The Upper East Side's Second Golden Age

Scene MagazineNovember 01, 2013
The very mention of the Upper East Side conjures images of luxury and affluence. Since its rise to prominence in the late 19th century, the area from 59th to 96th Street has been a playground for Manhattan's elite. And today, it's proving more attractive than ever.

Real Estate: Try Before You Buy

FOX NYNovember 01, 2013
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - "Try it before you buy it" is a new trend in real estate. It gives potential buyers a chance to live inside a home before making an offer.

Richard Bost wants to sell his home on the border of the Upper East Side and Spanish Harlem. In order to seal the deal quickly he is trying a new approach: letting potential buyers stay in the home before they decide to buy it.

"We realized this try it before you buy it is a great way to showcase all the great things about the neighborhood and the apartment," he said.

Limor Nesher has been showing homes for almost a decade.

"Basically without the pressure of a broker the buyer can come to the home stay a few hours even stay overnight and just tryout the apartment," Nesher said. She added that it's a great tool for anyone to see what the potential property they want has or doesn't have to offer.

"It could be listening to the noise of the neighborhood or trying out the pressure of the water or what's behind the walls," she said. "Lots of factors that you can't detect in one single showing."

The live-in opportunity doesn't just help the buyer understand the home it can also benefit the seller.

Shira Gavrielov is looking to buy her first apartment in the city. She checked out Bost's Spanish Harlem abode.

The try before you buy program is being tested by select real estate companies in the tri-state. So if you are in the market to buy or sell ask your real estate agent about the program.

Brooklyn's Heights

The Real DealNovember 01, 2013
It’s no secret that Brooklyn has changed dramatically in recent years, with hot new restaurants and an NBA basketball team to boot. These changes have brought significant price increases for real estate, especially now that housing demand is surging in the wake of the real estate downturn.

Indeed, as neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg and Dumbo lure more Manhattanites across the river, Kings County has set a number of new real estate records. This year in particular, the ongoing inventory shortage has pushed Brooklyn prices to new highs, brokers said.

“Since last January, [Brooklyn] prices have certainly escalated because of the lack of product,” said Rhea Cohen, a broker in the Brooklyn Heights office of Brown Harris Stevens. “Most co-ops and condos have been having multiple offers, and are going for higher than their asking prices.”

Of course, even Brooklyn’s record-high prices still represent a significant discount to Manhattan.
And there are key differences between real estate in the two boroughs. In Manhattan, it is the homes near Central Park that command the highest prices, while in Brooklyn, waterfront homes fetch the greatest premium. In addition, the most expensive properties in Manhattan are condos — with some now asking more than $100 million — but historic townhouses are Brooklyn’s priciest housing type.

“The demand for these [Brooklyn townhouse] properties is voracious,” said Doug Bowen, a CORE broker who has worked in Brooklyn for nearly 15 years.

Along with some enclaves in Southern Brooklyn, the Brooklyn neighborhoods closest to Manhattan, like Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights, have historically seen the highest home prices. But as the borough’s popularity grows, emerging neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill are seeing new highs.

“Brooklyn is going through something really interesting,” said Joseph Cohen of Manhattan-based developer East River Properties. “It has incredible demand coming from Manhattan [and] from the suburbs, but basically no supply to speak of, and very little coming on the market. There really is very limited availability.”

This month, The Real Deal took a close-up look at the Brooklyn records that have recently been broken.

Most expensive townhouse

Brooklyn record: $12.5 million

Manhattan record: $53 million

Brooklyn’s highest-priced sales are generally townhouses, spurred by brownstone-loving buyers looking for original crown moldings and more space than they can afford in Manhattan. And with inventory so scarce these days, brokers said prices are climbing faster than usual in prime brownstone neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope.

“The townhouse market is in an uncanny place right now,” Bowen said. “The velocity of price increases — it’s better than I’ve seen in my 15 years in real estate.”

Last January, for example, a seven-bedroom townhouse at 212 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights sold for $11 million, setting a new record for the borough’s priciest home sale. The previous record was the 2009 sale of 2111 East Second Street in Gravesend for $10.26 million.

But only a few months after the Brooklyn Heights sale, the record was shattered again by a townhouse around the corner, at 70 Willow Street. The house, where Truman Capote wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” traded for $12.5 million in March 2012.

There are already a number of listings that could break that new record. The Tracy Mansion at 105 Eighth Avenue in Park Slope is on the market for $15 million. The 50-foot-wide former school is being listed by Halstead Property’s Marc Wisotsky and Jackie Lew. Still, it initially hit the market a year ago priced at $25 million, and has seen two price chops since then.

Also in Park Slope, a seven-bedroom townhouse at 45 Montgomery Place hit the market for $14 million in late September with Douglas Elliman super-broker Raphael De Niro. That’s more than double the $6.05 million sale price the house last traded for in 2006, according to the real estate listings website StreetEasy. Late last month, a six-bedroom townhouse at 177 Pacific Street in Cobble Hill was listed for $16 million, while a gated Mill Basin compound with two houses in it hit the market for $30 million.

And down the block from the Capote house, a six-bedroom home at 104 Willow Street hit the market for $12 million in late August. Halstead’s Cohen, the listing agent, said the property has been shown a few times, but has no offers yet. But she’s hoping that a recent renovation of the historic home will push it into record-breaking territory.

“It was built in 1826 and it still looks like it’s 1826,” she said, “but everything is fresh and new — the piping, the beams.”

Another of the borough’s priciest listings, 2134 Ocean Parkway, hit the market in May 2012 for $14 million. The 10,000-square-foot Gravesend mansion was just price-chopped, however, to $8.9 million.

These prices may be new territory for Brooklyn, but they’re still far below the Manhattan record for the priciest townhouse: The Harkness Mansion at 4 East 75th Street sold for $53 million in 2006.

Most expensive condo

Brooklyn record: $7.8 million

Manhattan record: $88 million

When it comes to condos, the Dumbo waterfront has recently been a hotbed of record-setting prices. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for Dumbo’s waterfront views and close proximity to Manhattan, said Halstead broker Charles Homet, who often works in the neighborhood.

In Dumbo, “nearly every sale we’re doing is breaking records,” Homet said. “We’re all astonished at how the prices keep moving up. We’re still cheaper than Manhattan, but it’s startling to see things trading at $1,500, $1,600 per square foot, when two years ago it was $800, $900 per square foot.”

Dumbo grabbed headlines in 2010, when a 14th-floor, 3,208-square-foot penthouse at new development condo 1 Main Street sold for $7.8 million, or $2,431 per square foot, becoming the highest-priced Brooklyn apartment ever sold.

And right upstairs, 1 Main Street’s famed Clock Tower penthouse is now listed for $18 million, making it the highest-priced condo on the market in Brooklyn.

Visible from the Manhattan Bridge, the three-bedroom triplex penthouse has massive circular windows, floating staircases and an elevator. The 7,000-square-foot apartment is nearly double the size of its record-breaking downstairs neighbor — and that doesn’t even take into account the roof cabana and deck.

The unit has, however, undergone significant price chops since it was originally listed for $25 million three years ago. It’s been priced at $18 million for the last six months, listed by Corcoran’s Aaron Lemma, Frank Castelluccio and Nicholas Hovsepian, who did not respond to requests for comment.

“Eventually, it’ll find the right price and it’ll find a buyer,” Homet said.

However, that price is anyone’s guess.

“The right price is what that right person who wants that triplex will pay,” he said. “It’s completely spectacular, and it’s difficult to value because there’s nothing to compare it to.”

In general, high-end Brooklyn condos can be snapped up for less than Brooklyn townhouses, and far less than all their Manhattan counterparts. In 2011, for example, an $88 million condo deal at 15 Central Park West set the record for the highest-ever Manhattan home sale, and units reportedly in contract for more than $90 million at Extell Development’s One57 may soon usurp that title.

Neighborhood records

Old Prospect Hts. record: $3.3 million

New Prospect Hts. record: $4.3 million

Not surprisingly, many of Brooklyn’s emerging neighborhoods are also seeing record-breaking real estate trades.

“People are being priced out of the more gentrified areas,” said Elliman broker Alex Maroni. “They’ll go from Brooklyn Heights into Prospect Heights into Crown Heights.”

One area that’s seeing rapid price appreciation for that reason is Bedford-Stuyvesant. It’s now common for brownstones in the neighborhood to trade for seven figures, but brokers said the million-dollar mark was, until recently, a psychological barrier for apartment buyers in the area.

But that changed in June, when the 1,559-square-foot penthouse at new construction condo 105 Lexington Avenue sold for $1.04 million — a neighborhood record, according to Maroni, the listing broker.

Maroni attributed the high price to the apartment’s size. The three-bedroom penthouse, which has a roughly 650-square-foot terrace and 13-foot ceilings, is “the size of a small house,” he said, making it “a very good alternative” to a brownstone.

He added that it was only a matter of time before a Bed-Stuy condo passed the million-dollar mark. “It was bound to happen — the market was already there,” he said, noting that in Bed-Stuy these days, “a brownstone is $1.5, even $2 million.”

Another neighborhood that has broken records recently is Prospect Heights. In June, a townhouse at 206 Park Place sold for $4.3 million — the highest price ever paid for a house in the neighborhood. Broker Lynn Donawald of Park Slope-based Donawald Realty had the listing. The seller had owned the four-story house since 1976. According to the listing, the home has a two-level deck built out of Brazilian wood, a koi pond and a solarium.

That deal follows on the heels of the May sale of 166 Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, a house that set a record for the neighborhood when it sold for $3.3 million.

Prospect Heights is one of the few neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the highest-priced home sale on record is a condo, not a townhouse. A 3,524-square-foot penthouse at the Richard Meier-designed new condo 1 Grand Army Plaza sold last year for $5.1 million. The project, directly across from Prospect Park, is one of the few examples of “starchitecture” in Brooklyn.

In Boerum Hill, too, prices are on the verge of never-before-reached heights. The neighborhood’s priciest townhouse sale took place in 2011, when 267 State Street — a new construction townhouse developed by Time Equities as part of its 14 Townhouses project — sold for $3.4 million.

But that 2011 record is on its way to being broken again. Two other townhouse units at the project, 307 State Street and 303 State Street, are both listed for $3.65 million, and are in now in contract, according to the listing agent, the Corcoran Group’s James Cornell. He declined to reveal the sale prices, however.

Meanwhile, an 8,000-square-foot, 26-foot-wide townhouse at 374 Pacific Street is currently listed at $7.25 million by Elliman’s Maroni.

In 2010, the home was in such a state of disrepair that it sold at auction for just $1.335 million. But when it hit the market in June of this year, it had been extensively gut-renovated, with a glass skylight atrium and landscaped backyard.

The property has been discounted from its initial asking price of $7.9 million. But Maroni said he’s already gotten several offers “in record-breaking territory,” though the seller hasn’t yet accepted one.

The house “will definitely be a record-breaker when it sells,” he said. Since it’s “nearly twice as large as the average house, on a price-per-square-foot basis we’re actually not asking that much over average.”

Priciest development site

Brooklyn record: $185 million

Manhattan record: $1 billion-plus

Last year, Two Trees Management bought the high-profile Domino Sugar factory site for $185 million, setting a new record for the borough’s priciest-ever development site, as TRD reported. Two Trees currently has plans to build some 2,284 apartments on the 11-acre site, in addition to converting part of the former factory to office space.

A challenge to that record may come from a lesser-known 3.75-acre industrial site at 462-490 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, which hit the market last spring for $210 million. The Kent Avenue site was approved for a zoning variance in 2010 that allows a developer to build up to 754 apartments, of which 226 must be affordable housing. Eastern Consolidated’s Peter Hauspurg and Gabe Saffioti have the listing.

Over the summer, however, Saffioti told TRD that bids for the parcel had come in closer $150 million.

Even the Domino Sugar site is small potatoes compared to Manhattan development sites, which have traded in the billions. In April, for example, Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group paid more than $1 billion to the MTA for a 99-year ground lease of the Long Island Rail Road train yards on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan, where they will develop 26 acres with a new neighborhood containing over 13 million square feet of office, retail, residential, cultural and hotel space for the Hudson Yards project.

Highest office rent

Brooklyn record: $40s per square foot

Manhattan record: $200 per square foot

Brooklyn is also seeing an uptick in office rents.

When it comes to office leasing, “there’s more money than product” in Brooklyn right now, said director of commercial leasing Chris Havens.

Until recently, office rents in Brooklyn topped out in the mid-$30s per square foot, brokers said.

But in September, retailer West Elm signed a lease to take 150,000 square feet of office and retail space in the Empire Stores conversion project at 55 Water Street in Dumbo, where Midtown Equities is redeveloping seven historic warehouses to create 380,000 square feet of office, restaurant, retail and commercial space. Neighborhood sources said West Elm agreed to a rent of some $40 per square foot, becoming the first large Brooklyn office tenant to pay that amount.

Now that that threshold has been crossed, “40 is the new 30” for Brooklyn office space, Havens said, particularly in buildings with water views.

The director of commercial leasing for Two Trees, Thomas Conoscenti, agreed.

“For a long time, [renting] above $40 a foot was like breaking a four-minute mile,” he said. “This is the year you’re going to see that change. There’s a lot more players in the market; there’s a lot more interest in Brooklyn.”

And the new $40-per-square-foot marker is likely to be a temporary record too.

Jared Kushner, RFR Realty and LIVWRK Holdings recently bought a six-property portfolio of Dumbo buildings from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The developers are planning to revamp the buildings into a campus that includes office space with asking rents running into the mid-$50s per square foot, the Wall Street Journal reported.

That’s still a bargain compared to Manhattan, where a few rare leases have passed the $200-per-square-foot barrier. And this year so far, 50 leasing deals with rents above $100 have been signed
Brooklyn’s tallest building

Brooklyn record: 596 feet

Manhattan record: 1,776 feet

Kings County is also breaking new height barriers. For decades, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower was the tallest building in the borough, standing 512 feet tall. But in 2008, the Brooklyner, a new construction rental tower at 111 Lawrence Street in Downtown Brooklyn broke that record: the 51-story building is 515 feet tall.

But it’s already been surpassed by 388 Bridge Street, a condo/rental hybrid being developed by Avalon Bay, also in Downtown Brooklyn. The building, which topped out this spring, is slated to have 53 stories and be 590 feet tall. Soon after that, the 596-foot-tall Avalon Willoughby West at 88 Willoughby Street will edge past 388 Bridge.

Just as in prices, Brooklyn’s towers are still relatively diminutive compared to Manhattan. The height record in Manhattan is currently held by the nearly completed One World Trade Center at 1,776 feet. The tallest Manhattan building with residences, meanwhile, is the under-construction One57, at 1,004 feet.

Movers and Shakers

The Real DealNovember 01, 2013
Camilla Papale, previously Douglas Elliman’s chief marketing officer, has left the company and relocated to San Francisco, where she’s launching an eponymous branding, design and marketing consultancy firm.

Petula Lucey, formerly a senior director at Tishman Speyer, joined Massey Knakal Realty Services as chief marketing officer. Other recent hires to the firm’s management team include COO Neil Heilberg, executive managing director Todd Korren, executive managing director of New Jersey David Simon, and Michael Lederman, vice president of IT.

Kristin Thomas joined Town Residential as sales director of the newly opened Town West Village. In taking this position, Thomas closed the boutique sales firm she cofounded in 2010, Thomas & Ingram Real Estate, where she served as CEO.

Pennsylvania-based World Wide Land Transfers acquired New York City’s Landmarc National Title Agency. Landmarc’s founders, Marc Lawrence and Jeffrey Lender, will now oversee World Wide’s New York City operations.

Also on the move

Robert Nelson joined the Southampton office of Brown Harris Stevens. For the past 30 years, he has owned a boutique real estate firm in New York City. … Real estate lawyer Steven Klein joined the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as partner. He was previously a partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
… Brian McFarland joined VOA Architecture as a principal. He was previously was an associate principal at Cetra Ruddy.
… Associate real estate broker Doug Eichman moved to CORE from the Corcoran Group.
… Besen Special Assets hired Daniel Kole, previously of Santander Investment Services, as managing director of the firm’s residential whole loan desk.


Real estate power couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner last month welcomed their second child, a son named Joseph Frederick Kushner. In a Tumblr post announcing the birth, Trump explained that the boy is named for his parents’ paternal grandfathers, developers Joseph Kushner and Frederick Trump, whom she called “master builders of their generation.”

Real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey will tie the knot with fiancée Jennifer Rosenthal on November 9 at Daniel restaurant on the Upper East Side. The intimate affair will be family-only.
“I told my clients that if they wanted to come, they needed to marry my future sister-in-law,” said Bailey, who proposed to Rosenthal this summer with a helicopter ride in California’s Napa Valley.

Spotlight: Upper East Side - 30 East 85th Street, 9C

Scene MagazineNovember 01, 2013

Perfectly situated on Madison Avenue, this mint-condition corner one-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium is located in a white-glove, full-service building moments away from Central Park. The large living room opens to a private balcony, has oversized windows and a partial Central Park view. The home features a custom chef's kitchen, cherry hardwood herringbone floors, 9-foot ceilings, a separate den and decorative sconces throughout. The oversized master bedroom offers a walk-in, custom-fitted closet and a marble bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and separate shower.

Reba Miller and Tucky Ridder, CORE, 212.726.0913 and 212.612.9633

The Songbird’s Nest

Luxury Listings NYCNovember 01, 2013
When Michael Feinstein climbs the stoop to his Upper East Side brownstone and walks through the front door, he steps into another world — a quiet one, a more genteel one.

The five-time Grammy nominee can’t hear honking taxis, or ambulance sirens, or shouts from the sidewalk. Somehow, almost magically, the 19th-century townhouse on 63rd Street keeps out all the sounds of modern Manhattan.

Through the grand foyer, into the front parlor, the dining room, the living room and even up the spindle staircases to the six bedrooms, there are architectural touches from more than 100 years ago: ceiling crown moldings, herringbone floors, chandeliers, intricate details on the eight fireplaces. No one would be surprised if Barbra Streisand, as Dolly Levi, burst into “Hello, Dolly!”

And a tune from one of Broadway’s greatest musicals would be more than fitting for Feinstein, the pianist and singer who has found fame outside the cabaret as host of “American Songbook,” the popular PBS series that ran three seasons. The artist will have a new series next year, but network officials declined to disclose the name or details of the show.

Feinstein and husband Terrence Flannery split their time between the city and the wealthy Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, where the two have projects of their own. Feinstein is artistic director of the Center for the Performing Arts and oversees his Great American Songbook Initiative, which he launched in 2008; Flannery tends to his chain of health-care clinics, scattered across the Midwest.

The couple has spent nearly a decade at 143 East 63rd, finding a solace that they haven’t found anywhere else. Still, they have decided the time has come for a change, to settle somewhere smaller. Early this fall, the 57-year-old Feinstein and Flannery, 54, put their home on the market — for $17.9 million. The listing is an exclusive for Mickey Conlon and Tom Postilio of CORE, and Maria Torresy and Sami Hassoumi of Brown Harris Stevens.

“Instinctively we know that it is the time to sell,” Feinstein told Luxury Listings NYC. “As far as exactly where we’re going, what will come next, we don’t know, but we don’t have any anxiety about it.”

The five-story manse is twice the size it was when the men bought it in 2004 for a little more than $3 million. They added on by buying the townhouse next door — $3.8 million — when it went up for sale only a year after they moved in. Joining the homes took about 18 months — and a sum that Flannery can’t remember because, he joked, it was so long ago; today, the number of rooms totals 18, including a gym, two kitchens and, of course, a music room. Across from the gym, which takes up nearly half of the top floor, is a terrace — and the den and dining room on the first floor open onto a 25-foot garden. The basement has rows of closets.

“To me, the most important part of a home is the storage space,” Feinstein said. “This house is absolutely filled with thousands of recordings and tapes with memorabilia — none of which is evident — but the reluctant part is having to move and deal with all of that.”

All of the extra space upstairs has come in handy for entertaining. Two Thanksgivings ago, their eight-person gathering grew to 40. The drop-ins included Liza Minnelli and Elaine Stritch, both legends of the Great White Way.

“It became the night of the divas,” said Feinstein. “That’s not even counting the women!”

Quipped Flannery: “That’s the advantage of having a townhouse. You can stay up until 3 in the morning playing music and that’s okay.”

A musical evening

Selfishly set aside one night of the busy winter season and revel in joyous sounds.

Michael Feinstein has a two-week run in late December at the Birdland Jazz Club, 315 West 44th. And you can be sure he’ll perform a few of your favorite holiday tunes.

The showtimes: 8:30 p.m., Dec. 17-19; 8:30 and 11 p.m., Dec. 20 and 21; 9 p.m., Dec. 24-26; and 8:30 and 11 p.m., Dec. 26-28.

A place in the front row costs $200. There are less expensive seats — $75 for the bar, $100 for the side and $150 for the center. Also, you need to know that there’s a $20 food or beverage minimum on top of the ticket price.

For more information or reservations, call the Birdland at (212) 581-3080 or go to

A Catwalk on the Avenue

Luxury Listings NYCNovember 01, 2013
Julie Henderson, aka swimsuit model babe, dropped $3.3M for a pad at 141 Fifth, near 21st. She fell in love with the home's huge windows and industrial design. And Henderson will feel right at home in the nabe. Two other beauties live nearby: Pauline Porizkova and Stephanie Seymour.

Lights on (Lower) Broadway

Luxury Listings NYCNovember 01, 2013
There's a sliver of lower Broadway that falls in Tribeca but is only a stone's throw from Chinatown. Folks in the neighborhood call it: Chibeca.

Those four blocks, between Walker and Worth, are a bit more bohemian than the western part of Tribeca -- packed these days with baby strollers, trendy restaurants and designer stores.

NYC's Premier Properties: 410 East 57th Street, 9A

Luxury Listings NYCNovember 01, 2013
410 East 57th Street, 9A in Sutton Place - $2,500,000

Co-op: 7 rooms, 3 beds, 3 baths | Amenities: Fireplace, Doorman, Elevator
Maintenance: $4,233 | Listing ID: S1021158

A classic seven in one of Sutton Place's best prewar co-op buildings is now available. Listed at CORE by the Patrick Lilly Team, 212-612-9681,

NYC's Premier Properties: 200 Mercer Street, 4E

Luxury Listings NYCNovember 01, 2013
200 Mercer Street, 4E in Soho -- $2,695,000

Co-op: 4 rooms, 2 beds, 1 bath | Amenities: Elevator, Doorman
Maintenance: $2,333 | Listing ID: S1044154

This is a rare opportunity to purchase a sprawling Soho loft and renovate it into your dream home. Listed at CORE by Patrick Mills, 212-612-9631,

NYC's Premier Properties: 135 West 69th Street

Luxury Listings NYCNovember 01, 2013
135 West 69th Street on Upper West Side -- $12,000,000

Townhouse: 13 rooms, 5 beds, 4 baths | Amenities: Fireplace, Garden, Terrace
Listing ID: S919228

This magnificent, 19-foot-wide single-family townhouse is located on one of the Upper West Side's handsomest rows of brownstones. Listed at CORE by Tom Postilio, 212-726-0783,

241 Fifth's Only Private Rooftop Terrace Tries for $9.75M

CurbedOctober 31, 2013
New NoMad condo building 241 Fifth Avenue has been relatively quiet since it launched with some fanfare in June. But it has been selling—there are six active listings on StreetEasy, compared to 15 in contract. The building is trying drum up excitement and sell out with the staging and listing of penthouse 20, a 3BR, 3.5BA pad. Points in its favor: the unit is the building's only apartment with a private rooftop terrace, and that terrace includes a kitchen and a hot tub. The price is $9.75 million.

The City's Most Spectacular Terraces

AM New YorkOctober 31, 2013
New York City is famous for its summer nights, but as the warm weather begins to fade, the city’s remarkable fall foliage and shiny, tall buildings attract visitors and delight locals.

Outdoor space is limited here, so the luckiest residents are those who have terraces to view New York City’s wonders from above.
According to experts, a terrace is at least 100 square feet and should have nothing hanging over it — such as a balcony from the apartment above you.

After some research, here are the buildings we think have the best terraces to let residents truly enjoy being outdoors in the city:

241 Fifth

Square footage: 900-3,000 square feet
Views: Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Flatiron Building, New York Life Building
Sample sales price: $9,750,000
If this list has already given you a serious case of terrace envy, then 241 Fifth may put you in need of medical treatment. The two penthouses at 241 Fifth are graced with terraces so big they belong outside an exclusive city night club, boasted Doron Zwickel, a licensed broker with CORE and the building’s sales director.
“What’s amazing is, it’s one of the only buildings in my tenure on Fifth Avenue that has this kind of usable outdoor space,” he said.
The 900-square-foot, 15th-floor penthouse, currently in contract, has a direct view of the Empire State Building and includes an outdoor fireplace. The penthouse on the 20th floor is 3,030 square feet, and has a barbecue area, full kitchen, a bar, an outdoor shower and a hot tub bordered by a wooden deck.
It has unobstructed views all the way to One World Trade Center, including the Flatiron Building and the New York Life Building.

Modernnyc.weekly Featured Listing: 45 Walker Street, #4

Modern NYCOctober 30, 2013
Emily Beare + Shaun Osher | CORE
45 Walker Street, 4

Enter this beautifully renovated, 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom apartment directly from the key-locked elevator. This classically gracious home offers two offices, a den, a study and a chef's kitchen. Located in the heart of TriBeCa, this full floor 4,781-square foot loft features a wood burning fire place, fourteen oversized windows, exposed columns, high ceilings, and a bright and airy open floor plan.

In 2001, this late 19th Century building was converted to residential condominiums by design firm Platt Byard Dovell. With seven floors and only six lofts, 45 Walker Street offers security video intercom, and two large private storage units that come with the apartment. The building allows pets, and pieds-a-terre are welcome.

TriBeCa, known for its beautiful architecture, is one of the city's most fashionable and desirable neighborhoods.

Top Residential Dealmakers Turn Out for 25th Annual REBNY Awards

The Real DealOctober 25, 2013
Manhattan’s top dealmakers, dressed in their finest furs and dapperest suits, poured into the Pierre Hotel last night via an elaborately muraled rotunda for the 25th annual residential Deal of the Year awards hosted by the Real Estate Board of New York.

After cocktails and caviar and scooping up their awards, they made their way to the hotel’s famed Grand Ballroom — positively dripping with chandeliers — for a dinner of salmon or short ribs and, for many, a twirl around the dance floor.

The top brass from nearly all of Manhattan’s biggest residential firms was there: Diane Ramirez of Halstead Property, Dottie Herman of Douglas Elliman, Pamela Liebman of the Corcoran Group, Andrew Heiberger and Wendy Maitland of Town Residential, Fred Peters of Warburg Realty and Gary Malin of Citi Habitats. Paul Massey of investment sales firm Massey Knakal Realty Services was also spotted.

Herman had just returned from Atlantic City, where Elliman had held its annual conference. She raved about the 1920s masquerade ball she’d hosted but bemoaned the lack of time available for gambling. “They were all over me,” she said of the brokers grappling for her attention at the event.

Liebman and Herman rubbed elbows during the awards ceremony while Peters busted moves on the dance floor. Ramirez, as always, was keen to direct attendees to the raffle table, which raised money for REBNY’s Residential Member in Need Fund. Up for grabs for the lucky winner of the raffle – a ball gown by Cesar Galindo, whose fashion designs were showcased during a catwalk show at last year’s same event.

Top brokers making the rounds at the gala included Keller Williams NYC’s Ilan Bracha, Elliman’s Vickey Barron, Corcoran’s Tamir Shemesh, Sotheby’s International Realty’s Nikki Field and Mara Flash Blum and CORE’s Reba Miller and Tom Postillio. “Million Dollar Listing New York” stars Ryan Serhant and Luis Ortiz also appeared.

Heather Stein of Brown Harris Stevens won for sales deal of the year. The first runners-up were Suzan Kremer and Daniela Kunen of Elliman and Roger Erickson of Sotheby’s, while the third runner-up was Lisa Larson of Warburg. For rental deal of the year, Judith Oston, Donald Correia and Lisa Rosenstein of Halstead took first prize.

Rookie of the year went to Vincent Smith of Halstead, who came to real estate later in life after working for a number of Fortune 50 companies such as American Express, Pfizer and Citibank.

But the biggest applause of the evening came when Jeffrey Rothstein, the executive vice president and director of sales of Elliman’s West Side offices, took home the Henry Forster Award for lifetime achievement. Herman joined him on stage, exclaiming “I’m verklempt!” Rothstein oversees more than 300 Elliman agents.

And there was more to celebrate. In a somewhat bizarre turn, Miriam Harris, executive vice president of real estate transactions at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, proclaimed that the day had officially been dubbed REBNY Residential Division Day by the mayor’s office.

New Listings: 77 Bleecker Street, #109

Brokers WeeklyOctober 24, 2013
Greenwich Village
77 Bleecker Street, #109

One bedroom, 2-bath post war duplex with pass-through kitchen, hardwood floors, 10 ft. ceilings and large windows. Master bedroom with walk-in closet, master bath and separate entrance on lower floor. Amenities in the pet-friendly co-op include a 24-hour doorman, live-in super, laundry facility and storage/bike room. Listing agents: Jarrod Guy Randolph and Chris Dominiak, CORE.

Multi-lingual Brokers on Rise as Apartment Sales to Foreigners Top $2B

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 23, 2013
The culinary habits of French couples or Israeli haggling traditions were hardly ever on the minds of New York’s residential brokers, but that is changing.

As more and more international buyers flock into the market, being able to interact with foreigners has become something of a pre-requisite for success.

“Some American brokers take offense that other brokers speak foreign languages, but I think that’s important’” said Limor Nesher, a broker at CORE who grew up in Israel. She said speaking Hebrew has helped her find Israeli clients.

International investment in New York real estate — especially luxury condos — has grown steadily over the last decade, totaling $1.96 billion in the first half of this year alone, according to Real Capital Analytics.

And as the buyers become more international, so do the brokers.

Over the past few years, the number of New York brokers who speak foreign languages has increased noticeably. “When I look around in Central Park South, I keep thinking: does anyone speak English anymore?” said Esther Muller, co-founder of the Academy for Continuing Education, a school for brokers’ re-certification.

“Some of the city’s top producing agents are hiring assistants and send them to our school. Every one of them is Brazilian, Asian, Canadian …”

“Speaking a foreign language is almost a skill that’s required of brokers,” Muller added.

“We are seeing an uptick in the number of agents who speak more than one language. Real estate is a global asset, and as a brokerage, it’s important to accommodate buyers and sellers from diverse backgrounds,” said Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman. “We have agents who speak Portuguese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Swedish, Hebrew, and sign language in addition to English. This only increases one’s networking abilities and is a wonderful asset to have as an agent.”

Limor Nesher of CORE said that many of her Israeli clients don’t speak business English, and are happy that they can talk to her in Hebrew.

“It’s important for them to have someone they can trust,” she said. “Sometimes, foreign buyers come with English-speaking brokers and they just don’t understand each other.”

Beyond language, understanding a foreign buyer’s cultural background is perhaps even more important.

“It’s not just language, it’s being able to understand the Russian soul,” said Maria Babaev, who just joined Douglas Elliman from Laffey Fines Home Real Estate in Long Island. Babaev grew up in Moscow, specializes in selling high-end Long Island homes to Russian buyers and has noticed an increase in foreign demand over the last few years.

“The new wave of Russian buyers is very savvy. They speak English, and if they don’t, they have advisers that do,” she said. “But I know the style of homes they prefer. They don’t have to explain to me that they want more open spaces. I also have an understanding of the differences between making real estate transactions in the U.S. and in Russia.”

“Language is not as important as a kind of sensibility,” said Maria Daou, a broker at Warburg Realty. A native of Lebanon, Daou speaks fluent French and Arabic and often works with Italian, French and Saudi clients.

“I can relate to them a little bit better. When they tell a story, I get them,” said Daou. “This makes them feel more at ease and creates a kind of camaraderie.”

Recently, Daou showed a Manhattan apartment to a French couple with children. She said the couple was unhappy with the small kitchen — normally sized for New York, but small by European standards. Daou had no difficulty understanding their concerns.

Familiarity with foreign cultures has given brokers like Nesher, Babaev and Daou a competitive edge. In the race for international clients, more agents might find that trip abroad is more than just fun, but also a good investment.

Bells and Whistles Back in Demand as Value Takes Back Seat to Amenities

Real Estate WeeklyOctober 18, 2013
With over-the-top features like the recent 50,000 s/f deck complete with tennis courts and a dog run at TF Cornerstone’s 4545 Center Boulevard in Long Island City, the bar has once again been set for luxury amenities for the well-heeled.

But TF Cornerstone’s loaded amenity deck isn’t the only luxury addition turning heads these days.

From saunas and Turkish baths to wine cellars and tricked out gyms, New York buyers are back in luxury mode, according to the city’s brokers.

In Lower Manhattan, upscale rental and sales condo building 15 Broad Street boasts a fully-functional bowling alley for residents, as well as an indoor lap pool, basketball and squash courts, and a yoga/ballet studio.

“It’s not necessarily what they’re asking for anymore, it’s what they’re expecting,” said longtime Douglas Elliman agent Lawrence Rich of clients. “They want the whole kitchen sink.”

After the economic crash of 2008, buyers and renters were looking more for value than luxury, said Lawrence, but with the market getting stronger, over-the-top amenities aimed at drawing people in are coming back.

“Since the downturn, people will go to neighborhoods that wouldn’t normally have considered a luxury location if they can get what they want in the building,” said Corcoran agent Scott Stewart.

Buildings that offer more amenities than the average building, like full-service gyms with training staff and swimming pools, are driving up prices for the apartments, said Stewart.

“As the new projects come online, the price per square foot Downtown will raise dramatically because of the cost of construction,” said Stewart. “You’re going to see a lot of extensive amenities offered. I think the range and level in these buildings will be much greater.”

At One Museum Mile, a Robert A.M. Stern designed condo building on Fifth Avenue near 109th Street, the building not only features a rooftop swimming pool, gym and children’s playroom, they also have a “tween” room for older children, said Stewart.

Downtown at 150 Charles Street, which is still under construction but 100 percent sold out, units sold “well over” $3,000 p/s/f.

“Their club level is truly beyond,” said Stewart. “Now luxury purchasers are looking for juice bars and a battery of health products within gym culture, including chiropractic and nutrition advisory, on-site massage and spa treatments.”

Stewart sees a “vast difference” in condo buildings with amenities and without amenities.

He recently sold an apartment at Ariel West, a building at 245 W. 99th Street on the Upper West Side that is 2,900 s/f, has four bedrooms and three and a half baths, and was priced at $5.1 million.

“The building offers everything one expects for the luxury lifestyle,” said Stewart. “A gym with a swimming pool, storage bins, children’s playrooms, a media room and a party room. I ended up selling it after multiple offers to an all-cash buyer for $5.3 million.”

The couple that purchased the pad were empty-nesters that specifically looking for a pool for their grandkids for when they visited.

“It’s really made the upper 90’s and 100th Street by Broadway a hot area,” he said of luxury buildings like Ariel West. “It has raised the price per square footage dramatically for that area. It’s really unheard of in that location.”

Jodi Stasse, a Citi Habitats agent that works in the New Development Marketing division, said that developers are honing in on creating buildings that offer residents an array of lifestyle amenities right in their own home – so they don’t even have to leave the building.

“Developers are really focusing on building amenities that really enhance the daily lifestyle and taking areas like outdoor space and programming them right so they really have multiple uses, even year-round,” said Stasse. “Like an outdoor fireplace, which extends the use of outdoor spaces.”

In addition, builders are becoming more intuitive to the wants and needs of residents, in an effort to take a step above the status quo.
“There’s a real focus on health and fitness and really programming fitness spaces so it will create the right type of uses and people can utilize them as their primary fitness clubs,” said Stasse.

Placing the gym on a higher floor that has natural light rather than the basement and looking at how people are working out, what types of equipment they are using, and what hours they are using it are all part of the thought process.

Frances Katzen, an agent with Douglas Elliman, said she’s had several clients lately asking for homes equipped with a wine fridge.

“The amenity packages that used to be considered luxuries are now an absolute staple to new projects and may include separate bike storage from regular storage, gym, and roof deck,” said Katzen.

Other amenities that Katzen has notice cropping up lately are downstairs wine cellar, Abigail Michaels concierge services, pet spas, billiard and gaming rooms, tennis courts and pools.

May I Have a Price Check?

The New York TimesOctober 18, 2013
It’s the era of superlatives for trophy properties in Manhattan. Not a day seems to go by without a new contender for the largest, tallest or priciest.

But all the hype can’t obscure one possibly inconvenient truth: Fancy new developments may be trading at unheard-of values — pushing up against the $100 million mark — but resale apartments in white-glove buildings often struggle.

From uptown co-ops to downtown condos, these multimillion-dollar homes have missed out on the bidding wars more common among lower-cost apartments. Some haven’t even been able to make asking price.

Others have not sold until they were discounted by as much as 25 percent, according to an analysis of sales data, and in some cases even those kinds of cuts have not done the trick, casting a big shadow on rosy market outlooks.

The markdowns may suggest that interest in trophies has ebbed, but some brokers say the cuts have been necessitated by sellers who are way too ambitious in their pricing; this would make the phenomenon less about overall conditions than specific mistakes. These sellers, convinced that the trophy market is boundless, and that the bench of overseas billionaires looking for a piece of New York is deep, are wildly miscalculating.

“There is a perception that you can put anything on the market, that people will come along and buy it,” said Robby Browne, a broker with the Corcoran Group, who has been asked by sellers to put apartments on the market at what he said were unrealistic prices.

“What’s fueling the perception is that there have been so many high trades,” Mr. Browne said. “But there are not as many of these trades as people think.”

Brokers liken what is happening to a “keeping up with the Joneses” effect, or more precisely the Rybolovlevs — as in Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and his eldest daughter, Ekaterina. Through a trust linked to Ekaterina, the Rybolovlevs two years ago paid $88 million for a 10-room penthouse at 15 Central Park West, or $13,000 a square foot, which at the time was a record.

After that deal, which closed in February 2012, a fever seemed to overcome sellers, who were suddenly convinced that their homes could command nosebleed-level prices, brokers said.

“That really wasn’t a fair comp,” or comparable price, to use to value a unit, said Richard J. Steinberg, a broker with Warburg Realty. “But unfortunately, every seller of every co-op and every condo in the city started using that as their base line.”
And Mr. Steinberg knows firsthand about unrealistic expectations.
In the spring, he listed a four-bedroom unit at 770 Park Avenue, a prewar co-op on the Upper East Side, at $23.8 million. But it didn’t get many bites, so he slashed the price by 25 percent in mid-September. At $17.9 million, he said, “we’re seeing double the amount of traffic through the apartment.”

Looking at the complete price history of Mr. Steinberg’s listing reinforces the idea that the “Rybolovlev effect” amounts to about 25 percent. In 2011, before the $88 million sale closed, the same 770 Park apartment was priced at $18 million, with Sotheby’s International Realty, so in a sense it is currently listed back where it was valued before the game-changing transaction at 15 Central Park West.

It is clear that the stratosphere of the market — those homes for $3 million or more, or the top 10 percent — has been sluggish, at least relative to the bottom, according to an analysis by Miller Samuel, the appraisal firm.

Since January 2012, 56 percent of the listings in this top category sold below the final asking price; 19 percent sold for the original list price; and 25 percent sold above the final asking price, the data show. In contrast, in the bottom 90 percent of sales, the number of properties that sold for less than their final asking price was just 2 percent.

Along the same lines, the top 10 percent’s absorption rate — the number of months it would take to sell all the inventory at the current pace of sales — was slow, too. It stood at almost nine months in the third quarter of this year, compared with three months for the rest of the market, the data show.

In more rarefied air — homes for $6 million or more, or the top 2 percent of the market — there were even more apartments that sold at a discount, or about 59 percent since 2012, according to Miller Samuel. In that category, the average discount was about 12 percent, or $1.7 million, and beyond that level, the trims seem bigger.

In May, a five-bedroom penthouse with 5,000 square feet at 257 West 17th Street, a prewar condo conversion in Chelsea, came on the market at $12.5 million. But it had to lower its price by 25 percent to close at $9.5 million in September.

Toni Haber, the Douglas Elliman broker who handled the sale, said that the $88 million deal at 15 Central Park West was just one factor putting upward pressure on prices.

The other, maybe more significant one, is out-of-the-gate developments like One57, the Midtown condo, which smashed the 15 Central Park West record a few months later with a $90 million penthouse sale. Similarly influential new developments include Walker Tower, a condo on West 18th Street in Chelsea, which has had prices of nearly $4,000 a square foot on its upper levels.

“We were trying to leverage off Walker Tower,” acknowledged Ms. Haber, in listing her West 17th Street apartment for $2,500 a square foot, even though it ultimately sold for $1,900.

Ultimately, she added, echoing other brokers, comparing the values of resale condos with new ones can be as futile as an analysis of apples and oranges. “If the seller is a real seller,” she said, “they need to listen.”

For his part, Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, squarely holds the Rybolovlev purchase responsible for the trend. “It was really a false positive,” he said.

Indeed, citing news reports, Mr. Miller added that Mr. Rybolovlev’s wife, Elena, has claimed in divorce documents that the purchase was made to shield assets, so it was not a conventional deal. Mr. Rybolovlev maintains, however, that the penthouse was bought for “succession planning.”

If many sellers of luxury real estate came out of the gates clueless, a dose of reality might now have set in.

Of the current crop of active listings in the $6 million-and-up category, which have been on the market for an average of 168 days, according to the Miller Samuel data, 85 percent have lowered their prices at some point.

Whether it works remains to be seen, but Emily Beare, a broker with Core Group Marketing, is hopeful that a 26 percent chop on her listing, a combined unit on the 35th floor of 15 Central Park West, was a savvy move.

Since 2012, the unit, which has 6,000 square feet but no outdoor space, has dropped three times, from $95 million to $85 million to $70 million in September of this year. The apartment, whose views sweep from Central Park to the Hudson, is owned by the steel magnate Leroy Schecter.

“I think there has been some irrational exuberance, yes,” Ms. Beare said. “But this is still a very strong market, no question, and that’s due to lack of inventory.”

Other listings coming closer to earth in recent months include a five-bedroom duplex at 435 East 52nd Street, the River House co-op, with 11-foot ceilings. It’s now listed at $19.5 million, down from $25.5 million, a 24 percent drop.

Carolyn E. Y. Guthrie, the Brown Harris Stevens broker who is listing it, explained that it can be hard to nail the price for rare apartments, though the market can set things straight. “They come on the market with no comps to substantiate them,” she said. “But buyers aren’t stupid.”

And as with other listings, it may take a couple of different agents before an apartment gets it right. Take for instance a five-bedroom at 115 Central Park West, the Art Deco Majestic co-op, which has 110 feet of exposure along its eastern park-facing wall.
Starting out at $50 million with Halstead Property in fall 2012, it fell to $45 million last summer. The listing was then taken off the market, only to return at $39 million with Town Residential in September.

The marketing change — and very likely the 22 percent adjustment — has led to multiple showings in the last few weeks, said Patty LaRocco, its Town broker. “There are no offers yet,” Ms. LaRocco said, “but they’re imminent.”

Yet some buildings have their sights set only upward.

At 56 Leonard, the 60-story TriBeCa condo, sales have surpassed expectations, both in velocity and price, said Izak Senbahar, president of the Alexico Group, a co-developer.

In fact, Mr. Senbahar had planned to sell about 5 units a month, but ended up selling about 20, “which is neck-breaking speed,” he said, adding that 9 units were left, out of 145, after 9 months of sales. The prices, which average $3,200 a square foot, have been adjusted 27 times for various units since the sales office opened in the winter, Mr. Senbahar said, but the adjustments have always been increases.

The Rybolovlev effect got to him, too, he said, though he tried to keep prices in check. “If you are too aggressive and make a mistake, a correction might be devastating. You should not fall in love with your project. You should listen to third parties.”

For all the course corrections out there, others believe that the upper limits of the market haven’t been tested yet. And this month, what is believed to be the priciest-ever single-family home hit the New York market. At 447 East 52nd Street, the building, now known as the River Club, is adjacent to the River House. A five-level space that in its current configuration has an indoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a bowling alley — as well as rooms with evocative names like “her, out of season” — is listed at a staggering $130 million.

Despite the bombshell price, the 62,000-square-foot home works out to a relatively tame $2,100 a square foot, said John Burger, the Brown Harris Stevens broker with the listing, who acknowledged that it and other record-seekers were quickly reinventing the market.

“We are in historic territory,” Mr. Burger said. “But Manhattan has become a safe haven in the world for investment in blue-chip real estate. We are confident.”

'Try Before You Buy' a Home

Bankrate.comOctober 18, 2013
Just as you test drive a car before writing that big check, what if you could take a home for a spin before committing? It would give you time to check the water pressure, see what kind of light the kitchen gets in the morning or find out if the neighbor's dog barks continuously in the evening.

Some sellers are handing the keys over to potential buyers who want to spend time alone in a home to "test drive" its features.
A new concept is taking hold that allows prospective homebuyers to spend several hours alone "test driving" a residence before making offers.

Sights, smells, sounds

Limor Nesher, real estate agent with CORE, a New York brokerage, has arranged for potential buyers to spend up to 12 hours in homes they are serious about purchasing. She says that while most are initially surprised at the idea, they quickly warm up to the opportunity to take a closer look. "Buyers get a chance to take in the details of the building, experience the attributes of an area, potential noise issues and other factors that can't be detected in a one-time visit alone," Nesher says.

There are benefits for sellers as well, Nesher says, because allowing the hands-on experience may encourage the buyer to move forward and could result in a higher sales price or quicker deal. "Sellers that have a unique property or one that is located in an emerging area generally like the idea, as they understand the added benefit this opportunity presents in marketing their home," she adds.

Making sure they have protection

There are obvious potential problems with this arrangement, however, with liability being a hot button for both buyer and seller. "Sellers are generally concerned about the security of their personal belongings, liability factors and the authenticity or credibility of the buyer," says Nesher. Buyers, she adds, "tend to be most concerned about liability as well, being cautious of not damaging any items in the seller's home."

So how can sellers protect themselves? There are no established rules regarding payment from prospective buyers for spending a few hours in a home, Nesher says. She suggests sellers set up written agreements, ask for security deposits and/or install hidden cameras for protection. Additionally, she says, credit checks and preapproval letters from a bank also provide a good source of financial information and show readiness to buy.

Will it catch on?

Although a few other cities are catching on to the trend, Nesher says only time will tell if it becomes a lasting one. In areas where demand is high, buyers may not have the luxury of taking their time. But Nesher says it's a marketing option. "Although we are currently working in a seller's market, especially in New York City, it is important to remain open to alternative methods of marketing a home," she says. "A potential buyer presented with the opportunity to live in a property before making a decision can be a make-or-break moment in the home's sale."

Would you be willing to offer this option to a potential buyer?

New Net Paul Pierce Rents $35K Apartment in Tribeca

CurbedOctober 17, 2013
After a decade and a half of making life miserable for Knicks fans, NBA star Paul Pierce is a Manhattan resident. The former Boston Celtics forward, who was traded to the Brooklyn Nets this summer, rented a 5,000-square-foot 14th-floor pad in Tribeca's 90 Franklin Street (which means he's now neighbors with "pop chanteuse" Mariah Carey) for $35,000/month. Pierce has no intention of making nice with his new borough's team. "This is a city battle," he told reporters this summer. "We're going to divide the city now. Before this was a Knicks town, but now that I'm here we're going to call it, 'Nets Village.'" It's okay, he'll figure out the neighborhoods soon enough.

NBA’s Paul Pierce Nabs $35K Per Month Franklin Tower Pad

The Real DealOctober 17, 2013
NBA All-Star Paul Pierce has moved into a full-floor Tribeca loft at the Franklin Tower. The Boston Celtics legend, who jumped this year to the Brooklyn Nets, will move into a 5,000-square-foot home at 90 Franklin Street that was on the rental market asking $35,000 per month.

Pierce’s pad was listed with CORE Group’s Oliver Brown, who declined to comment to the New York Post, which first reported the story. The apartment has four bedrooms and 28 windows and includes a wood-burning fireplace, according to the listing.

The 18-story building is also home to Mariah Carey, who owns the penthouse, the Post said.

Avenues Hosts Brokers to Court Chelsea Kids

The Real DealOctober 17, 2013
Avenues: The World School, the palatial, 1,600-seat private school in Chelsea, offered an after-school lesson Tuesday night to real estate brokers looking to better guide families weighing education — and living — options in the city.

The event, hosted by The Real Deal, attracted the likes of Halstead Property CEO Diane Ramirez, Douglas Elliman broker Ariel Cohen and Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant of “Million Dollar Listing New York” fame for a private tour and dinner reception at the 10-story, 215,000-square-foot facility that opened last year.

“We were told by many people that our school is having an impact on real estate prices [in Chelsea],” Benno Schmidt, chairman of Avenues, told The Real Deal. “We felt it would be mutually beneficial to reach out to the real estate world.”

Brokers, for their part, are often called on to enumerate the merits of area schools for buyer clients.
The $85 million for-profit Avenues, located in a converted warehouse at 10th Avenue and 25th Street, charges students $42,000 a year in tuition. It offers classes for nursery school through 12th grade and is part of the world’s first global school system. Mandarin or Spanish language classes — and an iPad – are an integral part of an Avenues student’s experience from kindergarten.

As Serhant walked the halls on the tour, he said he was reminded of his days at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

Flatiron District-based architecture firm Perkins Eastman and a team of designers crafted a loft-style look for the school, which reportedly counts Suri Cruise among its student body. On each of the 20,000-square-foot floors, there is a community room with a nearly 30-foot-high ceiling at the center.

“My friends and colleagues who have kids have had their entire lives upended to accommodate a proper education for them,” said Amir Korangy, publisher of The Real Deal, at the reception.

“Real estate decisions are made based on what schools are nearby and available to families.”

Corcoran Group broker Eileen Robert said she was “blown away” by the facility, but noted that it is against the rules of a broker’s license to recommend one school over another to clients.

“I don’t think you can promise a school or a district,” Ramirez interjected, but a broker can lay out the options.

New construction around the adjacent High Line has created alternatives for larger condominium units, such as three- and four-bedrooms. Janet Weiner, a broker at Halstead, said increasingly families want the option to eventually combine units.

“A lot of families took a chance [enrolling their children] when the school opened,” said Emily Beare, a broker at CORE. “They were pioneers.”

Paul Pierce Nets $35K Per Month NYC Apartment

New York PostOctober 16, 2013
Brooklyn Nets All-Star Paul Pierce and his wife, Julie, have just moved into a full-floor loft apartment in TriBeCa’s 90 Franklin St., the same building where Mariah Carey owns the penthouse. Pierce’s 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home, with 28 windows, was asking $35,000 a month and includes a woodburning fireplace.

Known as Franklin Tower, the 1915 building once served as the Corn Exchange Bank in 1930. The 18-story condo features a roof deck, gym and bike storage.

Pierce isn’t the only Nets player to snub Brooklyn: Fellow All-Star Joe Johnson also moved into a rental in the same ’hood last year.
CORE listing broker Oliver Brown declined to comment.
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