Sudden Burst of Residential Activity in an Overlooked Slice of TriBeCa

The New York TimesAugust 27, 2013
The area of lower Broadway south of Canal Street in Manhattan has long been characterized by nondescript discount stores and lunchtime counters packed with city workers. It has been mostly ignored by the wave of gentrification to the west that has flooded TriBeCa over the last decade, bringing with it baby carriages, designer boutiques and restaurants.

“Along Broadway has always been the funkier part of TriBeCa where you can still find artists,” said Erik Torkells, the editor of the Tribeca Citizen, a neighborhood Web site. “People call it Chibeca because of its proximity to Chinatown.”

This may be about to change. On a four-block stretch of Broadway, between Worth and Walker Streets, nine new residential projects are in the works, bringing more than 430 new condominium units to the area. The burst in activity is largely because of a booming condominium market and insatiable demand for downtown luxury apartments that is rapidly encroaching on commercial spaces and transforming old office towers.

In the second quarter this year, the average condominium price in TriBeCa reached $1,583 a square foot, nearly 17 percent higher than the $1,354 a square foot posted last year during the similar period, according to data from the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The median sales price in the neighborhood was $2.75 million in the second quarter, a significant premium over the $1.25 million for all of Manhattan, according to the firm. Land prices for development sites have followed, averaging as much as $500 a buildable square foot in TriBeCa, up from just $300 a buildable square foot two years ago, brokers said.

“With prices approaching $2,000 a square foot or better in TriBeCa, it is encouraging the expansion of the core of the neighborhood to adjacent areas like Broadway,” said Daniel Fasulo, a managing director at Real Capital Analytics, a research firm. “The amount of deal-making in the neighborhood is astounding.”

By the start of winter, the first buyers will move in to 93 Worth Street, a 92-unit condominium that features a dog-washing station and a roof-deck terrace. The 18-story building has had swift demand from buyers, with just nine apartments remaining, including four penthouses that are yet to be put on the market. The average sale price is $1,700 a square foot, according to Eldad Blaustein, the chief executive of IGI USA, the building’s developer.

“This is a brand-new Broadway corridor,” said Doron Zwickel, an associate real estate broker at CORE, which is marketing the building. “Historically, this hasn’t been prime TriBeCa, but it is becoming more desirable.”

One draw has actually been that the building is outside the core of the neighborhood, and not in the flood zone that saw so much damage during Hurricane Sandy last year. “After the storm, we got a lot of interest from people close to the water who wanted to be in the neighborhood but didn’t want to have the risks,” Mr. Zwickel said.

On Leonard Street one block to the south, two buildings are rising: 350 Broadway, a 12-story former office tower, is being converted into a 66-unit condominium. Bizzi & Partners Development, which built the Setai Fifth Avenue in Midtown, began sales in July, and the building, called 101 Leonard, is more than 60 percent sold. At 346 Broadway, the Miami-based developer Don Peebles is planning a $350 million renovation to convert the building, which was used by the New York City Criminal Court, into roughly 200 condominium units and a hotel. It acquired the 13-story building in March from the City of New York for $160 million.

At Broadway and Franklin Street, the developer El Ad is planning the Franklin, a 53-unit condo complex with amenities like a children’s playroom and a rooftop pool. The building has gone through a number of failed conversion plans, perhaps most notoriously in 2006, when the Dutch architect Ben van Berkel designed a 20-story apartment building, with glass elevators and a facade of black metal bands. Those plans fell apart during the recession, and El Ad eventually acquired the site.

The Franklin “is the fastest-selling building I’ve ever had,” said Richard Cantor, a principal at the brokerage firm Cantor Pecorella, which is overseeing the marketing. Since sales began in May, 48 of the 53 apartments are in contract. Originally, the units were priced at $1,350 a square foot, but they were later raised to $1,550 and then $1,650. “Now, by the time we sell out, the prices will be closer to $1,800 a foot; we just sold the largest penthouse for $10 million, or just under $2,700 a foot,” Mr. Cantor said.

There are also a number of small boutique buildings in the works. The Keystone Group acquired 391 Broadway, a commercial building, eight months ago and is converting it into four residential floor-through lofts with retail space on the ground floor. “With TriBeCa the way it is, there is not enough product for all of the demand, so the neighborhood keeps being pushed eastward,” said Daniel Martin, a managing director at Keystone Group. It hopes to complete the project by May.

At 372 Broadway, which is being renamed 6 Cortlandt Alley for the street it abuts, developers are getting approvals to build a five-unit condominium, with sales beginning in the spring. At 361 Broadway, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban is designing 13 condominium units, including a set of glass duplex penthouses that will be affixed atop the six-story cast-iron building. The plans were approved last year, and construction is set to begin as early as next month, said Dean Maltz, the building’s executive architect based in New York.

Another possible development could come at 360 Broadway, where the real estate investor Waterbridge Capital recently acquired the building for $23 million. Calls to the chief executive, Joel Schreiber, were not returned.

“I’ve done a number of sales on the SoHo side of Broadway, and it seems to me a very natural progression to develop the area below Canal Street,” said Susan Wires, a broker at the brokerage firm Stribling & Associates, which is marketing 6 Cortlandt Alley with her partner, Leila Yusuf. “So many of the buildings that are coming to this area are large-scale, but ours will be really intimate and boutique, something that is missing in the marketplace right now.”

With such a strong condominium market, the land prices for development sites have also skyrocketed. “If you compare where prices are today from 2010, it has gone way up,” said Nick Petkoff, the director of sales at the brokerage firm Massey Knakal Realty Services.

When Mr. Blaustein acquired 93 Worth Street in 2010, for example, he paid roughly $300 a buildable square foot. “Now, if you are buying buildings to convert, they are costing $500 to $550 a square foot,” he said. “We would love to buy more buildings in the neighborhood, but the competition has become fierce.”

The demand for development sites is a key reason that the owners of 396 Broadway have put the vacant building on the market for $37 million, rather then push ahead with plans to convert it into a 50-unit rental building. “We have approved plans for a residential conversion, and an alternative plan for a hotel,” said Gene Kaufman, the project’s architect. “But the owners right now see that the property is a lot more valuable than it once was, and so it is reasonable that they pause and rethink it, given that the circumstances have improved for the better.”

But while there has been many residential developments, retail activity in the neighborhood remains lackluster. “Retail hasn’t happened yet, it is all very embryonic,” said Roger E. Eulau, an executive managing director at the Lansco Corporation, a retail brokerage firm.

Rents are around $100 to $150 a square foot, compared with as much as $1,000 a square foot on Broadway in SoHo, he said.
Still, “we feel that Broadway is going to be a natural gateway that links the Fulton Street Transit hub and the World Trade Center to SoHo, it is a natural thoroughfare for retail,” said Mr. Martin of the Keystone Group. “We are very bullish about this neighborhood’s future.”

How Fights Over Fixtures Can Derail a Closing

The New York TimesAugust 23, 2013
Even at their smoothest, residential real estate closings are not for the faint of heart. At stake is nothing less than the roof over the buyer’s head, but the repercussions can be primal when, just before the culmination of a deal worth hundreds of thousands or, in many instances, millions of dollars, weeks of negotiations unravel when the buyer and seller suddenly squabble over who gets custody of something as inconsequential as a $150 ceiling fan.

“It’s the real estate version of road rage,” said Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens.

There is a chronic dynamic at work here. Sellers are wary of having parted too cheaply with a profound investment, their residence. Buyers are leery of having paid too dearly and often are already punch-drunk from the trauma of the financial frisking endured during co-op board inquisitions or mortgage applications.

With the stage preset for regret and recrimination, and with lawyers at the ready to advocate in different directions at the drop of a dollar sign, nothing brings the process to a screeching standstill like a quibble over an inanimate item — a dusty chandelier, a sputtering air-conditioner, a wobbly Ikea shoe rack — that incomprehensibly assumes trophy status in the calculations of both buyer and seller.

“Closings are such a heightened emotional event,” said Lindsay Barton Barrett of the Corcoran Group. But their immediate prelude can be just as hazardous. “You can literally have a multimillion-dollar deal fall apart at the last minute, in my case over a dining-room table,” she recalled.

That transaction died when the buyers demanded that the seller throw in his custom-made table gratis to seal a hard-fought deal. “My seller was insulted, and it killed the deal. He said the table made him do it.” (The duplex quickly sold to a less demanding buyer.)
Streamlined negotiations, thy nemesis is an eight-foot-tall fiberglass resin replica of the Statue of Liberty bought as a husband-to-wife birthday gift on Canal Street 25 years ago and a family member ever since. For the prior decade, the statue had been the silent guardian of the east terrace of an East 58th Street penthouse triplex that went to contract, after a million-dollar reduction, for $2.4 million last November. The terrace statuary had, through the years, served as a measuring stick that recorded the ever-escalating heights of the sellers’ grandchildren; as such, it possessed sentimental value on the scale of a priceless heirloom.

When the cash buyer indicated that she wanted to acquire the penthouse fully furnished and to close within two weeks, the husband/seller, Chuck Mintzer, dutifully compiled a short list of excluded items but neglected to add Lady Liberty. By definition, this oversight lumped her in with the furnishings that were staying put, and the buyer was intransigent.

Pearl Mintzer was apoplectic after she found out that the statue was destined to become the property of the buyer and, after berating her husband for his insensitivity, threatened to halt the sale. She was perfectly sanguine about leaving her custom-made purple leather sofa with aqua piping behind, but the prospect of parting with her $750 statue floored her.

“I loved that statue and told my husband I didn’t care if the deal fell apart,” Ms. Mintzer said.

The deal, according to the listing broker, Tom Postilio of CORE, nearly did collapse, and he and his partner at CORE, Mickey Conlon, feverishly scoured the Internet for another eight-foot-tall fiberglass resin replica of the Statue of Liberty, rejoicing when they came across one for $1,200. “We couldn’t believe we were having this conversation about finding a statue online, but I said to Mickey: ‘I’m not letting this deal die. We’ll buy a statue and send it as a closing gift.' ”

The trouble was, neither party would accept a replica of the replica. Ultimately, Ms. Mintzer wrote a letter to the buyer begging her to understand how important the statue was to her. The buyer relented and agreed to do without a Lady Liberty; the statue and the Mintzers relocated to New Hope, Pa.; the deal actually closed.

“We were absolutely thrilled to be able to keep her,” Ms. Mintzer said.

According to Scott Claman, a real estate lawyer and a partner in the New York City firm Giddins Claman, squabbles over objects at the penultimate point of contract negotiations are far from uncommon. “We refer to it at the office as ‘Post-Traumatic Deal Syndrome,’ ” Mr. Claman said. “But if you can make it through a closing and nobody sues each other, that’s the universal sign of happiness in New York City.”

Elaine Clayman, an agent at Brown Harris Stevens, turned to Mr. Claman for guidance when negotiations over a $4.5 million duplex at St. James Tower on East 54th Street went awry after a buyer-seller standoff over a $35,000 sculpture, a jagged metal work that wrapped around the curve of a winding staircase.

“It never could have hung anywhere else,” Ms. Clayman said, “because a passer-by would have been impaled on it if it was mounted on a flat wall. As it was, it almost killed the deal. Both sides wanted the piece of art, so it was a slow-moving, excruciating negotiation. They did finally reach an agreement, but believe it or not, it then turned out the condo didn’t ‘exist’ as a known entity in the building or in city records.”

After a few months of research, Mr. Claman was able to finesse the provenance of the duplex, a combination with an adjacent apartment. He registered the necessary paperwork with the city; the sale finally closed for $4 million. “We both got gray hair from that deal,” Ms. Clayman said. But not the buyer: she got the sculpture.

In 2010, Shii Ann Huang of the Corcoran Group suffered through a bellicose tussle over a nondescript ceiling fan in the master bedroom of a $700,000 two-bedroom at a white-brick co-op in Murray Hill. Ms. Huang represented the buyers, who had justifiably assumed the fan was a fixture that was included in the purchase price.

“There was no mention of it until we were close to closing,” she said, “and the sellers told my clients they would give them the ceiling fan for $300. My buyers put their foot down and said no.” The meeting was adjourned; the closing suddenly wasn’t so close. It seemed the fan had created a stalemate.

Ms. Huang said she and the broker representing the seller ponied up the $300 themselves to resolve the dispute and seal the deal. A few months later, her clients invited her to the apartment to display the renovations they had done, and she noticed that the fan was gone. “They had thrown it away,” she said. “So the whole fight was really over nothing. There is something psychological that goes on at closings where people feel they’ve got to get something extra.”

Rory Bolger, a broker with Citi Habitats, wound up footing the bill for two chandeliers after a deal on a $599,000 unit on East 86th Street started to unravel last December. The trouble began when the seller, a daughter who was handling the details on behalf of her ailing father, decided she wanted the dining-room chandelier. “It was this sort of medieval-looking cast-iron chandelier that had belonged to her parents,” Mr. Bolger said, “and though she initially seemed O.K. about leaving it, after her father died, she changed her mind.”

The buyer, however, wanted a dining-room chandelier in place when she took possession, and when Mr. Bolger suggested that she select one and he would buy it, she presented him with a request for two fixtures. “They were very modern, nothing at all like the one that was there,” he said. “It ended up costing me about $500, but it was just too minor of an item to leave a bad taste in anybody’s mouth.” The sale closed in June with both sides satisfied.

The iron chandelier now hangs in the dining room of the daughter, Susan Milisits, a social worker who remembers her parents buying it for $35 in the Village in the 1960s. “It still had candle drippings on it and wasn’t electrified,” she said, “but my parents had it wired and it had hung over their dining-room table wherever they’d lived, first in Brooklyn, and for the last 15 years at the apartment on 86th Street.
“It had sentimental value to me,” she continued, “and Rory really came to the rescue and took the sting out of the whole experience. It was probably leading to some high drama if he hadn’t stepped in.”

“The principle of the thing” is the typical explanation offered by the warring parties: on the eve of a closing, even a humble medicine cabinet can become the locus of a nasty dispute.

Nadine A. Adamson had just returned to the city in 2009 after four years in London and, with her husband and young son, went house-hunting in Brooklyn and found the perfect town house on Downing Street in Clinton Hill. The seller was an antiques dealer, and both sides quickly agreed to a price of $1.042 million. But negotiations soured when the seller refused to include a bathroom medicine cabinet.

“It was an old wooden cabinet with a mercury-glass mirror,” said Ms. Adamson, now an agent with Brown Harris Stevens, “and it was attached to the wall and should have been mine. But he threw such a fit that I let him take it. He said he’d shaved in front of it for 41 years and wouldn’t sell me the house unless I gave it to him. I was desperate for the house, so I let it go.” It remains a sore point.

In the opinion of Steven Matz, a partner at the real estate law firm Katz & Matz, the cabinet probably should have gone with the town house. By his definition, the best way to ascertain what is or isn’t a fixture requires an imaginary exercise. “You take the home or apartment and put it in the palm of your hand and turn it upside down and shake it very hard, and whatever does not fall to the ground is a fixture.”

Mr. Matz said he had attended closings that stalled over things as mundane as the purloined towel and toilet-paper holders at a Fifth Avenue co-op (then again, maybe they were solid gold), and a missing light bulb at a $10 million Park Avenue co-op: “But it was a special German halogen light bulb, and technically it was the seller’s responsibility to have it in working order.”

According to Ms. Del Nunzio, “Typically what the buyer and seller are fighting about is not the towels or the mantelpiece the seller wants to remove at the last minute, but rather these items become a focal point for their anxiety.”

And then there’s the $1.18 million sale of a charming duplex at West 67th Street where a mantelpiece truly took a star turn in the negotiations, just as it had in the Corcoran listing, where it was mentioned no fewer than three times. The prospective buyers, Kate and Eric Jones, were instantly enamored of the original brick fireplace, antique mahogany mantel and curvaceous mahogany staircase, and made an offer at first sight.

Matters progressed smoothly until they visited the apartment for a preclosing walk-through and, to their shock, saw the wooden mantelpiece lying on the living room floor like a beached whale. The seller, one half of a divorcing couple, had ripped down the mantel, intending for it to move out with her. Through their agent, Jessica Cohen of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the buyers lodged a protest.
“The mantelpiece was a material part of the quaint character that had endeared my buyers to the property,” Ms. Cohen said. “So the seller had to return it. It was actually funny to see.”

But it was more complicated than that, Ms. Jones said. When the husband learned what was holding up the closing, he removed his ex-wife’s expensive bike from the basement storage room. “He told her he was going to hold it for ransom and that she wouldn’t get it back unless she put the mantel back up,” she said. After a few tense weeks, the mantel was restored and the closing took place. But that’s not quite the end of the story.

“While all this was going on, we decided to have an appraiser take a look at the mantel,” Ms. Jones said. “It turned out it wasn’t a real antique and wasn’t really worth much at all.”

They have since ripped it out and given it away.

Good Property Enlists CORE to Market Village Townhouse Project

The Real DealAugust 23, 2013
Good Property, the brokerage and development firm that came to New York City in June 2011, appears to be outsourcing the marketing of its 23 Downing Street townhouse development.

The 3,700-square-foot property, spanning five stories and a backyard, is now listed with Emily Beare and her son David Beare, both brokers at CORE, the blog Haute Living noted. Good Property will partner with the firm, led by Shaun Osher, on various upcoming development and marketing projects. The under-construction 23 Downing is listed for $9.5 million.

Other upcoming Good Property properties includes mixed-use buildings in Lower Manhattan and Williamsburg, a 9,000-square-foot single-family townhouse off Washington Square Park and a number of condominium projects, the specific address and names of which were not indicated by Haute Living.

The company has reportedly commenced several residential developments around New York City. Good Property has a focus on single family, multi-family, mixed-use and commercial spaces.

Haute Partners: Perfect Synergy, Good Property & CORE Offer the Best in Manhattan Luxury Real Estate

August 22, 2013
Good Property Company and CORE are pleased to be kicking off a development and marketing/sales partnership that is bringing a high-end luxury residential development to the hot Manhattan real estate market.

The first of these luxury properties is 23 Downing Street, a townhouse in the heart of Greenwich Village. Developed by Good Property Company and listed by mother-and-son-broker-duo Emily and David Beare, the 3,700-square-foot townhouse property is a rare gem. With four beautiful bedrooms, five spacious bathrooms, a breathtaking garden and an enviable rooftop terrace, the luxurious modern interpretation of a traditional carriage house is currently listed for $9.5 million.

The property has attracted the attention of many of the most discerning brokers and buyers, particularly after CORE showcased the townhouse’s allure with a summer soirée on June 17, which featured food, drinks and music in the private backyard garden. The five-story property’s design lends itself to celebrations, with a great entertaining space and magical backyard, as well as a basement media room complete with a structural skylight. According to CORE’s Emily Beare, 23 Downing appeals to a wide array of buyers, but its inspiring architecture and positive energy reel in the creative crowd.

Good Property Company was established in 2009 and develops lifestyle-driven projects in the single family, multi-family, mixed-use and commercial spaces. The company’s intimate approach combined with its unique understanding of the market provides them the flexibility that is essential in developing long-term relationships with their communities, peers and clients.

“We are thrilled to be developing in New York,” said Josh Gurwitz, one of Good Property Company’s founders. Since opening a New York office, Good Property Company has commenced on a number of residential developments throughout New York City, and recently acquired additional assets planned for future development. The downtown firm’s new collaboration with CORE is set to bring many new, spectacular developments to NYC in the years to come.

Another driving force behind Good Property Company’s success is an interest in architecture, design, construction and aesthetics. “We are client-driven,” explained Gurwitz. “When we build or buy something there’s a story that’s going to be told once we’re finished repositioning the property.”

This hands-on approach is similar to listing agent Emily Beare’s tactic. “We only have our reputation,” she revealed. “That’s all we have in this business so you always have to act accordingly.” Emily also credits her children, both of whom are in the business, for teaching her the invaluable importance of a balance between her work and personal life.

Upcoming Good Property Company properties include a 9,000 square foot single family townhouse just off of Washington Square Park, mixed-use buildings in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as well as a number of condominium projects, one of which they are working on with the team at CORE. Both firms are looking forward to many good things to come from the exciting partnership.

House of the Week: 246 West 17th Street, 1A

New York PostAugust 22, 2013
$2.25 million
Bedrooms: 1 Bathrooms: 2
Square feet: 1,659
Common charges: $1,870

On “one of the most desirable streets” — specifically, West 17th Street — this “modern, loft-style” condo features a “sumptuous” master suite, a living room “warmed” by “brilliant southern exposures” and a private garden terrace. Agents: Paul Johansen and Julia Cole, Core, 212-612-9619 and 212-612-9611

Starchitect Ismael Leyva Sells CPW Condo for $7.5M

The Real DealAugust 20, 2013
Starchitect Ismael Leyva has sold his apartment at 353 Central Park West for $7.55 million — after only three weeks on the market and for nearly $2 million more than what he paid for it six years ago, The Real Deal has learned exclusively.

Leyva bought the 2,733-square-foot home for $5.6 million in February 2007, city records show. The property hit the market on May 14 with an asking price of $7.75 million, The Real Deal previously reported. CORE CEO Shaun Osher had the listing with colleague Emily Beare.

The CORE team found a buyer, who has not been publicly identified, in less than a month and the sale closed Aug. 15, according to CORE spokesperson Monique Peterson.

Osher, Beare and Leyva declined to comment.

Leyva designed the apartment, which spans the 15th floor of the 15-unit building, between West 95th and West 96th streets. Configured as a three-bedroom, the home also has a library, a private elevator and a service elevator. It is unclear where Leyva is moving to.

Ismael Leyva Architects has designed and built several residential and commercial buildings in New York City and around the world. In Manhattan, he designed the residential interiors at Time Warner Center, and built Yves Chelsea at 166 West 18th Street, Place 57 at 207 East 57th Street, the Westminster at 180 West 20th Street and the Tribeca Royale at 19 Park Place, set to be complete in 2015.

Osher took on the listing, something he rarely does. Right now, according to StreetEasy, the brokerage chief has two active ones — a $12 million townhouse at 135 West 69th Street and a $7.25 million condo at 45 Walker Street in Tribeca.

Beare is known for her pricey Manhattan listings. This past year, she had one of the most expensive listings in Manhattan — metal magnate Leroy Schecter’s $85 million condo at 15 Central Park West, which has since been taken off the market.

House of the Day: A Colorful Return to TriBeCa

The Wall Street JournalAugust 20, 2013
Price: $7,250,000 Location: TriBeCa, NY

Several years after first living in TriBeCa, the homeowners returned to the neighborhood, purchasing one of their dream homes, a full-floor, four-bedroom loft apartment with 11-foot-high ceilings.

Marina Smith and Carl Ekendahl purchased a full-floor loft on the fourth floor of this building on Walker Street in TriBeCa through a trust in 2008 for $5.735 million, according to public records. Ms. Smith's connection to the trust was confirmed by Eric Hager of Davidson, Dawson & Clark, the firm that represents the trust.

A corner of the loft is pictured. Ms. Smith and Mr. Eckendahl, both in their forties, have two children ages 13 and 21. They met around 1989 in Los Angeles and moved to TriBeCa in the mid-90s. They have also lived in Brooklyn Heights, the Upper East Side and were close to Madison Square Park when they first looked at another apartment with a similar layout in this building in 2006.

The main living and dining room is shown. ‘It stayed in our minds,’ said Ms. Smith of seeing the other apartment in the building. ‘It was the one we loved and wanted but they already had an accepted offer on the unit. We were really heartbroken when it went,’ she said.

‘I think in an idle moment I was looking online and saw that this apartment was for sale,' said Ms. Smith. 'Knowing what it looked like we jumped on it.' Shown here, a fireplace which Ms. Smith said could be converted to gas by a future homeowner.

Ms. Smith is a stay-at-home mom and Mr. Ekendahl works in marketing. The 11-foot-high ceilings and the layout of the apartment appealed to the couple. 'There's a hallway which separates the family room from the entertainment room. The kitchen is so central to the apartment. Those elements were what appealed to us,' said Ms. Smith. The four-bedroom, four bathroom apartment is about 4,781 square feet.

A view of Walker Street from the living room space is shown. Ms. Smith described the apartment's location as 'slightly off the beaten path, so you're not dealing with the constant shoppers of SoHo.' The building is also located close to several subway lines, and the full floor apartment has its own elevator access. 'We've always felt very secure,' she said.

After purchasing the home, the couple did a gut renovation of the space, updating the kitchen, redoing the master bathroom, expanding a closet in the master bedroom and creating a library with shelving from a former wine cellar space.

Ms. Smith used faux finish on some of the walls in the apartment to give them depth and employed colors she said work well as you move through the apartment. 'There's no jarring disconnect between one room and the other,' she said.

The guest bathroom is shown. Renovating the apartment took nine months and also involved refinishing the floors in a deep walnut color and adding trim, molding, custom shelving and new light fixtures.

Shown here the master bathroom. Currently the apartment's layout is of three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a media room, a home office and one guest bedroom and library space that is also used as a home office, said Ms. Smith. 'We still have a huge loft but we also have private spaces,' she said.

Shown here, the master bathroom. 'I wanted the atmosphere to be homey, warm and inviting and not sterile,' she said, 'yet comfortable and modern.' The family's art collection and decor reflects their love of New York cultural events and institutions. 'We're typical culture vulture New Yorkers,' said Ms. Smith.

The fireplace mantlepiece is shown. With their son out the house, the family is now looking for a smaller space but hope to stay in TriBeCa. The apartment was listed at the beginning of July with Shaun Osher and Emily Beare of CORE Real Estate for $7.25 million.

Architect Ismael Leyva Sells on Central Park West for $7.55M

CurbedAugust 20, 2013
Architect Ismael Levya listed his very own apartment at 353 Central Park West in May, asking $7.75 million for a place that he (as we'd expect) designed himself. Happily for him, the customization wasn't too personalized to appeal to buyers—The Real Deal hears that the place has sold for $7.55 million. (The buyer is unidentified.) Leyva paid $5.6 million for the apartment in 2007. Sadly, that old listing has just one photo and no floorplan.

Leyva turned the place into a 3BR with a library.

8 Stunning Terraces in Manhattan and Brooklyn

HGTV Front DoorAugust 16, 2013
A private terrace is a coveted thing in New York City, where outdoor space usually means shared space. Some are small and cozy -- perfect little oases that make you feel removed from city life. Some are larger than the homes they're attached to, making you feel like a king. Others offer stunning views, whether it's of the Hudson River, Central Park or simply the city skyline. Still others sit on top of your roof, offering unobstructed views of the sky.

We scoped out homes that are currently on the market and found terraces that are perfect for lounging, dining al fresco or barbecuing for a party. A condo in Greenpoint offers a rooftop terrace that's almost as big as the interior. On the opposite end of the size spectrum, we found a terrace on Downing Street that's cozy and downright serene. We also found a few terraces that are perfect for the consummate entertainer. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite outdoor spaces on the market right now.

Peek Inside NYC’s 10 Priciest Rentals

The Real DealAugust 16, 2013
Whether it be a townhouse or a condominium, Manhattan has the priciest rentals in the city. Check out our slideshow of the top 10 most expensive options on the market at the moment. Brown Harris Stevens handled the listings for three of the four priciest rentals, including a $135,000-a-month penthouse condo at the Towers of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

#3: 15 Central Park West

This five-bedroom, six-bathroom condominium on the 35th floor of Robert A.M. Stern’s neoclassical 15 Central Park West in Lincoln Square is asking $125,000 a month. Emily Beare of CORE has the listing. The condo – which features a library, two laundry rooms and a gallery area – came on the market in June.

Talk of the Townhouse

New York PostAugust 15, 2013
The Upper East Side townhouse that once belonged to famed photographer Richard Avedon and then Olivier Sarkozy — before he divorced his wife to shack up with Mary-Kate Olsen — just sold for $11.4 million to a mystery buyer. The home, at 407 E. 75th Street, was last listed for $12.5 million.

The four-story, six-bedroom, nine-bathroom townhouse was originally a carriage house. It is 25 feet wide, with dramatic features including a black-and-white stairwell, a dining room with a wood-burning fireplace and a state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen. The master suite takes up the entire third floor and includes two wood-burning fireplaces — one in the study and one in the bedroom. That level also has a private terrace.

Listing broker Emily Beare of Core declined to comment.

Just Sold: 100 West 58th Street, 10C

New York PostAugust 15, 2013
100 W. 58th Street

Two-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath condo, 1,104 square feet, with open kitchen with Sub-Zero, Bosch and Viking appliances, washer/dryer, dining area and Dornbracht baths with marble and granite finishes; Windsor Park condo conversion, originally designed by Rosario Candela, features doorman, gym and roof terrace. Common charges $1,340, taxes $1,049. Asking price $1,650,000, on market two weeks. Brokers: Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon, Core and William Landhauser, Douglas Elliman

Done Deals: 277 President Street, #2

Brokers WeeklyAugust 14, 2013
Carroll Gardens
277 President Street, #2

Eight-foot-wide three-bedroom, two and a half baths with south and north exposures, 5” wide plank oak floors, two-zone central air conditioning, AV surround sound system, Bosch vented washer & dryer, full-length private terrace, and 12x9 feet storage cage. Subzero refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher, Wolf 6-burner stove plus grill, Wolf vented hood, Wolf microwave, a pot-filler right by the stove, 24-bottle Subzero wine cooler, extra-large Caesarstone countertops, custom cabinetry with tons of storage space, well-proportioned pantry and breakfast bar. Grohe double shower system, marble countertops, limestone bath and floor, towel warmer, Toto toilet and radiant heat flooring in the windowed master bathroom. The second bath has a full Kohler soaking tub, hand glazed subway tiles, Toto toilet, linen closet and radiant heat flooring. C. Charges: $721/month. R/E Taxes: $70. On the market for 133 days. Asking price: $2,500,000 Listing agent: Terry Naini, Town Residential; buyer’s broker: Doug Bowen of CORE.

CORE Initiated Into Cool New Gang

Brokers WeeklyAugust 07, 2013
Manhattan’s CORE Group has been initiated into a prestigious group of luxury real estate brokerage firms around the world.

The company will be the exclusive New York City member of Leverage Global Partners, an international network that promotes the presidents of each member firm as key players in the international real estate arena. All LGP contact and inquiries will be directed to CORE founder and CEO Shaun Osher and his associates will get access to partners at member brokerages around the world.

“Leverage is curating a collection of similarly-minded boutique brokerages throughout the world,” explained Osher. “Accessibility to the founders/CEOs of each brokerage offers the highest degree of personal attention in making the right client/agent match and offering a new level of white-glove service and personalization.

“CORE is thrilled to be named the exclusive New York City member.”

New Listings: 201 E 28th Street

Brokers WeeklyAugust 07, 2013
Murray Hill
201 E 28th Street, 17A

Two bedroom, 2-bath home in doorman building. Renovated windowed kitchen and renovated baths. Abundant closet space and 34 ft. living and dining area. Open city views of one of the most desirable and quiet neighborhoods in Manhattan. Listing agent: Jeffrey Smith, CORE.

Done Deals: 211 Thompson Street

Brokers WeeklyAugust 07, 2013
Greenwich Village
211 Thompson Street, 4N

One bedroom, 1-bath loft duplex in move-in condition. Open western exposure, state-of-the-art kitchen, renovated bathroom and closet space. Staircase, Mahogany hardwood flooring, and outside balcony. Asking price: $699,000. Brokers: Lindsee Silverstein, CORE; Steve Dawson, Sotheby’s International Realty.

New Listings: 314 E 41st Street

Brokers WeeklyAugust 07, 2013
Tudor City
314 E 41st St., 202C

Two-bedroom, 2-bathunit with formal dining room. Windowed chef’s kitchen with an updated appliance line, including a dishwasher. Well-run, full-service building with 24-hour doorman, live-in superintendent and windowed laundry room. Listing agent: Stephen J Gallagher, CORE.

New Building Emerges from Upper East Side Restaurant War

CurbedAugust 06, 2013
On the Upper East Side, 27 East 61st Street became a piece of territory in the life-size Monopoly game being played by Italian joints Nello and Serafina. Serafina purchased the building to keep Nello from building atop the two properties it owned on either side. Fast forward two years…and something completely different is going on! 27 East 61st Street is on the market now for $18.5 million, and since we last checked in, the lot has seen quite a transformation. A new six-story building is in progress—rendered above—and when finished, it will include two floors of residential units, two floors zoned for commercial use, and a restaurant. The restaurant will be a sushi joint, Geisha, which will at least mean no more Italian food wars.

Elite Group Earns "New York Residential Specialist" Credential

The Mann ReportAugust 05, 2013
New York Residential Specialists (NYRS) celebrated the graduation of tis Spring 2013 class with a reception at The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). To date, 244 top real estate agents from 31 leading brokerage firms have now achieved the prestigious NYRS designation. First awarded in 2007, the NYRS credential is certified by REBNY and is the premier professional credential for residential real estate agents in New York City. Designed specifically for the unique challenges of NYC’s residential market, NYRS certification classes are taught by industry leaders and the curriculum features classes on ethics, negotiation and technology. NYRS agents comprise a powerful peer group committed to advanced education and professional excellence.

A celebratory reception for graduated, instructors, and sponsors followed the last class of the season, which focused on self-branding and social media. REBNY NYRS Co-Chairs Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty and Frank Halstead were both present at the ceremony to greet and congratulate the graduates. “with the NYRS designation you’ve gained a certain competitive edge and have become ambassadors of an elite group that is synonymous with excellence in residential real estate,” noted Hackel.

Limited enrollment in the NYRS curriculum is open twice each year to qualified agents during fall and spring. The Fall semester begins September 16, 2013, and agents who seek to enroll must be recommended by their managers and meet qualifying criteria.

Featured Listing: 15 West 20th Street, PH

Modern NYC WeeklyAugust 05, 2013
15 West 20th Street, PH

A luxury penthouse duplex, nestled between nearly 2,000 square feet of front and back outdoor space in the middle of Manhattan, is considered a rare gem. This Flatiron District residence was uniquely designed for the discriminating buyer who seeks privacy and the perfect oasis to escape the rush of the City, while still offering a loft-like feel as soon as you step out of the elevator. Surrounded by windows, most looking out onto the private terraces, this home offers exposure from three directions resulting in an abundance of sunlight throughout the day. Currently configured as a 2-bedroom with library and 3 baths, this home can easily be converted back into a property 3 bedroom as the floorplan suggests. The home has been carefully appointed with only the best materials and appliances one would expect in a luxury apartment, including a wood-burning fireplace cased in imported marble, sophisticated custom woodwork, built-in sound system, radiant heat flooring in master bath, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, and central heat and air. The private terraces are perfect for entertaining or a quiet and tranquil evening, complete with hot tub and endless possibilities for a garden like paradise. The Altair 20 provides an attended lobby, a fitness center and additional storage.

CORE Joins Leverage Global Partners

August 02, 2013
New York, NY – Leverage Global Partners and CORE are pleased to announce that CORE has been named Leverage’s exclusive New York City member, joining a unique group of the most prestigious independent real estate brokerage firms around the world. Leverage Global Partners offers its members the opportunity to better serve their clients’ relocation and real estate portfolio needs by establishing the Presidents of each member firm as key players in the international real estate arena.

As a member of Leverage, CORE will be promoted as the sole representative for the New York City area with all contact and inquiries being directed to the company’s Founder and CEO Shaun Osher. Through this network, Osher and CORE Associates are offered referrals and introductions and provided access to partners at member brokerages around the world, ensuring incomparable networking ability in the worldwide luxury real estate market.

“Leverage is curating a collection of similarly-minded boutique brokerages throughout the world,” notes Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE. “Accessibility to the founders/CEOs of each brokerage offers the highest degree of personal attention in making the right client/agent match and offering a new level of white- glove service and personalization. CORE is thrilled to be named the exclusive New York City member of this fantastic program.”

“We personally vet each real estate brokerage before offering them membership, so we are certain that CORE is a market leader, offering exceptional service to the communities of New York City,” said F. Ron Smith, President of Leverage Global Partners. “We are thrilled to welcome them to Leverage Global Partners. CORE is a full-service, boutique real estate brokerage, and they have extensive expertise and apply a unique marketing approach, which is why they are the #1 brokerage in their class.”

In addition to offering exceptional service and connectivity, Leverage differentiates itself from existing international luxury real estate associations by promoting the presidents of member firms and by extending media access for their properties through robust public relations outreach and digital platforms. Similarly, as a dynamic boutique brokerage based on integrity, informed by expertise and driven by innovation, CORE is also at the forefront of maintaining a distinct digital presence in the real estate industry.

CORE’s exclusive membership with Leverage provides a seamless opportunity to join the growing organization as the firm continues to thrive in the New York City real estate market. Leverage Global Partners is rapidly expanding its membership base and currently has members in numerous dynamic communities around the world, including Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, Chicago, Cannes, Shanghai, Santa Barbara, Vail, Palm Beach and Bangkok. For more information on Leverage Global Partners, call 310-500-3641, visit, or friend them on Facebook or Twitter.

About CORE

CORE is a real estate sales and marketing firm delivering the best in brokerage, communications and advisory services for the luxury residential segment. In addition, CORE’s elite group of highly experienced and successful professionals service developers who value efficient, no-nonsense results. CORE was founded by Shaun Osher as a full-service boutique firm with a strict adherence to the principles of integrity, efficiency and results. For more information visit

A Changing Upper East Side

The Real DealAugust 01, 2013
The Upper East Side used to be called the Silk Stocking District. Today, the ritzy nickname isn’t heard very often, but the neighborhood is still one of New York City’s most affluent.

Upper East Siders — there are about 60,000 of them — earn on average about $100,000 a year, and they are protective of their high-priced turf. Many are up in arms over a proposal to open a waste transfer station at East 91st Street and FDR Drive, where one operated for six decades before closing in 1999.

The fiercest foes are fighting the plan in court. Others are threatening to lie down in front of the bulldozers when they start to roll. Still others are looking to put their homes on the market — and a few already have.

Regardless of the legal battle and the threats, the station will almost surely be built. Judges have signed off on it; so has the federal government. Right now, construction is scheduled to start later this summer, and the finish date is sometime in 2015.
Already underway is work on the Second Avenue subway, a nearly $4.5 billion project that will ease crowding on the Lexington Avenue line and improve connections to Midtown and Downtown. The digging is almost done and the first phase — more than two miles of new tunnels from 96th to 63rd streets — should be wrapped up in 2016, according to transit officials.
The subway work and the waste station are issues du jour, but the UES is still a neighborhood that New Yorkers are jockeying to move into, of course. And the numbers prove its popularity. Different reports show slightly different specifics, but the takeaway is the same: The median price for resales — condos and co-ops — is up, demand for new development units is strong, and inventory is tight, just like it is in the rest of the city.

With all that’s happening, we decided it was time to take a close-up look at the UES through the eyes of our experts. Here’s their take on the neighborhood.

Tom Postilio
Founding Member, CORE

What impact will the waste transfer station have on the residential market?

This is a similar situation to the Urban Glass House in the West Soho area on Spring Street. The city put plans in place to put up a parking garage for sanitation trucks, and everybody panicked. You couldn’t sell apartments across the street at the Urban Glass House, and the real estate values plummeted. It was fear of the unknown. Once the city put out the renderings of what it was going to look like, people could start to deal with it. That’s my prediction as to what is going to happen here in this one area of the Upper East Side. People panic over fear of the unknown, but the dust will settle. And if the values are temporarily being hurt, they will come back.

There are several new-construction residential projects on the market or launching soon, including Harry Macklowe’s 737 Park Avenue, the Marquand at 11 East 68th Street, and Extell Development’s Carlton House at 61st Street and Madison Avenue. Which do you think will have the most impact, and why?

They are all so different. I think that the collective influence will reshape how we think of the Upper East Side as a co-op-driven market. These kinds of projects are presenting opportunities for people who may have plenty of resources and lots of money, but they may not pass muster with a co-op board. That’s the big impact.

Are there any other upcoming projects that you think are going to have an impact, and why?

I’m the director of sales for One Museum Mile, at 1280 Fifth Avenue at 109th Street, and [there’s] 1212 Fifth at 102nd Street. Both of these projects have shattered the myth that the Upper East Side stops at 96th Street. We are seeing that particularly with international buyers, because they don’t have that in the back of their mind. It’s more the local buyer who thinks that [the UES] stops at 90th or 96th Street.

What’s the inventory of available homes?

It hasn’t been this low since they started keeping records in New York City. It’s great to see that there are all these new projects happening and inventory is coming to the Upper East Side. The Philip House is fabulous, 200 East 79th, 530 Park, 150 East 72nd. Product is low, but there is a nice assortment of new development that has been happening and is continuing to happen.

How long are properties staying on the market, and how does that compare to a year ago, two years ago and during the boom?

The averages have dropped. If the average apartment was listed for 120 days, maybe that’s now down to 90 to 100 days. It’s definitely better than a year ago, it’s a lot better than two years ago, and it’s almost comparable to the boom in terms of: a nice product priced well in a good location is going to sell immediately.

What are the biggest challenges to selling property on the Upper East Side?

Because of so much construction, the area along where they are putting in the Second Avenue subway has been a little bit challenged. Savvy shoppers understand that once it is finally all cleared up and we get that desperately needed subway, those values are going to increase. We did a deal at Second Avenue and 69th Street and [the buyers] got a really nice deal. I explained to them this is a challenging spot because of what is going on. Not everybody can see past the mess, but when all is said and done, this is going to add value to your property because you practically have the subway right outside your door.

Who are the most active buyers?

In general terms, there are a lot of families that are expanding.

Which areas of the Upper East Side — Lenox Hill, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, for example — are performing best? Which are the weakest?

Anywhere that you have pockets of new developments, it’s like bees opening up a hive. That’s where the people will go because it’s fresh new product. If anything is maybe moving any slower, it may be the Sutton Place area, just because it is a little bit removed and off the beaten path.

Daniel Farris
Associate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens

How is overall residential sales volume?

The volume has changed dramatically since a year ago and two years ago. The number of apartments available has dropped dramatically and there are so many buyers actively looking. There were something like 1,257 apartments available on the East Side in June, versus 1,344 in May and 1,780 in June 2012. You send your buyer some listings and if they wait a week, most of those listings have gone into contract.

What’s going on with sales and rental prices?

Buyers are so savvy and they know when an apartment is priced correctly. I’m seeing apartments going at asking or, if there are multiple bidders, over asking. A year or two ago, you could negotiate. It’s all a cycle, but those days are over and out for now.

Which price ranges and housing types are struggling?

One-bedroom apartments have slowed in the past month, particularly in co-ops that only permit 50 percent financing.

What impact will the waste transfer station have on the market?

It will definitely impact that area. Two of my buyers passed on great apartments within range of the transfer station simply due to the uncertainty surrounding it in the future and for possible resale.

What’s the inventory of available homes?

Quite frankly, pathetic. There is so little available in so many price points. You can show maybe one or two good listings and that’s it. A few years ago, I spent three days showing apartments to one of my buyers and she bought the last apartment I showed her on a three-day run. Can you imagine doing that today?

How long are properties staying on the market?

A few days or up to a few weeks if the property is priced correctly. Misprice it and the apartment lingers. Buyers still will not put in an offer on an overpriced property.

What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing?

Besides lack of inventory, it has to be the willingness of buyers to look at new condominiums. But the prices of those apartments sometimes boggle the mind. I’m also seeing families who bought Downtown a few years ago coming back Uptown to be closer to some of the schools and activities for their children.

What are the biggest challenges to selling property on the Upper East Side?

You have to know your inventory cold. Get a new listing to your buyer before they pick it up on StreetEasy and know the nuances of the building and what it takes to get them past the [building’s] board. You had better clearly understand the purchaser’s financial situation and know how to explain it to the board.

Eloise Johnson
Executive Vice President, Halstead

How is overall residential sales volume?

Compared to a year ago, it is quite healthy and it is much better than two years ago. Comparing today’s market to the boom, it is difficult to draw parallels, as it was two totally different markets — there was much more inventory during the boom.

What’s going on with residential sales and rental prices?

Prices are on the ascent, with sales in certain categories being very robust. Rental prices are more than holding their own. We are fast approaching pricing during the boom. And in certain categories such as three- or four-bedrooms with views — those prices are exceeding the boom years.

Which price ranges and housing types are performing best?

I am seeing large condos on high floors with fabulous views and perfect, move-in condition move quickly. Townhouses are also experiencing a nice comeback.

Which are struggling?

Large apartments on very low floors are not selling quickly. One-bedrooms on lower floors are also lagging.

What impact will the waste transfer station have on the market?

As expected, some prospective purchasers are reluctant to [buy] in the area. If the station does open, it will have some impact on prices. However, sometimes the fear of the unknown is worse than the reality. The Second Avenue subway has also been a source of concern for prospective purchasers. Now that the subway is near completion and the real estate market is stronger, many consider the new subway a plus.

What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing?

For the past 10 or 15 years, properties in the East 50s, Beekman Place and Sutton Place have sold at lower prices than comparable properties on the Upper East Side. We are seeing an increased interest in this area. We believe our customers are interested in taking advantage of the lower prices. A customer of ours is a family that is purchasing in Sutton Place. They believe there will be long-term value in the area due to the resurgence in Midtown East. This family believes — and we agree — that eventually the extension of the Second Avenue Subway will contribute to an easier commute to Downtown and higher prices of residential properties.

What are the biggest challenges to selling property on the Upper East Side?

Often, our first job is to help buyers understand how strong the Manhattan market is today. Many still think there is a real estate recession. Another challenge is that co-op and condo boards are increasing their standards for purchasing, making it more difficult for some prospective purchasers to buy the property of their dreams. [The tougher standards are the consequence of many owners falling behind on their monthly common charges during the recession.] Finally, rising prices and lower inventory have combined to make the Upper East Side a very fast-paced selling environment. Agents and buyers need to be prepared to act quickly.

Who are the most active buyers?

We deal mostly with young professionals, young families and empty-nesters. During the recession, there were fewer young professionals because it was difficult for them to find jobs, or if they did have jobs, it was difficult for them to find better-paying jobs so they could buy larger apartments. We saw some young families use the opportunity to trade up. The empty-nesters who no longer wanted a large house in the suburbs used the opportunity to purchase in Manhattan. Lastly, during the recession, we were pleased that purchasers from other countries were buying. The foreign buyers are still here. However, people who live and work in New York are coming back in big numbers.

Which areas of the Upper East Side are performing best? Which are struggling?

Lenox Hill has always been very much in demand, and therefore expensive. We believe that this area will continue to outperform other areas of the city. Since there is an abundance of excellent private and public schools, families are increasingly interested in purchasing properties in Carnegie Hill. There have been many new residential buildings, plus new stores and restaurants. Since prices in Yorkville, east of Second Avenue, have been lower than Lenox Hill or Carnegie Hill, some buyers are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity.

Kathy Slattery
Associate Real Estate Broker, Corcoran

Which upcoming projects are going to have a big impact on the UES market?

432 Park is going to be an iconic building, both on the New York skyline and in the apartments. It has 10-foot square windows, has soaring ceilings, is beautifully designed and is in a great location.

How long are properties staying on the market?

In the under–$3 million category, apartments are on the market up to two or three months. Above $6 million, depending on the location and price/value perception, it can be a year.

What are the most surprising trends you’re seeing in the Upper East Side residential market?

All of the new development in the East 70s, Manhattan’s “Gold Coast.”

Who are the most active buyers right now and how does that differ from the past?

I see more retiring baby boomers moving into the city and sizing down in the city, which may account for the low supply of smaller apartments and the higher supply of larger apartments. Fortunately, I am also seeing more big families with children looking for space on the UES, because that is where their children are in school.

Which areas of the Upper East Side are performing best?

West of Third Avenue is the strongest market in all of these neighborhoods.

Peter Culliney
Director of Research and Analytics, CityRealty

How is residential sales volume?

About on par and maybe slightly ahead of last year, which had the highest volume since the crash — 2008 was the prior peak, with $5.5 billion in co-op and condo transactions, and 2012 is the peak since with $5.2 billion. Since the second half of the year is traditionally stronger than the first half, provided the current dearth of inventory does not keep too many people out of the market, our feeling is that we will at least equal last year’s overall volume, but it will be a hard push to beat the 2008 record.

Where are sales and rental prices?

Overall average sales prices [for co-ops and condos] are off slightly this year from last year’s feeding frenzy, dropping to $1.4 million from $1.7 million. There is clearly a lot of demand and not nearly enough supply. This is keeping pricing somewhat firm but also causing hesitancy for both buyers and sellers.

Which price ranges and housing types are performing best? Which are struggling?

There seems to be a rising demand for larger units and more bedrooms. The average square-foot pricing for condo units with six or more bedrooms — driven by demand — is more than 50 percent above the 2008 peak. Studios, on the other hand, are almost 8 percent below peak, while two-bedroom apartments are almost 2.5 percent below peak. Smaller co-ops — studios to two-bedrooms — are off by 10 percent to 15 percent.

What’s the inventory of available homes?

We are seeing less than 50 percent of the listings we have recorded for 2009.

How long are properties on the market?

Of the thousands of properties that have come to the market in the UES over the past year, there are only 56 that have been on the market more than one year, and only 160 that have been on the market for more than six months.

Roy Silber
Associate Broker, Citi Habitats

What’s going on with residential sales and rental prices?

Prices for rentals are up 5 percent to 7 percent from this time last year. I am even seeing clients outbidding each other for rental apartments, and that’s something I haven’t experienced in recent years.

Which price ranges and housing types are performing best?

The most intense demand is for two-bedroom homes with two full baths. Apartments with two full bathrooms can carry up to a 15 percent premium over those with just one and a half.

Of 737 Park Avenue, the Marquand and Carlton House, which do you think will have the most impact?

I predict that all three are going to trade at price points that will put them among the most expensive buildings in the neighborhood. It’s extremely rare to find completely gut-renovated buildings of this magnitude in well-established areas. Typically, home seekers would have to go east to find new construction.

What are the biggest challenges of selling property on the Upper East Side?

The challenge is not to overprice the home. In this market, everything and anything will sell if it’s not overpriced.

House of the Day: 23 Downing Street

The Wall Street JournalAugust 01, 2013
Everything But the Facade
Price: $9,500,000
Location: Greenwich Village, NY
Type of Home: Townhouse

This Greenwich Village townhouse underwent a gut renovation that involved excavating a lower level and adding a top floor, all while working around the original brick façade, which was also restored.

Joshua Gurwitz purchased this property at 23 Downing Street, pictured at center, in Greenwich Village through an LLC in 2011 for $3.35 million, according to public records. Mr. Gurwitz is the co-founder and principal broker for Good Property, a real estate development and consulting firm with offices in New York, Miami and London.

A sculpture sits at the base of the stairs in the building’s lower level. Mr. Gurwitz is a native New Yorker and started his company in Miami in 2009. “Generally speaking, we’re a repositioning firm,” said Mr. Gurwitz. “We take an old asset and turn it into something new.”

Pictured, the first floor living area. Mr. Gurwitz’s parents live in TriBeCa and he says he first heard about this property from his mother. “I recall her saying, ‘I think you’ll like this,’” he said. It became his company’s first project in New York. He describes the renovation as practically a ground-up construction, apart from the façade – which they were required to preserve and restore because of the property’s landmark designation.

The kitchen and dining area is pictured. The townhouse falls within an extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District that was designated in 2010. The home was originally built in 1836 and has been altered several times since then. The Renaissance-Revival style façade was added in 1886.

Sliding doors lead from the kitchen to the backyard garden. The renovation involved excavating the backyard of the building to increase the lower level space. A fourth floor was also added, enlarging the property from 2,400 square feet to approximately 3,700 square feet, Mr. Gurwitz estimated. The building’s design was by Turrett Collaborative Architects who have worked with Mr. Gurwitz on other properties.

A section of the backyard has a skylight which allows daylight into the lower level living area, a signature design feature of the company, Mr. Gurwitz said. Construction took nine months and was completed in spring, but the process from acquisition to completion of the renovation took 22 months, Mr. Gurwitz said.

The lower level living area with skylight is pictured. The company excavated an additional six feet down, giving the lower level an eight foot ceiling. Mr. Gurwitz says the space would be ideal for a living room, play room or artist’s studio.

The skylight and backyard is pictured from below. “It’s a completely new building except the façade,” said Mr. Gurwitz.

Shown here, the second floor master bedroom. During construction, they kept the façade in place by building a scaffolding system from the inside and reinforcing and securing the façade to the scaffolding. “We tore down the existing building and built the new building around the scaffolding, so there was never a need to anchor and dismantle the faced,” said Mr. Gurwitz. “It worked out beautifully.”

Shown here, the master bathroom on the second floor. Mr. Gurwitz said in building the house, he imagined what we would want and need if he lived in the space. His priorities for the home’s design included a warm “organic environment,” modern amenities and “great walls for art.”

A bedroom on the third level is shown. “I think it’s a really breathable, livable space for a young family or a couple to live in,” he said.

The top floor bathroom is shown here. Mr Gurwitz lives in SoHo and has worked in interior design and strategic planning. He studied art at Parsons the New School of Design and initially wanted to be an art dealer. “I’m an artist at heart,” he said.

The top floor features another bedroom or study, pictured, and has a terrace. Mr. Gurwitz declined to disclose the cost of the renovation. The home has four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and 900-square-feet of outdoor space.

The top floor front terrace. The property was first listed by Good Property in June 2012 for $9.5 million and increased to slightly under $10 million in March this year. It was listed again at the beginning of July with Emily Beare and David Beare of CORE Real Estate for $9.5 million.

New Listings: 171 West 73rd Street #10

Brokers WeeklyJuly 31, 2013
171 W 73rd St. #10

One bedroom atop a classic brownstone. High ceilings, oversized windows, exposed brick and a multi-level layout. The kitchen has been renovated and there is a planted terrace. Building amenities include storage and an on-site laundry. Pets are welcome. Monthly maintenance includes internet and cable TV. Listing broker: Adrian Noriega, CORE.

Delicious Deal: 27 East 61st Street

The New York PostJuly 31, 2013
That’s a lot of pasta. The owners of the Serafina Restaurant Group, Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, have listed a five-story building at 27 E. 61st St. for $18.5 million.

The building – which is under construction and being expanded to 8,100 square feet – includes two private residential floors, two commercially zoned floors and a restaurant with a 10-year rent roll in place. The Geisha restaurant is slated to reopen there in January with two sushi bars, a lounge and table seating for 160 people. It was previously located down the street.

The property comes with air rights and a rooftop terrace. The listing broker is Reba Miller of CORE.
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