On the 7th Day It Sold

Brokers WeeklyJuly 10, 2013
Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon at CORE just sold a pre-war apartment near Central Park in seven days.

Unit 5C at 100 West 58th Street sits near the south entrance of Central Park.

The 1,104 s/f, two-bedroom home is in The Windsor Park, a newly converted condominium.

Brokers, Stars Turn Out for Domestic Violence Fundraiser

Real Estate WeeklyJuly 10, 2013
The crowd at the 18th Annual Artists Against Abuse Gala Fights Domestic Violence gala included a host of local real estate brokers, including sponsors from Douglas Elliman whose Eileen Ekstract (DE Bridgehampton Office) is the Art Chair for the gala. Held at The Ross Lower Campus in Bridgehampton, the night featured a silent and live auction to raise funds for The Retreat’s services for domestic violence victims. Oksana Grigorieva was the guest speaker as a victim of domestic violence and one who has worked with domestic violence agencies like The Retreat all over the country.

New Listings

Brokers WeeklyJuly 10, 2013
CORE's Reba Miller has this one-of-a-kind Upper East Side loft available for the first time to buy. Unit 10AB at The Leonori, a converted Beaux Arts building at 26 East 63rd Street, is a 3-bedroom, 3-bath home one block from Central Park.

Take a Tour of Colin Cowie's Perfectly Customized Penthouse Duplex

HGTV Front DoorJuly 08, 2013
If you're someone who appreciates homes with ingenious, space-saving features, we highly encourage you to check out Colin Cowie's Flatiron penthouse, which is on the market for $5,750,000. The wedding guru/event planner/interior designer, who currently hosts Lifetime's Get Married, purchased the top two floors of The Emory building in 2007, pre-construction. He then created a 3,000-square-foot duplex filled with thoughtful customizations, from an expandable kitchen countertop to lots of hidden storage to an informal dining room that converts into a formal dining room (for more on that, see our photo gallery). The unit comes with two bedrooms (one of which is currently used as an office), two-and-a-half baths, a key-locked elevator, plus 900 square feet of private rooftop terrace. The listing is held by Emily and Elizabeth Beare at CORE Group.

Three Brooklyn Townhouses for Under $3 Million

CurbedJuly 07, 2013
Welcome to the Brooklyn Townhouse Roundup, where we—you guessed it—take a look at the most notable Brooklyn townhouses to hit the market over the past week.

This week, we've got three townhouses in various states of repair and quality. The good news is, they're all asking under $3 million. Starting in Clinton Hill, this four-story townhouse was built in 1873 and has original details and a beautiful garden that has apparently been on the Clinton Hill Garden Tours. It's asking $2.275 million, though it definitely needs some work.

Sax Sells

New York PostJuly 03, 2013
Star saxophonist David Sanborn, known for his collaborations with David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and other music giants, has put his stunning Upper West Side townhouse on the market for $12 million.

The 19-foot-wide brownstone at 135 W. 69th St. is fully renovated. It has five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms and a separate recording studio on the top floor. There’s also a chef’s kitchen, four wood burning fireplaces, a terrace and a private garden.
Brokers Shaun Osher, Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon of Core declined to comment.

Sanborn, a six-time Grammy winner, has released 24 albums, with eight going gold and one platinum.

Beverly Hills on the Hudson

New York PostJuly 03, 2013
“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Yolanda Foster has been scouring Manhattan for apartments with her eldest daughter, 18-year-old Gigi Hadid, who will be starting college and has, of course, already begun her modeling career.

Fellow Beverly Hills Housewife Brandi Glanville also came along for the apartment hunt—with top broker Emily Beare of CORE, who will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Bravo show.

Hadid and her mom were looking at downtown one-bedroom rentals in the $3,000 to $6,000 range. One place they toured, we hear, was the Beatrice in Chelsea, where they saw-units that are not on the market yet but will be shortly.

Silverstone to Bring 240 Rentals to Clinton Hill’s Myrtle Avenue

The Real DealJuly 03, 2013
Silverstone Property Group will bring two buildings with 240 rental apartments to Clinton Hill’s Myrtle Avenue, at the former site of the Associated Supermarket, the New York Times reported.

The apartment complex – where 20 percent of the units will be affordable – will also contain retail space. The supermarket will return to the complex when construction is completed.

Meanwhile, ground will be broken next year on a $6 million public plaza on Myrtle Avenue from Hall Street to Emerson Place, which will add 25,000 square feet for pedestrians and live performances.

Clinton Hill is enjoying a robust growth in activity, CORE Group’s Doug Bowen told the Times, with the majority of townhouse sales ranging from $1.9 million to $2.5 million, while condominium conversions such as 91 Grand Street sell for $725 to $750 per square foot.

Boldfaced Buys

Gotham MagazineJuly 02, 2013
From NoMad to Central Park North, Chelsea Clinton, Gisele, Ichiro, and Carmelo Anthony opt for lavish digs with leafy views.

Gotham’s luxury real estate market is still red hot and shows no sign of slowing down as buyers continue to snap up homes at sky-high prices.

Clinton Hill: All the Requisites, Plus Great Bones

The New York TimesJuly 02, 2013
Steve Mona and Elaine Page liked their rental loft in Dumbo just fine, but they wanted to live in a place that felt more like a neighborhood. Mr. Mona, a garrulous Brooklyn-born retired police lieutenant, wanted a stoop where he could chat up passers-by. Ms. Page, an English human-resources executive, wanted a “high street,” the very British term for a town’s main street, where you can get everything you need in a single stroll.

The pedestrian-friendly Brooklyn neighborhood of Clinton Hill, sandwiched between Fort Greene and Bedford-Stuyvesant, satisfied them both. Last month the couple, who will be married in September, moved into a brownstone duplex on Clinton Avenue, for which they pay $5,100 a month. Mr. Mona and his goldendoodle, Bisquit, like the deep front yard, while Ms. Page has found her high street just up the block on Myrtle Avenue.

Not so long ago, the notion of Myrtle as an attraction would have seemed preposterous. In the 1980s the street was nicknamed Murder Avenue, and as late as the mid-1990s one in four storefronts were shuttered. Now crime is much reduced and the section of Myrtle from Flatbush to Classon Avenue, which includes a stretch in Fort Greene, has a retail vacancy rate of only 5 percent, said Michael Blaise Backer, the executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership. Three quarters of the 160 businesses are owned by women or minorities, Mr. Backer said. Ninety-five percent are locally owned, and the strip has a social, mom-and-pop vibe.

“There’s a dry-cleaners right there, tons of takeout places and restaurants, and a few small groceries,” Mr. Mona said. “Elaine found a yoga studio and a nail salon, and she comes home every evening with her arms full of bags and a smile on her face.”

Myrtle owes much of its resurgence to Pratt Institute, whose campus occupies 25 acres in Clinton Hill, mainly south of Willoughby Avenue. In 2011, Pratt opened a $54 million academic and administrative building on Myrtle and Grand Avenues. The ground floor is occupied by Utrecht Art Supplies and Khim’s Millennium Market, whose arrival helped address a shortage of fresh food. Far from presenting a fortress wall to Myrtle, the red masonry facade has a three-story window through which student art can be seen.

“We wanted the building to be invitational to the neighborhood,” said Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, Pratt’s president, who is also the chairman of the nonprofit Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project. “And it was received with great pleasure that we called the building Myrtle Hall, because it showed we embraced the neighborhood.”

Further transformation is imminent. Just west of Myrtle Hall, demolition has begun on a two-block strip of buildings that housed a post office, a supermarket and shops. The Silverstone Property Group plans two buildings, seven and eight stories tall, with 240 rentals, 20 percent of them below market rate. The development will include retail space, occupied in part by an expanded supermarket.

Ground is also to be broken by next year on a $6 million public plaza on a strip of Myrtle from Hall Street to Emerson Place, with 25,000 added feet for people and performances.

What You’ll Find
Clinton Hill — 350 acres bounded by Flushing Avenue on the north and Atlantic on the south, between Vanderbilt and Classon Avenues — is known for ethnic and architectural diversity. A 2007-2011 census survey of that area plus a few adjoining blocks estimated that 26,969 people resided there. Thirty-nine percent were black, 36 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic and 6 percent Asian.

“It’s kind of a gentle mix of people,” said Doug Bowen, an executive vice president of CORE real estate, and a resident since 1999. “And there’s a lot of pride in the residents, both homeownership pride and neighborhood pride. Even renters show up to the neighborhood association meetings.”

Much of the area south of Willoughby lies within a historic district. In the 1870s, some of Brooklyn’s wealthiest citizens began building mansions on Washington and Clinton Avenues. The latter is flanked by such monumental structures as the Italianate villa of Charles Pratt, a partner of John D. Rockefeller, and the mansions of three of his sons. Two of these houses are occupied by St. Joseph’s College; a third is home to Dr. Schutte of Pratt. Another structure, a red-brick and limestone castle at No. 278, is listed by the Corcoran Group at $5.85 million. Described in a city landmarks report as “surely the most eccentric house in the historic district,” it has been subdivided into six units. Elsewhere in Clinton Hill are small frame houses, apartment buildings, shiny condos, and chocolaty rows of period brownstones, some well maintained, others weary and neglected. On Washington, just north of Underwood Park, the stately red-brick 1851 Brooklyn Society for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females is a condo conversion.

Although few indigent females or males, however respectable, can afford Clinton Hill these days, the neighborhood is still within reach of some buyers priced out of areas like Cobble Hill and Fort Greene. Among these newcomers are Tim Dockery, a lawyer, and his mother, Meliora, a semiretired corporate trainer, who bought town houses on opposite sides of Classon Avenue last year. Mr. Dockery’s girlfriend, Sabiola Turner, was expecting the couple’s second child, and Ms. Dockery wanted to be nearby to help out.

“There are so many different kinds of bars and restaurants,” said Ms. Dockery, who paid $1.8 million for her house. “The area is just exploding with life.”

What You’ll Pay

Tight inventory is elevating prices. Town house sales have ranged from $900,000 to $3 million in the last year, said Mr. Bowen of CORE, with “the large majority” from $1.9 million to $2.5 million. New condos or conversions like 91 Grand are selling for $725 to $750 a square foot, he added.
Brownstone condo conversions are common, with two-bedroom floor-through units selling for $750,000 to $800,000 and duplexes with outdoor space costing $1.2 million, said Pamela R. Young, a senior associate at Corcoran.

Prices for renovated one-bedrooms in the Clinton Hill Co-ops, 12 mostly high-rise buildings dating to the 1940s, have reached $420,000 or thereabouts, said Roberta Axelrod, the director of co-op sales for Time Equities.

A search on found 62 residential properties for sale and 114 for rent; most two-bedroom rentals ranged from $1,595 to $3,500 a month.

What to Do

The Free Marketplace, featuring local artisan goods, live music, and family activities, will hold events on July 28 on Waverly and Fulton, and on Aug. 11 at Putnam Triangle, a public plaza. Also at Putnam Triangle, instructors from Mark Morris Dance Center and Cumbe teach free dance classes at 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays in July.

Come September, busy working people will be able to pick up specialty prepared foods at Peck’s, a new shop on Myrtle run by their neighbor Theo Peck, whose family co-owned the legendary Lower East Side restaurant Ratner’s.

The Schools

Options include Public School 56, on Gates Avenue, which teaches through fifth grade and got a B in student performance in a recent city progress report. Middle School 113, on Adelphi Street in neighboring Fort Greene, earned a C.

SAT averages last year at the Benjamin Banneker Academy, a high school on Clinton Avenue, were 471 in reading, 472 in math and 448 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

The Commute

The G train runs along Lafayette Avenue. The A and C stop at the Washington-Clinton station. Buses include the B38, along DeKalb, and the B54 along Myrtle.

The History

In his 1944 book “The City of Brooklyn 1861-1898: A Political History,” Harold Coffin Syrett noted that the area’s “position was not unlike that of the Heights; but its elegant residences were fewer in number and their owners slightly further removed from the traditions of genteel respectability.”

Native Italians Gone, but Little Italy Buzzes

The Wall Street JournalJune 29, 2013
The thousands of Italian immigrants who filled Little Italy's narrow streets and tenement buildings in Lower Manhattan a century ago are long gone.

Fewer immigrants from Italy arrived over the decades and those living in the neighborhood dwindled over time. Recent Census data didn't find any Italian-born residents in the main tract for Little Italy, down from 44 in 2000. The area has long been squeezed by Chinatown to the south and, more recently, the gentrified and pricey SoHo and Nolita to the north. In 2010, the National Park Service designated Chinatown and Little Italy a single historic district.

But as its hold on Italian-American culture has receded, some vestiges of its history remain: strips of long-standing Italian restaurants and shops along Grand and Mulberry streets draw plenty of tourists, and the annual, 11-day Feast of San Gennaro—now in its 87th year—brings an estimated one million people to its streets, according to festival organizers.

And current residents say it retains a vital, neighborhood feel, whatever the predominant ethnicity.
"It's the ambience—we all know each other. Not everybody's Italian, there are very few old-days Italians left, but it's a real community, we're closely knit," says Sante Scardillo of the Little Italy Neighbors Association, which supports reasonable rents and responsible development to preserve the neighborhood's character.

"We look out for the neighborhood," said Mr. Scardillo, who was born and raised in Little Italy. "There really is this sense that you're in a very human-sized place."

Special zoning regulations dating back to 1977 limit building demolitions and high-rise development in the neighborhood, and are aimed at preserving Little Italy's historic, pedestrian-friendly feel. The cafe-lined Mulberry Street is closed to traffic on summer weekends, allowing restaurants to spread tables onto the sidewalk.

Area condominiums and cooperatives include the Brewster Carriage House, at Broome and Mott streets, a century-old building where updated 2,000-square-foot condos sold last year for around $4 million, says. The Police Building at 240 Centre St., which served as police headquarters from 1909 to 1973, now contains cooperative apartments with a median listing price of $1,536 a square foot, according to StreetEasy.

Most of the residences within the neighborhood are rentals, says Glenn Schiller of Corcoran Group, and the existing condominiums, cooperatives and townhouses tend to offer lower prices compared with neighboring SoHo and Nolita. The median listing price for 19 listings in Little Italy last week was $3.25 million, says, compared with a median of $3.95 million in SoHo.

"It's convenient to transportation, a convenient walk to all downtown neighborhoods, with a little bit of a better price point because you're off the beaten path by a block or two," Mr. Schiller says.

The area has its share of new restaurants and boutiques, but a handful of the Italian establishments on Grand or Mulberry are more than 100 years old. Ralph Tramontana, president of the Little Italy Merchants Association and owner of Sambuca's Cafe on Mulberry, says that soaring rents are threatening some the remaining businesses.

"It may not have as many Italians as it had in its heyday, but the buildings and restaurants have a meaning to so many millions of Americans who started their life in New York," he says. "I see it on a daily basis—a grandfather walking with grandchildren telling them, this is where my grandpa lived when he came here. It's like a living history in my eyes."

Parks: Mulberry Street is a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. Columbus Park, at Baxter, Mulberry and Bayard streets, with basketball courts and playground, is a few blocks away, as is the 8-acre Sara D. Roosevelt Park, bordered by Canal, East Houston, Forsyth and Chrystie streets, with a turf soccer field, a senior center, ball courts, playgrounds and a roller-skating rink.

Schools: The neighborhood is part of District 2, and local schools include Public School 130, the Hernando de Soto School, an elementary school that has an enrollment of around 1,000 students and received an A rating from the city for the 2011-12 school year.

Dining: Restaurants on Mulberry Street include Grotta Azzurra, founded in 1908; Angelo's of Mulberry Street, which dates back to 1902; and Umberto's Clam House. Ferrara Bakery and Cafe is on Grand Street. Newer restaurants include Brinkley's Broome Street, a gastro pub on the corner of Broome and Centre streets.

Shopping: Di Palo's and Alleva Dairy are both cheese and food shops on Grand Street.

Entertainment: Bars and lounges include GoldBar, on Broome Street, and the Mulberry Project.

Real Estate: 122 West Street, PHK

Modern New YorkJune 28, 2013
Perched on the 6th floor, Penthouse K is a stunning duplex boasting three separate terraces. The 1,000 sf private rooftop terrace offers panoramic 360 degree views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Outdoor entertaining is a breeze with a built in grill, counter and storage. The master suite enjoys sunny southern exposure and access to a terrace. The kitchen has been upgraded to include a Bertazzoni professional range and Liebherr fridge. Further upgrades include a Mitsubishi silent heating/AC system and luxurious dark stained oak floors. The lofty living/dining room boasts a Spark fire ribbon 42" gas fireplace and 10 foot ceilings. This gracious home is currently set up as a sprawling 1 bedroom but can easily be converted back to the original configuration of 2 bedroom home.

The Pencil Factory, originally built in 1872 for the Eberhard Faber pencil company, is seamlessly integrated into Brooklyn's Greenpoint waterfront. Linking the past with the present, residents are offered high design integrity and a host of modern amenities including common roof deck, fitness center, residents' lounge, onsite parking, bike and residential unit storage and a virtual doorman.

Bevy of NoMad Condo Projects Quickly Find Buyers

The Real DealJune 27, 2013
NoMad is awash with new residential and hotel construction, and buyers are signing contracts for new condominiums at a brisk pace, the New York Post reported.

At Huys, a new 58-unit condo that went on the market in March, units are now over 50 percent in contract. Similarly, 241 Fifth Avenue, a 45-unit building roughly a block north of Madison Square Park, marketed by Core’s Doron Zwickel, is already 70 percent sold, as The Real Deal reported. It will be move-in ready this summer, the Post said. And the four-unit Whitman, on the park’s northern edge, reportedly sold a unit to Chelsea Clinton and still has a $25 million, 6,540-square-foot penthouse available. Melanie Lazenby and Dina Lewis of Douglas Elliman are handling sales.

South of the park, the Related Companies and HFZ Capital Group are soon restarting sales at One Madison Park, and Bruce Eichner’s firm Continuum is gearing up to launch a project on East 22nd Street.

The neighborhood is also a heavyweight on the hotel front, with the 190-roomn SLS hotel slated to open at 444 Park Avenue South next year and Virgin Hotel on 29th Street and Broadway set to open in 2016.

NoMad residents will also get a boost on the home dining front this summer when a Fairway opens at the base of the 33-story Chelsea Landmark on Sixth Avenue and 25th Street, as The Real Deal reported. The 23,000-square-foot space will come complete with organic and specialty foods, the Post reported.

New Listings: 407 Park Avenue South, 9D

Brokers WeeklyJune 26, 2013
Kips Bay
407 Park Ave South, 9D

One bedroom residence with private balcony off the living room with eastern exposure. Separate dining/office area off the kitchen. The Ascot is a full-service building which has a 24-hour attended lobby, live-in super, newly-renovated fitness center, laundry room and roof deck for residents. Listing agent: Adrian Noriega, CORE.

Jazz Legend David Sanborn Lists Upper West Side Brownstone

BloombergJune 26, 2013
Out of the shadows he emerges, sax in hand, dark sunglasses shading his face. Not loud or intrusive, David Sanborn's cool demeanor sets the tone for the smooth notes he's about to play.

The six-time Grammy winner seems at home on a dimly lit stage, or in his 20th-century brownstone in Lincoln Square. Much like the music flowing from his saxophone, Sanborn's home speaks for itself: modern yet classic, grand yet unassuming.

Located at 135 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023 on one of the Upper West Side's handsomest row of townhouses, the place is now on the market for a cool $12 million. Measuring 19 feet wide, it looks modest from the street, but with 13 rooms, it's anything but small.

The townhouse has been renovated with a well-appointed chef's kitchen and spa-like baths. Its early 1900s character also remains with original millwork, coffered ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces and period-centric chandeliers in nearly every room.

But perhaps the most fitting room for the musician, who earned a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental Performance with his single "All I Need Is You," is the top-floor music studio.

"We went to great lengths to build the soundproof studio," Sandborn said in a NY Daily News report. "We blew off firecrackers to test it. No one heard a thing."

According to reports, Sanborn has lived in the area since he moved to New York City in the early '70s. In that time, he has played jazz shows at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in Time Warner Center and been seen shopping and eating at local establishments.
Sanborn recently released a new album, "Quartette Humaine," which he recorded with pianist Bob James.

The listing is held by Tom Postilio, Mickey Conlon and Shaun Osher of CORE.

NoMad Lands

New York PostJune 26, 2013
North of Madison Square Park is buzzing with restaurants, hotels and new condos — here are five reasons we’re excited

NYC is awash in acronyms: Today SoHo, TriBeCa and FiDi are fully part of the local lingo.

But what about NoMad — North of Madison Square Park?

If you haven’t been tossing the term around, you soon will. This area, from 26th Street up to 30th and from Lexington Avenue over to Sixth, has seen an explosion of chic hotels, hip restaurants and glitzy residential buildings where there were once mostly wholesale clothing stores and rug merchants.

Here are our top five reasons that what was once a barren no-man’s-neighborhood has finally landed.

This 15th-floor, three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse at 241 Fifth Ave. is on the market for $6.95 million; the 45-unit, new-construction condo building should be ready for move-ins this summer and is already 70 percent sold.

Apparently, “Huys” is the Dutch word for a new 58-unit construction condo. At least that’s what they’re calling the building at East 28th Street that went on the market in March (for the record, the developer and designers are all Dutch) and is over 50 percent in contract; available units go for $3.1 million to $9.25 million. (Active listings are about $2,100 per square foot.)

And just a block or so north of Madison Square Park is a new-construction condo at 241 Fifth Ave. The 45-unit building, which is being marketed by Core’s Doron Zwickel and should be ready for move-ins this summer, is already 70 percent sold, with prices at a highly respectable $1,800 to $2,000 per square foot (not counting the pricier three-bedroom, 3,080-square-foot penthouse, priced at $7.95 million, still on the market).

And new buildings that are south of NoMad — meaning, they’re actually on the park — only add to the allure of the nearby neighborhood. They include the Whitman, a four-unit building on the northern edge of the park that should have move-ins this summer (and which reportedly sold a unit to Chelsea Clinton) and still has a $25 million, 6,540-square-foot penthouse available; and Ten Madison Square West (the former International Toy Center), with 125 units, which will start sales in the coming weeks, with one-bedrooms starting in the $1.5 million range and a five-bedroom penthouse listed for $25 million.

And there’s activity on the south side of the park, too: Related is restarting sales on One Madison Park, and we hear that Ian Bruce Eichner’s firm, Continuum, is also gearing up to start a project down the block on East 22nd Street.

The grub runs the gamut — from cool and casual to costly and fancy.
Let’s say high-end dining isn’t really your thing. So the NoMad, where culinary superstars Daniel Humm and Will Guidara dish up a foie gras-and-truffle-stuffed roast chicken for $79, might not be for you. But have no fear: If you’re more of a casual diner, NoMad has you covered. There are new sandwich places like Num Pang (Cambodian sandwiches) and Melt Shop (grilled cheese). Hooni Kim, a Michelin-starred chef, recently opened his casual Korean gastropub, Hanjan, on West 26th Street, the same block as the also-new whiskey bar/restaurant Maysville. The neighborhood “was really underserved when it comes to quick, cool, healthy food,” says Nicolas Jammet, the founder of the Washington, DC-based chain Sweetgreen, which offers salads, frozen yogurt and juices and is opening a 40-seat, 2,500-square-foot outpost in the NoMad Hotel this summer.

The Meatpacking District needs to watch its back, hotel-wise.
You might be familiar with the Ace and the NoMad Hotel — two of the heavyweights in the area — but what about Eventi, on Sixth Avenue and 30th Street? And the Gansevoort Park Avenue on 29th Street? And maybe you heard that King & Grove acquired the Hotel Lola on 29th Street last year? Well, all that stuff is old news anyway. We’re excited about the Virgin Hotel, on 29th Street and Broadway, slated for 2016. And we might be even more tickled by the 190-room SLS Hotel that’s opening next year at 444 Park Ave. South. “Jose Andres is our culinary director, and helping us find the right concept [for the hotel’s restaurant] — we’ve interviewed a number of chefs,” says Arash Azarbarzin, president of SBE, the hospitality group that owns SLS. “On the rooftop we do have plans for a lounge. It’s not going to be a nightclub — we’re going to welcome everybody. It’ll have beautiful views of the skyline.” In the basement, they’re planning the smaller S Bar.

Hey, Sixth Avenue is getting a Fairway!
A hot neighborhood is all fine and good, but the question any serious real estate shopper needs to ask before signing a contract is: Where do I buy my groceries? NoMad will no doubt get a great residential boost this summer when a Fairway opens up at the base of the 33-story Chelsea Landmark on Sixth Avenue and 25th Street. The coming store (the 13th in New York and Connecticut) will be a massive 23,000 square feet and will come with all the organic and specialty hallmarks Fairway is known for. And if you feel the need to shell out more money for your groceries, Eataly isn’t going anywhere.

Families need not fear these trendy developments.
OK, NoMad might work for the single, swinging guy looking for cool lounges and fancy restaurants . . . but will it work for a family? We are confident on that front, too. Walk around Madison Square Park and one sees advertisements for free concerts for kids, every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The kids will no doubt relish a stop at the park’s flagship Shake Shack. (Danny Meyer deserves a lot of credit for giving NoMad some of his restaurateur cred.) And since 2007, there’s been an Apple Seeds — the indoor playground — on 25th Street. “It’s certainly become a lot more family-friendly, even with all the hotels,” says Bobby Berna, co-founder of Apple Seeds, who is himself a nearby Chelsea resident. “There’s a lot of young families in the neighborhood.”

Just Sold: 305 East 85th Street

New York PostJune 26, 2013
UPPER EAST SIDE $3,100,000
305 East 85th Street

Three-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath condo, 2,349 square feet, with kitchen with Miele appliances, master suite with sitting room and walk-in closet, marble bath with steam shower, California closets and Bosch washer/dryer; Georgica building features doorman, roof deck, gym and bike room. Common charges $2,467, taxes $259. Asking price $3,525,000, on market seven weeks. Brokers: Emily Beare and Elizabeth Beare, CORE.

Beer Pong, Hang Gliding, Turkey Hunting: NYC Brokers Nurture Client Loyalty in New Ways

The Real DealJune 25, 2013
In order to distinguish themselves, some New York City brokers are taking the aphorism “the sky’s the limit” literally, resorting to tactics such as hang gliding with clients in order to create a strong bond, the New York Times reported.

There are more than 52,000 licensed real estate agents and brokers in New York City, and nearly 28,000 in Manhattan alone, according to the Times. Stribling & Associates’ Dan Critchett, who is a certified hang gliding instructor, offers potential buyers a chance to try out the extreme sport. In such a hypercompetitive market, Critchett told the Times it helps him stand out.

“Buyer loyalty is one of the most difficult things to obtain,” Critchett said. “You’ve got to have a gimmick.”

Other brokers have also found unusual ways to engage their clients. Corcoran Group’s Beth Benalloul, a former personal trainer, often takes clients to exercise classes, she told the Times. CORE Group’s Michael Rubin has tried out turkey hunting, while Corcoran’s Brian Giambalvo has driven his clients to Costco to stock up on household essentials.

Indeed, even commercial brokers are not immune to gimmicks, as The Real Deal reported. Assemblage broker Robert Shapiro once sent helium balloons to a client he hoped to nab, and investment sales broker Adelaide Polsinelli mailed a potential client who dodged her calls a cell phone with her number on it.

Maureen Johnson, a Corcoran broker in East Hampton, told the Times that such interactions help to add a human touch to business transactions. “You see each other as real people, not as ‘you work for me,’” Johnson said. “And I don’t see you as dollar signs.”

Seen & Heard: New Restaurant Plans for Lispenard

Tribeca CitizenJune 25, 2013
Last we heard about 15 Renwick, the big plot on the small street that runs between Canal and Spring, Izaki Group Investments USA had taken over, a new design was in the works, and Core was handling the sales of the condos. Well, last week, as I was walking home from Giorgione, I noticed a sign for ODA Architecture on the plywood—it’s a reunion of sorts, since Izaki is working with both ODA and Core on the 93 Worth.

Hotels Week 2013

CurbedJune 25, 2013
A small update from the slow resurrection of Soho's 15 Renwick Street: it looks like ODA will be architect on the project. ODA also worked with the site's owner, an investment group, on Tribeca's 93 Worth, so the gang's all here. Good thing, too, because 15 Renwick needs all the help it can get.

Musician David Sanborn Lists NYC Townhouse for $12 Million

HGTV Front DoorJune 24, 2013
Musician David Sanborn is selling his Upper West Side townhouse for $12 million, and it comes with a bona fide soundproof room that passed a firecracker test. (More on that below.)

Sanborn, a Grammy-winning saxophonist who's worked with everyone from David Bowie to Paul Simon, has lived in the house since 1989. He converted the building, originally a multi-unit residence, back to a single-family home and restored many of the original details you can see in the photos. The five-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse has a clean, modern vibe but also retains an authentic classic charm — thanks to the coffered ceilings, beautiful wood carpentry, four wood-burning fireplaces and distinct hardwood inlaid floors throughout.

The home comes with a private garden and terrace off the master bedroom, but our favorite amenity is the recording studio on the top floor. The fully-equipped studio was soundproofed with Sheetrock, according to CORE agent Mickey Conlon, who shares the listing with Shaun Osher and Tom Postilio. "To confirm that there would be no disturbances to the neighboring houses, firecrackers were set off in the space to test its noise-insulating capabilities," Conlon tells us. "Nobody heard a thing." You could have some fun with a tried-and-true soundproof room. State-of-the-art home theater? Ultimate man cave? Sensory deprivation tank? The possibilities are endless.

Here’s the Apartment; Now Let’s Go Hang Gliding

The New York TimesJune 24, 2013
When Dan Critchett, a real estate agent, meets a buyer at an open house, a potential client he hopes to woo, he shakes the buyer’s hand and offers two business cards. The first is fairly standard, a red rectangle that identifies him as an agent with Stribling & Associates, who can help you buy or sell a home. The second offers something else.

“Your introduction to Modern Hang Gliding,” it reads, next to a photograph of two enthusiastic looking people suspended high above the ground. “Sane Affordable Fun.”

Sane? Perhaps. But memorable? Quite likely. One thing is for certain, however: Hang gliding has nothing to do with real estate. And that Mr. Critchett says, is precisely the point.

“Buyer loyalty is one of the most difficult things to obtain,” said Mr. Critchett, who is a certified hang gliding instructor. “You’ve got to have a gimmick.”

There are more than 52,000 licensed real estate agents and brokers in New York City, and nearly 28,000 in Manhattan alone. So for those who making a living in this frantic field, one of the greatest challenges is distinguishing themselves from a large and aggressive pack. Some agents and brokers say that most effective one way to do this is by skipping the usual client lunches and meetings over drinks, and instead finding unusual ways of spending time together.

Beth Benalloul, a Corcoran Group broker and former personal trainer, has often “hyperventilated” with clients in exercise classes. Michael Mansfield of Citi Habitats has gone kayaking in the Hudson River, and Michael Rubin of CORE has tried turkey hunting. Ann Cutbill Lenane of Douglas Elliman arranges a giant scavenger hunt every other year. And Brian M. Giambalvo, an agent at Corcoran, has picked up several clients in his bright blue Honda sport utility vehicle and taken them to Costco to stock up on 30-packs of toilet paper, vats of hummus, and enormous boxes of bandages. And while he’s there, he stocks up, too.

In the hope that their clients will not wander over to the competition, ever circling with arms outspread, these brokers and agents try to nudge their professional relationships out of the traditional bounds of business suits and open houses, and toward activities normally reserved for actual friends.

“I love playing beer pong with clients,” said Kendrick Reinsch, a 25-year-old agent at Citi Habitats. “Which sounds crazy.”

Mr. Reinsch’s pong-destination of choice is a pirate-themed bar on Bleecker Street in Manhattan called Wicked Willy’s, draped with fake palm trees, faux driftwood, black flags and pirate ships. There, he stands next to his clients and tries to toss table-tennis balls into plastic cups filled with beer at the far end of a long table. Mr. Reinsch, who was in a fraternity as a New York University theater major, is quite good.
“You really have to fight the fun not to enjoy this,” he said, plastic cup of Miller Lite in hand. “They’re going to have a good time, and they’re going to remember me.”

He sometimes plays video games with clients, as well. And this, he said, helps him drum up more business.

“When people get to know you as a friend, they’re more likely to refer their friends,” he said.

While beer pong (also called Beirut) has served him well with many clients, Mr. Reinsch emphasized that Wicked Willy’s may not be a good fit for everyone. It could send the wrong message to a high-end buyer, say, or perhaps an older couple with children, so he approaches potential partners with discretion. Usually, he invites renters who are about his own age.

But in the case of Sarah Rose Katz, a Citi Habitats agent who is also 25, client bonding arose specifically because of an age difference: Her client, Doina Stoiana, 73, who owns a small rental building on the Upper East Side, received an iPhone and iPad as gifts, and it was Ms. Katz who taught her how to use them.

“It must have been 100 hours,” Ms. Katz said of their technology tutorials. “I spent a ridiculous amount of time there. But then we became very close.”

Ms. Katz is now the exclusive rental agent for Ms. Stoiana’s building, and when Ms. Stoiana and her husband, Mike, bought an apartment this year, Ms. Katz represented them as their agent. Ms. Katz and Ms. Stoiana say they have since gone on other excursions, including trips to the Botanic Gardens, and they now communicate almost daily.

“When I tell people in my office,” Ms. Katz said, “they say, ‘I’ve never heard of that before. That’s insane.'”

Maureen Johnson, a Corcoran broker in East Hampton, says that holding meetings outside of a standard business setting helps to humanize both buyer and broker, so she asks clients to come on joint dog walks. She brings along Max, a Silky Terrier, Bella, a Schnauzer-Yorkie mix.

“You see each other as real people, not as ‘you work for me,'” Ms. Johnson said. “And I don’t see you as dollar signs.”

Square Feet: Inside a State-of-the-Art French Manor House

LXTVJune 23, 2013
Open House takes a glimpse inside one of Saddle River, New Jersey’s most lavish homes. The home features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a large central hall, formal dining room, gourmet kitchen, breakfast room, private library/office, an indoor pool, and a private tennis court. For more information on 105 Chestnut Ridge Rd., please contact Michael Graves of Core NYC at 212-932-2222.

How an Architect Couple Designed Their $399K Harlem Studio

CurbedJune 20, 2013
Yet another baller husband-and-wife design duo, architect couple Kayt Brumder Pereira and Jorge Pereira (at Samuel Anderson Architects and Foster + Partners, respectively, with stints at SOM and DS+R between them, so you know they're good) bought their studio apartment in East Harlem back in 2005 for $290,612, when the Roosevelt Lane Condos first opened. During renovations in 2007, they added an unobtrusive lofted bed over an office space built for two, plus incorporated discarded furniture from a former employer and some drawers found on the street—all of which made their small, impeccably decorated space worthy fodder for a profile in New York Times' home section. Now the 571-square-foot unit at 277 East 111th Street, which comes with a north-facing 60-square-foot balcony, is on the market for $399,0000. It all begs the question: If non-architects moved in, or even a couple that was half-architect, would it still look so freakin' lovely? Good thing the Pereiras did the grunt work already.

Mapping the Condos and Hotels That Are Transforming NoMad

CurbedJune 20, 2013
It took awhile, but NoMad—the neighborhood and the neighborhood name—is here. The transformation from a nameless, WTF-is-there "brown zone" on the map to a trendy, desirable neighborhood slowly began in the mid-aughts after the revitalization of Madison Square Park, and over the last few years, development in NoMad has charged full speed ahead. The Ace Hotel and early condo conversions like the Grand Madison paved the way, and now the small area, roughly between 25th and 30th Streets and Lexington and Sixth Avenues, is welcoming new boutique hotels and residential buildings all the time. For our latest Microhood Map, we tracked buildings and hotels that opened within the last three years and those currently in the works. See one that we missed? Leave a comment or hit up the tipline and we'll gladly add it.
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