Steel Magnate Leroy Schecter Out as Buyer of $25M UES Rothschild Mansion

The Real DealOctober 19, 2012
After trading hands in an anonymous $25 million deal early this month, the buyer of the Upper East Side’s Rothschild mansion has been revealed. According to the New York Post, steel magnate Leroy Schecter, 85, was the buyer and he is already planning a multimillion–dollar renovation of the building to convert it back into a single-family residence.

The property, which is located at 41 E 70th Street, between Park and Madison avenues, had sat on the market for seven years and changed its asking prices many times. Its most recent owner was the Century Foundation, a think tank that analyzes U.S. public policy.
Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio, represented the seller in the deal for the six-story, 11,300-square-foot townhouse. Emily Beare of Core represented Schecter.

Its price was then lowered for its former $35 million asking price three different times over the last two years, until it reached its $25.5 million. Finally the property closed for an even $25 million.

The home was orginally built for Walter and Carola Warburg-Rothschild in 1929, and boasts two 33 foot deep gardens facing one another, according to Brown Harris Stevens’ listing.

Schechter is also the man behind a $95 million listing at 15 CPW. Schechter is combining his two units on the 35th floor of the building, for which he paid a combined $18.9 million. If his units at 15 CPW sell at that ask, it would be a record for the building. That listing is with Emily Beare of Core. [NYP] – Christopher Cameron

One Museum Mile Hosts Harlem Blues & Jazz Band

Brokers WeeklyOctober 19, 2012
On Sept. 27, private equity real estate firm Brickman and real estate sales and marketing firm CORE hosted a special rooftop concert at One Museum Mile featuring the legendary Harlem Blues & Jazz Band.

The band’s members have a combined 500 years of performing experience, have toured all over the world and won renown for upholding classic and swing jazz and blues tradition.

Located at 1280 Fifth Avenue, the Robert A.M. Stern-designed One Museum Mile is a premier luxury residential development in the Upper Carnegie Hill neighborhood along Upper Fifth Avenue.

Guests included One Museum Mile residents, real estate brokers, real estate and music media, and executive members of the Duke Ellington Society and National Jazz Museum in Harlem—all of whom gathered 21 stories aloft to enjoy a evening immersed in music, and surrounded by panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline at sunset Central Park.

Jazz aficionado, band founder and curator Al Vollmer introduced the band, which was formed in 1973 and has included dozens of jazz musicians throughout its storied past, all of which played Classic Jazz and Blues alongside legends including Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton, Sammy Davis Jr., and Duke Ellington.

Current members and the night’s performers included Joey Morant (vocals and trumpet), Art Barron (trombone), Michael Max Fleming (bass), Fred Wurtzel (guitar), “Zeke” Mullins (keyboard), Jackie Williams (drums), and Fred Staton (tenor saxophone), who is the group’s reigning elder at ninety-seven years old. With One Museum Mile adjacent to Duke Ellington Circle and amphitheater, it was only fitting that Master of Ceremonies Morant led the group through Ellington classics including “Take the A Train” and “C Jam Blues”.

“We are a rapt audience today, and are thrilled to be hosting this esteemed group as we celebrate the fall season,” said Tom Postilio, founding member and managing director of CORE, the building’s exclusive sales and marketing team.
“The building, now at 40% sold and in contract, is feeling more and more like a community and we are glad to see so many of our happy residents here.”

Vollmer added, “It was such a special evening to get the whole band together, and the rooftop’s backdrop was incredible. We would definitely like to do another show at One Musem Mile in the future.”

One Museum Mile is located at 1280 Fifth Avenue and offers studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, some with outdoor terraces, as well as penthouses ranging up to 2,118-square feet, which are available for immediate occupancy. The property offers a full range of amenities including fitness center, dining room and catering kitchen, lounge, children’s playroom, and rooftop pool and BBQ. The building will house the future Museum of African Art.

The Perfect New York Closet

GothamOctober 18, 2012
“What I hear all too often from clients, particularly if they’re from out of town, is that there is rarely enough storage space in apartments in New York,” says Brown Harris Stevens vice president and director Jeffrey Shannon. His clients have a point: In the long history of the city’s co-ops and condos, the utilitarian closet often has gotten short shrift. “You do find the existence of sizable walk-in closets in some of the 1920s and Art Deco-period buildings,” Shannon says. “But as wardrobes were more common for clothing storage in that period and certainly prior, there does tend to be less closet space on the whole as compared to post-war buildings.”

Things didn’t get much better after the war, either. In the spare, modernist buildings of midcentury, closet space was an amenity that was “generally overlooked,” according to senior vice president Michael Graves of Core. Early loft conversions were about open space—not storage. “Industrial lofts were obviously not designed as residences, so it was up to the homeowners to renovate the space,” says Shannon.

In recent years, architects and interior designers have acknowledged a basic fact of city life: New Yorkers have too much stuff, and not everyone wants to store their precious holdings off-site. Smart builders are planning accordingly. “Those with experience know that closet space has such a value these days,” says closet designer Melanie Fascitelli of Clos-ette Custom Closets. So much so that many interior architects consider the closet the new frontier of urban dwelling design.

“People want to spend, and to design details into their closets, the way they did with kitchens not long ago,” says Lee Stahl of The Renovated Home. “The amount of detail often rivals what goes into a library.” Stahl says clients demand luxurious finishes, like cerused oak, walnut, and exotic European laminates. They ask for all the bells and whistles, too, including the carousels you see at a dry cleaner’s, space for exercise and media equipment, even wine coolers. “I’d say 30 percent take a bedroom or some other consequential space and turn it into a monster walk-in closet.”

Lisa Jacobs of Imagine It Done says such amenities as pull-out shoe storage, electronic tie carousels, custom cabinets for safes, and lit cabinets are in demand, as well as chandeliers and other items to decorate storage spaces. But regardless of budget, Jacobs is a strong advocate for rigorously editing down your life’s contents. “Eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary can speak,” she says.

For those whose clothing collections are too precious to part with but too extensive to keep at home, there is off-site wardrobe storage and management. Linda Rothschild of the lifestyle management service Cross It Off Your List is launching such a service, called Keep It, Store It, Find It. There’s also Garde Robe, which creates a digital photographic inventory of your wardrobe, so you can retrieve any garment when you want it. Think cloud computing for your closet: Everything is there, somewhere you never see, and accessible with a click.

Inside Nicole Kidman’s Building- Where You Can Drive Up To Your Living Room

NY Daily NewsOctober 18, 2012
200 Eleventh in Chelsea has one apartment left: a $12.95 million duplex penthouse with stunning views.

Light, air, the river, two floors covered in teak, giant windows encased in black aluminum, and a car lift that takes you right to your private garage in the sky, in your apartment.

It’s no wonder Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban bought at 200 Eleventh, the still-stunning development by architect Annabelle Selldorf and developers Young Woo & Associates and Italian Glauco Lolli-Ghetti.
With black granite and Venetian plaster climbing the wall, the lobby is so stylized the condo board put a sign on the door: “This is a residence. Please do not enter.”

“Everyone thinks it’s an art gallery,” says listing broker and Douglas Elliman managing director Leonard Steinberg, who lives in the building that he helped sell when it came to market in 2008.

The last unit left is the 3,248-square-foot duplex penthouse, on the market now for $12.95 million, or $3,987 per square foot.
It is astonishing. Even the outdoor space, which New York-based Selldorf faced away from the windy Hudson River, feels like an additional room, perfectly squared and roofed off facing northeast with views of Chelsea and the midtown skyline.

The lines everywhere in this building are classical. It’s all symmetry and clean lines. The views give the building its curves. When you look west to the river, you gaze over a green Astroturf soccer field and sunken park next to Chelsea Piers. Sunsets over the Hudson are all pink.

“These are totally unobstructed and will remain so,” says the South African-born Steinberg, an accomplished pianist known in broker circles as a market maker who gets higher prices for new developments in emerging neighborhoods. “This apartment is one of a kind. We’ve had solid offers and are negotiating now.”

Steinberg sees a market resurgence in Chelsea, where Walker Towers is setting price records on 18th St. off Seventh Ave. fetching more than $4,000 per square foot.

“I don’t know if people want to hear this or not, but everything in New York City is terribly underpriced right now,” he says. “The projects that are coming are going to set all kinds of records. West Chelsea has drastically changed in the past six months. The Avenues school has brought families with children who want their children to receive the best education in the country. Everything here is different now. Avenues is the game-changer.”

Started by Chris Whittle, Avenues is a private school that educates children to understand the global world we live in today. Math, science, languages and core values are taught in a conducive setting. Katie ¬Holmes enrolled daughter Suri Cruise in the school. She moved to Chelsea to be close.

The immediate vicinity, once known solely for art galleries and studios, has seen an uptick in nightlife. The Americano Hotel by architect Enrique Norten has a rooftop pool/bar that during the winter months gives off steam like a hot tub at a ski chalet. Restaurants have popped up along the High Line, just down the street from 200 Eleventh. Still, Steinberg points to the apartment views.

“There is nowhere else in Manhattan with 80 feet of frontage that has protected views of park, water, skyline with your own private garage,” he says. “This building became an instant landmark the day it opened. Architecture tours in the neighborhood make this their last stop.”

Yes, but does Mick Jagger rent here?

“We don’t comment on celebrities or any buyers,” Steinberg says. “You know that. The identity of potential buyers for this apartment, though, would shock anyone.”

We’re sure. Thanks for nothing. Then what about the garage?

“That’s funny,” he says. “One of our buyers estimated that not waiting for your car saves you 20 minutes per day. That’s an extra two weeks you have for ¬vacation per year.”

Coming: As you drive up, a sensor in your car opens the garage door. The door closes behind you. Drive to a waiting car elevator which whisks you to your apartment. Back into your private sky garage.

How the Sky Garage Works

Going: Call the elevator. Drive in head first. At street level, drive onto 24th St. head first through a preexisting curb cut-out left from the previous site, a garage.

Rules: Since New York City does not allow creation of new curb cutouts, without preexisting ones the sky garage could not have been built.

New Listings: 240 West 23rd, 3B4B

Brokers WeeklyOctober 17, 2012

Two bedroom, 2-bath 1,600-SF duplex loft. Chef’s kitchen with Poggenpohl cabinets, a Subzero refrigerator, a Viking gas range and a Miele dishwasher. Balconies on each level, high ceilings, hardwood floors and ample storage. The two levels are connected by a wide wood and metal staircase. The lower level features an entrance foyer, renovated full bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The second level has the master bedroom with a balcony, a wall of custom built-ins, and an interior room with a closet currently used as a guest bedroom. The master bathroom has a walk-in shower, double sink and custom built-in closet. Central A/C, home office, washer/dryer and storage unit. Listing Agent: Lawrence V. Treglia,CORE.

Just Sold: 425 East 13th St, PH-FG

New York PostOctober 17, 2012

EAST VILLAGE $3,300,000

425 E. 13th St.

Two-bedroom, two-bath penthouse duplex condo, 2,500 square feet, with metal slide, media/game room, home office and terraces; building features doorman, keyed elevator, gym and pool. Common charges $4,081, taxes $600. Asking price $3,690,000, on market for 32 weeks. Brokers: Elizabeth Kee and Lindsee Silverstein, Core and Anna Moy, Halstead Property

Homestilo - One Museum Mile, NYC - 2012-10-12

HomestiloOctober 12, 2012
Friday, at last. I wanted to leave you for the weekend with a look at One Museum Mile. It’s where I and fellow blogger Nina (of No. 40) were assigned to volunteer during Open House NY last weekend.

Museum Mile refers to a section of 5th Avenue that holds quite a few museums including The Met, El Museo del Barrio and the Guggenheim Museum. The idea behind the One Museum Mile building, is that it will house The Museum for African Art at the uptown end of Museum Mile.

Visitors to the building got to see the roof top deck, the amenities floor (themed game rooms and a gym) and several model units which have been staged fabulously. Nina and I were assigned several kinds of monitoring duties. But, we also had plenty of time to do a little exploring on our own (and take way too many pictures as usual).

Done Deals: 99 Bank Street, 6Q

Brokers WeeklyOctober 10, 2012
West Village

One bedroom in pre-war, loft building near Hudson River Park. Situated on the southwest corner of the building, six windows. Currently set up as a one bedroom with den/ office. Building has a part time door- man, live in super and laundry. Ask- ing price: $815,000. Time on market: 4 weeks. Brokers: Nancy Friedman, Prudential Douglas Elliman; Tony Sargeant, CORE.

Featured Listing

ModernnycOctober 05, 2012
Crowning the exquisite new conversion at 211 East 51st Street, this spectacular duplex
penthouse is a feast for the senses and is the epitome of New York living. Panoramic
views of the glittering Manhattan skyline dominate this sprawling 3,175-square foot
space, which includes three bedrooms, three en suite bathrooms and two half-baths
among its capacious 7-room layout. The interior spaces are an elegant synthesis of
innovation and imagination. Double-height ceilings and walls of glass endow the
expansive second level with drama and light, and a soaring fireplace evokes a
sense of comfort. Jewel-like finishes adorn the luxurious bathrooms and kitchen,
accentuating clean lines and fluid entertaining. Wrapping the perimeter of each
level are private terraces totaling 1,641-square feet, with several points of access
to indulge a rare brand of seamless indoor-outdoor living. Tranquilly located next
to Greenacre Park, the acclaimed conversion of 211 East 51st Street was
designed by renowned architect Shamir Shah, and the penthouses interiors
have been customized by Mojo Stumer.

Houses of the Week: 115 Central Park West PH32E

New York PostOctober 04, 2012
Lincoln Square
$2.25 million
Bedrooms: 1 Bathrooms: 1
Square feet: 950 Maintenance: $2,773

This isn’t just any old penthouse loft. Atop the “famed” Majestic on Central Park West, the co-op has been “skillfully designed” by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien with “museum-quality lighting,” lots of open space, a soaking tub with a park view and oversized windows that also offer “panoramic views” of Fifth Avenue. Agent: Michael Graves, Core, 212-932-2222

Poker Player Finally Sells a Building Penthouse With Slide

CurbedOctober 04, 2012
Buying two penthouses in a luxury condo building and connecting them with a slide is the kind of move that makes a home hard to resell (though it makes day-to-day living way more fun). Even in the East Village's A Building, which is basically party central, it took pro poker player Phil Galfond months to find a buyer for his combo penthouse play place with slide, which he listed in February for $3.99 million. (He paid $3.2 million for the uncombined units, each a 2BR, in 2008.) An in-building tipster tells us, and reps for the listing confirm, that the sale closed yesterday. The rumor among residents is that the final sale price was $3.2 million. We've reached out to the broker and we'll update when we know more. UPDATE: The broker tells us the final sale price was actually $3.3 million.

The new owner purchased the apartment under an LLC, but broker Elizabeth Kee tells us he is a young guy who recently sold his software company and decided to relocate to the East Village. He's promised many friends a chance to use the slide, but once they've had their turns, he plans to renovate the apartment and donate the slide, which was custom-designed by Turrett Collaborative Architects, to a good home. Anyone want?

Here's how the architects described their work on the slide:

The half-tube stainless steel slide starts on the top floor near the office, and lands below near both the living and dining areas. The sculptural slide is housed in a newly created 18' tall double-height space, which includes custom designed glass railings. The image of the stainless steel curves in front of the oversized window to the city beyond, to say nothing of the irrepressible glee of grown adults on the slide, is surprisingly poetic; with careful detailing, the playground element is an unexpectedly elegant addition to the space.
Seller Phil Galfond—who is giving up the apartment because he had to leave the country due to the Justice Department's online poker crackdown—included a number of other fun goodies in the apartment, like a rooftop putting green. But it turns out, Kee says, that Galfond didn't actually own the rooftop, and used it only thanks to an agreement with the developer. Confusion over rooftop rights led to some price negotiations during the sale, so the final price was a bit lower than the most recent $3.699 million ask.

Done Deals: 125 West 21st Street #5B

Brokers WeeklyOctober 03, 2012

One bedroom, 992 s/f home with high ceilings and two spa-style baths, 22 ft. wide liv¬ing room, casement windows, hardwood flooring and washer/dryer. Open chef’s kitchen with 12-bot¬tle wine cooler. The Indigo Condominium’s amenities include a common roof, backyard, live-in super, doorman. 421A tax abate¬ment. CC: $914. Asking Price: $1,335,000. On mar¬ket for 1 month. Brokers: Michael Rubin, CORE (pictured); Doug Crowell, Corcoran.

Our Definition of "Done" - Colin Cowie's NY Penthouse

BungaluxOctober 02, 2012
According to Webster's Dictionary, "Done" can be defined as:

1: past particle of "do"
2: arrived at or brought to an end (one more question and we're done)
3: doomed to failure, defeat, or death
4: gone by : over (the day of the circus big top is done)
5: physically exhausted
6: cooked sufficiently (check to see if the meat is done)
7: conformable to social convention (not the done thing)

According to Bungalux, "Done" can be defined as:

1: an amazing combined penthouse in one of the hottest parts of New York which has been flawlessly crafted in every last detail by author, events producer, television personality, and consultant Colin Cowie (aka: the KING of entertaining and good taste)

2: see 1

But those kinds of "done" never come on the market, do they?

No. Wait, yes?

We stumbled upon Colin Cowie's magnificent New York penthouse recently and felt that we had had had to feature it because it's exactly what we're about around here: Good taste meets good design meets real estate.

The stunning unit speaks for itself, but here are the Cliffs Notes. The approximately 3,000 square foot residence has key-locked elevator access and two bedrooms and two and half baths. The private rooftop terrace offers approximately 900-square feet of entertaining space, expansive views of Manhattan including the Empire State Building, and dumbwaiter service from the first floor kitchen. (Would you expect anything less from Mr. Cowie?) Every last detail - and when we say "detail" we mean "detail" - of the unit is personally designed by Colin with entertaining and comfortable luxury lifestyle in mind. From the hidden storage to the to-die-for-bar to the expansive outdoor space, this is one of the best homes we've seen for all types of gatherings. In addition, the building itself offers white glove service with a 24-hour concierge, private spa and state-of-the-art fitness center.

We would write more, but why bother with one of the best video tours of a unit we've ever seen available online. If you're going to do one thing today, we recommend you CLICK HERE TO HAVE COLIN COWIE AND CORE AGENT EMILY BEARE GIVE YOU A VIDEO TOUR OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PROPERTY.

One other quick note: Check out the dining room chairs. They fit right into our Lucite story from last week. Hmmm. Some may say Colin's learned everything he knows from us. Okay, maybe it's the other way around. Semantics.

For more information on the property or to schedule a viewing, please contact Emily Beare at (212) 726-0786. All photos courtesy of CORE. Asking price is $6,850,000.

The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band plays atop the Harlem Skyline

Notes on JazzOctober 01, 2012
This past Thursday September 27, 2012, I was invited to attend a roof top party at one of Harlem's most prestigious new buildings One Museum Mile. Located at 1280 Fifth Avenue, this large, luxury apartment building occupies the corner between 109th street and Tito Puente Way( 110th Street), and the edge of Central Park North, right off the Duke Ellington Circle. In keeping with the jazz history of the area, there is Robert Graham's imposing, twenty-five foot tall bronze sculpture of Duke Ellington and his piano perched atop nine caryatids, adorning a small park within the circle. The recently opened Museum of African Art, with its sixteen thousand square feet of exhibit space, calls the ground level of this ninety thousand square foot building home.

On this balmy evening, the view from atop the penthouse was spectacular. Despite the large cumulus clouds that lingered above threatening the outdoor proceedings with the possibility of showers, the evening was unscathed by any rain. The mostly gentrified crowd of invitees was treated to good food, drink, a soft sales pitch (the luxury apartments are for sale with presently 40% occupied) and great music. Like a lush Persian rug being unrolled before your eyes, the great green expanse of Frederick Law Olmsted's masterpiece, Central Park, and its hidden Lake, Harlem Meer, are majestically viewed from this unique vantage point .

But on this evening it was the music that I came for and I was not disappointed. The Harlem Blues and Jazz Band is a now venerable institution. Originally founded in 1973 by King Oliver's trombonist /blues singer Clyde Bernhardt and the jazz aficionado Al Volmer, it is dedicated to keeping the significant side-men of the Classic Jazz period working and not forgotten. Since those early beginnings, an impressive number of musicians from the classic era have moved through this group's ranks, often until attrition forces the band to replace them. Through it all the band's authenticity to the music is retained while providing these journeymen musicians a reason to still play and giving the listeners an important link to the music's heritage.

Predominantly a blues and swing era band, Vollmer is still managing the latest edition of the group. On this evening the band consisted of the trumpeter and singer Joey Morant , Fred Staton on tenor saxophone, Art Barron in the trombone chair and Fred Wurtzel, the guitarist. The rhythm section included pianist Reynold "Zeke" Mullins, bassist Michael Max Fleming and drummer Jackie Williams.

All veterans of an era gone by, Fred Staton logged in as the elder statesman at ninety-seven and still going strong. The group exhibited grace and vitality as it went through a repertoire that included Ellington standards like "Take the A Train" , "In a Mellow Tone" and "C Jam Blues." Trumpet player and de facto master of ceremonies Joey Morant, sang the Armstrong classics "What a Wonderful World" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" , punctuating the music with poignant trumpet solos complete with plunger mute in the tradition of Ellington mainstay "Cootie" Williams.

Art Barron, who was a one time member of the Ellington Orchestra, did a fine job resurrecting the spirit of Ellington trombonist "Tricky" Sam Nanton, as he slurred and muted his instrument to create a plethora of unusual sounds. He would often team up with tenorist Fred Staton in a tag team of call and response. Staton's hushed tenor sound was smokey and warm; somewhere between Lester Young and Ben Webster. Staton is the brother of the late singer Dakota Staton and has played with Earl Hines among others. Reynold "Zeke" Mullins was holding down the piano duties on the electric keyboards. You could barely see his eyes under his NY Yankees cap. Mullins was a frequent collaborator with the great Lionel Hampton's band. The stately Michael Max Fleming, whose tall lean appearance was the human embodiment of his instrument the upright bass, stabilized the bottom and kept the groove on track. Fleming made his bones playing with childhood friend and multi-reed player Rahsaan Roland Kirk as well as Eddie "Cleanhead" Vincent and backed up the singer Sammy Davis Jr.

The drummer Jackie Williams kept impeccable time on the traps. Williams has anchored groups with Milt Hinton, Buddy Tate and Illinois Jacquet to name just a few.Guitarist Ed Wurtzel was heard on his hollow bodied guitar deftly comping behind the band and soloing with gusto especially on "C Jam Blues."

With showmanship and joy that belies their age, the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band is a living tribute to classic jazz from the swing era and a treasure to anyone who appreciates the fine tradition they are keeping alive. As a working band that has done tours all over the United States, Europe and Scandinavia this group shows no signs of letting age get in the way of their love of this music. Catch them if you can.

16 New Developments Hitting the NYC Market This Fall

CurbedOctober 01, 2012
The fall is traditionally a busy time for new developments to hit the market, as sales pick up and people go condo shopping. There are a few new rental projects headed for the open market, too. To keep track of it all, we've compiled a map of projects set to hit the market (or rumored to do so) before the end of 2012, complete with current photos or renderings of each site. (There are also—bonus—a few where units are available already.) Know of one we've missed? Please share in the comments or with the tipline.

Changing His Tune: How a Classical Guitarist Became Core’s Top Producer

The Real DealOctober 01, 2012
Michael Graves on writing depressing music, his father's congressional race — against Michele Bachmann! — and selling $80M of NYC real estate

Many New York sales agents have come to the business of real estate from a wide range of other professions. In an ongoing series, will profile brokers for whom selling properties represents a major career transition.

Michael Graves — Core’s top producer last year — is a classical musician, who had planned to be a composer and write film scores. Then two years ago, he found out his wife was pregnant with twins, and transitioned into real estate “to feed my family.” He recently sat down with The Real Deal to discuss the future of the Upper East Side residential market, what he listens to with his fellow musician friends, and his father’s run for Congress — against Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

I sometimes get the sense you are disappointed with your choice to be in real estate.
I was supposed to be composing music and traveling the world, but I ended up having a wife and two kids and needing to make a few bucks.

Which Core office do you work in?
I will probably be moving to the new Core office [next spring]. That will be on 61st and Madison. I kind of see the Upper East Side as a new frontier for downtown brokers. I think the old guard is changing; families in FiDi and Tribeca want to move uptown, while the empty nesters want to move downtown. So there is a crack opening up in the glass ceiling of how business is done, on the Upper East Side particularly.

Where did you grow up?
A small town called St. Cloud, Minn., just outside of Minneapolis. While my brothers were very young my parents made a living as folk singers in bars. My father then left and started teaching grade school and… [eventually] became a hotel developer.

What is his company called?
Graves Hospitality. I’m not wearing my “I dig Graves” pin, which I was wearing earlier today, because my dad is running for Congress. The sixth district of Minnesota. The congressperson from that district is quite notorious: She’s Michele Bachmann.
Your dad is running against Michele Bachmann?
Yes. He’s a free-market guy, successful businessman. Bachmann has become such an eyesore for Minnesota.

Are you a Democrat?
Well, I’m an independent thinker. But when I watched the conventions, it’s like, good people and bad people — that’s all I see. There are people … who are only caring about protecting their bank accounts, and then on the other side, a bunch of people who … want to help the little guy.

Do you ever find people in real estate too conservative?
At the end of the day you have to have a separation between … business and state. There are things the government does not do well: The government does not do free market well. I’m not for big government or small government; I’m for efficient government.

Did you want to follow your dad into the hospitality business?
My real passion, which I discovered when I was about ten years old, was always music. … My mother was a pianist. I also grow up in the Catholic Church, and of course you are exposed to all the music that goes along with that environment. By the time I was 11, I was writing music.
I’ve dabbled in piano and bass and the fiddle. But the only instrument I ever had serious formal training in was classical guitar. I studied at the Mannes College of Music. And I was a junior there when the economic ramifications of 9/11 started to deeply affect my father’s business. He was opening a four-star hotel in downtown Minneapolis. My wife was just completing her master’s degree.

Where did you meet your wife?
In college. We were engaged within five months and married within nine. But anyway, at the time, the writing on the wall was that it made sense to move back to Minneapolis, and go home and help my dad open his hotel. I had also developed a horrible case of tendonitis.

Given your father’s business, in some sense you’ve been in real estate forever?
Yeah, people sometimes say, “wait, you’ve been in real estate two years and you have sold $80 million worth of real estate? Something doesn’t add up.” But really I’ve been in real estate my whole life.

So you came back to New York?
I did, with a … plan to continue with music. So about the time I was finishing my undergraduate degree [at 27], my wife wanted to have kids. I had left dad’s company and completed a degree in music theory and composition. [I tell myself] “I’m a realistic person. I want to have a family. I’m not going to be a classical guitarist — I’ll be a composer.” But that’s about the stupidest thing I ever thought of. So my wife suggested film scoring. So I did a double master’s in music composition and film scoring.
Did you ever write a film score that was used?
Sure. It was called “Brothers in Arms.” It was not a big Hollywood production, but it was internationally distributed at a lot of festivals and stuff. [The film was] very… depressing.

Do you write depressing music?
I do. What I consider depressing and what other people consider depressing are two completely different things. The audience for classical music is something like 3 percent of the world’s population. For contemporary classical music, it’s what? .2 percent? It’s a very small audience. My concert music is quite intense. It’s not the kind of thing where you sit around and drink a glass of wine. So what’s heavy to most people isn’t heavy to someone who listens to this kind of stuff. I have friends where we stay up and listen to [Dmitri] Shostakovich until 3 a.m. These people live in the grimiest circumstances. I spend hours in $20 million apartments, and then I go see my friends in a $600 studio apartment that’s a rental.

What does your wife do now?
My wife is a concert violinist. She is also a mother of twins.

So when did you make the final call to transition to real estate?
So, I’m finishing my master’s degree, and I’ve written what I consider one of the best works I’ve ever composed. Some of this sounds narcissistic, by the way [laughs].

What was the piece called?
“Currency.” It was my sort of dissertation. I write this piece of music that gets its premiere at Carnegie Hall. And it is going to be played by Alexander Moutouzkine — one of the greatest living pianists. I am there at the concert for the world premiere, and this is happening on January 15, 2009. We found out we were pregnant on December 25, 2008. But, it was two days before the concert that we found out we weren’t just pregnant, she had twins.

So I was sitting at this concert, losing my mind. It’s a packed house, sold out. I crossed every finger and toe hoping that somehow this piece of music is going to create such a stir that my phone will ring off the hook, commissions will come in and somehow I will be able to support my family of four as a composer. So my music is presented. Thunderous applause, standing ovation. Everybody is raving about this piece, and I’m thinking, “we’ve done it.” I leave hoping I get a commission for $150,000 the next day to write something for an orchestra. And the phone doesn’t ring. [I was a] dreamy-eyed composer, thinking I had a shot at something.

Well, does that ever happen? Are their composers who aren’t writing film scores who get huge paydays?
It doesn’t happen. The most successful living American composer is Philip Glass, financially speaking. But other than him, most serious composers working today have to teach to get by and most of them don’t get by very well. And most of them don’t have kids. And if they do, they live in near-poverty conditions. But I was getting calls from world-class musicians, people are asking me to write music for them. But if I amortize what they are paying me for the amount of time I’ll spend, I’m making like, $0.37 per hour. You can’t live in this city with kids — in a way that is healthy for them — without making at least $100,000 per year.

Where do you live now?
Williamsburg. That was strategic because I had a relationship with a developer, and I got a steal.

On the Market in New York City: 90 William Street

The New York TimesOctober 01, 2012

Reality TV Kicks Things up a Notch for Star Brokers

Brokers WeeklySeptember 26, 2012
Building relationships with clients is a part of every broker’s life.

But reality television allows those brave enough to step in front of the camera a chance to take that personal touch a step further, as television audiences around the world get to feel like they know the stars personally.

“Potential clients recognize us, we’re familiar to them,” said Tom Postilio of CORE, who appeared in the first season of HGTV’s Selling New York. “We show up in their living room and we’ve already been in their living room because of the TV show.”

What’s more, adds fellow CORE broker Mickey Conlon, the show allows potential clients to see them in action.

“In your average listing presentation, someone will spend maybe 15 minutes or half an hour with a broker, and maybe they think they have a nice personality, but the show really shows us out on the street, making plans — they get to know how we sell,” he said. “It’s amazing the number of people who watch the show who don’t necessarily want to be on it but who use it as a part of your resume.”

Some brokers who appear regularly on television report an almost overwhelming spike in business.

Ryan Serhant of Nestseekers, one of the trio of brokers featured in the New York edition of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing, said his business has quadrupled since the show hit the air, and he’s working as much as 18 hours a day.

“I went from being a broker with an assistant working with different brokers to having a team of seven agents and two full-time assistants and my own storefront office in Tribeca where I manage 17 agents,” he said.

Both shows are syndicated around the world, and Serhant can sense a new season airing from thousands of miles away. When the first season of Million Dollar Listing recently aired in Australia, he said, “phone calls and email from brokers in Australia went through the roof.”

Serhant’s Million Dollar Listing co-star Fredrik Eklund of Prudential Douglas Elliman declined to quantify the boost his business has taken as a result of the show, but he said he is contacted two of three times a week about serious potential listings or purchases from people who have seen him on the show.

And then there’s the less-than-serious queries, and calls from fans.

“I don’t answer my own phone anymore,” Eklund said. “I can’t.”

At the start, of course, there was no way for these brokers-turned-TV-personalities to know that allowing a camera crew into their dealmaking and — particularly in the case of Million Dollar Listing — their lives was going to be worth the exposure.

“It was very nerve-wracking for me to sign on for something like that,” admitted Eklund, who had already spent 10 years establishing his business as a broker in the city and in his native Sweden when Million Dollar Listing started filming.

“I had no control over how I was going to be portrayed … I was hoping, or thought it would help, but it was scary. Bravo as a network has only one goal, which is to make good, fun, dramatic TV, and that’s my goal, too, but I also have to keep my integrity as a good, responsible professional in the real estate business.”

Those early fears have been allayed, however, by the response to the show.

While online comments on certain real estate blogs may come down hard on the reality stars, the brokers say, they’re comfortable with the way they and their deals come across on screen.

“There are people that stop me on the street all the time, every day, and say, ‘Can I take a picture? I really love you.’ It’s a lot of love,” he said.

CORE’s offices get regular drop-ins from fans looking for autographed photos of their favorite brokers, Postilio said. And it’s not just brokers who appreciate the exposure these shows offer.

“The producers are out there to make people feel good about pretty properties,” Conlon said. “And as the word has gotten out we’ve been very successful with getting celebrity clients” who can see the show as a way to connect with their own fans.

Postilio and Conlon are currently marketing the actress Joan Collins’ $2.35 million, three-bedroom, three-bath apartment in the Dorchester on East 57th Street.

Apparently, even stars in other industries enjoy watching star brokers at work.

“We’ve had ‘celebrity sightings’ where celebrities recognize us from the show,” Postilio said.

Open House New York Announces 300+ Sites for 2012

CurbedSeptember 26, 2012
On October 6 and 7, more than 300 sites around New York City—from new hotels and private residence to in-progress parks and historic buildings—will open to the public for the annual fall highlight Open House New York. Some of the sites and events require reservations, which will open at 10 a.m. Thursday morning (that's tomorrow), and OHNY will release the full list of sites this evening. To whet your appetite, they sent over a press release detailing a few dozen of the sites. There are nine new sites this year, and, as always, there are a bunch of Curbed obsessions.

Treehugger's Graham Hill will be welcoming visitors into his foldable 420-square-foot apartment, and designer Apryl Miller is opening her fantastically whimsical Upper East Side home. Interior Design magazine curated a collection of 15 private homes of contemporary architects living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there are a few new residential developments on the agenda, including One Museum Mile, Via Verde in the Bronx, and Tribeca's 93 Worth Street.

Two non-residential but new, and bound to be popular, sites are the Wythe Hotel and 40/40 Club. In the realm of under-construction/renovation projects, there's a lot to see: Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5, the Park Avenue Armory, the New School's University Center, Prospect Park's Lakeside development, and more.

Popular sites like the TWA Flight Center at JFK, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the High Line Rail Yards, and 7 World Trade Center will be returning, but of course, this is all just the tip of the iceberg, so do head over to the official OHNY site.

What’s New: These Developments Are Ready to Shake Up the NYC Market

New York PostSeptember 20, 2012
Call it the perfect storm. The supply of NYC condos for sale is down (48 percent from the peak in 2008). Demand is up (with mortgage rates low and rents high). And consumer confidence has been reinstated. So says Kelly Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. Together, these factors have lead to what looks like a very promising fall for new condos.

“It is incredibly active,” Mack says of the new development market. “We’re seeing increased velocity, increased inventory, which is pushing pricing up.”

Buyers’ response to the lucky 13 new condo developments we’re featuring here today — all either just on or about to hit the market — should say a lot. Not to mention they set the stage for the next crop of new buildings, which those in the industry are already anticipating.

“You’re seeing new cranes in the city. The architects are busy again. It’s the first stage of the next wave of new development,” says Jacqueline Urgo, president of the Marketing Directors. “And sites are trading; developers are vying for the same sites. They see the strengthening of the market.”

Built in 1924, 93 Worth St. began as a garment factory. For the past 50 years, it has served as an office building. And now it has met its destiny — the same destiny as so many buildings in this city — as a luxury condominium. The 13-story TriBeCa building will offer 92 units, studios to four-bedrooms, priced from $1,250 to $2,000 a square foot. Amenities will include a 24-hour doorman, fitness center, playroom, lounge and 3,845-square-foot roof deck. On the ground floor will be 10,000 square feet of commercial space. Sales will start this fall. Contact: Doron Zwickel, Core Group Marketing, 212-612-9607

455 W. 20TH ST.
Part new construction, part conversion, the Brodsky Organization’s second foray into the General Theological Seminary grounds (the first was 422 W. 20th St.) will take the form of 23 condos built both in the renovated “West Building,” originally constructed in 1836, and in an adjacent new-construction building. The two buildings will be connected by a glass atrium and surrounded by an enclosed garden landscaped with trees and flagstone pathways. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including duplexes and penthouses with outdoor space and ranging from 1,191 to 3,790 square feet, will start at $2.2 million and have interiors by Alan Wanzenberg Architect and Design. Amenities will include a 24-hour doorman, gym, bike room and private storage. Sales are slated to begin by the end of the year. Contact: Corcoran Sunshine Marketing, 212-727-0455

More than 80 years after its construction, the Paris Hotel at 97th Street and West End Avenue is being renovated into surprisingly affordable apartments with Bosch washer/dryers, marble bathrooms and red-oak flooring. Expected pricing has studios starting at $389,000, one-bedrooms at $497,000 and two-bedrooms at $895,000. Some units have terraces. Boasting a renovated lobby, 24-hour doorman and gym with pool and spinning room, the building is ready for immediate occupancy. Contact: Ariel Cohen, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 212-337-6100

101 W. 87TH ST.
One block from Central Park, a mix of 60 newly renovated and newly constructed (sometimes within the same unit!) one- to four-bedroom condos are coming. Residences will be equipped with LG washer/dryers and wide-plank European-oak floors. Kitchens will have custom white-oak cabinets, polished white quartz counters and Liebherr, Bertazzoni and Bosch appliances, plus a Summit wine cooler. Master bathrooms will offer white Calacatta marble walls and floors, double white-oak vanities and towel warmers. Units, priced from $800,000 to $7 million, will range from 657-square-foot one-bedrooms to a 3,000-plus-square-foot four-bedroom penthouse with two private roof terraces. Contact: Corcoran Sunshine Marketing, 212-877-8707

A feng shui-certified condo building in New York? It’s true. Consultant Laura Cerrano of Feng Shui Long Island has advised the developers on every facet of the design and construction of this 15-story, 48-unit Long Island City newcomer. In accordance with all things feng shui, there will be no fourth floor, residences will not have balconies adjacent to living rooms and the entrances to each apartment will not face another interior door. Whew. The studios and one- and two-bedroom residences will range from 475 to 965 square feet with prices starting at $360,000. Amenities will include a landscaped rooftop terrace, parking garage, fitness center with yoga room, entertainment room with Wi-Fi, dog spa and bike storage. Sales will launch in October, with move-ins expected in June 2013. Contact: Modern Spaces, 718-786-1063

200 E. 79TH ST.
Family-sized, indeed: Each of the 39 units in this 19-story building will have three to five bedrooms. Accordingly, there will be eat-in kitchens (designed by SieMatic), dining rooms, family rooms and laundry rooms. And higher-floor apartments will have terraces. Amenities will include a gym with children’s basketball court, Ping-Pong, ballet bar and yoga area. A lounge with a bar will overlook a landscaped terrace with a dining table and semi-private seating areas. Sales will begin in October, with prices starting at just less than $3 million. Occupancy is slated for the second quarter of 2013. Contact: Stribling Marketing Associates, 212-729-4355

Philip House — named in homage to the original patriarch of the Rhinelander family, the early New York real estate barons who built the building at 141 E. 88th St. — will have 79 condos, ranging from one to five bedrooms. They’ll feature crown moldings, wide-plank oak flooring, coffered ceilings and woodburning fireplaces designed with custom stone surrounds. Kitchens will come with bells and whistles like honed Belgian bluestone counters and stainless-steel Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele appliances. Bathrooms will have radiant-heat flooring. Some residences will boast custom banquettes, wet bars, pocket doors, under-counter Sub-Zero wine refrigerators and six-burner Wolf ranges. Amenities will include a landscaped rooftop terrace with two club rooms offering Wi-Fi. The building also will have a gaming room with foosball table, music practice room, Technogym fitness area and storage. Pricing starts at $850,000. Contact: Stribling Marketing Associates, 212-860-4188

Located at the nexus of TriBeCa and the Financial District, this building, at 37 Warren St., has elements of both neighborhoods. The first seven stories are the conversion of a 1930s construction that once housed a seed and flower purveyor (very TriBeCa). And four new stories will be built to accommodate the penthouses (like FiDi, ever higher). The building’s 18 units, with two-bedrooms starting at $1.8 million and penthouses at $6 million, will have ceiling heights of up to 11 feet, energy-efficient windows, LG washer/dryers, dark-oak flooring and wiring for Verizon FiOS. Kitchens will have Italian oak cabinets, granite counters and Viking and Sub-Zero appliances. The marble master bathrooms will have freestanding cast-iron soaking tubs. Amenities will include a 17-foot vertical garden in the lobby, a training studio designed by the Wright Fit, a rooftop garden, a clubhouse and bike storage. Occupancy is slated for winter 2013. Contact: Barrie Mandel, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing, 212-571-3700

This boutique four-unit renovation of a century-old brownstone in Brooklyn’s Columbia Street Waterfront District offers brownstone living without the responsibility of owning your own building. Each unit has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, open kitchens, exposed brick, washer/dryers and central air/heat. Oak floors and fireplaces round out the townhouse feel. Every unit has outdoor space and a separate storage space in the basement. Kitchens come with white Caesarstone counters and Liebherr and Bertazzoni appliances. The units, each more than 1,000 square feet, are priced from $799,000 to $1.295 million. Contact: Christina Fallon, Realty Collective, 718-924-5353

This black metal-and-glass new-construction building in Nolita plays well with the New Museum right across the street, bringing more modernity to the Bowery. The 20 one- and two-bedroom loft condos start at $700,000, and the four three- to five-bedroom duplex penthouses with private roof terraces and indoor and outdoor fireplaces go up to $5 million. Sales are underway. Contact: Fredrik Eklund, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 212-727-6158

This prewar cast-iron Baroque-style building, originally constructed by Isaac Duckworth in 1866, has become 10 condo lofts. These TriBeCa residences each have two bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, except for the penthouse, which has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Units range from 1,920 to 4,171 square feet and from $2.65 million to $8 million. Contact: Fredrik Eklund, Prudential Douglas Elliman, 212-727-6158

Slipping in among the seemingly unstoppable growth in Williamsburg is this boutique building with eight one- and two-bedroom condos featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, bamboo floors and washer/dryers. Kitchens have stainless-steel appliances, wine coolers, tiled backsplashes and white-lacquered custom cabinets with tempered glass. Bathrooms have steam showers, soaking tubs, dual-flush toilets and custom vanities. Grohe sink fixtures complete both the kitchen and the bathroom. Amenities include a common roof area (there are also select rooftop spaces for sale). Available apartments start at $699,000. Contact: David Maundrell,, 718-384-5304

Amid the skyscrapers in the Financial District comes this boutique building. Private elevator entrances will open up to each of the 14 one- and two-bedroom full-floor and duplex homes. Inside you’ll find gray-stained oak floors and kitchens with white mocha mahogany cabinets and Caesarstone counters. Master bathrooms will have Travertine stone walls, marble floors accented with a limestone border and bronze hardware. Soaking tubs and rainfall showers will round out the package. Units start in the $800,000s. Contact: Jacqueline Urgo, The Marketing Directors, 212-308-6777

Pricing, Amenities Revealed for Five Fall New Developments

CurbedSeptember 20, 2012
'Tis the season for new developments, as the sales market returns from its traditional summer slowdown. Today thePost profiles a few of the new condos headed NYC's way this fall. Here's a quick rundown of pricing, amenity, and other reveals for some projects that have flown under our radar:

1) 93 Worth Street: The signage andteaser website recently went up for this condo project (right), with studio through four-bedroom units, and now we know the rough prices, too. The 92 condos will be priced between $1,250 and $2,000 per square foot. Amenities: fitness center, 3,845-square-foot roof deck, playroom.

2) 752 West End Avenue: This building sold at a loss in fall 2010, and the new owners planned to keep the building as a rental. Turns out that plan didn't last long: the Paris Hotel building will actually be studio through two-bedroom condos with a gym and renovated lobby. Studios will start at $389,000, one-bedrooms at $497,000, and two-bedrooms at $895,000.

3) The Vista: This is a new 48-unit LIC condo with all kinds of Feng Shui—"no fourth floor, residences will not have balconies adjacent to living rooms and the entrances to each apartment will not face another interior door." Prices will start at $360,000 for studios through 2BRs.

4) Philip House: This building's less classy appellation is 141 East 88th Street, and its 79 condos, 1BRs to 5BRs, start at $850,000. (The "Philip House" name is for the Philip Rhinelander, of the family that originally built the building.) Amenities: gym, music practice space, foosball table! Perfect for training the Upper East Side's next generation of lords and ladies.

5) 67 Liberty Street: There are 14 units in this addition to a long-boarded-up five-story commercial buidling, and they've been a long time coming. They're finally ready to hit the market with their oak floors and white mocha mahogany cabinets, and they'll start in the $800,000s.

New Listings: 210 East 36th Street, 6B

Brokers WeeklySeptember 19, 2012
Murray Hill

210 East 36th Street, 6B


Bright south facing studio apartment that can be converted to a Junior One bedroom. Low-key co-op located by the mid¬town tunnel on a quiet block. Close to restaurants, lounges and transportation lines. Broker: Parul Brahmbhatt, CORE.

Sales Check

CurbedSeptember 19, 2012
How are sales going at One Murray Park, the 45-unit condo building now on the market in Long Island City? The building is 64 percent in contract, and closings have begun, though we have yet to see any in public record. There are eight units left ranging from $415,000 to $900,000. The marketing materials have officially moved from renderings to a real shot of the building.
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