Slim Supply Gives Condo Prices New Pop: Record Rents, Low Interest Rates Help Pump Up Market

Crain's New YorkSeptember 16, 2012
Late last month, the developers of what will be the city's tallest residential spire, now rising on Park Avenue, submitted a plan to increase asking prices for its 128 condominiums to an average of $5,800 per square foot. Not only is that a double-digit hike from the original price set just two months earlier, it comes three years before the 1,398-foot tower is scheduled to be completed.

According to the filing with the state attorney general's office, a one-bedroom apartment will start at $4.96 million and a six-bedroom at $64.4 million. Experts say that such hikes of already astronomical prices for high-end housing are symptomatic of a phenomenon that is beginning to be felt across much of Manhattan. It is being driven by everything from people being priced out of the red-hot rental market to a lack of new building in recent years.

"Prices will be pushed higher if there is no relief in terms of supply," said Jonathan Miller, chief executive of appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc. "It's the basic law of economics."

So far this year, 432 Park Ave. is one of just 15 new condo projects whose offering plans were submitted to the attorney general's office, which must approve them before sales can begin. Although several stalled condo projects have been revived this past year and new developments are in the works as construction lending loosens, the number of units projected to enter the market in the next few years is still likely to fall short of demand.

As of last week, plans for just 27 new condos, co-ops or conversions in Manhattan, with a grand total of a mere 875 units, had been submitted to the AG's office in 2012. That is a fraction of the 52 plans, with a total of 2,472 units, submitted last year—much less the recent peak hit in 2006. Back then, there were plans for 211 developments with 15,827 units.

Heightened expectations

Meanwhile, fewer homeowners have been putting their co-ops or condos on the market, apparently hoping for better prices down the road. As a result, the number of listings for co-ops and condos in Manhattan slipped to 5,593 last month, the lowest ebb in more than five years, according to Mr. Miller.

"We can use more inventory, whether it's new development or sellers listing their homes," said Gregory Heym, chief economist for Terra Holdings, parent company to residential brokerages Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property.

Fanned by strong demand from foreign buyers, and average apartment rents that have set records each month since March, the outlook for sales in Manhattan has been improving in recent months. Last week's announcement from the Federal Reserve that it would massively stimulate the housing market as a way to boost employment will only heighten expectations.

"We are seeing a lot of people who were waiting on the sidelines now jumping in," said Kelly Kennedy Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

The bottom line in Manhattan is that sales of new apartments are expected to outpace additions to supply through 2015, according to Corcoran Sunshine. It found that 1,980 units were absorbed during the 12-month period ended March 31. In contrast, just 1,676 units are expected to be released into the market in the next three years.

"It's a perfect storm," said Fredrik Eklund, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman and a star of the reality-television show Million Dollar Listing New York. "The beauty of it is we are at the beginning of it."

Downtown, a condo conversion at 46 Lispenard St. is a perfect example. After just one week on the market, all but two of the building's 11 units were sold at prices that ranged from $2.65 million for a two-bedroom, to nearly $8 million for a four-bedroom. Mr. Eklund, the broker for that property, said units went at the full asking price without any contingencies or buyer incentives.

Record prices

Meanwhile, at 250 Bowery, he noted, 900 people have already signed up to see a new 24-unit development whose condo plan has not yet been approved and therefore cannot be shown.

"There are more buyers than available apartments," said Shaun Osher, chief executive of Core, the boutique brokerage marketing Walker Tower, a 50-unit condo conversion in Chelsea that is more than 30% in contract after less than three months on the market.

Mr. Osher would not disclose prices, but according to, a two-bedroom, three-bath plus home-office unit with 2,400 square feet went into contract late last month at its asking price of $7.2 million—which was up 11% from its previous price.

"Walker Tower is shattering record prices for downtown," he said.

Stephen Kliegerman, president of Terra Development Marketing, said that in the past four months, developers planning new condos that will begin marketing next spring or fall are contemplating initial asking prices 3% to 10% higher than projected at the beginning of this year.

"Don't expect developers to be negotiable with prices because demand is so high," he said.

Interest in NYC Condos Spreads Across Latin America

The Real DealSeptember 14, 2012
Latin American countries have been a consistent source of buyers for Manhattan’s luxury condominium market through the downturn, but the New York Times pointed out that the specific country producing these buyers continues to change.

In a story that focuses on Argenties surpassing Brazilians as the largest buyer of luxury condos in Miami, Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Maria Velazquez told the Times that a similar shift has occurred in New York City. Last month, Velazquez sold six apartments for $8 million to Argentines she escorted through the city, including four at One Museum Mile. She said many of the buyers already have multiple apartments in Miami.

But the shift is ongoing. Argentina is now being surpassed by Venezuelans. In the past year Velazquez sold $35 million in real estate to Venezuelan including the three $7 million penthouses at the Aldyn, at 60 Riverside Boulevard.

The Times said Venezuelans are concerned about the Oct. 7 elections. A legitimate challenger to President Hugo Chavez has arose in Henrique Capriles, and the wealthy are desperate to get their cash out of the country. In fact, many are employing expensive and illegal methods to do so.

Last year, Stribling & Associates said foreign buyers make up one-third of city’s condo purchasers. [NYT] – Adam Fusfeld

CORE to Open Retail Office on UES: Boutique Firm is Headed to Madison Avenue

The Real DealSeptember 11, 2012
Boutique brokerage CORE is set to open its second Manhattan retail location, this one on the Upper East Side, a company spokesperson told The Real Deal today.

The firm, which was recently ranked by TRD as the city’s top boutique brokerage, based on the value of listings, has inked a 10-year lease for a 3,500-square-foot office at 673 Madison Avenue, which will open next spring, the spokesperson said. A gut renovation of the place will begin this fall.

The retail office will occupy the second and third floors of a historic brownstone between 61st and 62nd streets. Jewelry brand Judith Ripka operates a boutique store on the ground floor of the building.

“Jack [Cayre] and I are extremely excited to continue to grow our luxury boutique brand,” Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many agents will be working out of the new office, though CORE’s Reba Miller will be heading operations at the location with Osher. The firm will be making a number of additional hires to fill the space, a spokesperson said.

The brokerage currently has one other storefront office at 127 Seventh Avenue, between 17th and 18th streets, which it opened in the midst of the financial crisis in 2009. Meanwhile, its headquarters are at 104 Fifth Avenue. Cayre previously claimed that Core’s Chelsea office was “one of the most profitable brokerage offices in the country.”

CORE beat out Upper East Side brokerage Leslie J. Garfield & Co. this year to earn the title of the city’s top boutique firm in an annual ranking by The Real Deal. It was the first time the firm had garnered the top spot since The Real Deal began ranking firms in 2009. The firm currently has 52 agents.

CORE Announces Plans To Open Upper East Side Retail Space

September 11, 2012
NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 11, 2012) – CORE is pleased to announce plans to open a new Upper East Side retail location slated for Spring 2013. Located at 673 Madison Avenue at 61st Street, CORE’s Upper East Side office is set in a prime retail location and will occupy the second and third floors of a historic brownstone.

"Jack and I are extremely excited to continue to grow our luxury boutique brand to Madison Avenue where we will continue to service the needs of our clients with the highest level of service and integrity,” notes Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE.

A gut renovation on the 3,500-square foot space will begin this fall.

About CORE
CORE is a real estate sales and marketing firm delivering the best in brokerage, communications and advisory services for the luxury residential segment. In addition, CORE’s elite group of highly experienced and successful professionals service developers who value efficient, no-nonsense results. CORE was founded by Shaun Osher as a full-service boutique firm with a strict adherence to the principles of integrity, efficiency and results. For more information visit

A $19 million American Palace with an Indoor Pool at its Heart

Yahoo! Homes: SpacesSeptember 10, 2012
New Jersey might not scream royalty to you, but real estate agent Michael Graves assures Yahoo! Homes that his listing in Saddle River, New Jersey, is truly a "palatial estate." (We'd add: at least of the William Randolph Hearst castle-owning variety.)
Appropriately enough given these pretensions to royalty, we first spotted the 25,000-square-foot Jersey estate on the website of the United Kingdom's Daily Mail.

The newspaper bills it as "The incredible $19 million New Jersey mansion with a swimming pool in the living room," and although Graves cautions that the Daily Mail exaggerates to claim the pool is in the living room -- because, after all, the house already has a living room -- it's certainly safe to say that the indoor watering hole is a focal point:

The tiled expanses on either side of the floor-to-ceiling window are two 24-foot "water walls" that send water cascading down into the pool. The inset infinity hot tub is heated by geothermal energy -- "in a way, it's like a hot spring," says Graves -- and spills warm water into the rest of the pool to help maintain a comfortable temperature. The home's grand entry hall opens onto the pool, and a balcony in the master bedroom suite overlooks it. (You can see floor plans and more pictures of the estate inour slideshow; click here or on the photo above to check it out.)

Is it too much of a reach that we see an ever-so-slight resemblance to the Roman Pool at Hearst Castle? See what you think:

To see more photos of the house and learn more about its lavish amenities -- such as a massive hand-carved cherry-wood kitchen, five spiral staircases and 2-ton marble pillars -- visit our slideshow.

Profile of Real Estate Social Media Leader: CORE Group Marketing

RE Tech BitsSeptember 07, 2012
I have long been an admirer of Shaun Osher and his New York-based residential sales and marketing firm, CORE Group Marketing. CORE is a leading, full-service, boutique real estate brokerage specializing in the marketing of premiere residential properties. CORE was founded by CEO Shaun Osher and Jack Cayre, who envisioned a dynamic boutique brokerage driven by innovation. Within the past six years, CORE has introduced more than 25 new development properties to the New York City real estate market, selling more than $1 billion in real estate.

One of the things that always struck me about Shaun and his firm is how passionate they are about thinking out of the box. Many people are familiar with their TV Show “Selling NY”, but they have been doing cool and innovative things since I first met them about six years ago. It’s not surprising then to learn of CORE’s commitment and investment in social media.

See how other real estate leaders use social media in an interview with Jeremy Neuer of CBRE.

I spoke with Kristina Helb, Director of Communications at CORE, and got her take on social media, how CORE uses it and where she thinks it’s all headed.

Michael: How does CORE view the importance of social media in getting its message out about the firm, its people and properties?

Kristina: At CORE we pride ourselves on being innovative in the real estate marketing space. Social media allows us to communicate in unique and direct ways. We are also able to share content that would not fit in traditional media.

Michael: What social media tools does the company use and which are most effective?

Kristina: We use several social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and the CORE Blog. Through these mediums, we are able to connect with our target audiences. CORE is the first real estate company to start a blog and we use this as a platform to showcase CORE projects, spotlight agents, share market insights and break news on CORE projects.

CORE Group’s Pinterest Page
Michael: How do you actually define success in the social media space? Which metrics do you use to determine if something is effective or not?

Kristina: Our success is a combination of quantifying visitors and followers and qualifying their level of engagement. We examine the traffic we are getting and how people are interacting with the content.

Michael: What are some of the tactics the company deploys that are unique in the marketplace?

Kristina: We were the first real estate brokerage in New York City to utilize Pinterest, in addition to being the first to start a blog. We also utilize beautiful imagery and video content – users are very visual so this has proven to be successful.

Michael: How do you encourage your associates to use social media? What percentage do you think are active in social media?

Kristina: We encourage our agents to follow CORE on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and to subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed. The content we generate is great for our agents to repost to help market their brands and position them as experts. We also help agents who may not be as familiar with social media develop their personal pages through training seminars. It is important that agents not only leverage social media, but that they are communicating relevant, brand-building content.

Michael: Where does the firm see the future of social media heading as it relates to residential real estate?

Kristina: We’ll have to wait to see what the next hot social media platform is!
If you know of someone or a company that you would consider a leader in this arena, let me know and you may just see their profile in a future post.

Tempted to splash out? The incredible $19 million New Jersey mansion with a swimming pool in the living room

Mail OnlineSeptember 06, 2012
If you're spending $19 million on a new home, you would expect a few extras thrown in.

And, with a swimming pool in the living room, this opulent French manor house won't let you down.

The pool at the mansion in the exclusive Saddle River, New Jersey neighbourhood stretches between plush white sofas and overlooks the property's 4.4 acres through floor-to-ceiling windows.

It's just a stone's throw from the in-house bar - making it all the easier to fetch champagne cocktails to help you muster a leisurely swim.

And if it all gets just a little too much to bear, the room also houses an infinity hot tub to de-stress.

But the pool, which is tiled with mosaics, is not the only notable feature of the home, which was completed just six months ago.

The 25,000-square-foot mansion is entirely green, relying solely on geothermic and solar energy - making sure there isn't so much guilt after shelling out $19 million for such unabashed luxury.

The furnished house also offers an impressive entryway with eight dramatic stone columns weighing two-and-a-half tons each and a hallway dripping with crystal chandeliers.

Up the twin staircases upstairs - or the elevator - there is a master suite with two bathrooms and dressing rooms, and four guest bedrooms.

The mansion also offers a cinema room, a dining room, library, second living room and five grand marble fireplaces. Outside, there's a double parking garage and gates to protect the house.

There is also an outdoor lit tennis court, just one of two homes with the feature in the neighbourhood.

'The swimming pool is just one of the incredible features of the property,' Michael Graves from realtors Core NYC told MailOnline.

He added that he expects the home will garner interest from business executives or celebrities in need of top security and privacy, as the house has a gate and cannot be seen from the road.

New Jersey Home’s Swimming Pool is in the Living Room (House of the Day)

AOL Real EstateSeptember 05, 2012
Now we've seen some crazy homes (ones with slides, zeppelins, dolls hanging from the ceiling, you name it), but our heart still skips a beat when we see a swimming pool where it shouldn't be. In this case, it's smack in the middle of this gorgeous living room in Saddle River, N.J.

Look at that thing: It may be totally out of place, but it's also exquisite (that mosaic tiling!).

Pool aside, the house itself is equally exquisite. It has French manor-style interiors, a "Gone With the Wind"-worthy grand hall boasting dramatic stone columns, custom moldings, dripping crystal chandeliers, and Italian marble mantles. There's also a cherrywood library and an in-house bar. What else could you possibly need to keep yourself entertained?

In case all the unabashed luxury was starting to make you feel a little uneasy, perhaps you can breathe a little easier knowing that the entire home is green -- well, as green as you can get for a mansion. It's powered entirely by geothermic and solar energy.

So how much will this green, glam home set you back? Oh, you know, just $19 million. But walking through your living room and tripping into your own pool? Priceless.

Michael Graves of Core NYC has the listing.

At 46 Lispenard — 80% of Units Sold, Five Days In

The Real DealSeptember 04, 2012
In the dog days of summer, New York City’s wealthy traditionally flee to less-humid climes, sending the luxury real estate market into slowdown mode. But with Manhattan inventory tightening and global buyers rushing to put their money in New York as Europe falters, transaction volume has maintained its momentum.

In one instance, a new 11-unit Tribeca condominium project at 46 Lispenard Street has contracts out on more than 80 percent of its units after just five days on the market over the Labor Day weekend, its exclusive listing broker Fredrik Eklund of Prudential Douglas Elliman told The Real Deal today. The contracts sent out for nine units, which are priced between $2.65 million and $4 million — at an average of $1,373 per square foot — are all for the full-asking prices.

“We were battling back and forth over whether we should list it after Labor Day,” said Eklund, who is listing the property with colleagues John Gomes and Genifer Lancaster. “That’s what everyone else is doing.”

But the Eklund Gomes team went for a different tack in an attempt to capitalize on low inventory, which reached a three-year trough in August: “In the next two or three weeks, [inventory] is going to increase dramatically. People have been waiting for everyone to come back and the fall to begin. It’s the re-ignition of the market. So we thought, let’s be ahead of the curve [and list it at the end of August.]”

The tradition of waiting to list new properties till the official close of summer is longstanding, said Donna Olshan, president of Olshan Realty. “The traditional feeling has been that luxury traffic is not around. The brokers take time off. The feeling is to get a fresh start when the market’s in full swing and the buyers are back,” she said.

The inclination to hold off on marketing a luxury property till September, she said, is often counterproductive, especially in the current market. “If you have a market like this which has low inventory it also behooves one to just put it up on the market. If it’s priced right, there will probably be a buyer out there. Also, our market is very global. [Global purchasers are] not running on our calendar.”

The success of 46 Lispenard, which was designed in 1866 by Isaac Duckworth and features a pre-war cast-iron façade, comes on the heels of an extremely active summer for luxury transactions.
Six of 10 units at the Abington, a West Village condo at 607 Hudson Street, are currently in contract after the building came online in late June. And sales at Walker Tower, JDS Development’s 50-unit Chelsea condo at 212 West 18th Street, have progressed throughout the summer, with a spate of units going into contract in July, according to

Tim Crowley of Flank, the company behind the Abingdon, said provisional interest in the units had justified bringing the property on the market in June. ”We felt that given the amount of people we’d done previews for and the amount of inquiries we were getting from the brokerage community, the market was ready to receive it despite what is traditionally a slower selling season,” he said.

He continued, “I don’t think we would have launched in August, which is traditionally the slowest real estate month but mid- to late-June, we were fine with. The last two weeks of August may as well not exist on the real estate calendar.”

According to a market report released yesterday by Olshan, 129 contracts were signed in the 10-week period that began on June 25 and ended on the day before Labor Day. That figure represents a 42 percent increase over last summer and is the best summer since Olshan began keeping records in 2007. The report attributes the success of the luxury market to the Dow Jones Industrial Average having finished August at 13,091, up 1,851 points over the same period last year, and to historically low mortgage rates.

Inventory is also at record lows. According to real estate consulting website, there are currently only around 5,000 active listings available in Manhattan, representing a more than 25 percent decline in inventory over the last six months. At its most recent height in April 2009, there were around 9,500 apartments available.

“We’ve seen a steady improvement in the real estate economy,” Crowley said. “I think that’s going to present itself regardless of the time of year. That this summer was better than the previous three summers should tell us something about the real estate market in general.”

NY Daily News is Taking Note of NoMad New York

ExperienceNoMad.comSeptember 04, 2012
The NY Daily News has caught on to how hot NoMad New York is. Last month, they highlighted the dining experience at the NoMad. They stated that “the NoMad can make one feel chosen, like there is perhaps no more desirable place to be in New York.”

Days ago, the NY Daily News ran a story called “Ask a Broker.” This featured an interview with highly successful real estate broker Jarrod Guy Randolph. Randolph was recently featured in Forbes “30 under 30″ list for real estate. He has also appeared on HGTV’s “Selling New York.”

When asked about the next hottest neighborhood in NYC, Randolph had one answer: NoMad New York! Randolph went on to state, “Ace Hotel, the Gansevoort, the NoMad and Eataly. If you build it, they will come. I’ve been telling developers for the last five years that is the place to be. It’s literally in the center of the city.”

The Next Records to be Broken

The Real DealSeptember 04, 2012
A look at the residential and commercial properties that may have what it takes to break new barriers.

It’s been a year of firsts for Manhattan real estate. Six months ago, the $88 million deal for Sanford Weill’s 15 Central Park West apartment set a new record for the most expensive Manhattan condo ever sold. Only a few months later, a mystery buyer reportedly signed a contract to pay between $90 and $100 million for a duplex penthouse at Extell Development’s One57. Then in April, a new record for Manhattan’s priciest co-op sale was set when Howard Marks, the chairman of global investment management firm Oaktree Capital Management, paid $52.5 million for Courtney Sale Ross’s duplex at 740 Park Avenue.

Aiming to replicate this success, a bevy of properties have hit the market with asking prices that could potentially set new records. And while residential properties often grab the headlines, retail and office landlords are also testing the limits of the market, asking record rents for Fifth Avenue retail and Midtown office properties.

This month, TRD talked to brokers and market analysts to find out which of these high-priced properties actually have what it takes to set a new record — and which don’t.

Highest total purchase price for a Manhattan condo

Much attention has been focused lately on the $100 million listing for Steven Klar’s penthouse at Midtown’s CitySpire, which hit the market in July with Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro.
If it sells for the full asking price, the 8,000-square-foot triplex would set a new record for the priciest-ever Manhattan condo sale.

But the consensus among brokers is that the eyebrow-raising price tag is simply too much for a 25-year-old building. Even Elliman’s chairman, Howard Lorber, indicated that the unit may be overpriced when he said in a CNN interview last month: “Pricing apartments today, it’s not a science, you know. If this is what the owner wants for the apartment, it will either sell or it won’t sell.”
And in fact, two other condos currently on the market may actually have more potential to set records, brokers said. (The number to beat depends in part on the final sale price of the One57 duplex, which hasn’t yet closed.)

One strong contender is an apartment listed by Leroy Schecter, the 85-year-old steel tycoon. His two-unit combination spread at 15 Central Park West hit the market for $95 million early last month. The two 35th-floor units, which Schecter bought for a total of $18.9 million, are listed with Core’s Emily Beare, who declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal reported that while the spread is slightly smaller than Weill’s, it actually has better views.

Another highly desirable unit, brokers said, is a duplex penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton at 50 Central Park South, also listed for $95 million. The apartment, which is reportedly owned by an Argentinean ballroom dancer, is listed by Halstead Property’s Dianne Weston, who declined to comment. The 5,078-square-foot unit is said to have a 42-foot-long ballroom that overlooks Central Park.

High-end Sotheby’s broker Nikki Field, who has no affiliation with any of the listings, said the 15 CPW and Ritz-Carlton properties could sell for close to their asking prices. After all, $100 million sales have already closed in markets like London, Hong Kong and Moscow.

“These elite properties are in a global league of their own and are now priced comparably to other markets that these buyers invest in,” she said.

The Ritz-Carlton listing, in particular, is in an extremely attractive location and “will trade high,” Field said.

Highest total purchase price for a Queens condo

At TF Cornerstone’s The View in Long Island City, a penthouse listed for $3.25 million would set a record for the priciest condo sale in Queens if it achieves its asking price. Located at 4630 Center Boulevard, the 2,260-square-foot resale unit has three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a private terrace. It was listed in July with Silvette Julian of Nest Seekers International.

The record for the most expensive Queens condo is currently held by a unit at Long Island City’s Arris Lofts, which sold for $3.04 million in 2008, according to city records.

So far, prospective buyers have been surprised that such a pricey property exists in Queens, Julian said, but she believes the property’s size and views make it “one of a kind.”

Jennifer Dorfmann of Modern Spaces — the firm marketing the View’s remaining sponsor units — said that Julian’s asking price is within “the realm of reality,” given the apartment’s outdoor space and “showstopper view.” And as demand for Queens properties grows, she said, “you’re going to have more $2 million-plus buyers in Queens.”

But Citi Habitats agent Christopher Butt disagreed.

The unit’s price tag of more than $1,400 per square foot “doesn’t sound realistic,” he said, noting that similar units in the area have been selling for $800 to $900 per square foot.

Butt is currently listing a three-bedroom at Arris Lofts for $1.49 million, and said he has “been having a really hard time” getting what he feels is the right price for the unit.

“I think Long Island City is in a better position than it was pre-recession,” he said, but still, “post-recession, it is not getting what it should.”

Highest total price for a Brooklyn home

A triplex apartment atop One Main Street in Dumbo has been sitting on the market for over three years, most recently listed with Michele Kleier and Samantha Kleier Forbes of Gumley Haft Kleier.
The 7,000-square-foot penthouse — well-known for the four giant glass-faced clocks that serve as its windows — first hit the market in 2009 asking $25 million. But the property, developed by Two Trees Management, has seen several price chops, and is now asking $19 million, almost twice the highest price ever paid for a Brooklyn home. A Brooklyn Heights mansion once owned by Truman Capote sold last winter for $12.5 million, setting the record for a single-family residence in the borough.

Kleier told TRD that it’s difficult to put a price on such an unusual property.

“It’s obviously not for everyone,” she said. “With a property as unusual as this, you almost have to pick a number out of a hat and wait for the right buyer to come along.” Kleier, who declined to comment on the possibility of further price cuts, said she sees a celebrity or tech mogul as the most likely buyer of the property.

Other industry sources said the property is unlikely to sell for close to its current asking price.
“It’s been on the market for a long time,” said one broker with knowledge of the Dumbo market. “People that have $19 million or $20 million to spend would rather be in Manhattan.”

Another source said: “It’s a totally ridiculous price. It’s a very dramatic apartment, but the layout is not very family-friendly. A lot of the square footage is taken up with elevators and staircases. I don’t think it’s better than everything else that’s ever sold in Brooklyn.”

Still, industry sources said the apartment would most likely sell for $12 to $14 million.
Asher Abehsera, a vice president at Two Trees, did not respond to a request for comment.

Highest price per square foot for a Manhattan office building

The Lehman Art House, a Beaux-Arts commercial townhouse at 7 West 54th Street, hit the market in May for $65 million, or just under $4,000 per square foot. If it sells for that price, it would crush the existing record for a city office building sale, set this spring when Spanish tile company Porcelanosa paid some $2,600 per square foot for the Commodore Criterion building on Fifth Avenue.

Once the home of former Lehman Brothers chief Philip Lehman, the Art House is currently owned by investment group Zimmer Lucas Capital, which uses the six-story building as its headquarters. The company paid just $13 million for the building in 2005.

The property has a rusticated limestone exterior, but has been renovated with übermodern conveniences inside, including video-conferencing and trading rooms, as well as a gym, sauna and retractable glass roof system on the sixth floor, which opens directly onto a 737-square-foot outdoor terrace.

“No other commercial townhouse has ever come on the market with that caliber of renovation in my 23 years of dealing with this segment of the market,” said top residential broker Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens, who is marketing the property. “The same people that spend $80 million for somewhere to live can spend $65 million for somewhere to have the most exquisite corporate headquarters.”

Del Nunzio said she expects a high-end jewelry or fashion retailer, along the lines of Swiss watch and jewelry company Chopard or luxury goods designer Hermès, to take the space as its headquarters.

The building, which comes with 9,000 square feet of air rights, is commercially zoned, making an office building its only allowable use. Still, brokers said it was not entirely fair to compare the townhouse to a traditional office building; “They’re different animals,” one broker said.

Another broker, who asked to remain anonymous, called the asking price “outlandish,” saying: “It would be a miracle if [Del Nunzio] got 50 percent of the asking price.”

Others said they believe the building’s widely reported size — 16,676 square feet — is exaggerated, and that the building is actually smaller than that.

Asked if he thought the listing price was realistic, however, Eastern Consolidated’s David Schechtman said that “in 2012 and hopefully in 2013, wealth from all over the world, and especially from Europe, is fleeing to New York City. When a broad enough net is cast, it’s incredible the users who surface.”

He added that Del Nunzio shouldn’t be underestimated.
“I know enough about New York City real estate to never bet against this broker,” he said.

Highest total purchase price for a Manhattan co-op

At 828 Fifth Avenue — the former James Berwind Mansion, which went co-op in the 1980s —a three-unit combination is on the market for a total of $72 million.
If the eight-bedroom, 15,000-square-foot spread sells for that price, it would be the highest price ever paid for a single co-op residence in Manhattan. As noted above, that record is currently held by the $52.5 million sale of Ross’s Park Avenue apartment.

The units once belonged to the late builder Howard Ronson, who attempted to buy the whole Georgian mansion before he died in 2007, but was thwarted by other owners in the building. Ronson’s estate now owns 72 percent of the building, including the full second, third, fourth and sixth floors, plus half of the first floor. The estate also owns the English basement and the roof terrace, according to the listing.

Listing brokers Alexa Lambert of Stribling & Associates and Sharon Baum of the Corcoran Group did not respond to requests for comment.

Kathy Braddock of Rutenberg Realty said she would not be surprised if the listing sold for its full asking price.

“If you want to have a European lifestyle and feel like you’re living in Paris in New York, [then you’ll buy it,]” she said. “You’re talking about a stratosphere of buyer who, if they really want something, it doesn’t matter what it costs. If you’ve got a billion dollars, what is $72 million?”

Highest total purchase price for a residential Manhattan townhouse

It’s been on the market for roughly a year and a half, but if the Woolworth Mansion on the Upper East Side sells for its full $90 million asking price, it would shatter the record for the priciest residential townhouse sale in New York City history. The 19,950-square-foot mansion, at 4 East 80th Street, is listed by Del Nunzio.

The record is currently held by the Harkness Mansion on East 75th Street, which sold for $53 million in 2006, also with Del Nunzio.

The 25-foot-wide Woolworth townhouse, which was originally commissioned by discount store mogul Frank Woolworth, is owned by the estate of fitness guru Lucille Roberts, who died in 2003. But unlike the Harkness Mansion, which sold just a month after being listed, the Woolworth house has lingered on the market since 2011, leading some to suggest it may be overpriced.
Del Nunzio said she doesn’t think the price is overly ambitious, especially in light of recent deals at buildings like 15 Central Park West. The Sandy Weill apartment, for example, sold for $13,048 per square foot, she noted.

“The math makes sense,” she said. “If a condominium of 10,000 square feet can sell for over $13,000 per square foot … a townhouse of 20,000 square feet can sell for $5,000 a foot.”
The property’s renovation — which took place gradually over the last decade — also helps justify its asking price, Del Nunzio said. She noted that most high-end townhouses hit the market unrenovated, in which case buyers are “two or three years from moving in.”

Del Nunzio’s track record suggests that she knows what she’s talking about.

Still, it’s hard to tell if the price tag is achievable, brokers said.

“It’s clearly not an everyday property,” Braddock said. “It’s not like valuing a three-bedroom apartment, where you can look at other units in the building and draw some logical conclusion. Is there a comp for this property? Not really.”

Highest total purchase price for a Hamptons home

Robert Hurst, a retired Goldman Sachs executive, put his Sagaponack home on the market in June for $65 million with the Corcoran Group’s Debbie Loeffler and Julie Briggs.

If it sells for its full asking price, it would be the priciest-ever home sale on Long Island’s East End. The current record was set in 2008, with the $60 million sale of an oceanfront Southampton estate. (It would not come close to breaking the record for undeveloped land, which was set in 2007 by billionaire investment guru Rob Baron, who paid $103 million for a 40-acre waterfront plot in East Hampton.)

Hurst’s 11,000-square-foot house sits on an unusually large estate — 33 acres — and is surrounded by 19 additional acres of reserve property that can never be developed, said Ernest Cervi, an executive managing director in Corcoran’s Bridgehampton office. Buyers may be willing to pay more for the assurance that no one can ever build beside them, he said.

“It’s a 33-acre parcel in Sagaponack with 1,475 feet of waterfront,” he added. “It’s unlikely that anything else like this would come on the market again, because it doesn’t exist.”
However, industry sources are not convinced that the parcel can top $60 million.

“New price records or ceilings are set in great markets,” said Judi Desiderio, CEO of the East End brokerage Town & Country Real Estate. “In good markets, people feel flush and are willing to be a trendsetter. This is not that kind of market.”

However, she continued, “I think they priced it to the uniqueness of the property. If someone falls in love with it — who knows?”

Another source with knowledge of the Hamptons market said a buyer would likely pay no more than $40 million for the property.

“This could be another Ed Gordon property,” the source said, referencing the 60-acre Montauk estate of the late Edward S. Gordon, founder of the eponymous commercial brokerage. That property is now asking $68 million after hitting the market in 2003 for $75 million. If it sold for its current asking price, it could also set the record price paid for a Hamptons home, but sources said a deal at that price is unlikely, given that it’s lingered on the market for so long.

Highest rent for a Manhattan retail space

Vornado Realty Trust is quietly shopping around a prime ground-floor retail space at 640 Fifth Avenue asking upwards of $3,500 per square foot in annual rent, TRD learned last month. If the 10,000-square-foot space — currently occupied by the clothing retailer H&M — fetches that amount, it would set a new record for retail rent in Manhattan.

A recent report released by the Real Estate Board of New York noted that $3,000 per foot was the highest asking rent on record for Fifth Avenue. M.A.C Cosmetics, which signed a lease for 1,400 square feet at Vornado’s 691 Fifth Avenue in February, reportedly paid roughly that.

H&M’s lease at the 640 Fifth space, which is on the ground floor of a larger 36,000-square-foot space, expires at the end of 2014. It’s not yet clear if H&M will seek to remain at the site, but the clothing store recently signed an even larger lease for 57,000 square feet in a nearby location at Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, perhaps indicating that it will not be seeking to renew its lease with Vornado.

While Vornado did not respond to a request for comment, CEO Michael Fascitelli said in an earnings call last month: “In the next couple of years, one of our best leases of Fifth Avenue expires. Re-leasing there could produce an annual increase in rent of more than $20 million.”
Elliman retail broker Faith Hope Consolo, who is not affiliated with the property, said the space could in fact achieve $3,500 per foot in rent.

“There is no more famous or heavily trafficked street in the world than Fifth Avenue,” Consolo noted. “Although people will think it’s a hefty rent, there is always an international or national retailer that wants to make a statement. It’s not about profit. It’s about position in the marketplace.”
Real Capital Analytics managing director Dan Fasulo agreed.

“A lot of folks are convinced that the format [of retail] is going to look a lot different in the future,” he said. “Instead of just expanding by adding more and more locations, retailers are going to have fewer physical locations, but be willing to pay more and more for the best locations. It’s almost a showroom. You come in and look at everything, and then go online to buy.”

Highest total purchase price for a New Jersey office property

A 450-acre New Jersey office complex, comprised of 13 buildings and owned by Bank of America, is poised to break state records after hitting the market in May with commercial brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

The campus, in Mercer County’s Hopewell Township, totals 1.7 million square feet and is expected to sell for around $400 million. That’s almost $23 million more than the state’s current record for an office property sale, which was set by the $377.5 million sale of Newport Tower, a single building on the Hudson River in Jersey City in October 2011. Cushman & Wakefield declined to comment on the listing, which does not have an official asking price, though it was reportedly valued at $386 million in 2009. BofA took ownership of the office complex in 2008 when it acquired Merrill Lynch. Merrill had previously constructed it to house 6,500 employees.

A spokesperson for Bank of America said the bank is “looking for a sale and a full-site leaseback at this point.”

John Boyd, Jr., a principal at the Princeton-based Boyd Company, a consultancy firm serving corporate clients, said he could see a Fortune 500 company paying close to $400 million for the complex.

“Mercer County is the kind of market right now that’s increasingly attractive for major head-office relocations because cost structures in central Jersey are lower,” said Boyd. “The northern New Jersey office market has rebounded quite strongly, and there are some opportunities to attract industry from Manhattan.”

Timothy King, managing partner at CPEX Real Estate Services, said $400 million, or around $235 a square foot, is “not a wacky number” for the property.

“If you won the lottery and went to Home Depot and bought your own bricks,” he said, “you probably could not replace those buildings for a price less than $235 a square foot.”

On the Market: Eleven properties for sale or rent, from the Upper East Side to Park Slope

New York MagazineSeptember 02, 2012
Yard area: 1,233 sq. ft.

Address: 114 W. 13th St.

This 1848 house has plenty of fine old details but has been modernized from top to bottom. Off the kitchen, French doors open up to a bluestone backyard lined by planters that lead, via a staircase, to a terrace on the parlor floor. The property was on the market last year and fetched three offers, but (owing to a persuasive tenant) was pulled till now.

Price: $11.995 million

Agent: Vickey Barron, CORE NYC

Modern NYC weekly featured listing - 27 West 19th Street, PH

Modern NYCAugust 31, 2012

Spanning two full floors of the Emory condominium, this Colin Cowie - designed penthouse is flawlessly customized. Offering a key-locked elevator, this approximately 3,000-square foot residence opens to a lounge area with a hidden, fully equipped wet bar. The first floor offers a custom bathroom, an open dining room that flows into a kitchen with high-end appliances and a prep area with endless storage space and two hidden pocket doors that can close off the dining room.

This 2-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home is completely wired and offers dark oak hardwood flooring throughout. The second floor comprises of a large master bedroom with an impeccable walk-in closet and master bathroom with large soaking tub, as well as a second bedroom currently configured as a living area/office.

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.

The Emory offers white glove service with a 24-hour concierge, private spa and state-of-the-art fitness center.

Supersizing the Empty Nest

The New York TimesAugust 31, 2012
Joy Tomchin’s friends and neighbors thought she was nuts, and didn’t hesitate for a minute to tell her so.

Here she was a single mother with her only child, Evan, going off to college this fall, and rather than downsize or, O.K., simply stay put in the three-bedroom apartment she had bought 10 years ago at the Chelsea Mercantile, Ms. Tomchin instead held on to her original 2,100-square-foot unit and annexed the place next door for an additional 1,400 square feet.

The result after a gut renovation: four pleasingly sized bedrooms and four bathrooms, along with a large space encompassing a living room, dining room and kitchen.

“Twenty-one-hundred square feet sounds like a lot but it didn’t lay out right,” said Ms. Tomchin, a real estate developer, who wasn’t happy that the kitchen faced a wall and that Evan’s room was so small it necessitated a loft bed.

Ms. Tomchin was motivated, in part, by an eagerness for her son to return home often and with pleasure, perhaps even live in the apartment with his own family someday. But, the purchase and renovation was at least as much for mother as for son. “I’m 64 -- I plan to be around into my 90s and I wanted a place I could stay in my whole life and enjoy,” Ms. Tomchin said.

“I had flashes a few times that I shouldn’t be doing this,” she added. “I’ve got four bathrooms now and I don’t need four bathrooms. But I felt it was the right thing for me to do.”

Many New Yorkers resolutely hang on to the family apartment when their children leave for college, and perhaps for good reason. After all, the still bleak employment picture suggests that after the last strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” they’ll return to the nest for who knows how long.

Of course, a considerable number of people whose offspring move away from home choose to switch to more modest quarters in the city since they no longer need as much space. A subset of parents, though, view the departure of the children as an occasion to start thinking bigger and better. They want to upsize, or at the very least, to upgrade. For some, paying off that last tuition bill also gives them the wherewithal to buy the sort of space they have always wanted. They leap at the chance to trade in the family apartment for one better suited to hosting dinner parties and out-of-town guests.

In certain instances, said Kathy Braddock, founder of Rutenberg Realty, the children’s departure is viewed by some as a perfect time to get rid of the weekend home. “People think, ‘Who needs it?’ ” she said. “And they might take the money and get a larger apartment in the city.”

Those looking for more expansive quarters may be contemplating a future rich in grandchildren and want to make sure there’s ample room to accommodate them. “They envision a large, gracious space to entertain and to have the extended family gather,” said Joanie Schumacher, director of sales for the Laurel Condominium, on the East Side, which has attracted several upsizing empty-nesters. “They don’t see turning into grandparents who always go to their kids’ house.”

Some buyers may want an apartment with amenities that they deemed too fraught when their children were young, like a deck, a terrace or floor-to-ceiling windows — or too fragile, like high-gloss lacquer cupboard doors or marble countertops.

“When I’m showing apartments to couples who are leaving the family apartment, they’re looking for the opposite of what they had — these people want their dream apartment,” said Barbara S. Fox, the owner and founder of the Fox Residential Group.

While their children’s rooms could be easily turned into functional rooms if they stayed in their now empty nest, she added: “They don’t want to be reminded they were the kids’ rooms. They want to start fresh and put their own adult imprimatur on something.”

Shaun Osher, the founder and chief executive of CORE, a boutique residential brokerage company, put it this way: “The biggest change to your life is when you have kids. But the biggest change after that is when your kids move out.”

Empty-nesters are naturally less interested in child-focused building amenities like a playroom, and may be more interested in a building that comes with a spa. “When you’re an empty-nester and you have the means, you buy the property that best addresses your needs,” Mr. Osher said. “That may be fewer bedrooms but more open space like with a loft. You may want a bigger dining room because you’re entertaining more.”

When Michael Namer’s sons went off to college, he and his wife, Christine, a psychiatrist, moved from a 1,500-square-foot apartment on Sullivan Street with two bedrooms and two baths to a 2,000-square-foot space on West 11th Street with three bedrooms and three and a half baths. The building is fully renovated and their new apartment comes with a much bigger kitchen and living room.

“And we now have a doorman and a storage locker,” said Mr. Namer, a property developer. “We didn’t have either of those before.”

Downsizing, he said, was never a consideration: “Some couples cash out when their kids leave. They buy a smaller apartment in New York and get a place in Florida or the Hamptons.”

Mr. Namer continued: “But we already have a summer house and we like living in a larger apartment. We wanted more room. We like having more places to sit.”

He added, with a laugh, “We don’t encourage our children to visit.”

Ms. Braddock of Rutenberg Realty said upsizing in New York is an elastic term, and empty-nesters may not intentionally set out to get a bigger space. “People don’t say I have to go from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet,” she said.

More important considerations might be how a property is laid out or what neighborhood it’s in. Ms. Braddock said: “People will think: ‘The kids are gone, let’s move downtown. Let’s get a terrace.’ ”

Living on the Upper East Side was important for George and Margee Khouri when they were raising their daughter, Hope, who attended a Catholic girls’ school in the neighborhood. When she graduated, “there was no longer that need,” said Mrs. Khouri, 63, a retired teacher who now works for her husband, a real estate lawyer.

“George grew up in Brooklyn Heights and his family still owns a brownstone there with a backyard,” she said. “I said to him, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have an apartment with outdoor space?’ ”

So when the Khouris found a buyer for their two-bedroom 900-square-foot co-op on East 88th Street in Manhattan, they moved to a Brooklyn Heights apartment that’s more than 20 percent larger and has a 300-square-foot terrace, the site of many intimate dinners for two.

“I would never have felt comfortable with that when our daughter was young,” Mrs. Khouri said. “I would have been hovering over her all the time to make sure she didn’t go out there alone and I would have had all sort of locks on it.”

Karen Advocate-Connolly, a vice president for Douglas-Elliman, and her husband, Tom Connolly, a partner at Ernst & Young, knew they had some decisions to make when their son, Justin, went off to college, and their daughter, Sydney, was almost finished with high school. The lease was up on their 1,600-square-foot three-bedroom apartment in the Sutton Place area, and the rent would be skyrocketing. Should they renew? Should they buy a smaller apartment and perhaps a second vacation place? They already had one in Vermont.

“We were looking ahead and wondering where we wanted to settle,” said Ms. Advocate-Connolly, adding that they ultimately decided to remain in Manhattan. “And when we were thinking about the size of the apartment, we didn’t want our kids to feel there wouldn’t be room for them to move back home.”

Or, she added, that there wouldn’t be room for their essential possessions.

“Justin was looking at his prospective bedroom at one place we were considering and he said, ‘Well, I guess I don’t need my La-Z-Boy in the new apartment,” Ms. Advocate-Connolly said of her son’s space-hogging lounging chair. “And that was a deal breaker. The ultimate test was whether his bedroom could fit the La-Z-Boy.”

No problems like that exist in the family’s new four-bedroom, 2,800-square-foot apartment, which is almost at the end of a gut renovation.
Big furniture notwithstanding, not everything about the co-op is so accommodating to the younger generation. “The materials, like marble counter tops, aren’t so kid-friendly,” she said. “Now that my children are older, I hope they can handle it.”

Ms. Advocate-Connolly said she also chose plumbing and lighting fixtures that “are edgier than what we had before,” adding that many of her empty-nest clients are following suit.

“They’ve lived in a traditional apartment and now they want to go to a loft,” she said. “They don’t care about a children’s bathroom. They want a big shower for themselves. People are going back to their just married state — but with a lot more money to spend.”

A Neighborhood Built From Scratch

The New York TimesAugust 30, 2012
To most Manhattanites, Long Island City brings to mind a waterfront with soaring glass towers, reclaimed gantries and a neon-infused Pepsi sign. But farther inland, in another section surrounding a neo-Classical-style courthouse, a residential neighborhood is being created.

A 2001 rezoning of Long Island City planted the seeds for a residential transformation of the nearly 30-block Court Square area, which had been primarily low-lying warehouses and auto repair shops, punctuated by a few commercial towers, including the 50-story Citigroup tower, and a smattering of homes.

Despite the global real estate crisis of 2008, a handful of residential condominium developments got built in recent years, including Arris Lofts, Vere, 44-27 Purves Street and the Industry. New businesses are also appearing, like Burger Garage and Dutch Kills bar, which joined old staples like Sage General Store and Brooks 1890 restaurant.

But there is more to come. About a dozen residential developments that could add as many as 4,700 apartments, most of them rentals, are planned in the next few years. To capitalize on these developments, NestSeekers International is opening a branch to serve the emerging neighborhood.

Court Square “will be a work in progress over the next few years, but by the time it’s all said and done, we could have almost the same number of units as the waterfront,” said Adrian Lupu, a senior vice president of NestSeekers, adding that the new buildings could double Long Island City’s population.

One of the largest projects, the highly visible Linc LIC at 43-10 Crescent Street, has 709 units that will start renting next spring. Built by the Rockrose Development Corporation, Linc LIC will add badly needed amenities to the neighborhood, including a large grocery store and drugstore, said Justin Elghanayan, the president of Rockrose.

“This neighborhood’s changing, and it’s about to change a lot more,” said Mr. Elghanayan, who attributes the area’s growth to the office workers in the large commercial towers and the artists attracted by the Museum of Modern Art branch called MoMA PS 1 and the Sculpture Center on Purves Street. “A lot of these warehouses around here are filled with artists,” he said.

Rockrose is so involved in the area’s growth that, in less than a year, it plans to break ground on one or two more towers nearby at 43-25 Hunter Street for a total of 1,000 rental units. Rockrose will also restore a picturesque auto-body shop a block away to become the new home of M. Wells, a quirky Long Island City diner that sent foodies into a funk last summer when it closed after losing its lease in a building a few blocks to the west. Mr. Elghanayan said he sees the diner becoming a “sort of retail and cultural hub” for the area.

“The auto-body shop has skylights and wooden ceilings, and it will be pretty cool,” he said. “Our philosophy has been not to knock everything down and do something new, but to see what we can preserve, because Long Island City has a certain character here — this industrial, gritty past that creates a certain charm.”

Rockrose may be taking the lead, but other developers have discovered the Court Square area. Ekstein Development, led by the president Erik Ekstein, plans to develop two midsize rental buildings: one with 98 units at 26-14 Jackson Avenue, and another with 59 units at 46-09 11th Street. Both should be completed and leasing by early 2014.

“We love the area, and we know it very well,” said Mr. Ekstein, whose company has developed and owned other properties in Long Island City. He said the two rental buildings will use their amenities to help create the sense of community, and he anticipates attracting young professionals in their late 20s and early 30s to the neighborhood. “It will be mostly people just starting out — this may be their first time living alone,” he said.

While rents have been rising in the Court Square area, Mr. Elghanayan said he still anticipates that monthly rents in Rockrose’s buildings will be about 10 percent less than on the waterfront, where apartments tend to be larger. Studios will be about $1,900; one-bedrooms about $2,500 to $2,600; and two-bedrooms about $3,300, he said.

A recognizable gateway to the Court Square area is the 5Pointz arts center, a collection of moldering warehouses that are now covered in vibrant graffiti by various artists and that is passed by the elevated No. 7 subway train as it trundles into the station. For some, the graffiti is a totem of the area’s artistic style, but the colorful knot of aerosol art will most likely fall casualty to two buildings with about 1,300 rental units that are planned by the lot’s owner. The project is currently going through the community approval process.

Other developments planned for the Court Square area include two rental towers being developed by the Long Island company Heatherwood Communities; construction of several midsize high-rises along Purves Street by different developers; conversion of a former electric plant into as many as 400 units; and construction of a handful of other small to midsize residential buildings.

An important part of Court Square’s appeal to residents is the No. 7 station, which is three stops from Midtown Manhattan, as well as another subway station where the E and M trains are just one stop from Midtown. (There is also a station for the G line, for access to Brooklyn.)

While the waterfront area has only the No. 7 train, which goes into Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street, the different Court Square trains serve a wider swath of the Midtown population, said Doron Zwickel, an executive vice president and Long Island City expert with the marketing firm CORE.

Mr. Zwickel, who helped sell out Arris Lofts in Court Square about three years ago, said that since April, 60 percent of the 45 condo units have sold at a new development called One Murray Park, on the fringes of Court Square. Prices are averaging about $750 a square foot, he said. “The prices I’m getting there have surpassed the numbers I was getting here in 2006 and 2007, at the height of the real estate market,” he said.

Real Estate Want: One Gorgeous Galley

Brick UndergroundAugust 30, 2012
Galley kitchens can be small, dark, and not especially handsome (unless you employ some of our tricks), but the spectacularly spacious scene in this $1 million Yorkville 2-bed/2-bath co-op shatters that stereotype.

The 9-foot deep kitchen feels open and welcoming with wood floors, a generously sized window, and light quartz countertops that balance out the darker glass tile backsplash and red lower cabinets.

We can imagine flowing around the space Fantasia-style from the fridge to the sink to the oven, and then administering finishing touches on that long stretch of counter, grabbing a bottle of wine from the lower wine fridge and sweeping out to greet our guests.
Our only critique: that mismatched dishwasher sticks out like a sore thumb!

New Listing: 214 West 16th Street, #1S/2S

Brokers WeeklyAugust 29, 2012
214 West 16th St. #1S/2S

Turn-of-the-century triplex with private garden. One-bedroom, media room and 2-bathrooms. Large, south-facing windows, gracious living area, spiral staircase, private master suite, wide plank hardwood floors, custom light¬ing, central AC. Open, renovated kitchen, media room with custom built-in desk. Master suite has a dressing area, custom closets, and pocket doors that lead to five-fixture bathroom. Private outdoor space features built-in gas grill, refrigerator, sink, custom wood panels and LED lighting. Listing agent: Michael Rubin, CORE.

StreetEasy’s Most Wanted: Stairmaster Edition (Multi-levels with Multiple Perks)

Brick UndergroundAugust 24, 2012
If you’re willing to settle for a non-doorman building (and with this garden, who wouldn’t?), this $1.45m two-bedroom triplex co-op in Chelsea features a private garden with a built-in gas grill, fridge, sink, sound system, custom wood panels and LED lighting. You could practically live outside!

No need to hit the gym in the morning -- just hit the stairs in a multi-level apartment. And if you can make a little money from it by renting out a level, or spend some time in your private garden, all the better.
This week, StreetEasy’s Most Wanted -- the 10 sales listings StreetEasy users saved more often than any others this week -- shines a spotlight on duplexes and triplexes with extra perks like possible rental income and private outdoor space.

When you’re not climbing the spiral staircase of a $1.45m two-bedroom triplex co-op in Chelsea, you can relax in its private garden. The walk-up is located on West 16th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, and the garden features a built-in gas grill, fridge, sink, custom wood panels, LED lighting and a sound system. Central a/c runs inside does a live-in super.

On 10th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) in Park Slope, a $1.575m three-bedroom multi-family townhouse is comprised of an owner’s duplex and a single floor rental. If you don’t want a tenant -- or want to pick your own -- the space is delivered vacant. The mechanicals have recently been updated, and there are new windows.

A $510k one-bedroom duplex co-op affords extra exercise, since it’s located on the third and fourth floors of a walk-up. Located on Jane Street -- between Hudson Street and Eighth Avenue -- the unit has new windows. Pied-a-terres are welcome and sublets are allowed after 24 months of ownership. But there’s no laundry in the building.

Whether you’re looking for duplexes, triplexes, or standard one-levelers, browse the rest of the Most Wanted below.
1. 168 Sterling Place—3-bed condo, $875k
2. 330 West 72nd Street—2-bed co-op, $1.295m
3. 51 Jane Street—1-bed co-op, $510k
4. 415 10th Street—3-bed multi-family, $1.575m
5. 175 West 93rd Street—3-bed co-op, $1.495m
6. 10 Plaza Street—2-bed co-op, $499k
7. 8 East 12th Street—2-bed condo, $1.8m
8. 80 Chambers Street—1-bed condo, $875k
9. 54 East 8th Street—2-bed co-op, $695k
10. 214 West 16th Street—2-bed co-op, $1.45m

Monthly Charges Impact Buyers and Brokers in City’s Top Buildings

The Real DealAugust 24, 2012
Buyers of apartments in the Carlyle co-op hotel on East 76th Street pay $10.23 per square-foot per month in maintenance charges for services such as twice-daily housekeeping, bathrobe and sheet use, discounts on hotel services, training sessions and room service. According to the New York Times, the price, which comes out to $455,352 for Hollywood power broker Brad Grey’s 3,000-square-foot apartment, is the highest in the city.

The Trump Soho ($7.60 per foot), Trump International ($6.72), the Sherry-Netherland ($6.03), the Mark ($4.47) and the Stanhope ($4.32) are some of the other Manhattan apartment buildings with the highest common or maintenance fees, according to Miller Samuel data.
These fees come in to play for brokers with high-end listings, looking to set appropriate prices. Core broker Emily Beare said the fees typically play a role in the decision for buyers looking to spend less than $10 million. These fees can often play a role in the resale value of the apartment, and as previously reported, have recently embarrassed for buyers who encounter financial struggles. But buyers spending more than $10 million, noted Brown Harris Stevens’ Kathy Sloane, would usually be paying hundreds of thousands a year for their own staff anyway.

Typically, the best deals can be had at new condominium developments. The Times said the common charge on Leroy Schecter’s 15 Central Park West combination comes out to just $1.86 per foot, thanks in part to a tax abatement. [NYT]

The Most Pampering, the Highest Fees

The New York TimesAugust 23, 2012
After paying $15.5 million last November for a 3,000-square-foot apartment at the Carlyle, you would think the Hollywood power broker Brad Grey could rest easy knowing he had bought into a hot Manhattan luxury market.

But there is the little matter of the $455,352 a year that Mr. Grey, the chairman of Paramount Pictures, will have to cough up in maintenance charges. The storied co-op hotel on the Upper East Side, where President John F. Kennedy kept a penthouse suite, charges more per square foot in monthly fees than any other residential building in New York, according to Miller Samuel, a property appraiser.

Still, when you want the best pampering Manhattan has to offer, you find the money. Mr. Grey hasn’t been heard complaining about the $37,946 a month he has to pay to maintain his four-bedroom apartment.

After all, for the price of a new BMW each month, he gets the prestige and prized location of the Carlyle, at 35 East 76th Street, not to mention twice-daily housekeeping service, daily newspapers, and use of Frette bathrobes and 600-count Yves Delorme bedding. There are discounts on laundry, personal training sessions and room-service food and drink.

Sound like a bargain? That depends on what your priorities are.

For those willing to put down millions to own an apartment in Manhattan, a high tolerance for some of the highest monthly charges in the world is almost a prerequisite. Imagine the privilege of paying the equivalent, on an annual basis, of the cost of a new home in many parts of the country — all to ensure that you can get a cup of coffee, or a shirt ironed, at all hours of the day.

“It is a way of life that people really appreciate whose lives are quite busy and full,” said Kathy Sloane, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens who has sold apartments in the Carlyle. “They want everything to be organized for them, and they don’t ever want to question the standard.”

Aside from the Carlyle, which charges monthly maintenance fees of $10.23 per square foot on average, the buildings charging the most every month include the Sherry-Netherland ($6.03), the Lombardy ($4.24) and the Pierre ($3.37), according to Miller Samuel.

Then there are the condo hotels like Trump SoHo, which charges $7.60 per square foot, with Trump International, charging $6.72.
Some condos also rank high among the buildings whose residents are cutting the biggest monthly checks. The Mark charges $4.47 a
square foot. At 995 Fifth — formerly the Stanhope Hotel — you’ll be paying $4.32.

By comparison, Manhattan co-ops charge an average of $1.70 per square foot in maintenance fees, while condos charge $1.57 a square foot on average for the common charge plus real estate taxes, according to Miller Samuel.
So what else do you get for the more than $10 a square foot you would pay at the Carlyle?

Well, there’s window-washing, heavy cleanings, bath amenities, cable television and telephone voice mail. Discounted services also include preferred pricing on treatments at the hotel’s Sense spa, and 20 percent off on parking rates in the garage.

But don’t delude yourself that you’ll get services like dog-walking, couriers and personalized flower arrangements. Those are all extra, said Jennifer Cooke, a spokeswoman for the hotel.

The full-time staff of 400 people — for the 187 hotel rooms and 51 residences — make the maintenance charges palatable to buyers, brokers said.

“You are really looking at buyers who, in order to maintain a staff in any residence that could deliver all of the things that are deliverable at the Carlyle, would have to look at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on that staff,” Ms. Sloane said.

Brokers say they have to price apartments very carefully at the hotel co-ops. Emily Beare, a broker with CORE, said she had had clients looking to spend $10 million or less who had turned down the Pierre because of the monthly maintenance. But she said she had never had a well-heeled buyer looking to spend more than $10 million reject the idea of hotel living simply because of high monthly charges.

When a prized apartment in one of the hotels becomes available, “there is a very immediate market for it,” Ms. Sloane said. Before selling a unit in the Carlyle a few months ago, she invited a group of brokers to help her price it. “We settled on a price, but everyone said that with that maintenance, the apartment is bound to be there a long time.”

She sold it in four days, she said.

How does the Carlyle justify charging more than three times, on average, what the Pierre charges its co-op residents? Christopher Burch lived in the Pierre for about 20 years and headed the co-op board before his divorce from the fashion designer Tory Burch. He later spent more than a year at the Carlyle as well. He sees a comparable level of service at the two hotels, but says the ownership structure is different at the Pierre, allowing for lower monthly fees.

“The Pierre is a tremendous deal,” Mr. Burch said. “It’s a steal.”

Ms. Cooke said the “manner in which we charge at the Carlyle has been the same since the co-op was first formed in 1970.”

For many buyers the Carlyle’s Upper East Side address is simply more prestigious than the Pierre’s, closer to Midtown, brokers said. And some brokers claim that the elevators at the Pierre are not attended 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as they are at the Carlyle, though a spokeswoman at the Pierre says they are.

You buy into an iconic New York experience at the Carlyle. Where else can you hobnob with world leaders, rock legends like Mick Jagger and Hollywood aristocracy like Woody Allen, who performs with his jazz band at Café Carlyle?

President Kennedy was said to have sneaked Marilyn Monroe into the hotel for visits — most famously through a series of tunnels under the property — after she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at his birthday gala at Madison Square Garden in 1962, according to the author Nick Foulkes, in the book “The Carlyle” (Assouline, 2007). Ms. Cooke said nobody currently on staff was there in 1962, but “that is the rumor that has been passed through the years.”

That lore has value. The pampering tradition at hotels like the Carlyle has inspired developers to try to emulate much of that service experience in new condo developments like 15 Central Park West and the yet-unfinished One57.

It’s hard not to see those buildings as a bit of a deal compared with the Carlyle. The steel magnate Leroy Schecter has listed two apartments together at 15 Central Park West for $95 million. The common charge and taxes (with a 10-year tax abatement helping out) come to about $1.86 a square foot.

“Why not be in a building that is giving you everything you want and yet your monthlies don’t have to be astronomical?” asked Ms. Beare, Mr. Schecter’s broker.

Elizabeth Sahlman, a broker at Corcoran, can understand why that wouldn’t work for some.
At the hotels, “it is the twice-daily housekeeping that a lot of residents just love,” she said.

New Listing: 54 E8th St. #3T

Brokers WeeklyAugust 22, 2012
Greenwich Village
54 E8th St. #3T

Renovated, two bedroom co-op home in building with elevator, private garden, live-in super, renovated common laundry room, voice intercom and an on-site parking garage. The apartment has an entry hall, living room and dining area, open, windowed kitchen with granite counter tops. Hardwood floors and recessed lighting. Built-in closets. Marble bath with jacuzzi tub. Pets allowed. Broker: Maggie Kent, Debbie Batres; CORE.

Sheik of E. 71st St.: Qatar PM Doles Out $47 Million for Double-wide Townhouse

NY Daily NewsAugust 22, 2012
Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani had trouble finding a co-op that would accept him — and his 2 wives, over a dozen kids and security guards licensed to carry automatic weapons.

22 East 71st Street in the Upper East Side.
The Sultan has finally landed. After being turned down at a Fifth Ave. coop board and having faced resistance at a luxury condominium on W. 57th St., the Prime Minister of Qatar closed on a townhouse at 22 East 71st St. for $47 million.

The seller, mogul Aby Rosen, originally listed the property for $75 million. He paid $15.65 million for the home in 2004. His sister-in-law, Samantha Boardman of Sotheby's International Realty, was the listing broker. Her potential commission comes to $1.4 million before taxes and with a normal 70-30 percent agency split. Neither Rosen nor Boardman returned calls. Rosen never lived at the home, purchasing the property as an investment and event space.

The 45-foot-wide townhouse built in 1922 measures approximately 21,000 square-feet. It housed the 2009 Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Designer Show House. The original architect, C.P.H. Gilbert, was renowned for designing the top townhomes of his day. This home has a grand marble-arched entryway and curved main staircase.
Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani had a terrible time finding a New York City home. He was rejected by the co-op board at 907 Fifth Ave., where he tried to combine two homes for $31 million. Negotiations for the $100 million penthouse at One57 fell through over the handling of the Sheik's entourage, which includes two wives, more than a dozen children, and security licensed to carry automatic weapons.

"A townhouse may have been the right move for this guy from the beginning," said CORE vice president Jarrod Guy Randolph, who has a multi-million-dollar penthouse listing nearby. "The upper East Side townhouse market is strong, but it doesn't have the cachet of a new condominium, especially among foreign buyers. We're not even close to the $100 million townhouse sale."
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