News

House of the Week: 229 East 79th Street

New York PostNovember 13, 2013
Upper East Side / $1.035M

Bedrooms: 2  / Bathrooms: 1
Square feet: 1,100  / Maintenance: $1,849

On East 79th Street, between Second and Third Avenues, this prewar co-op is the beneficiary of some “major renovations.” The results include a kitchen with upgrades like new appliances and a built-in workstation, a master bedroom big enough to accommodate a king-sized bed, “generous” closet space and built-in shelving with space to spare. Agent: Adrian Noriega, CORE Group, 646-279-6104

Event Manor: Posh Parties the New Way to Show a Home

New York PostNovember 13, 2013
When Michael Feinstein performs on Dec. 16, his sing-along sidekicks will likely be Liza Minnelli and Stephen Sondheim. But you can’t buy tickets to the event, nor will it be easy to join the guest list. That’s because the soiree is being held at Feinstein’s 18-room townhouse at 143 E. 63rd St., which is currently on the market for $17.9 million with Core brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon. The event — although clearly music-filled — will actually serve as much as a showcase of Feinstein’s talent as his home, thanks to its audience of 50 brokers and qualified potential buyers.

“The event brings a lot of different factions together,” says Postilio. “It shines a spotlight on the house, which is known for having fabulous events. We’re able to listen to great music and raise money for the [nonprofit] Michael Feinstein Initiative for the Great American Songbook.”

Of course, the brokers also hope to get an offer on the grand, 19th-century brownstone, which boasts eight woodburning fireplaces, a large sunken living room overlooking the backyard garden and a recording studio. And the house has Steinway pianos that, for the right price, can also be purchased.

The Feinstein event is among the most glamorous examples of a burgeoning new trend — home-sellers and their agents rolling out the welcome mat to corporations, nonprofits and prestigious organizations in the hope of attracting the right kind of buyer.

In late summer, for instance, Rolls-Royce treated about 30 customers to fancy food and drink at 80 Washington Place, an 8,800-square-foot townhouse once owned by John Philip Sousa that’s on the market for $28.9 million.

With interiors by Clodagh Design, the five-bedroom townhouse features an elevator and glass staircase connecting seven levels, a roof deck and a spacious garden with a teak cabana.

“Guests were given tours of the entire home and it did spark interest, including an offer or two, but the house is still on the market,” says broker Robert Dvorin of Town Residential.

Which means that the parties keep coming at 80 Washington. In September, Krug Champagne hosted a series of events there centered around Fashion Week. Later that month, a high-profile, members-only club rented it for a fundraising casino night — the net worth of those guests coincided with the kind of buyer Town seeks. Soon, it will be the location of a wrap party for a major feature film. Upside? The house will be exposed to the potential buyers who form Hollywood’s elite — and the guests enjoy an evening of fun.

“Reaping the benefits of an event must directly correlate with the quality and demographic of a buyer,” says Dvorin. “For our clientele, we only involve ourselves with events linked to foundations and charities.”

“I believe events work if they’re strategically planned and correctly timed,” says Corcoran Sunshine broker Beth Fisher. “When trying to sell an entire development, an event should not be just entertaining, but engaging.”

Fisher applied that reasoning to her marketing of the Aldyn, a condo/rental on Riverside Boulevard. In 2010, eight units were designed by top fashion and interior designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Jonathan Adler and their unveiling coincided with Fashion Week. The event was organized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to benefit HIV/AIDS organizations and breast-cancer research, but also marked day one of Aldyn sales. Two units were sold as a direct result.

“My events are not planned as an opportunity to sell apartments, but to bring in very targeted influencers,” says Fisher.

Then there’s the altogether different animal — the event space that is being marketed as a residential property. Take 632 Hudson St. — a popular party site and home to the cast of the 10th season of “The Real World” in 2001. Owner Karen Lashinsky was frequently asked by guests if the residence was for sale — and always answered with an emphatic “no.”

That is until last September, when the 8,000-square-foot building — which includes a 5,500-square-foot, three-bedroom triplex, plus 1,000 square feet of outdoor space — went on the market for $22 million, along with a major caveat. Notes the Douglas Elliman listing: “Booked through January 2016. Building may be purchased earlier than 2016, but all bookings must be honored.”

Acquired in 1992, Lashinsky carved out a unique space that resembles a palazzo — with a dramatic 40-foot-high central atrium, Italian Renaissance murals, a 19th-century Chinese bed, and a 1920s-style speakeasy in the basement.

Lashinsky, who beds down on the home’s off-limits second floor while the parties rage around her, decided to sell so she can create a similar space in Italy. Asked if she’d cancel events that were, say, 12 months out, if she was offered more than the $22 million asking price, her answer was a hesitant yes — but only if she could find comparable space.

“Loyalty is a significant trait, so it’s doubtful I’d be comfortable moving out sooner, even with the promise of honoring my future bookings,” says Lashinsky. “Because it’s not just the space that draws clients, but my customized sensibilities.”

Of course, showcasing homes to elite crowds may build buzz, but it does not guarantee sales. At a recent event at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Museum Mile, at 1280 Fifth Ave., the building’s developer, Brickman, sponsored a benefit for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Hosted by resident Casey Nicholaw, the Tony Award-winning co-director of “The Book of Mormon,” the gathering for 70 guests included Broadway stars. Postilio was there, conducting tours of available units, including a $1.395 million one-bedroom. Sadly, Postilio got no bites. Nonethless, as the upcoming Feinstein event (and hopefully sale) suggests, in Manhattan real estate, the show must always go on.

How the Word 'North' Affects Prices

The New York TimesNovember 12, 2013
The moment Gary Davis popped his head out of the subway station on Central Park North and Lenox Avenue in 2004, he understood he was looking at an extraordinary spot. An architect and real estate developer, he had been invited to the block by a lawyer for the owner of a two-story corner building there, and though Mr. Davis recalls not being “very excited about Harlem,” he was quick to see the site’s potential. He then sent a photographer 120 feet above the street in a bucket attached to a crane arm; the resulting pictures showed breathtaking panoramic views of Central Park and miles beyond.

In 2007, 111 Central Park North, a 19-story glass-fronted luxury condominium, was opened on the site by the Athena Group, of which Mr. Davis was the executive vice president. He liked his surroundings so much that when the project was done, he bought a two-bedroom apartment on the seventh floor. (Although he declined to say what he paid, similar units were selling for around $1.4 million.)

“This is why I live here,” he said the other day, standing on his balcony and gesturing expansively at the park and the glorious cityscape of Manhattan, clear down to 1 World Trade Center. In the evenings, he said, the individual buildings on Central Park South soften into a purplish-gray mass whose craggy profile reminds him of the view of the Rocky Mountains from his childhood balcony in Denver.

Mr. Davis’s fellow residents on Central Park North are an eclectic bunch, even by New York standards. Along with regular folk like teachers, his neighbors on the three-block-long corridor include the Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who rents a full-floor condo upstairs; L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former Tyco International chief executive convicted of grand larceny, conspiracy and fraud, who lives at the Lincoln Correctional Facility down the street; and the numerous ducks that ply the water of the Harlem Meer, some of which have nested on a terrace at No. 111. Just across Lenox is the Park View Hotel, sometimes a source of noise that has compelled neighbors to shut their windows in summer.

Willie Kathryn Suggs, a real estate broker who specializes in Harlem, says that No. 111 has provided the greatest lift to the area since the construction in the late 1980s of Towers on the Park, a mixed-income condo complex flanking West 110th Street west of Frederick Douglass Circle. At 201 Central Park North, a prewar building, a one-bedroom condo sold for $811 a square foot in May, a 20 percent jump from its sale price in 2004.

At 45 Central Park North, an income-restricted co-op, prices are lower, and bidding can get fierce. A three-bedroom on the second floor, listed in July at $469,000, attracted multiple offers above $500,000, said Mitchell Hall, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group.

Jason Stone, the winning bidder along with his wife, Meredith, said he imagined watching their son, now 19 months old, play hockey at Lasker Rink, which is visible from their windows. “I’ve been reading about uberluxury apartments on Central Park South where the developers are looking for $7,000 to $8,000 a square foot,” said Mr. Stone, a structural engineer. “For less than 10 percent of that, I have Central Park views as well.”

What You’ll Find
Central Park North, also called West 110th Street, is bookended by circles, each commanded by a monument to an African-American legend. At the park’s northwest corner, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass gazes northward up the gentrifying boulevard that bears his name. At the northeast corner, the jazz composer Duke Ellington looks east past One Museum Mile, a Fifth Avenue luxury condo designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, and toward a public housing development.

The uptown side of Central Park North is lined primarily by low-slung prewar apartments, many of them rent-stabilized. The street level of No. 111 is home to the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center, as well as a Dunkin’ Donuts.

The area’s population, historically dominated by blacks, has diversified at an even faster clip than Central Harlem as a whole. A 2007-to-2011 census survey estimated that 6,489 people lived in an area comprising the blocks along northern Central Park and a small wedge of land running north from there to 114th Street west of Lenox. Half of these residents were black, a 17 percent drop since 2000. In that time, the white population nearly quadrupled, to 19 percent; the share of Asians grew to 5 percent; that of Hispanics dropped slightly, to 23 percent.

But long before the gentrification of the 1990s, Central Park North was known as a more stable strip than the streets above it, said Larry Young, a Central Park North resident who grew up on 111th in the 1960s. Mr. Young, a program director for a nonprofit, recalled that back then kids from 111th or 112th played football in the street against 110th Street kids, whom he describes as typically better educated, with parents in better jobs, often the Civil Service.

Later, into the early ’80s, when Harlem in general grew more troubled, “drugs didn’t go so much in that part of town,” he said of Central Park North. “The families were more together, and even now it’s family-oriented.”

Residents often say that Central Park feels like their backyard. The street lacks the crowds and traffic of counterpart boulevards on its other sides, and at the Farmers’ Gate at Lenox Avenue and the Warriors’ Gate at Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, the park throws its arms open wide.

“I never feel it’s garbagey, and I never feel unsafe; it’s just picturesque,” said Ellen Anthony-Moore, a professor who has lived on Central Park North since 1999. “There are a lot of international families and a lot of people from Columbia University, and it just feels very down-to-earth.”

What You’ll Pay
Inventory is low — a search on Streeteasy.com found just two units for sale and five for rent.

No units have changed hands this year at 111 Central Park North; in 2012, three-bedrooms there traded for an average of $1,100 a square foot. At No. 201, a first-floor condo sold in July for $629 a square foot.

“People are paying a premium to live on that street,” said Chuck Newman, an agent at Reliance Realty Partners. But rental prices are wildly variable. Two-bedrooms in No. 111 are commanding $7,000 to $7,900 a month — “downtown prices” — said Jeffrey Berger of Isen & Company, a real estate advisory firm. At No. 125, a two-bedroom was listed at $4,000. But in some buildings, three-bedrooms can be had for $3,000.

What to Do
Restaurants and lounges like Bier International and 67 Orange Street have popped up on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, filling a neighborhood need.

The Conservatory Garden, whose chrysanthemums are a riot of color in fall, is a short walk.

Weeping willows overhang the sinuous shores of the Harlem Meer; Canada geese frequent its waters, and children fish with poles and bait provided free at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. Two playgrounds are nestled near Central Park North.

At the Harlem Meer Performance Festival each summer, picnickers enjoy jazz and other music. Nearby, Lasker Rink becomes a public pool in the summer.

The Schools
Some students are zoned for Public School 185 on West 112th Street, for prekindergarten through second grade, and P.S. 208 on West 111th, for Grades 3 through 5. Both scored Bs on their most recent city progress reports.
The Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School on West 114th serves Grades 6 through 12. SAT averages at the high school in 2012 were 356 in reading, 379 in math and 361 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

The Commute
The financial district is about 35 minutes away on the 2 or 3 train, both of which stop at 110th and Lenox. The B and C stop at Frederick Douglass Circle; both reach Midtown in 15 to 20 minutes.

The History
The Lincoln Correctional Facility was built in 1914 as a Young Women’s Hebrew Association home for immigrants. Its roof, now caged, once had a garden, according to the Jewish Women’s Archive.

These Shattered Real Estate Records Confirm That Brooklyn Is Booming

Business InsiderNovember 12, 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.”

On the Market in New York City

The New York TimesNovember 10, 2013

Murray Hill Co-op $890,000

 

MANHATTAN 136 East 36th Street, #4A

 

A two-bedroom one-bath in a pet-friendly full-service prewar building. Taruna Sharma, Douglas Elliman (917) 664-2343; open house Sunday, 2:30 to 4 p.m.

 

PROS The bedrooms in this sunny corner unit are spacious. One has a walk-in closet and a second layer of windows for soundproofing; the other has a view of the Empire State Building. The kitchen has a small dining area.

 

CONS The apartment overlooks Lexington Avenue and 36th Street, which can be noisy.

Manhattan's Priciest Condos Now Average Nearly $5,500 A Square Foot

Business InsiderNovember 09, 2013
MANHATTAN — The city’s condo buildings with this year’s priciest homes weren’t on Park or Fifth avenues. They’re clustered around the southwest tip of Central Park on the Upper West Side.

The most expensive building was the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, according to a CityRealty report released Thursday detailing the top 100 condos in Manhattan.

The swanky, sprawling apartments in that deluxe condo, at the corner of the park and West 61st Street went for, on average, $5,487 per square foot, CityRealty found.

That was more than $1,000 higher than the No. 2 most expensive building — the southern tower of the Time Warner Center at 25 Columbus Circle, which went for $4,644 per square foot. The other tower at the Time Warner Center — the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental, at 80 Columbus Circle — came in at No. 5, at $3,738 per square foot.

“That corner of the park is just phenomenal the way money gathers there,” said CityRealty’s Pete Culliney.

The opulent condo building at 15 Central Park West — modeled on the Rosario Candela’s architecture at legendary co-op 740 Park Ave. — has seen its share of bold-faced residents, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, musician Sting and actor Denzel Washington, according to a Vanity Fair video about 15 Central Park West. It cost $1 billion to build and has racked up $2 billion in sales, including a record-breaking $88 million penthouse sold to a Russian billionaire.

“They tried to redo that ‘classic seven’ and bigger of the Old World kind of layouts,” Culliney said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Stern’s elegant buildings have been pushing prices higher in other neighborhoods, too.

Following his overhaul of the former Salvation Army residence built in 1929 on the corner of Gramercy Park South and Irving Place, 18 Gramercy Park has set record prices for downtown and raised that neighborhood’s average condo prices faster than any other Manhattan neighborhood in the past five years.

The area saw a whopping 259 percent increase in average condo prices to $3.9 million from $1.1 million in that time frame, according to data compiled by CityRealty.

“Eighteen Gramercy Park South is like a small 15 Central Park West,” Culliney said of the 16-unit building. “It’s completely changing the pricing paradigm in that [area’s] market.”

A five-bedroom penthouse there closed in August for $42 million, or $6,636 per square foot, according to CityRealty.

East Harlem, which had the second greatest increase in average condo prices over the past five years at a 90 percent rise — from an average of $608,635 to $1.16 million — is home to another game-changing Stern building: One Museum Mile.

“Now ‘Fifth Avenue’ doesn’t go to 96th Street. It goes to 110th Street, without a question,” Culliney said, noting that developers are building amenity-laden condos higher up than they used to and will likely continue targeting the northeast pocket of the park.
“One Museum Mile is the poster child for that,” he said.

The building, located at 1280 Fifth Ave. at E. 109th St., recently set a neighborhood record when a three-bedroom residence sold for $3.565 million, or $2,030 per square foot, building representatives said.

Manhattan's Priciest Condos Average $5,487 Per Square Foot

The Huffington PostNovember 09, 2013
MANHATTAN — The city’s condo buildings with this year’s priciest homes weren’t on Park or Fifth avenues. They’re clustered around the southwest tip of Central Park on the Upper West Side.

The most expensive building was the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, according to a CityRealty report released Thursday detailing the top 100 condos in Manhattan.
The swanky, sprawling apartments in that deluxe condo, at the corner of the park and West 61st Street went for, on average, $5,487 per square foot, CityRealty found.

That was more than $1,000 higher than the No. 2 most expensive building — the southern tower of the Time Warner Center at 25 Columbus Circle, which went for $4,644 per square foot. The other tower at the Time Warner Center — the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental, at 80 Columbus Circle — came in at No. 5, at $3,738 per square foot.

“That corner of the park is just phenomenal the way money gathers there,” said CityRealty’s Pete Culliney.

The opulent condo building at 15 Central Park West — modeled on the Rosario Candela’s architecture at legendary co-op 740 Park Ave. — has seen its share of bold-faced residents, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, musician Sting and actor Denzel Washington, according to a Vanity Fair video about 15 Central Park West. It cost $1 billion to build and has racked up $2 billion in sales, including a record-breaking $88 million penthouse sold to a Russian billionaire.

“They tried to redo that ‘classic seven’ and bigger of the Old World kind of layouts,” Culliney said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Stern’s elegant buildings have been pushing prices higher in other neighborhoods, too.

Following his overhaul of the former Salvation Army residence built in 1929 on the corner of Gramercy Park South and Irving Place, 18 Gramercy Park has set record prices for downtown and raised that neighborhood’s average condo prices faster than any other Manhattan neighborhood in the past five years.

The area saw a whopping 259 percent increase in average condo prices to $3.9 million from $1.1 million in that time frame, according to data compiled by CityRealty.

“Eighteen Gramercy Park South is like a small 15 Central Park West,” Culliney said of the 16-unit building. “It’s completely changing the pricing paradigm in that [area’s] market.”

A five-bedroom penthouse there closed in August for $42 million, or $6,636 per square foot, according to CityRealty.

East Harlem, which had the second greatest increase in average condo prices over the past five years at a 90 percent rise — from an average of $608,635 to $1.16 million — is home to another game-changing Stern building: One Museum Mile.

“Now ‘Fifth Avenue’ doesn’t go to 96th Street. It goes to 110th Street, without a question,” Culliney said, noting that developers are building amenity-laden condos higher up than they used to and will likely continue targeting the northeast pocket of the park.
“One Museum Mile is the poster child for that,” he said.

The building, located at 1280 Fifth Ave. at E. 109th St., recently set a neighborhood record when a three-bedroom residence sold for $3.565 million, or $2,030 per square foot, building representatives said.

Manhattan's Priciest Condos Average $5,487 Per Square Foot

DNA InfoNovember 08, 2013
MANHATTAN — The city’s condo buildings with this year’s priciest homes weren’t on Park or Fifth avenues. They’re clustered around the southwest tip of Central Park on the Upper West Side.

The most expensive building was the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern, according to a CityRealty report released Thursday detailing the top 100 condos in Manhattan.

The swanky, sprawling apartments in that deluxe condo, at the corner of the park and West 61st Street went for, on average, $5,487 per square foot, CityRealty found.

That was more than $1,000 higher than the No. 2 most expensive building — the southern tower of the Time Warner Center at 25 Columbus Circle, which went for $4,644 per square foot. The other tower at the Time Warner Center — the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental, at 80 Columbus Circle — came in at No. 5, at $3,738 per square foot.

“That corner of the park is just phenomenal the way money gathers there,” said CityRealty’s Pete Culliney.

The opulent condo building at 15 Central Park West — modeled on the Rosario Candela’s architecture at legendary co-op 740 Park Ave. — has seen its share of bold-faced residents, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, musician Sting and actor Denzel Washington, according to a Vanity Fair video about 15 Central Park West. It cost $1 billion to build and has racked up $2 billion in sales, including a record-breaking $88 million penthouse sold to a Russian billionaire.

“They tried to redo that ‘classic seven’ and bigger of the Old World kind of layouts,” Culliney said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Stern’s elegant buildings have been pushing prices higher in other neighborhoods, too.

Following his overhaul of the former Salvation Army residence built in 1929 on the corner of Gramercy Park South and Irving Place, 18 Gramercy Park has set record prices for downtown and raised that neighborhood’s average condo prices faster than any other Manhattan neighborhood in the past five years.

The area saw a whopping 259 percent increase in average condo prices to $3.9 million from $1.1 million in that time frame, according to data compiled by CityRealty.

“Eighteen Gramercy Park South is like a small 15 Central Park West,” Culliney said of the 16-unit building. “It’s completely changing the pricing paradigm in that [area’s] market.”

A five-bedroom penthouse there closed in August for $42 million, or $6,636 per square foot, according to CityRealty.

East Harlem, which had the second greatest increase in average condo prices over the past five years at a 90 percent rise — from an average of $608,635 to $1.16 million — is home to another game-changing Stern building: One Museum Mile.

“Now ‘Fifth Avenue’ doesn’t go to 96th Street. It goes to 110th Street, without a question,” Culliney said, noting that developers are building amenity-laden condos higher up than they used to and will likely continue targeting the northeast pocket of the park.
“One Museum Mile is the poster child for that,” he said.

The building, located at 1280 Fifth Ave. at E. 109th St., recently set a neighborhood record when a three-bedroom residence sold for $3.565 million, or $2,030 per square foot, building representatives said.

House of the Week: 21 East 22nd Street, 10F

New York PostNovember 06, 2013
Flatiron

$1.495 million

Bedrooms: 1 Bathrooms: 1

Square feet: 1,000 Maintenance: $1,424

With “spa-like” bathrooms and a kitchen with all top-name brands, this prewar co-op loft on East 22nd Street is spacious enough for entertaining — the living room is 22 feet wide — and has a flexible enough layout to add a second bedroom.
Agent: Michael Rubin, CORE, 347-880-0349

Real Estate Pros’ Advice For Mayor-elect de Blasio

New York PostNovember 06, 2013
Few people in this city are sadder to see Michael Bloomberg go than the NYC real estate pro.

Mistakes? He’s made a few. But the city went through a whirlwind of real estate growth in the last 12 years, and it’s in no small part due to the efforts of Mayor Mike. They’re big shoes to fill.

But as the 2013 mayor’s race comes to a close, hand-wringing and tear-shedding clearly don’t befit the city’s top developers and real estate agents. In fact, some are even looking forward to a Bill de Blasio administration.

“I’ve had opportunity to get to know Bill over a number of years, and he is an intelligent and rational man,” says Jeffrey Levine, chairman of Douglaston Development, which has put up condos like the Edge in Williamsburg. “And more affordable housing is a very worthwhile goal.”

Others are quietly biting their nails.

“I think [developers] are very nervous,” says Jonathan Miller of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “He came out very strongly against proliferation of high-end development, and has essentially given the impression that things are going to be different. When you do that after 12 years of status quo, it makes people nervous.”

But, whatever you think of the incoming administration, it remains very much a blank canvas. Anything could happen in the next four years. Here are four predictions and hopes about Bill de Blasio’s coming reign from a few key people in the real estate business.

1) PREDICTION: Buildings get bigger.

Bill de Blasio has championed more affordable housing . . . but how does he get there? “He’s amenable to [getting it] by exhibiting flexibility in height and bulk approvals,” says Levine. This means that building height restrictions might be one of the first things to go.

2) HOPE: De Blasio won’t lose sight of what Bloomberg did to make the city livable.

“I hope de Blasio continues Mayor Bloomberg’s successful policies [of] greening the city, funding the arts, diversifying industries and making government more efficient and less wasteful,” says Leonard Steinberg of Douglas Elliman. And he should “attack noise pollution with a vengeance. A few people make much too much noise; they are a small minority making the lives of the majority horrible.”

3) PREDICTION: The status quo will be respected. At least for now.

“Number 1 wish on my wish list would be to maintain the status quo,” says Shaun Osher of CORE. “I’m of the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ school of thought.”

And, for better or worse, there’s only so much a de Blasio administration can do to alter the real estate landscape — at least for the next two years. Most of the new construction that has broken ground is of the high-end luxury variety. Drawing up new plans — or altering existing ones — would take a lot of time and effort. And money.

“How do you make [affordable housing] possible?” asks Miller. “There has to be some sort of government intervention or subsidy program or incentive in order to do that.” Given what the NYC budget looks like, this seems unlikely.

4) HOPE: NYC protects its hard-won international “brand.”

“My hope is that de Blasio’s vision includes the global position of the city, and why we fared better than other urban markets in the US,” says Miller. Even during the darkest days of the economic crisis, tourists kept coming to the city, because it was viewed as a relatively safe place with excellent amenities like Central Park. It’s also one of the global financial centers of the world. Not to mention it boasts a real estate market that has only increased in price since the 2008 economic meltdown. “That’s a very important asset,” says Miller. “And it’s developed over the last 20 years.”

Q&A: A NYC Broker on the Benefits of 'Test Driving' Homes

HGTV FrontDoorNovember 04, 2013
You've seen dozens of homes. You've whittled the list down. You think this home could be the one — and yet, you still need a little bit more information to decide if it's the right fit. To help buyers who are on the fence, some real estate brokers have been arranging "test drives" of prospective homes. Much like it sounds, test drives allow a serious buyer to live in a home for anywhere from several hours to overnight. It's an ideal way to decide if those nagging questions — How noisy are the neighbors? Will I mind the walk home from the subway station at 11 p.m.? — are deal-breakers or not. We spoke with Limor Nesher at CORE about the benefits of test-driving a home.

When did you start letting buyers try out homes? How often does it happen?
I began to try this trend about a month ago. At this stage, these instances don't happen very often, as not many people are aware of this option. Unless you are dealing with a truly unique home, most sellers do not choose to try this approach.

How long does a buyer usually stay at the house?
Normally for just a few hours. Rarely, an overnight stay.

How do you decide when to let a buyer test-drive a home? What sort of factors do you have to consider?
If a buyer shows serious interest, such as asking for second or third showings, bringing family or friends or other consultants, a seller may consider this route. Additionally, if they express concerns that can only be answered by spending more time in the space, that may also be a reason to allow the buyer to experience the home in this way. I would also consider the credibility of the buyer and his or her ability to buy.

Do you find that sellers are usually amenable to letting buyers "try out" their homes? Or is it hard to find sellers who are open to it?
It can be hard to find sellers willing to agree to it for obvious reasons. However, if a seller has a home in an emerging area or a unique property, having a prospective buyer "test drive" the home may be a good option.

In your experience, do clients tend to purchase homes after staying in them for a night? Or is that not necessarily the case?
This is not necessarily the case. Regardless of the outcome, both the buyers and the sellers tend to walk away from the experience with no regrets about their final decision, which is great for both parties.

What are some typical insights that buyers gain after spending the night in a prospective home? What kind of questions are they looking to answer?
Typical questions that potential buyers are hoping to answer during their time at a home are: Are the walls too thin? How safe is this neighborhood at night? How is the water pressure in the shower? Would my furniture fit in here?

How would you advise a buyer to get the most out of a test drive?
First and foremost, be respectful to the owners and their privacy during your visit. Spend this time wisely and experience all of the details of this space as much as you can. Stroll through the neighborhood at different times of the day. Cook a meal and envision this space with your own personal touches included. Overall, try to recreate the experience as if you are already living there.

The Kitchen Exposed

New York MagazineNovember 03, 2013
16 West 19th Street, Apt. 9D

Monthly rent: $3,650

What the kitchen in this studio lacks in size, it makes up for in style and efficiency, with glossy cabinets and high-end appliances scaled to fit the tiny space, including a Miele two-burner stove, a drawer-style dishwasher, and a super-slim Sub-Zero fridge. (Jade Jagger, daughter of Mick, designed these so-called pods.)

Listing agents: Julia Cole and Lindsee Silverstein, CORE NYC

The Sterling Mason Broker Event

The Mann Report ResidentialNovember 01, 2013
The recent broker event in the sales gallery at The Sterling Mason, an exquisite new condominium located at 71 Laight Street in Northwest Tribeca, was a smashing success. Well attend by over 70 top-producing brokers and real estate heavy-weights, notable guests included Charles Bendit, co-CEO of Taconic Investment Partners along with Paul Pariser; Susan de Franca, President and CEO of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing; Howard Lorber, Chairman of Douglas Elliman; John and Christine Gachot of GACHOT, the interior designers for The Sterling Mason; Bruce Ehrmann of Douglas Elliman; and Emily Beare and Shaun Osher of CORE.

New York Real Estate Market Update

Scene MagazineNovember 01, 2013
Market Status

2013 has been an exciting year for the real estate market in Manhattan. It's been full of surprises, especially as we've seen rising prices and sustained growth entering the fall, a time when the market tends to soften and slow down.

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 Aptsandlofts.com 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.

Announcements

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
$2,495,000

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 www.birdlandjazz.com.

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, patricklillyteam@corenyc.com.

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, pmills@corenyc.com.
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