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.

One Murray Park in Long Island City is 64 Percent Sold

Buzz Buzz HomeSeptember 19, 2012
Long Island City’s long-awaited One Murray Park, which is wrapping up construction, is now 64 percent in contract.

The available apartments at the 45-unit luxury condo, located at 11-25 4th Avenue, range from $445,000 to $900,000. Amenities include a doorman, fitness center, library lounge, roof deck, bike room and indoor parking. The two-bedroom, two-bath $900,000 condo measures 1,085 square feet and has a private 1,277-square-foot terrace.

CORE Executive Vice President Doron Zwickel is leading sales at the six-story building, which was designed by Soho-based Fogarty Finger. The condominium, located at the recently renovated Murray Park, has 10 studios, 25 one-bedrooms and 10 two-bedrooms.
One Murray Park was the first new condo development in Long Island City to start sales in more than a year.

Pictures of a model unit below from the CORE site:

Trophies On Display: In Gaga Global New York, the Loudest Listings Bag the Billionaires

The New York ObserverSeptember 17, 2012
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. That’s the new rule of thumb in luxury real estate, anyway. After decades in which secrecy was the better part of high-end sales (the “if you’ve really got it, you don’t need to flaunt it” philosophy favored by buttoned-up Park Avenue types), top brokers are increasingly adopting aggressive PR and marketing strategies that, however scandalous to the old guard, are helping to draw deep-pocketed buyers.

In 2000, insurance mogul Saul Steinberg decided to sell what was arguably the most magnificent apartment in the city: a 34-room triplex penthouse at 740 Park Avenue. Mr. Steinberg had purchased the 20,000-square foot spread from the estate from the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1971. Among its many wonders, it had a library with English pine paneling that dated to 1760, a dining room that seated 48 and a two-bedroom governess suite. The exceptional thing, however, was that Mr. Steinberg wanted $40 million for it—a price that caused such a maelstrom of gossip that this salmon-tinted paper even accused him of indiscretion for allegedly “leaking” the incredible asking price to the public.

Gossip notwithstanding, the deal went down in the socially-sanctified, hush-hush manner that the city’s top residential real estate deals had always been conducted up to that point. Mr. Steinberg enlisted the help of his former sister-in-law Kathryn Steinberg, a broker at Edward Lee Cave’s consummate old-guard brokerage. The apartment never made a formal market debut, nor was it entered into the broker database. Ms. Steinberg just whispered in a few of the right ears and the apartment sold quickly—for $33 million—not quite ask, but still a record high for residential real estate.

A decade later, on the far side of the park, a new record, many times higher, was set in a very different way. When ex-Citibank CEO Sandy Weill decided to unload his 10-room penthouse at 15 Central Park West, he didn’t reach out to his dearest friends. Instead, Mr. Weill called (or more likely had his assistant call) The Wall Street Journal to announce that he was listing the apartment for $88 million. The strategy was effective—a little over a month later, a Russian fertilizer tycoon paid the full asking price, setting another record high. Soon, sellers were offering up one tantalizing property after another, there for all the world to drool over. After all, splashing the photos across the dailies, the glossies or the Internet (preferably all three) might catch the eye of another fertilizer king.

After years of playing things close to the vest, New York’s most affluent home sellers were showing some leg. Just as the Parises and Tinsleys of the world had supplanted Brookes and Nans—at least in the public’s imagination—a studied showiness is supplanting the established customs of white shoe brokerages where brokers lived and died by their Rolodexes. Throughout the spring and summer, brokers and sellers welcomed reporters from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to wander through their gleaming lairs.
The Times wrote about Christopher M. Jeffries’s magnificent duplex at the Ritz Carlton, listed for $77.5 million. The Journal gushed about Howard Marks’s $50 million spread, also at the Ritz. Next came the granddaddy of them all—a $100 million listing at CitySpire for the octagonally shaped quadroplex penthouse, which was featured in both The Times and a CNN segment. In mid-August, not one but two $95 million listings appeared back to back, at 15 CPW and the Ritz, in The Journal and The Times, respectively. The new trophy condos were, it seemed, always ready for their close-up.

As were the brokers. Few trends reveal the changing nature of luxury marketing more than the rise of real estate reality T.V. shows like Selling New York and Million Dollar Listing, where the brokers are the stars and the properties supporting players. None embody this more than Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Fredrik Eklund, who stars in Million Dollar Listing. A preternaturally handsome Swede and former gay porn star, Mr. Eklund and his broker partner John Gomes (Mr. Gomes was a former star of Selling New York) have racked up a staggering sales record by being, as they put it on their website “at the vanguard of the new guard.” Naturally, they were happy to meet with us at the Douglas Elliman offices one muggy August afternoon.

“My job is to have as many wealthy buyers as possible in the world come to my website,” Mr. Eklund said, claiming that when Million
Dollar Listing was airing, he had hundreds of thousands of clicks on his company bio. “The industry has changed. The old guard was always in back of the listing. The new guard, we put ourselves in front.”

“We’re selling ourselves as much as our properties,” piped in Mr. Gomes. “We have google alerts on ourselves, we have google alerts on our properties. Our objective is to be in the paper or on TV every day.”

”It really helps,” said Mr. Eklund.

“It really does,” echoed Mr. Gomes.

“The old guard did their business from their Rolodexes. But no one today really knows everyone with money, no one knows everything,” Mr. Eklund opined.

“It’s a global marketplace, there’s no limit to the boundaries when we go globally,” said Mr. Gomes. “We realize that we’re alienating ourselves from some clients who don’t want to be anywhere near the press. But honestly, those clients get the best of both worlds, because we can offer them complete discretion, but they still get all the traffic to their listings.”

“It’s why the phones won’t stop ringing,” Mr. Gomes said, gesturing at Mr. Eklund. “It’s why people stop him on the streets.” He pointed beyond the glass doors to a slightly chubby broker in nondescript business clothes at one of the shared standing terminals. “That wouldn’t happen to that guy.”

They both laughed, but life was not all fun and games. Mr. Gomes had to dash to a meeting. And dash he did, smart phone in one hand, lunch in the other—slipping into the backseat of a flame-blue Porsche that zipped into traffic as soon as he pulled the door shut.

Real estate marketing is nothing new, but the spotlight has long been shunned in the upper echelons of Manhattan real estate—River House, the snootiest of old New York co-ops, is famous for forbidding the use of its name in advertising. Luxury brokerages were as famed for their discretion as for their ability to sell an apartment (indeed, the two were often one and the same). And that was when discretion meant a way of life rather than honoring a client’s non-disclosure agreement.

“I was always taught that the spouting whale gets harpooned,” remarked A. Laurance Kaiser, the proprietor of Upper East Side boutique brokerage Key-Ventures, Inc. “My clients do not like publicity. The people that I deal with are repulsed by the whole thing.”

“Prices are tremendously high,” Mr. Kaiser added. “But properties are not in the same hands they once were. And some of those hands are not as manicured as others.”

New York has always been an international city, but co-ops have made no secret of their preference for buyers who make Manhattan their primary address, and for those who will not draw unwanted—or really any—attention to their buildings. Listings specifically note when a co-op is pied-a-terre friendly; the assumption, of course, is that it’s not. Moreover, the strict financial disclosure requirements, letters of recommendation and interview requirements mean that acceptance to the top co-ops is virtually impossible for those without a New York pedigree. In the past, people who couldn’t pass muster with a co-op board—including the former president Richard
Nixon—had little recourse but to buy a townhouse or rent.

As a result, many brokers even made it a point of pride to eschew advertising. “I don’t want people we don’t know asking us to help them, because we don’t know where we can put them,” Edward Cave told Steven Gaines, when he interviewed Mr. Cave for the book The Sky’s the Limit. “I have sold only two apartments in 20 years through advertising.”

How did he sell apartments? He and the brokers who worked for him knew people, of course. At least they knew the right people. Of the 25 people at his firm, Mr. Cave noted that practically all of them were either married to, related to or went to school with all of the firm’s clients.

But in the last decade, a seismic shift has occurred in the world of New York’s ultra luxurious real estate, a shift that is intimately tied to the rise of a class of super-luxury condos like those in the Time Warner Center, 15 CPW, One57, the Ritz Carlton and the Plaza. Condos have long drawn wealthy foreigners, but these full-service amenity-laden buildings offered trophies as gleaming as those in the top co-ops. And given the larger pool of eager buyers, they soon started selling for as much as, and sometimes more.

The landscape of wealth is also shifting. “Foreigners traditionally bought in London and the South of France,” said Kirk Henckels, the executive VP at Stribling. “But now the U.S. has become the attractive place to park money, particularly with all the financial troubles in Europe. We sort of have a perfect storm of good properties and foreign buyers, and price is no object.”

Foreign buyers have lots of money and they wanted to spend it on a magnificent apartment, but they do not necessarily have the inclination, or the social connections, to land in Manhattan’s best co-ops. As one broker noted, the co-op market may not be open to these individuals, but very big sales in mega condos are helping to raise prices for all trophy properties. (The Courtney Sale Ross apartment, which spent years on the market as a whisper listing, finally set a co-op record when it sold this spring for $52.5 million.) And as it happens, the global elite often find the bright glare of the spotlight helpful rather than gauche.

“Public relations are enormously important,” Mr. Henckels said. “Having a good story behind a property plays an important role. Foreign publications are picking them up and that’s where a lot of buyers are coming from.”

CORE broker Emily Beare, who has a $95 million listing at 15 CPW, noted that in many ways advertising and publicity have helped to make the building one of the most successful in the world. “It educated the world on the building,” she said. “We know that New York is a place where people want to invest. So how do you reach out to them?”

The looming specter of wealth taxes in countries like France and the economic uncertainty across the continent makes New York real estate particularly attractive right now, according to Stijn Van Nieuwerburg, the director of the Center for Real Estate Finance Research at NYU’s business school.

“Real estate is becoming an appealing investment and New York is emerging as a leader in the global marketplace,” Mr. Van Nieuwerburg said. “It’s tied to the emerging upper and middle classes in places like India and China. Those countries still lack a lot of financial stability, but you have people with money to invest. Global marketing is key to reaching a lot of those buyers.”

Many brokers pointed out that when it comes to publicity, the Internet has changed everything. As soon as a listing goes online, it’s there for the world to see anyway, so why not try to control the message? Property transfers, including co-ops, can now be found online and both buyers and looky-loos can peruse detailed histories and photo galleries on StreetEasy.

“When we first started we were met with a lot of resistance from brokers who were angry that we were showing price changes and time on the market,” said Sofia Song, the vice president of research at StreetEasy. “The real estate industry in New York used to be so opaque, especially because we don’t have an MLS,” she added, referring to a multiple listing service.

But these days, Ms. Song said that brokers will often call if they cut the prices on their listings and don’t see it reflected on the site immediately.

Brokers emphasized, however, that while trophy condos may have embraced a new existence in the public eye, co-op deals are still conducted in the same way they always have been. A prime example is the multi-floor co-op at 2 East 70th Street that belonged to the estate of the late private equity billionaire Teddy Fortsmann. When it came on the market in March, it had no online photos, no public listing and no entry in the broker database.

“With a property of that stature, we thought less was more, and that frankly, a big PR campaign and intense marketing would be sort of gilding the lily,” said Meredyth Smith, who co-brokered the sale with her Sotheby’s colleague Serena Boardman. The property sold almost immediately, for $4 million above the $36 million ask.

Word, as it always does, did get out—the New York Post featured a gossipy item on both the listing and the contract—the key distinction was that neither Ms. Smith nor Ms. Boardman returned the Post’s calls and they certainly didn’t invite the newspaper in for a tour.

Ms. Smith likened top co-op sales to a very successful IPO, with a first round of very quiet showings for a small number of potential buyers.

“With co-ops there is the feeling that too much drum beating can be counterproductive,” she said. “For the very sophisticated buyer who is the target audience for these apartments, their point of entry into the market is not through advertising, but through word of mouth. They’re in the inner circle already.”

And regardless of whether a trophy hunting billionaire is looking to land an apartment in the most exclusive co-op or the shiniest new condo tower rising on the horizon, advertising can only do so much.

“Publicity gets people to the properties, but it has to be a good product,” said Douglas Elliman’s CEO and President Dottie Herman.“The publicity alone wouldn’t do it if the property was in Hoboken.”

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.
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