News

Through a Different Lens

DeparturesSeptember 01, 2013
407 E. 75th ST., NEW YORK: $12.5 MILLION

In 1970, after a three-month search with help from his ten studio manager, Gideon Lewin, Richard Avedon bought the historic carriage house turned studio-equipped townhouse at 75th Street and First Avenue from the photographer Reid Miles for $147,500. “Miles’s existing studio already had the curved walls, which were rare at the time,” Lewin says. Formerly subdividing into two units – Avedon lived on part of the second floor and rented out the rest of the second, third and fourth levels to actors Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss and then to the art dealer Walter Randel – the building has transformed dramatically since his 2004 death. In 2005 it was purchased for $6.5 million by Olivier Sarkozy (the half-brother of France’s former president Nicolas Sarkozy), who performed the first of two remodels. Last year he sold it to its current owner, an entertainment mogul who helped launch the Fox Broadcasting Company, for $8.4 million. Today the studio and a dark room are among the few preserved elements from Avedon’s ownership. Architect Joseph Dirand performed the property’s second interior renovation: a sleek modern makeover in black-and-white tones that fittingly recall the famous portraits taken by its onetime resident. CONTACT: CORE, 212-726-0786.

Reba Miller: CORE

The Mann Report ResidentialSeptember 01, 2013
How long have you been in the business?
-As of next January, I will have been in the business for 29 years.

What made you decide to get into real estate?
- Helping someone sell or buy a home, the most important commodity one can own, is an extremely fulfilling experience. My gift of gab, my love of people and my curiosity of New York City all inspired me to get involved in the industry. Ultimately, my desire to reach the highest point in my career was answered by pursuing a career in real estate.

Who inspires you?
-The new generation of agents who are successful inspires me professionally to always stay current. I am also inspired by my 4-year-old son.

What pushes you to the next level?
-My inner self is very competitive. I am always pushing the boundaries further to test myself, experience more, and succeed.

Movers and Shakers: Who's Coming and Going in NYC Real Estate

The Real DealSeptember 01, 2013
Town Residential hired Beverly Cole from Douglas Elliman, Jennifer Lauren Hoxter and Pat Serby Hoxter from Halstead Property, Sandra Sugata from Urban Compass and Anne Zelmati from Urban Living. Eastern Consolidated hired Carlos Olson, Stewart Davis and Andrei Danshes as associate directors. CORE hired Scott Kreitzer from Douglas Elliman. Lehrer, the construction services consulting company, hired Norbert Young as executive vice president.

NYC’s Premier Properties: 93 Worth #1106

Luxury Listings NYCSeptember 01, 2013
93 Worth Street #1106 in Tribeca -- $4,500,000

Condo (2,302 sf): 5 rooms, 2 beds, 2.5 baths | Amenities: Doorman, Elevator, Gym

Common Charges: $1,931 | Monthly Taxes: $2,458 | Listing ID: S852906

This spectacular residence features jaw-dropping views of Midtown, a grand living room and a family/ding room. Listed by Doron W. Zwickel, 212-219-9393, sales@93worth.com.

NYC’s Premier Properties: 135 West 69th Street

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

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

Listing ID: S919228

This magnificent 19-foot wide, single-family townhouse is located on one of the Upper West Side’s handsomest rows of brownstones. Built at the turn of the last century, this manse has been lovingly restored.

NYC’s Premier Properties: 26 East 63rd Street, #10AB

Luxury Listings NYCSeptember 01, 2013
26 East 63rd Street, #10AB on Upper East Side -- $7,250,000

Condo: 7 rooms, 4 beds, 2 baths | Amenities: Doorman, Elevator, Pets Allowed | Common Charges: $2,797 | Monthly Taxes: $2,499 | Listing ID: S874109

This triple-mint loft has 100 feet on Madison Avenue and is only a block from Central Park. Yes, you’ll live in a 1901 Beaux Arts building that’s in the heart of the city’s most exclusive shopping and dining district. Listed by Reba Miller, 212-726-0913, rpmiller@corenyc.com.

Featured Listing: 444 West 19th Street, PH2

Modern NYCAugust 30, 2013
Featuring stunning Manhattan views including the Empire State Building and One World Trade
Center, custom finishes, a winged 2-bedroom layout and a private deeded indoor parking
space and storage, PH2 is the ultimate Manhattan luxury loft condominium penthouse.

With direct entry from a private elevator into a glass-framed 40' living room designed by Andes
Escobar, PH2 is one of a kind. This grand penthouse includes a modern Cucina kitchen with
marble counters, Gaggenau and Sub-Zero appliances, as well as custom Brazilian hardwood
floors and cabinetry. The master bedroom suite has a private terrace, en-suite windowed spa
bath and walk-in closets, and the second bedroom completes the apartment with an alcove
home office.

This luxury boutique condominium is complete with a gym, a roof deck, and a beautiful lobby
featuring contemporary art from local galleries that mirror its location in the heart of West
Chelsea, ideally positioned with immediate access to 10th Avenue's art scene, luxury
retail and entertainment, the Meatpacking District and The High Line.

Just Sold! 60 Beach Street

New York PostAugust 29, 2013
Manhattan
TRIBECA $4,295,000
60 Beach St.

Three-bedroom, two-bath loft condo, 2,569 square feet, with private keyed elevator, arched windows, kitchen with white lacquer and walnut cabinets, white-glass counters and Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, laundry room and bath with soaking tub, separate shower and double sinks with teak vanity; building features doorman, gym, playroom, landscaped roof terrace, storage and pet spa. Common charges $2,092, taxes $2,332. Asking price $4,295,000, on market for one week. Brokers: Stuart Moss and Patricia Schmitz, The Corcoran Group, and Jarrod Randolph, CORE.

Nate Berkus Sticks Around the Village with $5M Co-op Buy

The Real DealAugust 29, 2013
A couple of weeks after offloading a three-bedroom Greenwich Village duplex co-op, TV host and interior designer Nate Berkus has grabbed another one.

He bought a $5 million unit on the 15th and 16th floors of 39 Fifth Avenue, near 10th Street. The seller was former journalist Rosalind Resnick. CORE Group brokers Emily Beare and Tony Sargent had the listing.

The $4.9 million co-op he left behind was on West 9th Street, and featured a 300-square-foot den and two offices, the New York Observer said.

Berkus is best known for hosting the short-lived “Nate Berkus Show,” and will soon serve as the face of the new NBC reality competition series “American Dream Builders,” formerly known as “Renovation Nation.” [NYO] – Mark Maurer

Designer Nate Berkus Buys Another Village Apartment for $5M

CurbedAugust 28, 2013
Celebrity designer Nate Berkus really likes Greenwich Village. And three-bedroom duplex apartments with private outdoor space. Just two weeks ago, Berkus sold his West 9th Street pad for $4.95 million, and now the Observer reports that he closed on a new apartment just a couple blocks away. Berkus paid $5 million ($400K less than the asking price) for the penthouse unit of 39 Fifth Avenue, a 15-story co-op building between 10th and 11th Streets. The new unit is very similar to his last place, but it's on a much higher floor, and it has a wraparound rooftop terrace. The huge kitchen has a "custom-fabricated greenhouse," there's a French limestone foyer, and both the living room and dining room have wood-burning fireplaces.

Nate Berkus Moves 650 Feet, Buys $5 M. Village Penthouse

The New York ObserverAugust 28, 2013
Maybe he just wanted another apartment to decorate? Interior designer and daytime (soon primetime) TV host Nate Berkus loves Greenwich Village—so much so that he’s willing to go through all of the Sturm und Drang of moving, only to find himself a two-minute walk from where he started.

Two weeks ago The Observer broke the news that he had sold his West 9th Street co-op for $4.95 million. And now Mr. Berkus has picked up a $5 million co-op at 39 Fifth Avenue, at 10th Street, according to city records—a Bing & Bing-built, Emery Roth-designed building wedged in between two other tall pre-wars on lower Fifth Avenue.

With nearly identical prices, the move looks more like a sideways trade than an upgrade. In fact, in many ways the apartments are very similar: same neighborhood, same price, same number of bedrooms (three), same number of floors (two), same general style (pre-war). There are some differences, though. The new pad is much higher up—on the 15th floor, it’s practically a high-rise for the neighborhood, so Mr. Berkus will be getting an elevator for his money (not to mention a doorman, which may come in handy when he starts showing up on hundreds of millions of Americans’ TV screens during prime time for his new American Dream Builders show on NBC). It’s also an upside-down apartment, in which you enter onto the top floor, which contains the main living space, before descending down onto the bedroom level.

Since both units were co-ops, we can’t compare the overall square footage, but his new apartment looks a bit smaller, as it lacks the two (small) home offices of his old digs, not to mention the 300-square-foot den. And while the new apartment doesn’t have as many skylights as the old one (every bedrooms on 9th Street had one, in one case in lieu of an actual window), it makes up for them in quality—the chef’s kitchen (what other kinds is there in a $5 million apartment?) features rounded skylights that wouldn’t look out of place in a mid-1950s railroad observation car.

Leaving the apartment is opt-in email marketing pioneer and one-time AOL cyber “sexpert” Rosalind Resnick. We couldn’t reach Emily Beare at CORE, who had the listing (and also the listing on Mr. Berkus’s old place), for comment, or her partner Tony Sargent. The duo appears to have opted out of discussing their famous clients’ new abode.

New Listings: 330 East 75th Street, 28A

Brokers WeeklyAugust 28, 2013
MANHATTAN
Upper East Side
330 East 75th Street, 28A
$2,289,000

Three-bedroom, three-bathroom home with south-facing balcony. Living/dining area has custom cabinetry, granite window sills and concealed audio speakers. Renovated pass-through kitchen, solid oak hardwood floors, renovated windowed master bath. Master bedroom includes walk-in closet and wall of custom closets. The Saratoga is a white glove condominium with private storage, courtyard, herb garden, 24/7 attended garage and roof deck. Listing broker: Lee Frankel, CORE.

Who's News: Scott Kreitzer

Brokers WeeklyAugust 28, 2013
Scott Kreitzer has joined CORE from Douglas Elliman.

A noted jazz musician, with four albums to his name and several honors for his musical achievements, Kreitzer was a landlord for a multi-family property in South Hampton while also pursuing his music career.

He joined one of New York City’s largest real estate brokerages after getting his license in 2010.

Well-versed in properties throughout Manhattan and The Hamptons, he is a Miami,FL native who attended the University of Miami.

He lated transferred to William Patterson College in New Jersey, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies.

Luxe Developments Blur Neighborhood Boundaries

DNA InfoAugust 28, 2013
MANHATTAN — The sales office for the new condo at 5 Franklin Place opened less than three months ago and prices have already increased four times.

Franklin Place — a 20-story development situated in an area once named ChiBeCa and now branded as "East TriBeCa" — is located just outside the ritziest part of the neighborhood, but those lines of demarcation are blurring.

Similar scenarios are playing out across the neighborhood, most notably with the eye-popping "Jenga-like" 60-story tower coming to 56 Leonard St., where a $47 million penthouse recently broke Downtown sales records.

Across Manhattan, new high-end projects are rising at addresses outside traditionally coveted zip codes, turning the island's core into one large domain for deep-pocketed buyers, real estate experts said.

"It was kind of a backwater of TriBeCa," said Richard Cantor, from marketing firm Cantor & Pecorella, of Franklin Place's location. "TriBeCa ended on the west side of Church Street for many people."

But the four price jumps didn't dampen buyers’fervor.

The "velocity" of the sales — nearly 90 percent of its 54 units were snatched up — "astonished" Cantor.

A year ago, Cantor's firm estimated that Franklin Place would fetch an average of $1,550 per square foot. It's now getting upwards of $1,800 per square foot, he said.

Remaining apartments in the building — which has a gym, children's playroom and roof decked out with a pool, cabanas and an outdoor kitchen — include 3-bedrooms starting from $3.5 million, and 4-bedrooms with outdoor space starting at $5.75 million. (Buyers include a "well-known sportscaster" and a judge from "Dancing with the Stars," Cantor noted.)

Though prices were still lower than projects going up to the west that could get more than $3,000 per square foot, the upscale area's center was now shifting east "a little," Cantor said.

“You have neighborhoods without boundaries,” real estate expert Jonathan Miller said, calling the blurring of lines “neighborhood creep.”
“The disparity between the cheapest neighborhood and the most expensive has narrowed. It's just one big luxury haven.”

It's a trend that concerns advocates such as Barika Williams, from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

Williams said most of the housing going up in Manhattan was not accessible to 75 percent of the population.

"We have a lot of wealthy people and wealthy housing, but we're not a city of multi-billionaires," she said.

Yet much of Manhattan's new residential construction targets the luxury market — which is homes priced at $3 million and above, Miller said.

The average sales price of active new development listings Downtown and on the east and west sides was $9.3 million and the median sales price was $4.9 million, Miller wrote in a recent post for the real estate blog Curbed.

The prices were much higher than Manhattan sales from the second quarter, where the average sales price was $1.4 million and the median sales price was $865,000.

By focusing on this segment, however, new projects leave out 90 percent of Manhattan’s housing market, which means that these developments will not provide an adequate supply to put a dent in the tight inventory, Miller said.

But with land prices now averaging an estimated $800 a square foot, developers don't think they can make money on projects that sell for less than $2,000 a square foot, Cantor said.

Though real estate will always be about "location, location, location," the "locations are evolving with the passage of time," Tom Postilio, of the boutique real estate brokerage CORE, said.

Amenities and layouts trump addresses these days, such as with Walker Tower, an Art Deco condo conversion outside of the heart of Chelsea at 212 W. 18th St., where the cheapest available listing on the project's site is for $8.25 million. 250 Bowery, on a street once famous for "Bowery bums," has active listings for an average of $2,078 a square foot, according to StreetEasy.

“There was a time when people didn’t venture beyond 86th Street, then 96th Street. It keeps evolving," said Postilio, whose firm is handling sales at One Museum Mile, which is actually located at 1280 Fifth Ave. at East 109th St., putting it at the northern end of Fifth Avenue’s stretch of iconic institutions where it will house the Museum for African Art.

The building, which is designed by renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern with a rooftop pool and terrace overlooking Central Park, a children's playroom, teen game room and fitness center, recently set a record for the neighborhood when a 3-bedroom residence sold for $3.565 million, or $2,030 per square foot.

"If someone can come in and see a beautiful product, floor plan and finishes, and [if location] is the last hurdle, because of the times we’re living in and the lack of inventory, people are able to see past that," Postilio said, "obliterating an old boundary."

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
Chelsea
$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.
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