other factors give reason for pessimism.


For one, clients’ preferences can change. Buyers or renters may crave a broker’s handshake now, but if they become more accustomed to online listings and 3D space-viewing technology gains ground over the coming years, more people could start viewing apartments as something that can be bought or rented online.


Moreover, rising retail rents in New York City are already threatening to make many brokerage storefronts unprofitable.


“I think if retail rents keep going where they are going it will be very hard for brokerages to justify retail offices,” said Gary Malin, President of brokerage Citi Habitats. “Half the office is empty all the time because people are out. To spend that amount of money for retail rents if people don’t use them is tough.”


Citi Habitats recently merged two Upper West Side storefront offices, and its new headquarters will be on the fifth floor of 665 Broadway with no retail component.


“As all our retail leases come up for renewal, we will do a thorough analysis, and probably move some of them upstairs,” Malin said, adding that offices on higher floors tend to be significantly cheaper than retail spaces.


The high cost of retail storefronts was a main reason why Urban Compass chose to make do without them. Gordon Golub, Urban Compass’ chief residential real estate officer (and Citi Habitats veteran), said the money saved on storefronts allowed the brokerage to invest heavily in its online technology.


But despite Urban Compass’ focus on online listings, Golub dismissed the notion that brokerage storefronts could disappear anytime soon.


“I would expect (storefronts) to continue being important, and I wouldn’t rule out that at some point in our business plan we may decide there is a reason to have some sort of retail presence,” he said.


And while Citi Habitats is consolidating, other brokerages are adding retail space. Two of the city’s three largest brokerages – Halstead and Douglas Elliman – said they increased the number of storefronts in recent years. Corcoran declined to comment.


Mid-sized brokerage Warburg Realty also added retail space recently, and has plans for new storefronts in Brooklyn. Sales managers Karen Gastiaburo and Jason Haber said walk-ins are a “significant piece” of Warburg’s new client business.


As internet technology continues to make inroads into residential brokerage, retail is likely to decline in importance. But if the current trend is any indication, brokerage storefronts won’t disappear anytime soon.

Home Shopping … The Old Fashioned Way

Real Estate WeeklyMay 20, 2014

CORE’s Chelsea office is hard to overlook. Straddling the corner of Seventh Avenue and 18th Street, it sits behind floor-to-ceiling glass windows that showcase the brokerage’s latest listings on classic print-outs. Through the windows, passers-by can see couches in the waiting area and photos of brownstone walk-ups on the walls.

Everything about the office is designed to draw people’s attention – with some success. CORE broker Steve Snider said pedestrians often stop to look at the listings and end up walking in, leading to an average of 25 to 30 additional clients each week. This year alone, Snider has won $5 million in listings from walk-ins.

“We pay a ridiculously high amount of rent, but we also get a tremendous amount of people,” he said.

His colleague Paul Johansen added that he gets as much as 90 percent of his business from walk-in clients.

There is no doubt that CORE’s Chelsea office is successful. But does it have a future?

A number of observers argue that brokerage storefronts are a dying breed in the internet age.

How To Buy Grown-Up Art Without Going Broke (Or Setting Foot In A Gallery)

The Huffington PostMay 19, 2014

Like many decisions in life, buying art is easier when you're young. After all, no one is seriously going to judge you for that "Keep Calm And Carry On" poster you've got adorning your walls when you're barely able to make rent. But once you become a home owner (or tenant) of a certain age, you start to care a little more about what's in your place (and on your walls).


In a recent survey commissioned by online art dealer UGallery, 70 percent of people have never bought artwork -- ever. And 20 percent found it to be the most intimidating shopping experience of all -- more so than shopping for real estate or an expensive car. But while real-deal art collecting does require a certain degree of savvy, simply adorning your walls doesn't. Here are 6 low-stress ways to do it, without setting foot in a gallery... or going broke.

Rental of the Day: 111 South 2nd Street, #GRDN

BrownstonerMay 19, 2014

This one-bedroom garden apartment in south Williamsburg is lovely and has an old-fashioned feel even though it’s completely renovated. There is a 350-square-foot private backyard with a bluestone terrace and a large kitchen with stainless steel counters and appliances. The bathroom is attractively updated as well, and the clawfoot tub, bead board and patterned black and white floor tiles give it an old-timey flavor. Do you think $3,450 a month sounds about right for the location and condition?

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.
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