New York Daily NewsDecember 21, 2012
Wedding planner to the stars is selling his architectural wonder—a two floor penthouse on West 19th St. with hidden compartments and a rooftop terrace.
Interior designer Colin Cowie, a South African lifestyle guru and party planner to the stars, television personality and writer at his West 19th St. penthouse which is on the market for $6.5 million.
Colin Cowie’s Flatiron penthouse, filled with eclectic glassware and outfitted with hidden storage compartments, is an architectural rarity.
At nearly 3,000 square feet and occupying two floors, it’s currently configured for only one bedroom, which makes sense if you’re in Cowie’s line of work: throwing fabulous parties.
Cowie is a designer and party and wedding planner to the stars, having thrown bashes for celebs including Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfrey. He’s decided to list his apartment at 27 W. 19th St., which he custom-built from a blank space in 2009 for $6.5 million.
“I was privileged to be able to build this from the ground up in New York City,” Cowie said. “I built it like a boat. Every square inch is custom-made.”
Architectural details incorporate what Cowie has learned over the years as a designer. In the living room, the mantel has a hydraulic lift in it to reveal a storage area, filled with glassware and vases.
In the hallway between the living room and the kitchen, a bathroom and closet are behind hidden doors that blend into the wall when closed. The stairway looks like a simple wood finish, but closer inspection shows that each wood panel has a closet behind it – and more storage space.
Sliding doors provide more flexibility. When Cowie wants a formal dining space, he can seal off the area with mirrored doors that hide a kitchen island and bar area. He then can open them for a more casual, airy feel. The kitchen island, which normally serves as a casual dining space, can be extended to create a double-length workspace, providing plenty of room to work on plating food for a big party.
The dressing room highlights Cowie’s focus on organization — there’s a nook for everything, from sunglasses to cuff links. All the apartment’s storage allows for items to be tucked away.
“I’m a minimalist by nature, but I have a lot,” Cowie said, laughing.
Cowie combined the 14th and 15th floors of the boutique building. He bought the apartment in 2009 for $4.852 million, puttin gover $2 million into the space. He has a 900 square-foot roofdeck with unobstructed views of the city. Like the rest of the space, it’s ready for a fiesta. A dumbwaiter in the kitchen allows for easy transport of food and drinks up to the outdoor space.
Core broker Emily Beare, who helped Cowie buy the space, is now the listing agent on the property. She said Cowie is selling because he likes to move every few years and design a new home. He’s now seeking a live-work space. For those interested in buying the total package, Beare said Cowie would consider also selling the apartment furnished. For more information, call 212-726-0786.
CurbedDecember 19, 2012
The thing about 323 West 19th Street, a four-story single-family Chelsea townhouse recently listed for $7,250,000, is that it never got carried away with itself. Getting carried away with oneself is something that can often happen in townhouse renovations, and sometimes it turns out well. (Sometimes it doesn't.) But 323 West 19th Street seems content as a fairly standard—albeit very, very nice—5BR, 3.5BA, 3,680-square-foot house, and that's okay with us. The rear garden is something else, though.
With ceilings of nearly 11-feet in height, the grand parlor floor encompasses a large and airy living room with a wet-bar and one of five wood-burning fireplaces. The living room is flanked by a handsome wood-paneled library with fireplace and a cozy sunroom that leads to a large terrace. On the third floor is the master bedroom with stunning en suite bathroom, fireplace, walk-in closet, private terrace as well as an additional bedroom or den. The fourth floor is flooded with natural light from a skylight and features three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Real Estate WeeklyDecember 19, 2012
At 23 years old, Reba Miller walked into the luxury boutique real estate firm Whitbread-Nolan for her first day.
She was promptly given a seat and told: “you’re on your own.”
Today, over $1 billion worth of sales and almost 30 years later, Ms.Miller, who made her name by almost dominating the market on Madison Avenue, continues to be a go-to name in New York City real estate across continents.
“I recently received a call 20 years after I sold several apartments to and for an international buyer,” said Miller.“[They] asked for my help and I negotiated a park view two bedroom unit with all rooms facing the Park. They wrote to me today that it was the best apartment they have ever owned.”
Miller’s name should ring international bells.
She has sold apartments at The Plaza for $5,000 a square foot; at 15 Central Park West for $4000 per foot.
She has sold apartments in Trump Tower, Olympic Tower, The Empire and Morgan Court. She once received six commissions at closing in a property on East 78th Street.
After graduating from SUNY Albany, Miller started her career at the same company that gave legendary brokers such as Elizabeth Stribling and Barbara Fox their beginnings. Later on, she found a willing mentor in David Burley, the owner of Walter & Samuels, Inc.
There, Miller was put in charge of sales and was allowed to shape the department as she saw fit. The experience, she says, taught her “anything was possible.”
“He gave me the freedom to run the department the way I believed could bring the most success,” she said. “He valued my opinion. He was a pioneer of much and it resonated with me.”
After years in the business, Miller started her own firm, RP Miller and Associates in 1998, bringing in some $400 million in sales in 13 years.
Now senior managing director of sales for CORE, the boutique firm founded six years ago, Miller says that her contacts on the Upper East Side have made combining with CORE a win-win situation as the brokerage expands its presence uptown with an office on E. 61st Street and Madison Avenue.
“One appeal of my working as the manager of CORE was the exciting opportunity to open up their office in an area I know best,” she said.
“I still have maintained much of the business contacts along Madison Avenue. My relationships in the brokerage community and knowledge of the buildings uptown will help expand the CORE brand.”
Outside of the brokerage world, Miller has won two bronze metals for tennis in the Pan American Maccabiah Games in Mexico City. She has served for the past three years as the co-chairman of REBNY’s board of directors.
Despite slower than desired recovering sales on a national scale, Miller remains bullish on the strength of the New York apartment market, even after the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.
“We have just been through a major, catastrophic hurricane and people are lining up to buy real estate,” she said. “If that doesn’t reflect Manhattan’s market then I am unsure of what measure to consider.”
Brokers WeeklyDecember 19, 2012
Brick UndergroundDecember 17, 2012
Dragging your spawn up a few flights of stairs might be worth it to snag this $1.095m two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath duplex co-op in Chelsea. And at least you won't have to haul your laundry to the basement.
Family-sized NYC apartments are becoming harder and harder to find, says this weekend's NY Times, so perhaps the dominance of two- and three-bedroom apartments on today's Open House Scorecard--the 10 open house listings StreetEasy users saved to their open-house planners more often than any others this weekend--more aptly reflects the number of buyers in hot pursuit versus a sudden influx of brood-sized abodes.
You can see the river and downtown Manhattan from a $1.395m two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo on West 95th Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side. The corner unit features floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room facing south and west. Plus, the kitchen has an oversized window that faces the river, and there’s a through-wall surround sound system. The building, the Princeton House, offers a concierge service, fulltime doorman, a gym, laundry facilities, storage and bike rooms, a roof deck and parking.
Over in Brooklyn, open views from a balcony--and of your clothes cleaning themselves in your in-unit washer/dryer--are part of the draw of a $769k two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo available for immediate occupancy in Park Slope. Located on Fourth Avenue
between Fourth and Fifth Streets, the doorman and elevator building has a 24-hour concierge service, a gym, a party lounge, a kids playroom, an underground parking garage for a monthly fee and a 421A tax abatement for the next 21 years.
Though there’s nothing too special about the building, a $1.095m two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath duplex co-op in Chelsea offers garden and skyline views from West 29th Street and Eighth Avenue. The apartment has a wood-burning fireplace and a renovated kitchen with stainless steel countertops, Electrolux gas range and a new dishwasher. There’s also a stacked Bosch W/D and three through-wall air conditioners. However, the duplex is located on the fourth and fifth floors of a self-managed walk-up.
For more family-size apartments with nice views and building amenities, browse the rest of the Scorecard below.
1. 221 West 82nd Street—3-bed co-op, $1.695m
2. 49 West 72nd Street—2-bed co-op, $1.1m
3. 33 West 56th Street—3-bed condo, $6.5m
4. 215 West 95th Street—2-bed condo, $1.395m
5. 353 4th Avenue—2-bed condo, $769k
6. 20 West 84th Street—2-bed condo, $1.975m
7. 145 Lafayette—2-bed co-op, $599k
8. 415 Greenwich Street—3-bed condo, $3.995m
9. 303 West 29th Street—2-bed co-op, $1.095m
10. 221 Jefferson Avenue—6-bed multi-family, $1.089m
New York PostDecember 16, 2012
As famed Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency winds down for the hotel’s planned renovation, real estate brokers and “Selling New York” stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon hosted a bash for VIP clients. Michael Feinstein performed a private show of Gershwin tunes for guests including Tyne Daly and “Law & Order: SVU” star Tamara Tunie. The room buzzed when Joan Collins — who performed her own one-woman show at Feinstein’s in 2010 and whose Midtown apartment was just featured on the HGTV series — arrived. Feinstein’s recently told us they were weighing options to continue at a new location, but nothing has yet been announced.
A ‘Witch’ and a Builder
The New York TimesDecember 16, 2012
CurbedDecember 14, 2012
HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Kleier Residential, and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 12/13/2012.
In this week's episode, Michele Kleier is feeling the pressure from the property developers over at Greystone to sell their $4.75M, 4BR, 4.5BA Upper East Side penthouse before the summer rolls around. But this isn't Michele's first rodeo, and she's ready to bust out the big guns and git 'er done. Also featured this week is the fresh-faced Adrian Noriega, who's trying to move a Flatiron property for the highest dollar-per-square-foot possible. But with his client's disdain for dirty carpets, she's hesitant to allow an open house in the apartment. Will Adrian be able to create enough buzz around the apartment without an open house? Will Michele be able to turn over the UES penthouse before the end of spring? Read on, friends. Read on.
We first catch up with Mama Kleier at 180 East 93 Street, where she's hanging with Doug Benach, president of Greystone Property Development, and Jeffrey Simpson, the director of development at Greystone. They've given Michele (and co-broker Lauren Muss) the exclusive on two penthouses in the Upper East Side building. Penthouse two has been sold, but that pesky penthouse one has yet to move. The trio discuss marketing strategies and decide that the apartment needs to be staged and shown in an open house.
Michele brings in one of her designer friends, Rod Pleasants from McIver Morgan, to size up the crib and figure out the best way to stage it. Of course a huge penthouse on the Upper East Side is going to be nice, but it lacks a bit of character (kind of like the neighborhood). He wants to dress up the apartment with clean lines and simple furniture that showcases the natural light and understated elegance of the place. I know what you're thinking—you never knew Chevy Chase led a double life as a interior decorator.
Ian Kleier, Michele's hubby and the co-president of the family firm, meet for lunch at Chin Chin in midtown. Michele is confused by the fact that her husband is taking her on a date when it's not her birthday or an anniversary. Can't a guy just do something nice for a change? Eh, apparently not: Ian wants to discuss his stroke-of-genius marketing strategy for penthouse one. Two words: Dump Lings. OK, I guess that's one word.
In keeping up with the recent popularity of 60s-themed television shows and fashion (news flash Ian: Mad Men came out, like, five years ago, and PanAm was already cancelled), he thinks the theme of the open house should be Martini Madness. So, gin martinis and pu-pu platters, because what's better than filling your belly with booze that tastes like pine needles and then overdosing on MSG?
Through the handy work of Rob, aka Chevy, the apartment is looking fab. Just in time for Martini Madness! Or, a blatant excuse for Michele and Ian to bust out their old wardrobe and drink a ton of gin, just like the good ol' days. No-fuss-Lauren-Muss loves the martini idea because as she says, "Brokers love a cocktail and love food." Yes, brokers... and every other human being on the planet.
The folks over at Greystone are pleased with the open house turnout, but Doug reminds Michele that she's only as good as her last deal (aka get selling!) But if her last deal was the penthouse upstairs, then wouldn't she be as good as somebody who sells penthouses?
Regardless of misused cliches, Michele's open house was a smash success and she and Lauren are currently negotiating two strong offers on the property.
Next up in the real estate rigamarole is Adrian Noriega—a feisty young buck from Core—who's eager to prove himself as top NYC broker. He wants to sell the $3.296M, 3BR, 2BA at 15 West 20th Street for the highest dollar-per-square-footage possible. The apartment is something of a paradox: it's super sleek and modern, but also decked out with yoga themes and Indian decor, Phoebe's fave. The apartment is filled with windows, and while the view isn't anything to write home about, overall the space pops with bold colors and natural light.
The only problem? Phoebe is dead set against an open house. "I don't like the idea of people coming in and traipsing in with their dirty shoes," she says. Isn't she selling this place anyway? Who cares if the floors get a little dirty.
Did she just tell him not to forget his shoes? Yeah, like he is going to get all the way to Union Square before realizing that he was just wearing dirt-laden socks throughout the city.
Soon after their meeting, Adrian spends the day showing the apartment, and has to awkwardly tell every person that comes in to please take off their shoes. Secret foot fetish or diligent broker? You decide.
After showing the space, Adrian receives a $3.14M offer on the apartment and heads to Phoebe's absolutely ridonk estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, (I know, I know) to share the news.
While it's still the highest price that an apartment in the same building has ever sold for, Ambitious Adrian thinks they can do better. The apartment was just featured in the Wall Street Journal and he wants to take advantage of the buzz surrounding it. It's time for an open house.
Say whaaaaaat?! After boring holes into Adrian's skull with her eyes, she agrees.
Adrian is gearing up for the open house, and even found medical booties for guests to wear over their shoes (that's what she said! Wait...what?)
Just take a moment to let this picture sink in.
The open house was a success, and Ambitious Adrian not only gets a higher bid, but it's an ALL CASH offer, which literally makes me want to throw up. Or maybe that's all the gin. With furniture and lighting thrown in, the deal actually ends up closing at $3.375M. The lesson Adrian takes away from this? "You have to really push your clients to sometimes do something that they're completely against." Ah, good lessons in real estate, and in life.
While there's nothing like a good apartment staging, and Adrian's hospital booties were uber stylish, we like watching brokers work a little harder for the money. For that reason, this episode gets 2 out of 5 cackling Kleiers.
CurbedDecember 14, 2012
Here's a theory about the new trend in downtown condo sales: everyone wants apartments that look like prewar Upper East Side pads, minus the Upper East Side. That's the Journal's argument for why buildings like 18 Gramercy Park—where Leslie Alexander paid $42 million for a duplex penthouse this year—are selling so well, while buyers have lost some affection for the downtown standard, the glassy tower.
The Journal turns its attention to, yep, Walker Tower as an example of a downtown building with that uptown feel, and there are some stats to bear that out. An unidentified buyer has signed a contract to combine two Walker Tower penthouses for $34 million. The priciest penthouse in the building is now asking $55 million, up from its original $50 million, though $5M extra probably won't make much of a difference to a buyer at that level.
West Village condo conversion The Abingdon serves as another downtown success story, and there, just two condos remain for sale. One is the model unit, taxidermic fox and all, and the other is the "mansion" with separate entrance, which clocks in at 9,615 square feet and hasn't even officially hit the market. The price listed in building offering documents is $25 million.
The Wall Street JournalDecember 13, 2012
A new crop of luxury buildings takes inspiration from the Upper East Side; going beyond the glass box
In the rebirth of downtown living in New York, first there was the converted gritty industrial loft, then the minimalist "glass box" condo tower. Now the glass box has given way to a new demand—for elaborately finished condominiums that echo the gracious prewar apartments of the Upper East Side.
Until this fall, the record deal for a downtown condominium was the $31.5 million sale in 2010 of a raw, do-it-yourself-style penthouse: a vast unfinished concrete space at the top of Superior Ink, a condominium on the Hudson River in the West Village that was badly flooded during superstorm Sandy.
Tastes are changing. The biggest recent deals downtown have been in condominium conversions that take their inspiration from Fifth and Park Avenues. In September, a $42 million penthouse went into contract at 18 Gramercy Park, a former Salvation Army women's hotel that was redesigned by Robert A.M. Stern, the architect behind luxury developments uptown like 15 Central Park West.
A few weeks ago, a buyer signed a contract to combine two penthouses together for $34 million at Walker Tower, an Art Deco skyscraper located in a former telephone company switching station in Chelsea. With half of the 50 condos in contract at Walker Tower, the asking price of the most expensive penthouse in the building was recently raised to $55 million from $50 million, according to Shaun Osher, the founder of CORE, the brokerage company that is handling sales in the building.
Walker Tower, completed in 1929, has a decidedly traditional aesthetic. Apartments at Walker Tower come with a formal entrance gallery, coffered ceilings, 10-foot-high paneled windows and large terraces. There are white marble bathrooms streaked with gray veins, herringbone oak floors, big kitchens with marble and limestone countertops, cabinetry designed by the fashionable U.K. company Smallbone of Devizes and hidden high-tech features.
Converted buildings like Walker Tower are a far cry from the glass-walled condominiums that sprung up all over downtown beginning in 2002 with a series of three modernist buildings in the West Village designed by Richard Meier. Many more glass towers followed, often with designs commonly seen in office buildings, with lightweight glass and aluminum skins for the facade. Inside the spaces were often dominated by a "great room"—a combination open kitchen, dining and living room.
Brokers say that high-rise glass towers still have their fans: Buildings like One57 and 432 Park Ave., now under construction in midtown, are two examples. But some say that the excitement surrounding glass-walled condos has cooled as the buildings have proliferated. For the same square footage, they say, many buyers, especially New Yorkers, now prefer the romance of the older buildings and neighborhoods.
"If you think of Singapore or Dubai, you think of modern glass towers, which have their own elegance," Mr. Osher said. "But New York is an old city in a modern world, like London or Paris. A lot of the richness and heritage of the city is in its prewar aesthetic."
That aesthetic guided the conversion of the Abingdon, a former hotel and nursing home completed in 1906 in the West Village that has been remade as a condo building. The apartments at the Abingdon have a formal layout, with separate public and private spaces, divided by a traditional entrance gallery. Tim Crowley, a managing director at Flank, the architecture and development firm that handled the conversion, says the architects studied prewar interior layouts by Rosario Candela and Emery Roth, who designed many of the grand apartment buildings along Central Park.
Only two condos are unsold at the Abingdon: the model apartment, and the largest condo, a 9,615 square foot, three-story "mansion" with its own separate entrance, which is about to come on the market. The price has not been set, but offering documents list it at $25 million
The 22-story Walker Tower also draws heavily on the past. It was built by New York Telephone in the 1920s, at a time when telephone companies, like banks, created large imposing buildings to impress the public. The architect was Ralph Walker, a once prominent figure in Art Deco skyscraper design, who had been largely forgotten.
Verizon still owns the building below the eighth floor, but sold the top for $25.5 million in 2009 in the midst of the real-estate slump. The buyers, JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group, set about celebrating Mr. Walker and turning the building into an upscale showpiece.
They commissioned a book about Mr. Walker from an architectural historian, Kathryn E. Holliday, that was published in September by Rizzoli New York. They sponsored an exhibition with scale models of his best-known buildings in the lobby.
The developers brought in CettraRuddy, an architectural firm, to restore the building, enlarge the windows and design the interiors. The architects are creating a new crown for the top of the building, a feature that the phone company had trimmed back from Mr. Walker's original design because of the cost.
Inside, the units have oak doors, hand cut mosaic tiles in the bathrooms, ebonized mahogany trim in a marble powder room and custom-made door knobs and fixtures to echo the building's Art Deco design. Hidden automated shades can be lowered on the tall windows, and air conditioning is provided through narrow slits in the ceiling rather than ducts. Radiant heating comes through pipes encased in the floors, a feature rarely seen in Manhattan buildings. Electronic controls in the wall, as well as an iPad provided with each unit, control the music, security system, lighting, shades, heating and cooling in each room in the apartment.
Elliott Joseph, a principal in Property Markets Group along with Kevin Maloney, said that at one meeting about the design, the developers asked whether they had omitted any features that a wealthy private owner might add in an individual Manhattan apartment renovation. The engineers had one suggestion: a system to control humidity to protect art work. A multiple-zone humidification system was added soon after.
“Stale” New York Homes are Back in Play, Amid Inventory Shortage
The Real DealDecember 12, 2012
A slew of luxury listings that have languished on the market for several years have been scooped up in recent months, as a shortage of high-end residential inventory has brought so-called “stale” listings back into play. In the last several months, brokers said they’ve seen the pieces finally fall into place for a range of transactions – starting at around $3 million all the way up to $25 million — that have been absorbed long after they were first listed.
Supply has been outpacing demand for some time. Chronic inventory shortages have put Manhattan sellers in control of the market, they said. Condo inventory in Manhattan is down 24.3 percent year-over-year — its lowest level since 2005 – according to third quarter market figures from Douglas Elliman.
After sitting on the market for nearly seven years and going through a litany of prices changes, the Upper East Side’s Rothschild Mansion finally traded to Leroy Schechter for $25 million in October for instance. And last month, Elliman agent Xiaolan Shang, known as Sherri, finally sold a $9 million apartment at Trump International that had been on the market on and off for a decade.
Shang, who hails from China, picked up an exclusive on the listing just three months prior to the sale; it had previously been listed by a spate of other brokers, including Elliman’s Ariel Cohen, Sotheby’s Roger Erickson and Trump’s Susan James. James eventually brought the buyer, Barbara Ullman, in the final deal. The buyer paid all cash, Shang said.
The price of that apartment had fluctuated since 2008, when Streeteasy.com first shows the apartment being put on the market. It was listed for $8.2 million in 2008 and then for $8.75 million in 2011 before being de-listed. Shang picked the listing up in April, putting it online for $8.9 million, but later raised the price according per the seller’s wishes to $9.5 million. The seller was French businessman Guy Benhamou, according to public records. Erickson apparently suggested placing the unit on the market for around $7 million a few years ago, according to an email sent by the seller to Erickson December 5.
“I still can’t believe it,” Shang said of the deal, which hit records on Monday. “People were coming up to me asking what was going on with the property and why it wouldn’t sell.”
CORE broker Michael Graves faced the same challenge when he took on two penthouse listings at adjoining buildings at 10 East 18th Street and 7 East 17th Street, owned by Elliot Joseph’s Property Markets Group. Both penthouses had been on and off the market since 2008, when the buildings were initially brought to market. The properties, both asking $3.595 million, had bounced from broker to broker before Graves secured the exclusive this summer.
“In early discussions [with the sponsor] after I received the exclusive, I was asked by the sponsor’s partners ‘Michael, how much price reduction do you need? We know these listings aren’t stale, they’re dead.’”
But Graves was confident he didn’t need a price reduction. He had recently completed deals above $2,500 per square foot nearby at 240 Park Avenue South and thought it was a change in marketing, not price, that was needed to sell the apartment. “When something has been on and off the market for three years, a change is definitely needed. But you cannot just blame the broker — market conditions and many other variables are always in play,” he said.
In addition to brightening up the photography on the marketing materials, Graves identified a unit at 7 East 17th Street on a lower floor that had similar proportions and which was already renovated to a high standard. “I convinced that owner to allow me to show his unit in tandem with the penthouses in order to illustrate what could be done,” he said. “We effectively took the imagination out of it and gave buyers something real.”
The tactic paid off; the first unit went into contract for the full asking price just a week after Graves took over, while the second found a buyer six weeks later for some $115,000 over the asking price. The deals for both units closed in September.
“This is a very small building in our portfolio,” Jospeh said. “The partners wanted to be finished with the asset. I was so beat up from having it on and off the market for years. I just wanted to sell it already. To get over ask, that’s amazing.”
Meanwhile, the Rothschild Mansion was originally listed in November 2005 for $25 million, where it sat on the market for almost two years. It was briefly taken off the market and relisted with a $35 million asking price in July 2007. The deal closed in October.
Brokers WeeklyDecember 12, 2012
New York PostDecember 12, 2012
UPPER EAST SIDE $2,200,000
400 E. 67th St.
Two-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath condo, 1,417 square feet, with Sub-Zero and Gaggenau kitchen appliances and Zuma soaking tub; building features doorman, parking and 12,000-square-foot amenity space with two pools and screening room. Common charges $1,315, taxes $145. Asking price $2,250,000, on market 13 weeks. Brokers: Alison Abovsky, Core and Therese Bateman, Town Residential
CurbedDecember 07, 2012
HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 12/6/2012.
The sixth season of Selling New York returns with a new broker and a rare quest: a search for commercial space. Warburg's Linette Semino has to find enough closet space for a recording artist with a bit of a sneaker fetish. Meanwhile, Core's Maggie Kent must help a client whose closet is probably filled with ballet shoes, and who wants light and space for her ballet studio in Soho...for no more than $15,000/month. Will these two folks' near-impossible needs be met?
The fun begins when Warburg Associate Broker Linette Semino meets with recording artist O'Neal McKnight in the studio, where he's recording what's sure to be another smash single. Wait a second—you've never heard of this guy, either? Perhaps that's why his budget is only $2M max (mere pocket change for most of the people featured on this show). What is O'Neal looking for in an apartment? Well, after living on the UES for years, he's ready to take it downtown to Chinatown. JK! He wants to go to Soho or Chelsea, and says he's looking for a place where he can settle down and start a life with his fiancee...and his sneakers.
The first property Linette shows O'Neal is a 1BR, 2BA on 305 Second Avenue, listed at $1.475M. Maybe a little too contemporary for the rapper, who puzzles over the lack of cabinet handles in the kitchen. Is it an Italian thing? No. It's a modern thing. While the apartment is big enough for McNeal to get "his risky business on" (his words, not mine), unfortunately, despite the 17-foot-tall ceilings, this lofty pad's master bedroom is a bit too small for the rapper (despite his petite stature), and there's simply not enough closet space for his shoes.
The second property is a 2BR, 2BA listed at $1.795M. Things get off to a rocky start when O'Neal is 45 minutes late for his appointment with Linette. Doesn't this rapper know the meaning of "time is money?" The apartment has a large closet, so Mr. Bradshaw can rest easy knowing his sneakers are well taken care of. Naturally, he's interested in the apartment, but still wants to see more. Ya know, because he has so much free time.
The third property is a 2BR on Prince and Mott. Linette waits. And waits. And waits. And O'Neal is a no-show. A disgruntled Linette spouts off to the camera that she's angry to be stood up, and that she herself is never late. In fact, she's always 15 to 20 minutes early (in all fairness, 20 minutes is a bit too early, dontcha think?). O'Neal calls and says he's going to meet with Russell Simmons at Global Grind, and will have no time to visit the apartment. Oh, I see how it is: You can be Mr. Busypants and have no time for me, yet you don't respect MY time or MY money? This can't be a one-sided relationship, dammit! Uhhh, sorry. Lost myself a little bit back there. Despite the six-inch advantage Linette has on O'Neal, she fights back the urge to step on him.
When Linette meets up with O'Neal to show in the fourth property, a $1.55M 1BR, 2BA at 49 East 21st Street, she doesn't mince words with him regarding his easy-come-easy-go attitude. "Remember that time you stood me up?" Yeesh. Upon hearing the news that all of the previous properties he'd been interested in are now off the market, he nonchalantly replies, "well, it wasn't meant for me." Hey, you know what they say: If you love something, let it go, and if it comes back it's yours. Unfortunately, in NYC real estate, that type of thinking might end up with you living amongst The Mole People. Fortunately for O'Neal, this place does seem like a perfect fit. Pre-war, soundproof walls for the rapper, a separate storage unit for his kicks, and a traditional kitchen (the cabinets have handles). O'Neal says he can totally see himself living there. So is he ready to place an offer? Mmm, nope! He's actually heading to L.A. for a week and doesn't want to make a big commitment. Another property bites the dust.
In the end, Linette meets up with O'Neal and his fiancé, Miriam, who clearly wears the pants in the relationship (while O'Neal wears the sneakers). The decision is made for them to apartment-hunt as a threeway. Hot! I smell a rap song coming on...
Also featured on the season premiere is Maggie Kent, the core of Core (see what I did there?), who is meeting Rosie Lanziero, a soft-spoken dance instructor from the Soul Arts Academy. After maxing out her current space in the East Village, she's looking for a commercial space downtown and wants to make new roots in Soho (I mean, who doesn't?) Mutual friend Alyson Palmer is so excited about the Soho move, her eyes might just pop out of her head:
Rosie thinks everything is "marvelous" and "amazing," and the woman rocks a pashmina like it's going out of style, which is silly because pashminas will obvi never go out of style. Maggie heads to the Core office to recruit the expertise of David Beare (how youuu doin'), the go-to guy for commercial spaces in the city.
Before checking out potential rentals, Maggie takes Rosie to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater & School to give her some inspiration and help her figure out what her needs are. Rosie loves the light and airiness of the place, and the feeling of open energy that it exudes. So, all completely intangible concepts. She can "see the energy" and "feel the energy," yet I don't think I've ever seen those types of qualities mentioned in a real estate listing.
David, Maggie and Rosie make their way to 552 Broadway in Soho to check out a potential dance studio space. With its exposed brick and natural light, and 5,500 square-feet of space, Rosie is feeling the vibe and says she wants her dance studio to have the same soul and spirit. Hmm, soul, spirit AND natural light in an NYC rental space? Now you're just talking crazy talk. All this woman wants is space, light and energy. And to continue to wear her silver leggings without judgement.
Unfortunately, the space is listed as $18k a month and she has a budget of $15k. But in true Maggie Kent fashion, she says she'll go to bat for her client. Anything for that commission—mama needs a new pair of shoes! Oh wait, that's O'Neal.
Great news! The spirit guides were shining down on Rosie that day, and Maggie is able to get the price down to $15K. The catch? She only has six weeks of free rent which would serve as renovation time. Despite Rosie's free spirit and oozing aura, she knows how to play hardball, and asks for three months instead. Luckily, Maggie steps up to the plate (how many baseball references can we make in the span of one paragraph?) and is able to get her the extra renovation time needed. Cheers to that!
Maggie pays Rosie a visit in her new palatial palace of light, energy and spirituality, AKA her dance studio. In all fairness, it does look pretty great. With sandblasted brick walls, an open floor plan, and tons of natural light, the space is a perfect fit for Rosie and her young dancers. Maggie feels all warm and fuzzy inside knowing she was able to help Rosie's business expand, and ya know what? I feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside, too.
Episode Review: The fact that SNY is finally back has us feeling happy, which is an automatic extra cackling Kleier. So the season premiere gets 4 out of 5 cackling Kleiers.
CurbedDecember 07, 2012
FLATIRON—Yesterday, 241 Fifth Avenue received some signage, and we hoped the teaser website would be next. And it was! The minimalist website is live, and it provides a sliver of new information: the building will have one- to four-bedroom units, and pricing falls somewhere in the range of less than $1 million to more than $2 million. Interested parties can submit an information form on the website.
MEATPACKING DISTRICT—Due to Hurricane Sandy, the groundbreaking for 837 Washington, the twisty office and retail building by Morris Adjmi, was rescheduled for next Tuesday, December 11. The 55,000-square-foot building will rise beside the High Line across from the Standard Hotel, and it will be ready for occupancy by fall 2013. The Landmarks Preservation Commission, as you may recall, loved the design once Adjmi chopped it down to an acceptable height.
The Wall Street JournalDecember 07, 2012
What do Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, actor Denzel Washington and Nascar driver Jeff Gordon have in common? An address.
Manhattan's 15 Central Park West, just north of Columbus Circle, is one of the most exclusive—and expensive—addresses in a city full of exclusive, expensive residential buildings. The first of its 202 units hit the market in 2005 and sold out by the time construction was completed in 2007, raking in about $2 billion for the developers.
Today, the building continues to break price records as apartments hit the resale market. Many units have been elaborately upgraded and priced at more than double what owners paid for them a few years ago. In January, former Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill sold his penthouse there for $88 million, making it the most expensive apartment ever sold in New York City, at more than $13,000 per square foot. (The average Manhattan condo sells for about $1,300 per square foot, according to Prudential Douglas Elliman's most recent Manhattan market report.)
Some real-estate observers say that despite a record of stratospheric sales, asking prices today in the building have gotten overeager. While the average price per square foot in the building continues to rise, sales volume has slowed in the past few months, says appraiser Jonathan Miller. So far this year, five apartments have sold, compared with 17 last year and 15 in 2010, according to data from Brown Harris Stevens.
Rick Kelly, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman, says some of the pricing there today is tied to an "irrational exuberance" over the past few months about the building and the high-end market in general, with roughly $4,500 to $7,000 per square foot a more realistic price for units on lower floors without park views and no outdoor space, and $8,000 to $10,000 per square foot for apartments on higher floors with park views. With seven units currently for sale in the building, "there's room for negotiating," he says.
That hasn't deterred some residents from setting ever-higher prices in the wake of Mr. Weill's record-setting $88 million sale. Steel magnate Leroy Schechter has priced two combined units on the 35th floor—the units are still under construction—at $95 million, or $15,835 per square foot. He still hasn't gotten any takers. (Emily Beare, Mr. Schecter's listing broker, says she plans to begin fully marketing the apartment in January, once it is complete.)
Ms. Beare acknowledges pricing the work-in-progress apartment "was tricky." The unit is 700 square feet smaller than Mr. Weill's and does not include outdoor space. But unlike Mr. Weill's penthouse, it includes panoramic views of Central Park and the Hudson River, compared with park and interior-courtyard views. Slated for completion in January, it has its own elevator landing and includes an apartment that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez rented for a time. Mr. Schecter says the price is justified because there isn't anything similar currently on the market and "it's the only building of its kind." The nearly 6,000-square-foot apartment will have five bedrooms, including a master suite with a sitting room and dressing area, seven bathrooms and two separate laundry rooms.
One high-price listing was just taken off the market. In September, two adjacent units on the 24th floor with a total of roughly 4,000 square feet were listed for $44 million. Last week, the seller decided to delist them, and one is now available for rent at $38,000 a month. According to public records, the apartment is owned Neil Witriol, the retired president of a company that makes steam baths and showers. He paid $7.8 million for the first unit in 2008. Listing broker Roberta Golubock, of Sotheby's International Realty, says that unit has been gut renovated and includes a bathroom with chromotherapy showers (so the owner gets bathed in light as well as water). He paid $8.9 million for the second unit in 2010, which he is currently leasing.
The least expensive apartment available in the building: a 1,900-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment on the 16th floor asking $8.5 million, according to StreetEasy.com.
Broker and luxury-market tracker Donna Olshan says many residents at 15 Central Park West have spent upwards of $1,500 per square foot on gut renovations and upgrades to the relatively basic fixtures that came in units purchased from the developer.
The building now faces some competition in the neighborhood. Under construction a few blocks away are two ultra-high-rise, ultra-high-priced buildings also attracting billionaire and multimillionaire buyers, including many from overseas. Developers of One57, a 90-story building across from Carnegie Hall with views of Central Park, say two buyers are in contract to pay more than $90 million for two apartments. The former site of the Drake Hotel on Park Avenue is slated to become a nearly 1,400-foot-tall ultra-luxury condominium. It includes a penthouse marketed for $85 million.
William Lie Zeckendorf, who developed 15 Central Park West with his brother, Arthur, says in general, he thinks units in the building on the market today may actually be underpriced. Unlike the coming high-rises, his building is directly on Central Park and already built. "I think the building is frankly so much better than what's out there," he says. "I think the prices should be higher."
The Zeckendorfs were met with widespread skepticism when they began developing the building nearly a decade ago. In 2003, they paid $401 million for the Mayflower Hotel and a surrounding lot—a record price for a development site at the time. William Zeckendorf says they modeled the project somewhat after another building they did at 515 Park Ave., known for its old-world look, modern amenities and generous floor plans. With 15 Central Park West, he says, they decided to make the apartments even larger and the building's amenities even grander. "We were trying to fill a segment of the market we felt had been under-built for 30 to 40 years in Manhattan," he says.
They hired architect Robert A.M. Stern to create the design, which Mr. Zeckendorf says they closely oversaw themselves, meeting with Mr. Stern or his office five to six times a week for a year to discuss layouts, amenities and finishes. The result is a towering building clad in limestone with a formal oak-paneled lobby and grand columns; the building is meant to evoke the city's classically grand prewar buildings.
The complex is actually made up of two connected buildings, or wings, because of zoning restrictions. The front building, known as "the House," has 20 stories overlooking Central Park and includes Mr. Weill's former apartment, which was purchased by a trust linked to Ekaterina Rybolovlev, the 23-year-old daughter of Russian fertilizer billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. In the back is "the Tower," a 43-story building that, on its upper floors, includes both park views to the east and Hudson River views to the west, and is home to celebrities like rocker Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. Average apartment size in the complex: roughly 5,500 square feet.
Owners also have access to a private 14,000-square-foot fitness center, an indoor swimming pool and a screening room. With a full-time staff of more than 50, the building also has two separate entrances, including an old-world-style gated motor court. The building also includes 29 smaller "suites" designed as separate quarters for staff, guests or home offices, available for purchase only to residents. Some have sold for upward of $2 million. Also available for residents to purchase are roughly 30 climate-controlled wine rooms with access to a central tasting area; none are currently available.
The building also has a private restaurant open only to residents and their guests—one of only three such establishments in the city, and the first built in more than 50 years, according to the developers. The menu ranges from burgers and fries to a more formal seasonally rotating menu, also available as room service.
The building's board of directors has set strict rental restrictions, allowing owners to rent their units for just one year at a time with no guarantee of a lease renewal without board approval; renters aren't allowed to have pets or smoke in the building, according to brokers familiar with the policies. They also, of course, face steep price tags. Mr. Kelly, of Prudential Douglas Elliman, says there are five apartments for rent in the building, including a 2,700-square-foot, three bedroom unit for $40,000 per month in a midlevel floor with park views. Additional fees include 5% of the monthly price for building wear-and-tear, plus a standard Manhattan broker's fee of 15% of one year's rent.
But for some, there's the hope that paying such a premium might pay off. "Business deals get done on cocktail napkins there," says Mr. Kelly. "I think a big draw on the rental side is that proximity."
CurbedDecember 06, 2012
Selling New York, the non-Vampire Diaries highlight of our Thursdays, returns to our TVs tonight. The first episode of season six begins at the new time of 6:30 p.m.. Which means we should all leave our desks right about...now to get home in time.
CurbedDecember 06, 2012
Finally! Office-to-condo conversion 93 Worth in Tribeca has stopped teasing us and officially launched sales. So how much do the condos cost? Forty listings are currently live on StreetEasy, with 475-square-foot studios starting at $600K and the most expensive unit, a three-bedroom duplex penthouse with a terrace, asking $4.5 million. One-bedrooms range from $950,000 to $1.4 million, and two-bedrooms are listed for $1.415 to $2.15 million. Fifty-two more apartments, including six more penthouses, will be released at a future date. The sales team at CORE sent along a few photos of the on-site sales office, which is designed to look like the 13-story building's lobby, with lit Corian panels, vaulted ceilings, and original chanedliers.
In the gallery above, there are a few images of a model apartment, along with a couple artist's renderings showing the interiors. Developed by IGI-US and designed by ODA-Architecture, the apartments feature custom seven-foot windows, high ceilings, solid oak floors, and a washer/dryer. The open kitchens have European cabinetry and appliances from Viking, Sub-zero, and Miele, while the master bath has an iron claw-foot tub inside a marble "wet room" with a "rainforest showerhead." Building amenities include a 24-hour concierge, a rooftop terrace with a pergola and kitchen, a fitness center, children's play room, bike storage, and a dog-washing station.
CurbedDecember 06, 2012
FLATIRON—Exciting news: under-construction condo 241 Fifth Avenue has signage! The building has been slow rising over the last year, and it topped out earlier this fall. CORE will be marketing the 42-48 condo development, which is being developed by Victor Homes. We hope a teaser website will be next.
Tribeca CitizenDecember 06, 2012
“A long-awaited new Tribeca condo conversion has hit the market today after hiking its prices 10 percent just a few weeks prior to the launch. Units at 93 Worth Street, between Broadway and Church Street, are set to come online today with prices ranging from $545,000 for a studio to $6.33 million for a four-bedroom spread [....] There are 92 units at the property in total, including seven penthouse additions. Apartments range in size from 475 square feet to 3,300 square feet.” —The Real Deal; photos and floor plans are at 93worth.com.
CurbedDecember 06, 2012
Imagine you have around $2,700,000 to spend on an apartment and you've narrowed it down to two condos in the same neighborhood. How do you make up your mind? The answer is simple: you shove them into a metaphorical cage and let them battle it out until one emerges victorious. It's time for Real Estate Deathmatch.
Address 21 East 22nd Street #10GH
14 East 17th Street #7
Price $2,400,000 $2,650,000
Maintenance $1,962 $1,720
Beds, Baths 2, 2 2, 2
14 East 17th Street is the more conventional of these two Flatiron co-ops, but retains its gritty loft-ness. 21 East 22nd Street, also a loft, has a more interesting layout, with a 126-square-foot home office/possible second bedroom jutting out into the expansive living room. It also has a smaller kitchen, however.
The Wall Street JournalDecember 06, 2012
Buyers don’t necessarily need to head out West to scout for mountaintop homes that offer privacy and wide-open vistas. New York’s Hudson Valley and parts of New Jersey may not abut ski lodges, but they offer some mountain touches, as detailed in three homes profiled recently as a House of the Day:
Lots that were once part of old, large estates can still be found in parts of New Jersey. This 30-room home atop Bernardsville Mountain once belonged to a 500-acre estate and the homeowners built their house on the stone foundation of the estate’s original mansion.
The views offered by a 12,450-square-feet home in Holland Township, N.J., were what won over Chester and Leslie Siuda when they scouted for land in the area. They built their home using over a dozen types of wood to give it the feeling of a rustic mountain home, and Ms. Siuda regularly goes horseriding in the area.
For those in the market for a mountain-style home, upstate New York broker David Knudsen has some suggestions. He guides prospective owners through house hunts in the Catskills region. Read more on the Developments blog.
Brokers WeeklyDecember 05, 2012
93 Worth Launches, with Revised Price-Tags
The Real DealDecember 05, 2012
A long-awaited new Tribeca condo conversion has hit the market today after hiking its prices 10 percent just a few weeks prior to the launch.
Units at 93 Worth Street, between Broadway and Church Street, are set to come online today with prices ranging from $545,000 for a studio to $6.33 million for a four-bedroom spread, said a spokesperson for CORE, the exclusive marketing agent for the development. There are 92 units at the property in total, including seven penthouse additions. Apartments range in size from 475 square feet to 3,300 square feet.
CORE is marketing the property on behalf of developer Izaki Group Investments, which purchased the building last October for $49.8 million. The 88-year-old building previously served as a garment loft and still features the property’s original exposed steel columns.
The development represents an influx of new housing stock into the Tribeca market, where inventory is chronically tight. CORE CEO Shaun Osher said the neighborhood was like an “abyss” for available units. He noted that more than 300 prospective buyers signed up to see the Worth Street project before the launch of a sales office, inspiring the developer to increase sales prices by around 10 percent, compared to what was listed in the offering plan.
Expansive industrial loft buildings such as these are difficult to come by, Osher said, but are ripe for conversion. The executive said he expects the building to sell out in time for closings commencing sometime in the middle or latter part of 2013. He said the current prices are very much in line with the market.
The property’s vaulted lobby features perforated Corian panels inspired by Tribeca’s historic textile industry, a spokesperson for CORE said. The building’s amenities include a common rooftop with city views, a 24-hour concierge, a fitness center, a children’s playroom and a dog washing station.
IGI is also behind a condo development at 15 Renwick Street, which CORE is also marketing.
The Wall Street JournalDecember 04, 2012
Superstorm Sandy wrecked the basement of a large warehouse with cast-iron-columns that was in the midst of a condo conversion in TriBeCa.
But soon after the water was pumped out—when the building had no heat and limited electricity powered by a generator—buyers started coming back in force: Since Sandy, two deals were struck for apartments worth a total of more than $7.5 million.
The deals and the steady stream of potential buyers—an average a four a day have come through the show room at the former warehouse at 250 West St.—show how a strong downtown condo market is overpowering some qualms about the impact of the recent flooding.
The market, especially in TriBeCa, is extremely tight, with the supply of new condominiums after an influx of new downtown buildings sold out. As a result, prices for the remaining available units have been rising, brokers say.
At 93 Worth St., a conversion of a 1924 former garment loft and office building into 92 apartments near Broadway, more than 300 potential buyers signed up to see the project before the launch of a sales office in the next few days. Because of the strong early demand, asking prices were raised nearly 10% in November.
"The market is crazy right now," said Shaun Osher, the founder of CORE, a brokerage company that is marketing the 93 Worth St. apartments. The building lost power in the poststorm blackout but wasn't flooded.
Thomas Elliott, executive vice president for sales and marketing at El Ad US Holding Inc., the developers of 250 West St., said that buyers wanted a look at the last condos in the building, despite Sandy. More than 80% of the apartments are now in contract.
"It is surprising that in the face of all this, there is still interest in TriBeCa in general and our building in particular," he said.
Asking prices for units at 93 Worth St., were raised nearly 10% in November.
At 250 West, one buyer signed a contract for a three-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor for $3.545 million. Another is considering a contract for a two-bedroom apartment at $3.97 million, with six windows looking out at the Hudson River. Both contracts are at the full list price.
To be sure, brokers say that some would-be buyers in lower-priced condos in the Financial District have pulled back since Sandy, or have been looking to renegotiate prices. In luxury riverfront buildings that remain closed, like Superior Ink on West 12th Street overlooking the river, brokers withdrew some listings after the building was shut down.
Brett Miles, a broker at Town Residential, said demand was still "astonishing" at Superior Ink. He pulled down a listing for one-bedroom condo priced at $3.2 million after the storm hit, only to have brokers continue to call asking to see it.
A buyer in contract to buy another two-bedroom apartment he listed in the building at nearly $4.4 million is going ahead with the deal, he said. Meanwhile, brokers representing other prospective buyers have been calling to check with him just in case the deal falls through, he said.
At the W Downtown Hotel and Residences, just across the street from the World Trade Center, buyers are back, too. During the storm, the lobby of the W Downtown was filled with two feet of water, and the building was closed for about 10 days, according to Richard Nassimi, a broker at Corcoran Group, who is overseeing sales there.
But once the building reopened and crews began rebuilding the lobby, buyers signed contracts for eight condominiums, he said. A string of closings are scheduled for December.
"People started to feel better because the building bounced back from an act of God," he said.
At 250 West St., 88 of 106 condominiums are in contract, and the building was due to start closing before the end of the year until Sandy hit. Though the basement flooded, the lobby located above street level was undamaged.
Mr. Elliott said that all the equipment in the basement—pumps, boilers and electrical panels—were being refurbished for temporary use. But they would then replace the basement mechanicals with new equipment, so that it would be covered by warranties from manufacturers.
He said closings will be delayed until the first quarter but he expected all deals in contract to close. El Ad is studying how to add a backup generator as well, he said.
At 93 Worth St., the developer, IGI USA, part of a global real-estate company based in Israel, is adding four stories of boxlike glass-walled penthouses with terraces on top of the 14-story brick-and-stone building.
The building includes a mix of studios beginning at under $600,000 to a penthouse with a 2,000-square-foot private terrace with Empire State Building views listed at $6.75 million.
The apartments have 7-foot-high picture windows, exposed steel columns to give them a loft-like feel, wide oak-plank floors, and brass and bronzed fixtures throughout.