Ask a broker: CORE vice president Jarrod Guy Randolph

New York Daily NewsAugust 09, 2012
Jarrod Guy Randolph got his first taste of real estate at 16 interning for a high-profile broker in Pennsylvania.
He stuck with it and succeeded, recently appearing in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for real estate as well as HGTV’s “Selling New York.” He fills in Voyeur on his plans for New York City domination.

What’s your next hottest nabe in NYC?

NoMad the 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.

What was your first big sell?

A 10-unit, $14 million deal at 15 Broad St. to an Irish investor.

What did you buy yourself after?

I bought an SL 500 Mercedes. Sounds cooler than it was, as I quickly realized it was too much car for me to handle. I returned it after three months because I sideswiped a cab, drove up onto a sidewalk and almost lost my license trying to make a 4 p.m. ferry to the Vineyard with only three hours to spare.

What part of the business do you love most?

I keep telling myself it is [co-op] board packages.

Neighborhood in NYC you could live without?

Roosevelt Island. It feels like I’m on the set of a Stephen King movie or “The Island of Doctor Moreau.”

In which era of NYC history would you want to be selling or living?
I’m not so much interested in the past as I am the future when I’m NYC’s top real estate broker in five years. Once that chapter is closed, I’ll move to developing my own projects. Move over, Mr. Trump.

One Murray Park – 53% Sold in Three Months! Boutique Luxury Living in Long Island City

August 09, 2012
NEW YORK – (August 9, 2012) – CORE is pleased to announce that One Murray Park, one of the firm’s new developments, is now 53% in contract after approximately three months. With exclusive sales led by CORE Executive Vice President and Associate Broker, Doron Zwickel, the building consists of 10 studio, 25 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom apartments.

“The activity of sales at One Murray Park has defied the common wisdom that summertime is slow,” says Zwickel. “The project has quickly reached the important benchmark of 53% in contract and traffic at the sales office has only increased over the last few weeks.”

One Murray Park is the first condominium on Long Island City’s Murray Park (also known as Murray Playground), and the first new condominium to hit the LIC market in more than a year. Murray Park recently underwent a multimillion dollar renovation to include a new playground and state-of-the-art synthetic turf ball field.

“There are many things that appeal to our buyers including our beautiful library, efficient layouts, sleek interiors and large outdoor spaces for many of the units. Our greatest advantage is the unobstructed views of Murray Park and Manhattan that many of the units offer.” Zwickel adds, “Couple that with the fact that it is only a block away from the first stop in Queens on the E and M trains and you have an unmatchable living experience.”

Designed by SoHo-based architecture firm Fogarty Finger and built by a team consisting of veteran Long Island City developer Shuster Development & Management and TerraMax Development, One Murray Park is an anchor on tree-lined 45th Avenue, offering residents a recently renovated park right at their doorstep. One Murray Park’s amenities will include a doorman, gym, indoor parking, residents’ library, pet washing area and common roof deck. The project is also eligible for 15-year 421a tax abatement.

For more information, or to schedule a private appointment, call Doron Zwickel of CORE at 212-612-9607.

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

Livin’ Legend

New York PostAugust 09, 2012

Musician John Legend has hit another high note with downtown real estate.


Legend, who’s in contract to sell his condo on the Bowery, has landed a sweet one-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom condo loft at Nolita’s Brewster Carriage House conversion at 374 Broome St.


The 1,969-square-foot unit, carved out of a 19th-century building, was listed for $2.55 million. We hear that the purchase price was close to the asking price but under $2.5 million. The stylish, bright unit, with three exposures, includes a big living room with a fireplace, a chef’s kitchen and spa-like bathrooms with soaking tubs and rainfall showers.


Legend’s longtime broker Jason Walker, of Prudential Douglas Elliman, declined to comment, but our spies spotted Legend at the building several times before the closing.


Meanwhile Legend’s two-bedroom, two-bathroom Bowery condo at 52 E. Fourth St. is in contract with a mystery buyer. Its last asking price was $2.795 million, down from its original $2.95 million. That building includes a landscaped roof deck, a swimming pool and interiors by Andres Escobar.”


Buying and Spelling


Talk about downsizing! In 2009, Candy Spelling, mom to reality-TV star Tori, put her LA estate, Spelling Manor, on the market for a whopping $150 million before selling the 56,500-square-foot mansion on 4.7 acres for $85 million to Petra Ecclestone, heir to Formula One billionaire dad Bernie.


Now Spelling has been spotted checking out far more modest Manhattan digs, including a $4.995 million, three-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot co-op at the Chatham building on East 65th Street. That unit has sold to another buyer, but Spelling has other options in the neighborhood. She also checked out a unit in the $5 million range at the Manhattan House condo conversion on East 66th Street.


Maybe Spelling got tired of all her space in LA, where Spelling Manor had a room that was just for gift-wrapping.


Just Drew it


Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman wed in June at Barrymore’s home in Montecito, Calif. But the couple are still apartment hunting in New York, where Kopelman, an art dealer and son of former Chanel CEO Arie Kopelman, grew up on the Upper East Side.


One place they looked at was a $4.475 million, three-bedroom, two-bathroom, high-floor duplex at the Gainsborough co-op building on Central Park South. The unit, which has double-height ceilings and a 30-foot-long living room with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows with Central Park views, is no doubt dramatic, but Barrymore and Kopelman aren’t going to be moving in. Another buyer has snagged the apartment.


Ski Town and Country


It’s not a “Million Dollar Listing” in New York, but reality-TV broker Ryan Serhant hopes his name will help sell his parents’ Colorado ranch property. The Steamboat Springs house is a five-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom log home that’s listed for $2.45 million. It’s 5,832 square feet and perched on a sprawling 11.46 acres that also includes a new barn with four stables.


“It’s the best skiing out west,” Serhant, of Nest Seekers International, says of the area. And the home, known as Creek Ranch, also includes easy access to hunting and fishing.


Serhant’s parents moved in when the broker went to college. And Serhant spent summers there. “I worked on the ranch, building fences and moving the bucking horses, as there’s a big rodeo in Steamboat,” he says.


Take it or Levitt


Dede Sheoris-Levitt, ex-wife of hedge-funder Michael Levitt, has put the massive home she once shared with her husband on the market for $18.5 million.


The Alpine, NJ, home is located at 4 Stone Tower Drive. In addition to the 23,000-square-foot mansion, there’s a 2,000-square-foot staff home and a pool house. No expense was spared on the seven-bedroom estate, which has six main reception rooms and eight “recreational” rooms including a gym, theater, two-lane bowling alley and arcade.


There’s also a nine-car garage, an elevator, a pool, a spa, a putting green and a tennis court. A source close to Sheoris-Levitt, who owns the mansion on her own, says she is selling because she spends more time in Manhattan and her oceanfront home in the Hamptons.


Dennis McCormack, of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, has the listing.


Whoa, ‘Daddy’


Tahj Mowry, star of ABC Family’s new “Baby Daddy” sitcom, was spotted downtown on the hunt for a posh pad. Fans caught up with him outside Trump SoHo, where he had been checking out units with Sabrina Kleier-Morgenstern of HGTV’s “Selling New York” and fellow Gumley Haft Kleier broker Isabel Solmonson. Our spies tell us that a two-bedroom penthouse particularly piqued his curiosity. Mowry graciously posed for pictures with fans before hopping into a tinted Escalade.

Have you heard…: 1280 Fifth

Real Estate WeeklyAugust 08, 2012
Kevin Jonas, eldest of the superstar Jonas Brothers, was spotted at One Museum Mile (OMM) at 1280 Fifth Avenue doing a photo shoot for Social Life magazine.

We hear that in addition to the photo shoot, an E! crew was there filming for Kevin and his wife’s new series, Married to Jonas, premiering in August. The team was unavailable for comment.

A day later, OMM hosted a foreign press tour where guests were then taken to celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster for a private tasting.”

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier’s 15-story masterpiece Richard Meier On Prospect Park is sold out.

Brown Harris Stevens just announced that, after assuming the sales role in January 2012, the condo is fully occupied.

Louis Greco, president of the builder Second Development Services, said, “Developing a marketing and sales strategy inspired by the incredible design of this stunning project, the team at Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing immediately put their market acumen and resources to work and the remaining residences were sold or rented within six months. We could not be more pleased with the outcome.”

The building was first introduced to the market in 2008 with Corcoran in charge of sales.

Skyline Developers has just signed a lease for a new sales gallery for its newest project.

The developer plans to launched sales at 261 East 78th Street this fall.

“First impressions are the most important,” said Orin Wilf, president of Skyline Developers, which developed the well received 170 East End Avenue.

“The sales gallery, featuring a fully built-out custom designed kitchen, luxurious master bathroom and powder room, will showcase the handcrafted details and high level of craftsmanship that Skyline is known to deliver to the market.”

The condo’s architect Cetra Ruddy also designed the sales gallery space on the fifth floor of 261 East 78th Street.

The space will also house offices for the Stribling Marketing Associates team — led by Alexa Lambert — which will be handling the sales and marketing for 200 East 79th Street.

A Steel Tycoon Is Selling A Pair Of 15 Central Park West Apartments For $95 Million—5 Times What He Paid For Them

Business InsiderAugust 08, 2012
Leroy Schecter, the chairman of steelmaker Marino/Ware Industries, has just listed a pair of apartments at storied 15 Central Park West for $95 million—slightly more than FIVE times what he paid for them.

According to the Wall Street Journal's Josh Barbanel, Schecter has hired a construction crew to rip out the walls and combine the two condos he owns on the building's 35th floor in order to create a titanic, five-bedroom pad.

He paid a combined $18.9 million for the apartments, Barbanel writes.

At $95 million, Schecter's apartment is the second most expensive property currently on the market in New York City, following the recent listing of a $100 million, octagon-shaped penthouse at CitySpire.

Schecter also recently listed a sprawling estate on Indian Creek Drive in Miami Beach for $45 million, making it one of the most expensive listings ever in the area. He has said he plans to donate 90 percent of his net worth to charity after he dies, including portions of the proceeds from his property sales.

There's no official listing for the property (yet), but it's being sold by Emily Beare of CORE

Schecter aims to shatter Weill’s 15 CPW record

The Real DealAugust 08, 2012
Metal mogul Leroy Schecter is betting that by combining his two units in 15 Central Park West he can top Sanford Weill’s record sales price in the building. The Wall Street Journal reported that Schechter is combining his two units on the 35th floor, for which he paid a combined $18.9 million, and listing them for $95 million with Emily Beare of Core.

“Nobody knows what the right price is,” Schecter told the Journal. “If you had $10 billion and you are trying to put in a good place, you aren’t going to put it in a bank, you are going to try to buy good real estate with it.”

The Marino/Ware Industries chairman had put the two units on the market for a combined $55 million in 2010, only to turn down a $48 million offer and begin work to combine the space. Prior to the construction work he rented the two units for a combined $70,000 per month to Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez and Cendant Corp. founder Henry Silverman.

The Journal said the units are about 20 percent smaller than the 6,744-square-foot one bought for $88 million, but Schecter’s have superior views. It is the second priciest apartment on the market after the $100 million CitySpire penthouse.

Turning Double Play Into Big Single

The Wall Street JournalAugust 08, 2012
On the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, Leroy Schecter, an 85-year-old steel magnate, had ordered construction crews to rip out walls on his two condos in the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, one of the world's most expensive apartment buildings.

Now the pieces—on the 35th floor high above Central Park at West 62nd Street—are being reassembled into a single five-bedroom apartment with remarkable views of park and river and even more remarkable asking price: $95 million.

The asking price shows the soaring ambition of property owners, after some record=breaking sales, and contracts signed this year by multimillionaire buyers from the U.S. and abroad this year. Mr. Schecter paid total $18.9 million for the two separate apartments.

But he says he isn't worried about getting his asking price. In a world in which the very rich are looking for safe investments in which to park their money, he said, the true value of a large apartment at 15 Central Part West is unknown.

"Nobody knows what the right price is," he said. "If you had $10 billion and you are trying to put in a good place, you aren't going to put it in a bank, you are going to try to buy good real estate with it."

Work is under way to join two units on the 35th floor of 15 Central Park West into a single apartment with an asking price of $95 million. Owner Leroy Schecter had tried to sell the apartments, which once had been rented to Yankees star Alex Rodriquez and Cendant Corp. founder Henry Silverman, before deciding to combine the units instead.

Even so, Mr. Schecter, the chairman of steelmaker Marino/Ware Industries, is in the process of shedding some real estate here and in Florida.

In May he put his waterfront mansion in Indian Creek Village on a private island near Miami Beach on the market for $45 million. He said he planned to donate another apartment in Portofino Tower in Miami Beach to his foundation.

He said a portion of the proceeds of his Central Park West sales also will go toward his charitable foundation, which is planning to refocus on helping people living in poverty in the New York area.

Mr. Schecter, a producer of Woody Allen's musical "Bullets over Broadway," once rented out his apartments on Central Park West for a total of $70,000 a month to two prime tenants— with Alex Rodriquez, the Yankees slugger, on one side and Henry Silverman, the founder of Cendant Corp., on the other.

Now, rows of new aluminum studs demarcate a living room, study and dining room that will face Central Park. The master bedroom is designed so that the bed will also look out at the park. The large master bathroom will have an 8-by-8 window facing south.

The Schecter apartment, listed by Emily Beare of CORE, is the second most expensive listing in Manhattan, following the $100 million listing of an octagonal 8,000-square-foot penthouse on the 73rd floor at City Spire on West 56th Street.

It is also priced above the highest closed condominium sale in the city and at 15 Central Park West, the $88 million sale of an apartment owned by Sanford I. Weill, the former head of Citigroup, to a Russian tycoon earlier this year.

In 2010 Mr. Schecter put the two separate apartments on the market for a combined $55 million. But after he said he turned down an offer of $48 million, he pulled the listing and began to work on the renovation plan to combine the space.

Though it is 20% smaller than Mr. Weill's former apartment atop a 20-story section of the building, Ms. Beare said that the Schecter apartment had broader views out to the Hudson and across the city available on the 35th floor.

1848 House Gets Slightly More Modern Look, Seeks $12M

CurbedAugust 08, 2012
Tuesday is usually townhouse day around here, but 114 West 13th Street waits for no calendar. The CORE blog has the reveal on this place, a 4BR, 4BA, 1848 house that has received a pretty significant makeover, if the changes in pricing over time are any indication (and also, the listing says so!). The place last sold in 2002 for $2.5 million, and after "structural, mechanical and technological upgrades," it's now asking $11.995 million. It was listed in between for $8,495,000, but there are no earlier listings with photos, so we don't know what the place looked like pre-reno.

Now a 15 Central Park West Apartment is Asking $95 Million

CurbedAugust 08, 2012
After A-Rod left his 35th-floor rental at 15 Central Park West, the apartment's owner, steel magnate Leroy Schecter, announced his plans to combine the unit, 35B, with 35A, which he also owned, and then put the combo up for sale. Schecter had already tried and failed to sell the apartments in 2010 for $55 million, at the time an astonishing price for even 15 CPW. Now, Schecter's five-bedroom combo is nearly complete, and the Journal reveals its asking price: $95 million. This is the era in which another apartment in the building sold for $88 million, after all, and there are still 92 people in the world richer than the person who bought it.

Why should they fork over the funds? >>

Schecter himself paid just $18.9 million for the two apartments, so why should anyone pay so much more for the combo, especially when it's 20 percent smaller than its $88 million neighbor? Schecter's apartment is higher and has better views, his broker explains. The master bedroom looks out on the park, too, even if it wasn't custom-designed by building architect Robert A.M. Stern. And, like Sanford Weill, seller of the $88 million pad, some of Schecter's profits from the sale will go to charity—in this case, Schecter's own foundation, which "is planning to refocus on helping people living in poverty in the New York area."
There's no listing online for the $95 million combo, but here are the floorplans for the two uncombined 35th-floor units:

Blockbusters: Now a 15 Central Park West Apartment is Asking $95 Million

The Broker BuddyAugust 08, 2012
After A-Rod left his 35th-floor rental at 15 Central Park West, the apartment’s owner, steel magnate Leroy Schecter, announced his plans to combine the unit, 35B, with 35A, which he also owned, and then put the combo up for sale. Schecter had already tried and failed to sell the apartments in 2010 for $55 million, at the time an astonishing price for even 15 CPW. Now, Schecter’s five-bedroom combo is nearly complete, and the Journal reveals its asking price: $95 million. This is the era in which another apartment in the building sold for $88 million, after all, and there are still 92 people in the world richer than the person who bought it.

Schecter himself paid just $18.9 million for the two apartments, so why should anyone pay so much more for the combo, especially when it’s 20 percent smaller than its $88 million neighbor? Schecter’s apartment is higher and has better views, his broker explains. The master bedroom looks out on the park, too, even if it wasn’t custom-designed by building architect Robert A.M. Stern. And, like Sanford Weill, seller of the $88 million pad, some of Schecter’s profits from the sale will go to charity—in this case, Schecter’s own foundation, which “is planning to refocus on helping people living in poverty in the New York area.”

There’s no listing online for the $95 million combo, but here are the floorplans for the two uncombined 35th-floor units:

Walker Penthouse Hits The Market

CurbedAugust 08, 2012
The first of eight penthouses in Walker Tower is officially on the market. A Curbed operative spied this listing on StreetEasy for PH5, a 3BR/4.5BA duplex asking $14 million for 3,396-square-feet. The apartment has a 190-square-foot terrace, a separate laundry room, and a wood-burning fireplace. The description of the interiors seem to match what we saw in the model unit, which is shown in the listing photos. Click through for the floorplan.

Poker Player's A Building Penthouse Now Has Lower Buy In

CurbedAugust 07, 2012
Pro poker player Phil Galfond earned our undying admiration when he hired Turrett Collaborative Architects to build a helical slide connecting two penthouse condos in (of course) the A Building. Unfortunately, Galfond, who moved to Canada following a Justice Department crackdown on online poker, hasn't had much luck reselling his quirky former home base. He listed it in February for $3.99 million (we filmed it shortly thereafter) and now, EV Grieve points out, the place has been PriceChopped to $3,699,000. Sadly, we'd need Galfond's skill at poker before we could put in an offer.

Sliding home is now slightly less expensive in the A Building

EV GRIEVEAugust 07, 2012
A reader yesterday sent us a link to the Freshome site, which had a feature on everyone's favorite East Village helical-slide-showcasing duplex penthouse ...

We had almost forgotten about this SliPlex in the A-Building... We wrote about it back in March 2011... turned out that Phil Galfond, a professional poker player, owned this place. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that the home was for sale with a $3.99 million price tag.

You'd figure any penthouse duplex with a game room, terrace putting green and a giant slide would be snapped up in a hurry around these parts ... Actually, we looked, and found that the place is still on the market — now just $3.699 after a 7 percent price cut on July 27, according to Streeteasy.

You can take a video-slide tour of it over at Curbed.

On the Market in New York City:141 Fifth Avenue #22

The New York TimesAugust 06, 2012

Walker Tower gets scrubbed down

CurbedAugust 06, 2012
CHELSEA—There are window washers, and then there are building washers. A tipster sent along these photos of the Walker Tower's brick getting a thorough scrub down. Just six short months ago, this side of the art deco building was getting its windows popped out. You can best see the contrast between the newly cleaned brick and the dingy, dirt-covered brick on the lower left side in the photo above.

Seen & Heard: World Party

Tribeca CitizenAugust 03, 2012
If you’re curious about how the four-story topper at 93 Worth (at Broadway) is coming along, look no further: A tipster sent in this photo.

Joan Collins’ midtown east apartment gets a makeover

NY Daily NewsAugust 02, 2012
Let’s face it, she is Joan Collins. She owns apartments in New York and Los Angeles, a villa in the South of France and a flat in London. She has starred in more than 50 feature films, and acted on stage since she was 13. She has charities, and is equally as glam now as when she starred as one of TV’s great she-devils, “Dynasty’s” Alexis Carrington.

In person and on the phone, Collins speaks quickly, has strong opinions and knows what she wants and how to get it. She understands how real estate, sex appeal and celebrity work.

“They follow celebrities everywhere these days,” says Collins, on the phone from the South of France. “Where they go on vacations, when they have babies, so why should it be any different when it comes to when they change abodes? I have moved over 40 or 50 times in my life, and each time everyone knew it was my house. I don’t think that hurts.”

Collins recently put her New York home back on the market, listing it with Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon of CORE. The $2.35 million three-bedroom, three-bath had been on the market at various prices for a year with three brokerages but saw little action in a slow sales period. Postilio and Conlon, partners in work and life, saw an opportunity to restore Hollywood glamour that was diminished when Collins shipped many of her belongings to her homes around the world. They worked with interior designer John Lyle to put more than $1 million worth of rugs, chairs, art and other items to help the home show better.

“The place shows fantastic,” says Postilio. “We didn’t hide the fact that this is Joan’s apartment. We used that to our advantage.”

Postilio is a star himself. He and Conlon are main cast members on HGTV’s “Selling NY.” Before becoming a founder of CORE, the Ozone Park-born Postilio was a professional singer, headlining the Glenn Miller Band in a national tour and playing Tavern on the Green, the Algonquin’s Oak Room and the Rainbow Room.

“It’s all show business at the end of the day,” he says. “Sales is showmanship and personality. Of course, it’s more than that, but that’s a big part.

Conlon plays piano. As a freshman at Duke University, he got his real estate license to make money while home in Long Island during summers. He started out producing Broadway shows. He dresses in colorful suits with vests and bow ties.

“We sell luxury real estate,” says Conlon. “It’s what we do. CORE, our brand, reflects that. It’s not a part we’re playing.”

Postilio is always dapper, looking as much a 1950s Rat Pack crooner as 2012 luxury real estate agent. The two always seem to be smiling. They have an easy way about them, unlike other high-end brokers who have an intense look in their eye. These two take it as it comes. They know they are not curing cancer.

“Flexibility is a hallmark of good mental health,” says Postilio. “You have to be flexible in life, this city and this business.”

If ever a client and a set of brokers were born to work together, it might be Collins, Postilio and Conlon. When together, they laugh like old friends. The three met over Thanksgiving dinner at Michael Feinstein’s house around a table that included Liza Minnelli and Elaine Stritch. They sealed the deal at a party at Suzanne Somers’ Malibu home.

The apartment and Collins will guest- star in an episode of “Selling NY” set to air this fall. The home has its original parquet and herringbone floors, which Collins says is “chic.” The master bathroom is completely mirrored. The master bedroom is full of sage green toile. It covers the headboard, walls and curtains. In the makeover, Collins insisted it stays.

“This is the first time I’ve ever let a decorator touch any of my homes,” she says. “I've always done all the work myself.”

Collins bought the apartment in 2002. Her husband, stage manager Percy Gibson, saw 60 homes before they decided on the three-bedroom in the Dorchester at 110 E. 57th St.

“I like light and I need space,” says Collins. “This home had 16 closets. We combined one, so now it has 15. The master bedroom is large. I like the East Side. Right on my block, I can get a manicure, pedicure and massage. They have a diner we love and top restaurants nearby. Bloomingdale’s is a five-minute walk, and I’m steps to Park Ave. It was perfect for us. We love New York. Who doesn’t love New York? It was just time to sell. It’s not practical to have so many homes and there is more work for me in Los Angeles and London.”

The apartment has needs.

While a wall of windows fronting 57th St. makes the space feel loft-like, the home feels dated. Collins and Gibson spent little time there. The kitchen hasn’t been touched, except by caterers.

“Who cares about the kitchen?” says Collins. “I don’t cook.”

Designer Lyle placed $1 million worth of furnishings, carpets, accessories and paint inside to give it a golden age of Hollywood feel. He unveiled the makeover at a party last week.

Moroccan and Indian hand-woven carpets priced at more than $180,000 apiece from Doris Leslie Blau anchor the space. For spice, Lyle added vintage Chanel chairs ($10,000 each), mirrored bedside tables ($14,000), and walls colored by paint and wallpaper donated by Farrow & Ball ($4,200).

“Glamour, drama and sexy was my mantra,” says Lyle. “We wanted a buyer to see the full space. To update it properly, you’d have to gut the space. It works now, but it could be a sensational apartment.”

Artwork of Collins is everywhere. One portrait of the star is by her son, noted artist Sacha Newley. Photos of Collins’ idols Cary Grant and Laurence Olivier are in the red room, which served as Gibson’s study.

“We try desperately to get exposure for a listing,” says Conlon. “In this case, we wanted to use the glamour and sex appeal that is Joan Collins. The thing is, this is a very well-priced home. It is priced to sell. For $2.35 million, you get to live in one of the best-managed buildings on the East Side at the crossroads of the world.”

Architects and designers who know the value of the building and location have already toured the home, some more than once.
“There could be the temptation to keep some of the original design,” says Postilio. “The master bathroom could be in a museum. It’s pure glam.”

You Should Know:

WHAT: Joan Collins’ East 57th St. apartment, on the market for $2.35 million.

WHY: Designer John Lyle gave it a Hollywood makeover. Added goods cost over $1 million.

TO BUY: CORE brokers and HGTV “Selling NY” stars Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon have the listing. Call (212) 612-9623.

The Ralph Walker Resurrection Continues: 435 West 50th Street, Developer’s Latest Art Deco Jem, Under Way with Starwood

The New York ObserverAugust 01, 2012
In an unassuming corner of the city, perhaps the last one left, an under-appreciated brick building is about to undergo a transformation into yet the latest luxury development to hit a city that always seems to have room for another. The tan- and yellow-brick pile sits in the middle of West 50th Street between 9th and 10th avenues, on the border between Hells Kitchen and the neighborhood that suddenly seems to be blossoming along the river as the Dursts, Walentas and others assemble shiny new apartment towers just to the northwest.

Yet 435 50th Street is anything but flashy and new. A throwback in the grandest sense, in that it is a far bit better than the original, the project is the second coming out for Ralph Walker, the long-forgotten AIA president and Art Deco master who dotted the city with at once industrious and luxurious old towers for the New York Telephone Company. It is noveau prewar of the first order.

The first such was the now eponymous Walker Tower, just off Sixth Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets, where developers JDS Development and PMG hope to achieve some of the highest prices not only downtown but in the entire city, including a possible duplex penthouse overlooking Chelsea and the Village asking $94 million. Walker also designed such tough jewels as 1 Wall Street and the Barclay Vesey Building, landmarks you never knew you knew.

On West 50th Street, the plan is much the same. JDS and PMG bought both the West 18th Street building and the West 50th Street building from Verizon, which retains control of the lower floors for office and operations while the developers assemble grand condos above, designed by Cetra/Ruddy. The developers paid $20 million for the latter building last July, and according to city records, Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital—also a backer in the Chelsea project—just injected $25 million into the project last week.

“Construction is under way and we expect to complete the project in early 2014,” JDS principal Michael Stern said in a brief statement.The project is expected to come on the market some time next year, and renderings show new windows added to the grand 1930s facade but little alterations beyond that. The exact price of the renovation was not given, but for comparison, the one at Walker Tower is set to surpass $200 million.

Prices have also not yet been set, and while this building might not have the same commanding views or white hot neighborhood to boast, the area is certainly on the up and up. And so, too, is this new building.

Beyond Walker Tower

The Real DealAugust 01, 2012
Twenty-nine-year-old Michael Stern was riding the elevator in a Verizon-owned building at 212 West 18th Street when he found out that Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy.

Stern’s company, JDS Development, wasn’t actively acquiring properties at the time, and he’d been dragged “kicking and screaming” by a broker to check out the prewar building, which Verizon was using as storage for copper wire. But once Stern saw the views from the upper floors of the Art Deco tower, he knew he wanted to turn it into residential condos.

Luckily for the up-and-coming developer, the Lehman Brothers collapse — and its subsequent devastation — discouraged others from bidding on the building, giving him the opportunity to buy it with partner Property Markets Group for just over $25 million. Other industry pros thought he was crazy, he said. It was risky, especially in the midst of a financial crisis, and the commercially zoned building did not look ripe for residential conversion.

“A lot of people couldn’t understand how I’d make this building work as a residential building,” Stern recalled, “but I knew the bones were great.”

Four years later, it looks like Stern made the right move. The conversion of what is now known as Walker Tower (after its architect, Ralph Walker) is complete, and it’s one of the only new development condos currently on the market. Stern, now 33, is working with residential brokerage Core to sell the building’s 50 units, some of which have already traded for up to $3,400 per square foot, he said. Despite having just hit the market in June, the building is already more than 25 percent sold.

“That deal is a total grand slam,” said Robert Knakal of Massey Knakal Realty Services, who has done deals with Stern but was not involved in the Walker Tower deal.

The soon-to-be-converted Verizon building at 435 West 50th Street Walker Tower has, to some extent, propelled JDS into the spotlight, particularly in New York City, where Stern previously focused mostly on lower-profile, outer-borough projects. And Walker Tower isn’t the only project JDS is doing with PMG, the Manhattan-based real estate acquisition and development firm where Extell’s Gary Barnett cut his teeth. JDS and PMG now have plans to develop a 70-unit condo at 435 West 50th Street, another Verizon building and a 100,000-square-foot retail and residential project at 105 West 57th Street.

John Cetra of architecture firm Cetra/Ruddy, which oversaw the conversion of Walker Tower, said Stern may be able to build on his current momentum.

If Stern “is able to keep that going, with the right properties, the right location, the right timing,” Cetra said, “he could be a real player.”

On deck

JDS, working alongside PMG, is currently one of the city’s most active development firms, brokers said.

Last year, JDS and PMG paid just over $20 million for 101,000 square feet of the West 50th Street Verizon building, including the penthouse, lobby and the 10th through 17th floors. The 70-unit condo, also designed by Cetra/Ruddy, is slated to hit the market in the spring of 2013.

Perhaps JDS’s highest-profile project with PMG, however, is at 105 West 57th Street, where the partners in May paid Starwood Capital Group $40 million for a majority interest in a development site.

In conjunction with Starwood, which retained a stake in the property, JDS broke ground on a 50-story condo and retail tower last month. Completion is slated for 2014. Meanwhile, JDS is planning two other developments in Soho and on the Far West Side, but Stern said he couldn’t yet disclose details about them.

JDS also has a number of projects in the outer boroughs. The company is finishing up construction of a 51-unit rental building at 202 Eighth Street in Park Slope, a site it bought for $5.8 million in early 2008. Leasing of the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, where asking rents will be $53 to $54 per square foot, is set to start in October.

In addition, JDS and PMG are planning a 50-unit rental building at 50 North First Street in Williamsburg. Brooklyn developer Israel Gold had previously owned the property, where a construction mishap in 2009 caused a roof to collapse. Last year, JDS paid $8.75 million for the defaulted note on the property and another $1 million to take control of the deed. Construction is slated to be completed by the end of the year, with the units set to come online in January 2013.

As if that weren’t enough, JDS is also ramping up its activities in Florida. With PMG, JDS recently launched a seven-residence development in Bal Harbour called 95th on the Ocean. The company also has plans for projects in nearby Aventura and Hollywood, Fla.
Getting all these projects in the ground has kept Stern busy. “I don’t sleep very much,” said Stern, whose youth makes him a rarity in the world of New York City development.

“If you look at the developers who have the most notoriety in town, they tend to have been in the market for a longer period of time than Michael,” Knakal noted.

A builder’s builder

Still, it’s been a long road for Stern, who does not have a college degree and said his parents are “very much the opposite of wealthy.”

He grew up in the village of Hewlett Harbor on the south shore of Long Island. His father owned an auto body shop and his mother was a nursing executive.

“Being a kid on Long Island, I just fell in love with the New York City skyline,” Stern recalled. “Heading into the city, I’d see the buildings rising in the distance, getting bigger as I got closer. I thought that if I could one day have an impact on that skyline, actually contribute to it, then I could look back and say I had a pretty good run.”

He started out in real estate in Miami, volunteering his services as an assistant project manager with a residential development firm. Eventually, he was hired as a project manager. After only two years, he formed JDS and began building single-family homes and, later, multifamily projects in and around Miami.

Those who work with Stern say he is unusually intense and focused.

“He’s like a freight train: He just does, does, does,” said Kemper Hyers, the head of design at Starwood Capital Group, who worked closely with Stern on the interiors of Walker Tower.

“Getting midnight e-mails from Michael is part of the experience,” Cetra added.

In 2004, Stern turned his focus to New York, building low-rise apartment buildings in the boroughs. With funding from bank loans and institutional partners, Stern said, the firm grew quickly, and has since developed several hundred units in Brooklyn and Queens, mostly two-family houses in Rockaway and East New York, though he also bought and sold a few office properties in the Financial District.

“It was very profitable at that time, before the market fell out,” said Stern. “The lending spigots were definitely open. Back then, I was a little too naïve to realize it was risky.”

Still, by the end of 2007, Stern was concerned about high prices for New York properties, and the company had slowed down its activities.

“Prices were too frothy for us,” he said. “We kind of bowed out of the market.”

Instead of acquiring new properties, JDS focused on completing construction on projects it had already begun and sold off some of its land in Brooklyn.

Walker Tower was one of the first buildings JDS purchased after this hiatus. And it wasn’t easy: After going into contract on the building, Stern lost his financial partner (a large institution he declined to name), and was still looking for an investor four days before the deal was set to close.

That’s where PMG came in. Now a national firm, PMG was founded in New York City in the 1990s by Kevin Maloney, along with Barnett and Ziel Feldman, who went on to form HFZ Capital Group.

Maloney recalled the first time he’d ever heard of Stern. “A friend of mine called me and said, ‘There’s a guy who has a contract on [the Verizon building]. I know you’ve never met him, but his financial partner fell out of bed and he’s looking for a new one. We’re recommending you guys at PMG.’ ”

In fact, PMG had already looked at the building, but decided against buying it after concluding that the square footage was smaller than advertised. But Stern, who had remeasured the space himself, convinced them otherwise.

It was a risk to partner with a relative unknown, acknowledged PMG executive director Elliott Joseph. But, he said, “We were willing to take a chance, because we liked the property and we liked him.”

Their bet seems to have paid off, with some help along the way from Starwood, which recapitalized Walker Tower in 2010, providing an equity injection. (Stern said Starwood “open[ed] up better financing options at a time when construction lenders were not very active.”)
Walker Tower is “one of the best new conversions I’ve ever seen,” said Robby Browne, a residential broker at the Corcoran Group who has shown units in the building to clients, but has no affiliation with Stern.

Stern’s background as a builder has been evident at Walker Tower, associates said.

Indeed, Stern insisted on moving every staircase andevery elevator in the building, and punching new windows to bring more light in.
This hands-on approach helped him wring the most possible value out of the building, Knakal said.

“The things that he did to make that development successful are things that a lot of other people didn’t see,” Knakal said.

“Re-measuring the space, figuring out ways to create additional FAR — he did a brilliant job of maximizing every square inch.”
Of course, the project has also benefitted from the current lack of high-end condo inventory downtown, brokers said.

JDS also has something of a unique approach among development firms in that it has an in-house construction division. That helps reduce tension between the construction manager, design team and owner, Cetra said.

“There’s always a certain level of adversity between the three,” he said. “With that eliminated, the team feels much more cohesive. Everybody’s on the same page.”

Walker Tower Gets a Sequel With Hell's Kitchen Conversion

CurbedAugust 01, 2012
Now that sales at Walker Tower, the conversion of a Chelsea building designed by Ralph Walker, are underway, developers JDS and Property Markets Group can move on to their next project—another conversion of a Ralph Walker building a bit further uptown. That building is 435 West 50th Street, and the Observer notes that the project just got $25 million in funding from Starwood Capital last week. Congrats, friend! Above, a before-and-after of the conversion. Seventeen stories of the building will get the condo treatment, for a total of 65 residential units. Chelsea's Walker Tower definitely has the edge when it comes to location, but perhaps it will help to inspire a more widespread Walker fever that will help its 50th Street sibling.

Meanwhile, JDS Development's Michael Stern chatted with The Real Deal about Walker Tower's sales so far. Prices on sold units have been as high as $3,400/square foot, according to Stern. The building is more than 25 percent sold.

Done Deals: 26 Sutton Pl. South #8N

Brokers WeeklyAugust 01, 2012
Sutton Place
26 Sutton Pl. South #8N

Corner two bedroom and 2-bath home with north, east and south exposures. Double glazed, tilt-and-turn windows in the living and dining rooms. Entry foyer with clos¬ets, master bedroom with en-suite bath, second bedroom with double entry and home office built-ins, chef’s kitch¬en, and custom floor plan. Full-service, white glove co-op offers a parking ga¬rage, fitness room, children’s play room, and a resident’s private garden terrace on the river. Utilities are all includ¬ed in monthly maintenance. Asking price: $1,249,000. Time on market: 16 weeks. Brokers: Elizabeth Kee, CORE ; Roschel Stearns, Corcoran.

How to price trophy properties

Herald- TribuneJuly 30, 2012
The heady prices of some recent transactions -- including $88 million for a penthouse at 15 Central Park West in New York City and the more than $90 million contract for a penthouse at One57 -- are emboldening some owners to test the market with sky-high price tags.

Or, as Shaun Osher, the chief executive of CORE, likes to say, "A lot of high-end buyers and sellers want to get on the gilded bandwagon."

Because of these intoxicating numbers, brokers say a new handful of properties in Manhattan are about to come on the market with listing prices of $90 million or more.

In Miami, too, trophy condominiums and single-family homes are being listed and sold for record numbers.

On paper, a good part of the optimism is based on economic problems elsewhere in the world that have led buyers to high-end real estate as a financial safe haven from stagnant stock markets, low-return bank accounts and onerous tax regimes.

But precisely how do brokers set these prices, particularly since many of the usual formulas and calculations do not add up?

As it turns out, pricing so-called trophy properties is an art, not a science.

"What makes a trophy property is the fact that it really is an intangible, priceless object, like a piece of art," Osher said. "This part of the market is not a rational decision, it is an emotional one."

Those intangibles include a subjective measurement of factors like building quality, views, ceiling heights, finishes, light, air and layout.
Square footage and outdoor space are factored in, as are the history and "pedigree" of the building, brokers say.

Cathy Franklin, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens, says she typically brings in four to six of her peers to help her price a property.

"You always have to look at views," she said. "You could see double or triple the price with an apartment with views versus one that doesn't have views."

Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal firm, doesn't think the soaring asking prices are based on much more than a high-end herd mentality.

"If they got it, I am going to get it," the thinking goes, Miller said. "It is all ego management."

Within the appraisal industry there is a term for listings based on loose associations to reality, he said: "P.F.A.," which stands for "Pulled From Air."

"Take the highest sale you can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk yourself up to this bigger number," Miller added.

Some analysts believe the sale of Sanford I. Weill's one-of-a-kind penthouse, at 15 Central Park West, to Ekaterina Rybolovleva has set a new benchmark, at more than $13,000 a square foot.

"They are citing it constantly," Osher said.

No subsequent sale has yet reached much more than $10,000 a square foot, but brokers and appraisers say they believe the Weill-Rybolovleva benchmark has allowed prices to soar higher.

Meanwhile, buzz and bravado often go a long way for a property.

Nick and Christian Candy, the brothers behind the One Hyde Park development in London, caught the attention of the real estate world when they set several high-water marks in that city with sales above $10,900 a square foot.

They built a development tailor-made for the tastes and whims of jet-setting billionaires, said Peter Bevan, head of the Mayfair office of U.K. Sotheby's International Realty, persuading buyers with "rarity, quality of finish, facilities, services" and a "take it or leave it" attitude.

Brokers in New York have been looking at One Hyde Park as an example of how one development can set new records.

"Here, everybody is speaking about that project," Franklin said.

But success ultimately may depend in part on how many other trophy properties are on the market.

Osher, for instance, said he believes there were still 15 to 20 such trophy properties in Manhattan that have not traded hands recently, with new ones, like the $50 million penthouse at Walker Tower in Chelsea, starting to become available.

Franklin, the Brown Harris Stevens broker, thinks there could be as many as 30 properties available, if the owners of rare Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue penthouse co-ops decided to sell.

But will international buyers become turned off by the aggressive pricing of New York and Miami real estate?

If there is something brokers agree on, Osher said, it is that "there are more billionaires in the world than trophy properties."

But Howard Lorber, the chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman, a prominent brokerage, says the well-heeled are not fools, either.

"The dream of every person that has something to sell is coming up with some international person that is going to pay substantially higher than what the market really is," he said.

"I always tell them that if those people did that, they wouldn't be rich, and they wouldn't be able to afford to buy such an apartment."

The Scoop on New Development

The Huffington PostJuly 24, 2012
In 2008, we saw the peak of housing permits issued in New York City and with it, the peak of new construction. Over the past few years, it seems developers, along with everyone else, have been unsure where the market was heading and consequently highly reluctant to take on any new projects.

This is absolutely evident from the number of new development listings currently on the market, down 20 percent last quarter from the previous year. But, with tight inventory across Manhattan and a plethora of buyers clamoring for high-end new construction, developers across the city are finally starting to get the message. According to the most recent us census data there where 4,059 new residential permits issued in NYC through the first five months of 2012. As a total this represents a 39.4 percent increase over the same period in 2011. While it is still a 58 percent decline from the peak in 2008 when there were 9,723 units permits issued, we are now going to see many more new development projects on the horizon. January to May 2012, Manhattan alone issued 1,422 permits, which was almost 10 times the 146 permits issued during the same period in 2011.

There has been a lot of talk about the new developments hitting the market; we've seen some amazing things including some record-breaking sales. As we all know the world has changed and so have the concepts for some of these developments. I am hearing about a lot of high-end projects hitting the market. If you think about it there have not been a ton of super high-end homes that have been developed. There have been really really nice finishes but not necessarily to the level you would use if you were picking the materials yourself. However that is rapidly changing. You can see this trend toward uber-luxury in the new Walker Tower (in what was the Verizon building) and Extell's One57. Crestron systems (a complete home remote control system), heated floors, high-end central heating/air conditioning systems, French herringbone oak flooring, and marble bathrooms with Waterworks fixtures, are just the some of the bells and whistles in these highly sought after buildings. I can't imagine the people who are buying here will rip out anything and start new, as I have seen happen in many cases over the last 10 years. And there's only more coming. I'm watching new developments closely and here are some of my favorites that will be hitting the market soon:

11 East 68th St

150 Charles St

301 East 50th St

290 West St

445 Lafayette St

Brokers expect more $90M-plus listingsBrokers expect more $90M-plus listings

The Real DealJuly 20, 2012
It’s been more than seven months since reports of the $88 million sale of Sanford Weill’s 15 Central Park West penthouse emerged, yet, combined with the recent $90 million-plus contract on a One57 penthouse and Steve Wynn’s $70 million purchase at the Ritz-Carlton, it continues to reverberate through the city’s real estate market. Brokers told the New York Times that they expect a slew of high-priced homes, including a handful asking more than $90 million, to hit the market in the near future.

“A lot of high-end buyers and sellers want to get on the gilded bandwagon,” Core CEO Shaun Osher told the Times. Sellers figure that with much of the globe mired in financial troubles, the world’s wealthiest are looking for investments in high-end cities, like New York.

But for the brokers listing these properties, setting an asking price can prove difficult. They factor in building qualities, views, ceiling heights, finishes, layout, and outdoor space. However, it’s still largely based on emotion, not ration.

As appraiser Jonathan Miller told the Times, sellers “take the highest sale [they] can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk [themselves] up to this bigger number.”

Though there are more billionaires in the world than trophy apartments, Prudential Douglas Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber said brokers must remind sellers who look to billionaires to pay above-market prices that those prospective buyers didn’t make their money by overestimating markets.
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