Getting to the Core: Shaun Osher Talks NYC Real Estate Stardom

New York ObserverApril 02, 2013

WHEN NYC SALES STAR Shaun Osher decided to open CORE in 2005, the South African native teamed up with Jack Cayre with a very specific vision in mind. “I wanted to provide an unparalleled level of service to my clients,” he says. In 2006, Messrs. Osher and Cayre opened the firm’s first retail office in Chelsea, and they have been aiming high—as in high-end—ever since. To serve that high-end segment, CORE created a website that raised the bar in the industry with its outstanding photography and innovations like the first market report based on real-time data, The Real-Time Report, and a blog to which Mr. Osher personally contributes. He also created a traveling sales office to market and sell properties globally. “To be an agent at CORE, you have to conduct yourself according to our brand integrity, culture and business model,” says Mr. Osher. “We are a marketing agency first and foremost and always look to pioneer new tools and technologies to sell real estate.” The firm’s rise has been fast and sure. CORE was named the No. 1 boutique real estate brokerage in New York City last year by the industry chronicle The Real Deal. And according to Mr. Osher, there are no plans to slow down. In April, CORE will open a new Upper East Side office on East 61st Street and Madison Avenue as the company plants a new flag uptown. Q: What is your view of the real estate market this spring? A: The market right now is frenzied, due to a lack of supply and a huge demand for inventory. Most markets are driven by consumer confidence, which in Manhattan is very strong. There is a lot of wealth in the city, and there just is not that much supply. What we see, traditionally, is that upward trends always start in Manhattan then spread virally to the outskirts. When buyers get priced out of the city, they go further out—to Williamsburg, Long Island City, Jersey City, places like that. Then it spreads from there. Those neighborhoods grow and change. For instance, Williamsburg is a very different place and market today than it was three years ago. Q: How is the market on the Upper East Side? A: The Upper East Side is divided into segments. Fifth Avenue is still the single most powerful address on the globe. Park Avenue is the second most. It has always been all residential, architecturally beautiful homes, with very established residential addresses. Going further east are addresses with less architectural significance. These are newer buildings, less accessible to transportation, and the neighborhoods were not originally built to be residential. But with the shortage of housing, new neighborhoods get discovered. The Second Avenue subway will have a positive effect on property values. There are some newer high-end buildings further east, like The Lucida [151 East 85th Street], 74th and Second, The Brompton [205 East 85th Street], the Georgica [305 East 85th Street] and The Laurel [400 East 67th Street]—all newer, more high-end buildings. The developers created luxury product with great amenities. Those buildings are helping the neighborhoods. Restaurants and more shopping are following. Q: Is 96th Street still the cut-off point for many buyers? A: Not really. We are selling a project at 1 Museum Mile at 109th and Fifth. It has extensive amenities, including private parking, a rooftop pool, park views and a doorman. It is designed by Robert A.M. Stern, and it has become a destination building. To add value, you have everything you need, which gives buyers a reason to go a little out of their way. You may travel another 10 blocks, but it’s worth it when you get there. It’s kind of a microcosm of the suburbs. Q: Do you think this trend of the “destination building” will continue? A: Yes, because Manhattan is the epicenter of the world, and it has also become the best and safest big city in the world, and it is an island, so the amount of real estate is limited. Developers are continually looking to create more product to feed the demand. The stabilizing factor is that land prices keep going up. That prevents a glut. The market is almost self-leveling in that way. Q: Do you have any advice for Manhattan home buyers? A: If you see something you love, and you can afford it, you should buy it. In Manhattan I’ve never seen someone regret buying property, but I have seen lots of people regret not buying. Don’t try to time the market. If you buy for the right reasons, you can’t go wrong. Q: Is there a typical Manhattan buyer these days? A: No two buyers are the same. New York is very beautiful and eclectic in terms of buyers and buildings. That’s what makes the city special. Take Tribeca—it was not originally built for residential use, but many buyers are attracted to the huge volumes of space, the beautiful high ceilings, etc. Then there are buyers who aren’t attracted to those qualities at all. They want something more modern, with floor-to-ceiling windows. We could sell a loft in Tribeca for $4,000 per square foot, or an apartment in the Time Warner building for that. There are a limited number of townhouses, and not everyone wants them, but those who do create that market for townhouses, the same with Tribeca lofts. That’s the beauty of New York. It is simultaneously an old and a new city. Q: What are some of the neighborhoods you see emerging? A: Far West Chelsea is emerging. Art appreciators are drawn to it because of the galleries and the spaces. Madison Square Park has become one of the most active neighborhoods in the city. Not so long ago, it was considered a bad neighborhood. Now it has the park, incredible retail like Eataly and new trendy hotels like The NoMad. The transportation is great, and new restaurants are catering to new residential activity. The Bowery is also very exciting. We did a project at 52 East Fourth Street. Q: Who is buying apartments in Manhattan? What groups of people? A: Here we have probably the most diverse buyer pool in any city. Artists, financial professionals, tech entrepreneurs, international buyers, entertainment people, entrepreneurs in general and professionals. Q: Where are the international buyers typically coming from? A: They come in different waves at different times. Right now, everyone is talking about Chinese buyers. We are doing deals with lots of different people from all over the world, people from every continent—except Antarctica. New York has this romance with the world. It’s in movies, stories. Owning a penthouse in the sky in New York is a dream people have all over the world.

One Museum Mile’s $3.6M Sale Sets Neighborhood Record

CurbedApril 01, 2013
A relaunch one year ago has done 1280 Fifth Avenue some good. Now branded One Museum Mile, the 113-condo unit on 110th Street, which sits atop the Museum for African Art, passed the 50-percent-sold mark in February. And last week, when 3BR/3BA apartment 11B sold for $3.565 million, it set a new record for the neighborhood of $2,030 per square foot. (Streeteasy and others label the area "Upper Carnegie Hill," but we're insisting that it's East Harlem.)

After miscalculations about the museum's opening timeline and some other delays, the Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Museum Mile is poised to push Harlem even further into gentrification territory.

The most compelling features of the 1,756-square-foot record-setting apartment in question are the views from both the interiors and a huge wraparound terrace, which look out onto the expanse of Central Park from its northeastern corner. The bedrooms are also generously sized compared with the living areas. If the vistas aren't enough of the great urban outdoors, 1280 Fifth also has a roof deck with a pool, plus other amenities like a 24/7 concierge, a gym, a kids' playroom, a teens' game room, a bike room, and parking.

New and Coming to Wallabout

BrownstonerApril 01, 2013
Wallabout is waking from its long slumber with several major developments planned, new retail in the works, and a newly hot residential real estate market, The Wall Street Journal reported. “And it isn’t just the loft buildings that are selling,” said the story. “Historic 19th-century wood frame houses, the backbone of Wallabout’s working-class housing stock, are getting scooped up. Doug Bowen, executive vice president at CORE, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, estimated 18 townhouses changed hands in Wallabout last year.” The Journal credits the changes to new industry at the Navy Yard and spillover gentrification from nearby Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Luckily some 40 residential buildings were landmarked as the Wallabout Historic District, so the character of the area will be preserved despite growth. Some of the new developments to come: the huge under-construction affordable development the Navy Green; the recently purchased (for $26.25 million) warehouse on Ryerson Street; Brooklyn Roasting Company moving into the old J.J’s Cocktail Lounge, as previously reported, which received a glassy renovation in 2011. The article also notes two Washington Avenue buildings are getting converted to residential use with street-level retail: There are two lofts available at 66 Washington with a coffee purveyor and importer in contract to take the ground floor retail space, and 64 Washington will house a wine store on the bottom floor and renovate the building into five apartments. Meanwhile, 73 Washington, a four-story unconverted building, upped its asking price from $1.5 million to $2.2 million.

$3.6 Million One Museum Mile Sale Sets Record for East Harlem

The Real DealApril 01, 2013
The sale of a $3.57 million unit at One Museum Mile in East Harlem has set a neighborhood record, Curbed reported. Broken down, the sale amounts to $2,030 per square foot.

CORE Group is marketing the new development. The 1,756-square-foot home sold at its asking price last week, according to StreetEasy.
The home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and boasts a wrap-around terrace.

The Robert A.M. Stern-designed tower reached the halfway-sold mark in February, as previously reported.

The 113-unit building is located on 110th Street at the northeastern end of Central Park and underwent a name change last spring. The condominium was formerly called by its address, 1280 Fifth Avenue, when Brown Harris Stevens handled sales.

The East Harlem neighborhood has lately drawn more developers for residential projects, as previously reported.

One Museum Mile Sets East Harlem Record With $3.57M Apartment Sale

Buzz Buzz HomeApril 01, 2013
One Museum Mile in East Harlem has set a neighborhood record with the sale of a$3.565 million three-bedroom apartment.

The 1280 Fifth Avenue project, designed by Robert A.M. Stern, has 113 condos and was 50 percent sold in February, according to Curbed. Unit 11B, which measures 1,756 square feet and has a wrap-around terrace, sold at about $2,030 per square foot, breaking previous pricing records in the area.

Amenities include 24-hour doorman/concierge, gym, playroom, roof deck, swimming pool, parking and a “teen game room.” CORE is handling marketing at the property.

For NYC Apartments, $100M is the New $50M

The Real DealApril 01, 2013
Last week, news broke that Steven Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, would list his duplex penthouse at One Beacon Court, the condominium tower at 151 East 58th Street in Midtown, for $115 million. That figure would have marked a record high asking price for a New York City home, but it was soon eclipsed by the reported $125 million asking price for a triplex penthouse at the Pierre at 795 Fifth Avenue, formerly owned by the late financial analyst Martin Zweig. And while those listings would make just about anyone’s jaw drop, real estate insiders were almost blasé about the price tags.

“The new $50 million is $100 million,” said Richard Steinberg, a broker at Warburg Realty. “You can ask whatever you want for a property. Time will tell if it will fetch it.”

Either could result in an eight-figure or even nine-figure sale, brokers said, given the size and singularity of the properties and the rapidly escalating prices at the highest end of the Manhattan residential market.

Considering the square footage of the apartments, neither asking price is surprising, said Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

“Ten-thousand square feet and above seems to be the number when you might see this [asking price],” he said.

Zweig reportedly paid $21.5 million for the 16-room Pierre penthouse in 1999 — a record at the time. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home is now listed with Elizabeth Sample, Brenda Powers and Serena Boardman, all of Sotheby’s International Realty.

The penthouse was “a very difficult property to price because it’s a one-of-a-kind property, like a piece of art,” Sample said.

Sotheby’s looked at the apartment’s square footage and other comparable units to price it “competitively,” she said.

The 41-story Pierre has a fabled history. Part co-op (77 units), part hotel (140 rooms), the building opened in 1930 and underwent a $100 million renovation in 2005 after it was acquired by Taj Hotels and Resorts.

The average price for the three active listings in the building — not including the penthouse, which is not yet officially listed — is $7.35 million, according to StreetEasy. The 52 recorded sales in the building averaged $4.57 million, StreetEasy shows.

Victoria Shtainer, a broker at Douglas Elliman who lives in One Beacon Court and often brokers deals in the tower, described the duplex penthouse there as something “very special.”

“When I have my international buyers here and they want a trophy, there’s very few things I can show them,” she said. “So having the Pierre apartment and having something like [the One Beacon Court duplex], it’s definitely something to show and wow my clients with.”

Steinberg, who said he had the listing for the One Beacon Court penthouse when Cohen bought it, predicted the 10,000-square-foot duplex would sell for nearly $100 million.

“This is one of the great apartments in New York,” he said. “Based on the square footage, [the Cohens’] taste level, the size of their apartment, and if they’re asking $90 [million] and $100 million for the new developments condos, this is the new asking price.”

Cohen purchased the apartment for $24 million in 2005. (It was not immediately clear which broker has the listing.)

The 105-unit, 53-story tower was developed by Vornado Realty Trust in 2001 and designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. The building is close to other high-profile residential towers such as the Related Companies’ Time Warner Center and Extell Development’s One57.
The building’s four active sales listings average $4,423 per square foot and its previous sales average $3,973 per square foot, according to StreetEasy.

As several apartments have gone on the market at $90 million and above, sellers of trophy properties have changed their pricing strategies, brokers said.

“People are pricing things as pieces of art now,” Elliman’s Max Dobens said. “You have buildings that are special, like the Pierre. And owners are saying, ‘Well, I think it should be worth this and see if somebody agrees.’ People try to push the envelope.”

Just eight months ago, Steven Klar, the Long Island real estate developer, listed his 8,000-square-foot triplex at the CitySpire building at 150 West 56th Street for $100 million. (The apartment, initially listed with Raphael De Niro of Elliman, is no longer available, according to StreetEasy.)

At the time, real estate experts questioned the asking price, as The Real Deal reported. But an evolving market has worn away some of the sticker shock.

A duplex penthouse at One57 was on the market for $115 million. That unit and another at the tower are said to be in contract for upwards of $90 million.

Additionally, two apartments are on the market for $95 million, including an eighteenth-floor co-op at the Sherry Netherland at 781 Fifth Avenue listed with Elliman’s Dolly Lenz and Kathy Sloane of Brown Harris Stevens, and a penthouse at 15 Central Park West listed with Emily Beare of Core.

Plus, in a global market, New York is still a relative deal, brokers said.

“This is a market that’s not New York-based. It’s New York and the world,” Miller said. “There’s already been transactions in London for that [listing price], so we’re a bargain.”

Shtainer noted that this past year a unit at One Hyde Park, developed by the Candy brothers, sold for more than $100 million.

“Compared to the rest of the world, there’s no sticker shock, and there’s no reason that New York can’t catch up,” Shtainer said. “When you’re looking at London and then you’re looking at New York, New York is half-price.”

Back In the ‘High’ Life Again! Apartments Selling Well at 432 Park Ave., Which Will Be the Tallest Residential Tower

New York Daily NewsApril 01, 2013
The tower that’s rising at 432 Park Ave. will be the tallest residential building in Western Hemisphere when it is completed in 2015.

The high life takes on a new meaning at 432 Park Ave., a 96-story residential tower that is set to challenge the Empire State Building as midtown’s tallest building.

Prices at the proposed 1,396-foot tall skyscraper start at $20 million for three-bedroom units with libraries and small terraces. Full-floor penthouses with 360-degree views cost up to $85 million.

“This building is the show- stopper,” said CORE broker Jarrod Guy Randolph, who toured 432 Park.

On the site of the former Drake Hotel, 432 Park Ave. apartments come with 12 1/2-foor ceilings, 10x10 foot windows, and nine-foot doors.

Amenities in the Rafael Vinoly-designed building include a 75-foot-long pool, sauna, steam room, fitness center, and offices or guest apartments for purchase. On the site of the former Drake Hotel, apartments come with 121/2-foot ceilings, 10-by-10-foot windows, and 9-foot
doors. Other perks include chauffeur service and a separate entrance for servants.

“Everything about this place is larger than life,” said Douglas Elliman broker Lisa Simonsen, who has clients close to contract. “There isn’t anything that is not exquisite.”

432 Park Ave. will transform the Park Ave. skyline and will require an aviation consultant to complete the study require by the FAA.

The Federal Aviation Administration isn’t convinced yet.

Like other skyscrapers, 432 Park will hire an “aviation consultant” to complete a study to prove the building won’t endanger airplanes or helicopters.

The FAA has not yet received an application from the under-construction tower at E. 57th St., an agency spokesman said. But a local real estate expert said it was likely 432 Park will rise to its stratospheric goal.

The current construction site at 432 Park Ave. as of March 14, 2013.

“The financing is in place to finish (construction),” said a broker, and co-developer Harry
Macklowe claims he has already sold one-third of the 123 units.

The broker, however, is still worried about pricing.

When completed, the skyscraper will rise to a height of 1,398 feet (426.11 m). It is scheduled for completion in 2015 and would be the second-tallest in New York.

“Not everyone can afford to spend $30 million,” he said.

But plenty can.

“The number of buyers for this market is going up,” said Jonathan Miller, a New York real estate research expert with Miller Samuel. “With the financial crisis in Europe worsening and London considering a cap on financial bonuses, New York is looking more attractive. Projects like 432 Park are a big reason why. It delivers that outta-sight apartment these people want.”

The architect Rafael Vinoly in 2011.

Worldwide, New York City ranks first with 7,580 individuals with $30 million or more in total assets. For billionaires, the United States leads the pack with 543 in 2012, according to a study by London real estate concern Knight Frank.

Neither Macklowe nor a rep from CIM Group, the co-developer, would comment. The 432 Park tower could be complete by 2015.

The Empire State Building, with its spire, is 1,453 feet tall, putting it above 432 Park. But
without the spire, the Empire State is a “mere” 1,250 feet tall, meaning the Park Ave. building would be champ.

The new 1 World Trade Center, however, will top off at 1,776 feet.

Good-bye, Mortgage Contingencies: Tight Inventory Leads Buyers to Risk Their Down Payments

The Real DealApril 01, 2013
So long, mortgage contingency. With lack of inventory creating conditions reminiscent of the real estate boom, many buyers are waiving the clause in a purchase contract that protects their down payment if they can’t get a mortgage.
But with banks skittish about home loans, that decision is much riskier than it was in the mid-2000s, brokers said.

These days, getting a mortgage is “always a risk until the bank comes to the table with the money,” said Tracy Makow, a partner with the Brooklyn-based law firm Brickner Makow. Still, “some people are willing to take it, because they want to buy the property. There’s very little inventory out there.”

Mortgage contingency clauses have been nearly universal in contracts signed since the financial crisis of 2008, brokers said. But in the face of a continuing inventory shortage, brokers told The Real Deal that some buyers are voluntarily waiving these clauses to help beat out other bidders. Others are acquiescing to demands by sellers, who don’t want their deal to collapse because a buyer can’t get a mortgage.

“No mortgage contingency is a great situation for the seller — it makes the deal a lot more solid,” said Howard Margolis, a broker at Douglas Elliman. “We’re seeing it a lot more over the past few months because of the tightening inventory.”

In the easy-credit days of the mid-2000s, it was common for homebuyers to skip mortgage contingencies. But that famously led to a flurry of lawsuits during the economic downturn, when buyers found they could no longer finance apartments they’d signed contracts to purchase, and sued developers to get their deposits back. Since then, mortgage contingences have been nearly ubiquitous.

But Margolis said that’s now changing. In recent months, he said at least half of all sales he’s seen have closed without mortgage contingencies.

“Because the lack of inventory is so severe, every viably priced property has got a line forming,” said Neil Binder, president of the Bellmarc Group. “The only way that you can
entice sellers to agree to your terms over someone else’s is if you offer some kind of chocolate. And the only chocolate is if you don’t have the risk of a mortgage.”

Keith Burkhardt, founder of the buyers’ brokerage the Burkhardt Group, said he advises all his clients not to waive mortgage contingencies because the risk is just too great.

Consequently, a number of his buyers have come up empty-handed.

Burkhardt said: “I’m being asked by many brokers straight away, ‘Are your buyers willing to go non-contingent? Because we have two or three other buyers that are not contingent on financing, and I just don’t see your deal happening.’”
In fact, with supply low and demand high, the terms of a sale — like no mortgage contingency — can become just as important as price, brokers said.

“One guy is offering $25,000 above the ask,” Margolis said, “but if the other person has a stronger ability to close, which is the better deal?”
And not every buyer is offering to waive the mortgage contingency. Many sellers are insisting that they do so — or no deal.

“It’s a seller’s market, and in a seller’s market, when they hold the cards, they want to make sure there’s no out for the buyer, so to strengthen their deal, they take away the financing contingency,” said Core CEO Shaun Osher.

H.OM.E. Mortgage Bank’s Rolan Shnayder noted that high-end buyers are more likely to forgo financing contingencies, since they’re less likely to depend on a mortgage to get the deal done.

“Obviously, [this is more prevalent in] the upper echelon of the market, where a lot of those deals are done in cash anyway,” he said. In other price ranges, “I am still doing loans with plenty of buyers getting mortgage contingencies.”

For buyers in all price ranges, the decision to possibly lose their down payment — at least 10 percent of the price and, in many instances, 20 percent or more — should not be taken lightly, Makow said.

Binder warned that buyers who can’t pay cash or don’t have an airtight guarantee of a mortgage should not agree to a non-contingent deal.

“I wouldn’t do it unless I had certain assurances that I didn’t have a problem getting [a mortgage],” he said. “If I didn’t have the funds, I would never put myself at risk.”

Makow said most buyers who waive the mortgage contingency are fairly confident they have financing. But they can still get burned, she said, since banks today often refuse to finance certain buildings due to their financial health or compliance with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines. Other times, the property is appraised too low.

At the very least, buyers should consult a mortgage banker or a real estate attorney before they relinquish their mortgage contingency, advised Shnayder, who is H.O.M.E.’s director of new development lending.

“You’re taking a gamble,” he said. “You should never do that without taking great care and reviewing your income assets with a professional mortgage loan officer to make sure that you’re not going to have an issue.”

To keep buyers from losing their deposits, some brokers have developed their own strategies for protecting their clients while still relinquishing the mortgage contingency clause.

Elliman’s Frances Katzen, for example, said she puts a funding contingency on the “back end” of some purchase contracts, so that the buyers only forfeit the deposit if the bank finds something wrong with the building or considers the appraisal too low, as opposed to the buyer’s personal qualifications.

But Makow said many sellers’ attorneys won’t allow the tweaking of mortgage contingencies.

“That’s very hard to do,” she said, “because you have to get the seller to agree. If I’m a seller’s attorney and it’s a non-contingent deal, there’s no back door.”
As unpleasant as losing a bidding war is, Burkhardt is adamant about his pro-mortgage contingency stance.

“It’s almost something that should potentially be legislated,” he said. “Buyers should have that protection. There’s just too much at risk.”

Wallabout Refloats Next to the Navy Yard

The Wall Street JournalMarch 29, 2013
It is a small irony that life looks sweet these days on Washington Avenue in the Wallabout

Anchored by the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the block once produced the most chocolate in America after Hershey Co. The last candy factory, the maker of Tootsie Rolls, closed in 1967. That, coupled with the 1966 decommissioning of the Navy yard, caused Wallabout to slip into a slow decline.

Now, the erstwhile neighborhood is finding its sweet spot once again, bolstered by industry in the reactivated Navy yard, a thriving incubator of some 300 businesses including Steiner Studios, and Navy Green, a 2.34-acre mixed-used complex with affordable housing on the site of the former Navy brig. The recent $26.25 million contract to purchase a warehouse at 29 Ryerson St., possibly as the site of a 200-room hotel, brings an additional sheen to the gritty neighborhood.

"We've now come full circle," said Richard Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, which serves Wallabout. The name derives from the original Dutch, "Waal-bogt," meaning bend in the harbor.

Despite the new attention to the neighborhood, Mr. Perris noted local initiatives have helped preserve Wallabout's industrial heritage and stave off a "potential beachhead of gentrification."

Last August, for example, the National Register of Historic Places listed an area between Grand and Clinton avenues as an industrial historic district—a relatively rare designation—including some 40 manufacturing buildings such as those for the Rockwood Chocolate and Mergenthaler Linotype companies.

While large endeavors such as these put the neighborhood on the map, it is the smaller activities, especially along Washington Avenue, that prove "if you build it they will come."

Where the former J.J.'s Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge, a local legend since 1907, once offered cheap drinks and lap dances on the corner of Flushing and Washington avenues, Brooklyn Roasting Co. soon will be serving fair-trade coffee.

"The location was unbelievable, the space was fantastic and we took a look into the future," said Michael Pollack, one of the cafe owners. "It was close to the Navy Yard, which is continuing to grow, develop and change."

Mehrdad Shariati, who bought the building to be used by Brooklyn Roasting in 2010 and lives in an apartment above, plans to bring a florist and kitchen-design store in the adjacent retail space. And he's looking for another property to buy.

"Our thinking is that it will change; I'm sure in 10 years it will be a high-class area," Mr. Shariati said.

He joins other businesses such as Fresh Fanatic, a 3,500-square-foot organic grocer, and the Body by Brooklyn day spa that regard Wallabout as an area emerging, yet connected to established neighborhoods such as Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Two buildings on Washington Avenue are in the process of loft conversions, each including street-level retail. At No. 66, two lofts are for sale above a 3,600-square-foot retail space that is now in contract to a South American coffee purveyor and importer.

Next door at No. 64, the space formerly occupied by Presents gallery will soon be a wine shop, and the building's owner, who has now moved to Bedford Stuyvesant, plans to convert and rent the five apartments above.

"The wine store approached me and I couldn't say no—it's economics," said George Spencer, the former gallerist who owns the building. "There's a squeeze between Williamsburg and Dumbo and we're getting it now."

Across the street at No. 73, a four-story building with unconverted apartments is for sale with the owner asking $2.2 million. It was previously listed for $1.5 million.

And it isn't just the loft buildings that are selling. Historic 19th-century wood frame houses, the backbone of Wallabout's working-class housing stock, are getting scooped up. Doug Bowen, executive vice president at CORE, who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, estimated 18 townhouses changed hands in Wallabout last year.

"Myrtle Avenue has become such a desirable and friendly commercial corridor, the housing stock on either side has really risen and come onto the map," Mr. Bowen said, noting that townhouses in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill can sell for as much as $3 million.

"In Wallabout you're not seeing those prices, but you're seeing people attracted to that housing because of its access to services," he said.
Wallabout may be having its "it" moment, but Michael Blaise Backer, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, believes the neighborhood will evolve from its core fabric.

"We've hesitated doing anything too flashy or speculative or some kind of branding campaign, for fear that things would evolve unnaturally," he said.

A version of this article appeared March 29, 2013, on page A20 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Wallabout Refloats Next to the Navy Yard.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Redevelopment Sparks Off Wallabout About-turn

The Real DealMarch 29, 2013
Invigorated by the redevelopment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Wallabout neighborhood on Washington Avenue is experiencing a commercial renaissance, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Once known as the second-largest producer of chocolate in the neighborhood (after Hershey Co.), Wallabout slipped into decline following the decommissioning of the Navy yard in 1966 and the subsequent closing of the area’s last candy factory a year later. But the new Navy yard development – which will act as an incubator to 300 businesses as well as provide affordable housing– is set to transform the neighborhood. Recent deals such as the $26.25 million contract to purchase a warehouse at 29 Ryerson Street – with tentative plans to develop a 200-room hotel possibly as the site of a 200-room hotel, further accelerate the transformation.

“We’ve now come full circle,” Richard Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, told the Journal.

New stores such as 3,500-square-foot organic grocery Fresh Fanatic and the Body by Brooklyn day spa, are sprouting up in the area, which is close to the more established residential enclaves of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Indeed, Doug Bowen, executive vice president at CORE and a longtime Wallabout resident, told the Journal that roughly 18 townhouses in the area changed hands last year.

“Myrtle Avenue has become such a desirable and friendly commercial corridor, the housing stock on either side has really risen and come onto the map,” Bowen said, adding that townhouses in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill can sell for as much as $3 million.

“In Wallabout you’re not seeing those prices, but you’re seeing people attracted to that housing because of its access to services,” he said.

Perris stressed that despite the flurry of projects, preservationists were ensuring that the industrial heritage of the area would be maintained. Last summer, the National Register of Historic Places listed an area between Grand and Clinton avenues as an industrial historic district, a relatively rare designation that would protect 40 buildings including the Rockwood Chocolate and Mergenthaler Linotype companies. [WSJ] realestate.html?mod=WSJ_topnav_na_newyork

– Hiten Samtani

‘Modern’ Living

New York PostMarch 28, 2013
Sofia Vergara has been house hunting for her own “modern family” in New York. One place the sexy television star checked out was a “loft-like” penthouse duplex at 301 E. 52nd St. The five-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op was asking $4.495 million but is now in contract with another buyer. It comes with a 1,400-square-foot set-back terrace. Along with 10-foot ceilings and 50 feet of custom solarium windows, there’s a sunken living room with a woodburning fireplace. The listing broker, CORE’s Jeffrey Smith, declined to comment.

Hot and Historic in Tribeca: 93 Worth is Over 70 Percent Sold

Buzz Buzz HomeMarch 22, 2013
Tribeca condo conversion 93 Worth is over 70 percent sold, developer Izaki Group Investments USA and CORE announced today.

The 18-story, 92-unit building, located between Broadway and Church Street, has studios and one- to four-bedroom residences. ODA Architecture handled the transformation of the 1924 textile factory. Pricing on available units ranges from $715,000 for a 475-square-foot studio to $4.6 million for a 2,251-square-foot penthouse.

The apartments feature 7-foot windows, solid wood doors, open kitchens, high ceilings, 7-inch-wide white oak floors and the building’s original exposed steel columns.

“Today’s buying culture resembles, if not surpasses, the so-called peak of the condo boom of 2006 and 2007,” Doron Zwickel, the Director of Sales at 93 Worth, said in a statement. “Attesting to this fact are the 12 price amendments we have filed since the project’s opening.”

Amenities include a 24/7 concierge, common rooftop with panoramic city views, open lounge with pergola and kitchen station, gym, playroom, bicycle storage, private storage for purchase and a dog-washing station. Check these gorgeous shots from the official site.

Worth it! Innovative App Lures Buyers to Tribeca Luxury Condo

New York Daily NewsMarch 22, 2013
Real Estate marketing team CORE plays off neighborhood’s filmmaking history to sell units at 93 Worth.

Movies are the rage in Tribeca. CORE, a top marketing group with a focus on new development, executed one of the most innovative marketing plans in real estate history at 93 Worth, a 91-unit condominium in Tribeca.

Playing off Tribeca’s creativity and filmmaking history, the marketing and sales group used an iPod and iPhone application to lure customers to a luxury building off Broadway on the edge of the neighborhood.

“Real estate is about innovation,” said Shawn Osher, CEO of the CORE. “We wanted to do something paperless and creative. We thought this neighborhood and market required something different. We made a film. Several films actually. Each one played up to the building’s exceptional quality and the neighborhood’s history of creativity.”

It worked.

When you face the iPhone or iPod on a photograph, it plays one of several films. One is about history, another is on architecture, and another on the area’s qualities. There are firefighters, restaurants, streetscapes and interviews with the developer, the architect, and the sales and marketing team.

“I loved it,” said buyer Mick Carillo. “I want to be paperless. I can just show this to my friends and say, ‘I bought here.’ It’s eco-friendly, and it appeals to tech-savvy people like myself. I cant wait to move in.”

Closings will start next year. Already the building is 70% sold, with apartments staring at $900,000 for one-bedrooms and $2.2 million for two-bedrooms. Units are large with ash-oak floors and light blue backsplashes in the kitchens. Bronze accents are everywhere.

“Buyers like the location, but they really purchase for the finishes,” said agent Doron Zwickel, a CORE broker. “We were showing 30 per day when we started.”

A marquee outside the sales office relates to the film motif. 93 Worth is attracting young families and singles. Couples like the light and large windows.

“This is the right marketing for the right time,” said Osher. “This is what we do: Build smart projects for smart people. The app was the perfect marketing collateral for this neighborhood at this time.”

Go to for more.

CORE Uses Cinema-centric App to Generate Sales at Tribeca’s 93 Worth

The Real DealMarch 22, 2013
When it comes to marketing high-end New York City real estate it helps to be creative. But when the property is in a neighborhood with a creative history, brokers have to up their game. And that’s exactly what CORE has done with its marketing campaign for 93 Worth, a 91-unit condominium in Tribeca, the New York Daily News reported.

In an homage to Tribeca’s film history, the brokerage is using an iPhone app that plays one of several films when it faces a a photograph of the building. The films cover subjects ranging from film history to architecture to the virtues of living in the neighborhood. The films include firefighters, restaurants, streetscapes and interviews with the developer, the architect, and the sales and marketing team.

“Real estate is about innovation,” Shaun Osher, CEO of the CORE, told the Daily News. “We wanted to do something paperless and creative. We thought this neighborhood and market required something different. We made a film. Several films actually. Each one played up to the building’s exceptional quality and the neighborhood’s history of creativity.”

The app attracted buyers to the building, pushing sales up to 70 percent. Closings will begin next year and pricing starts at $900,000 for a one-bedrooms and $2.2 million for two-bedrooms.

What $5,100/Month Can Rent You Around New York City

CurbedMarch 22, 2013
Welcome back to “Curbed Comparisons”, a column that explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various New York City neighborhoods. Is one man's studio another man's townhouse? Let's find out! Today's price: $5,100/month.

Living Large: 39 Fifth Avenue

CBSMarch 19, 2013
Emily Beare and Tony Sargent take CBS’ Emily Smith on a tour of their $5.4 million listing at 39 Fifth Avenue.

Lady Gaga Looks For Manhattan Apartment

Showbiz SpyMarch 16, 2013
WHEELCHAIR-bound Lady GaGa is on the hunt for a new Manhattan apartment.

The singer — who’s recovering from hip surgery — recently looked at a $5.95 million penthouse at The Link, at 310 W. 52nd St.

HGTV’s Selling New York stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon have the listing.

GaGa has also viewed a pad at the Midtown enclave The Park Imperial, where residents have included Sean “Diddy” Combs and Deepak Chopra, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.

Is This Penthouse Fit For Mother Monster?

Celebuzz!March 16, 2013
Lady Gaga is reportedly eyeing a $5.95M duplex penthouse apartment in Manhattan.

Lady Gaga may be wheelchair-bound these days, but the temporary sideline hasn’t stopped the recovering superstar from house hunting.

Page Six is reporting that Mother Monster recently stopped by a Manhattan penthouse currently on the market for $5.95 million.

The duplex apartment, located in New York’s Clinton neighborhood (aka. Hell’s Kitchen), includes three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a fireplace, terrace and more than 2,000 square feet. Mickey Conlon, one of the agents attached to the listing, offered no comment when Celebuzz reached out on Friday.

The penthouse is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and, according to the listing on CORE, “bird’s-eye views” of Central Park and Times Square.

Earlier this week, Gaga, 26, was spotted greeting fans in the Big Apple in her custom-made 24K gold wheelchair.

“I miss you guys so much. I just wanted to come out and say hi,” the “Born This Way” singer told her fans in a moment caught on video.
Gaga is currently recovering from hip surgery. Back in February, the singer was forced to cancel the remainder of her world tour after battling chronic pain from a show injury.

What do you think of Gaga’s possible new Manhattan digs? Check out the gallery, then share your review of the penthouse below.

Wheelchair-bound Gaga Still Looking

New York PostMarch 15, 2013
Even from the confines of her 24-karat-gold-plated wheelchair, Lady Gaga is hunting for a new Manhattan apartment. We’re told the superstar, who’s recovering from hip surgery, recently looked at a $5.95 million penthouse at The Link, at 310 W. 52nd St. HGTV’s “Selling New York” stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon have the listing. Gaga has also viewed a pad at the Midtown enclave The Park Imperial, where residents have included Sean “Diddy” Combs and Deepak Chopra.
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