LIC’s One Murray Park Now 50 Percent In Contract
The Real DealAugust 10, 2012
One Murray Park, a once-stalled Long Island City condominium project, is now over 50 percent in contract, according to Core, the exclusive marketers of the building. Sales launched in the building, located at 11-25 45th Avenue, in mid-April.
Developed by Eyal Shuster of Shuster Development & Management and Jon Hendel of TerraMax Development, the condo is comprised of 10 studio units, 25 one-bedrooms and 10 two-bedrooms. A project rendering shows the property rises six stories in height. Doron Zwickel, an executive vice president at Core, is leading sales at the building, which was designed by Soho-based firm Fogarty Finger.
As The Real Deal previously reported, One Murray Park was the first new condo development to launch sales in the Long Island City market in more than a year.
Hendel originally envisioned the property in 2006 and had a proposed completion date of 2008, but the development fell victim to the recession. A partnership struck with Shuster last year brought the project back to life.
Streeteasy.com shows five active listings for One Murray Park. The least expensive is a 529-square-foot studio with an asking price of $385,000. The most expensive is a $900,000, 1,085-square-foot home with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Building amenities include a library, gym, indoor parking and a common roof deck. The building is located on Murray Park, which recently underwent a $2 million facelift and now features a synthetic turf ball field and a new playground. Streeteasy also shows a project completion date for the building of Sept. 1 of this year. Zwickel told The Real Deal that the building is “99.9 percent complete.” — Zachary Kussin
NY Daily NewsAugust 10, 2012
It’s time for the middle of the market to make serious gains. Here are areas to buy that could pay off with a little patience.
It's inched back. Now, the real estate market might be ready to roar. Last spring, the New York City luxury market made a statement with three major sales in a week: highest condo ever sold at more than $90 million, One57; highest co-op at $54 million, 740 Park; and a $70 million sale at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South. It's time for the middle of the market to see significant gains, too.
Even if it means grabbing a group of friends for the down payment, making an investment at the $500,000 range could pay off in a few years. With rentals increasing in price on a quarterly basis, buyers can still pay less per month to own.
"Home prices are absolutely ridiculous in most Manhattan neighborhoods," says Modern Spaces president Eric Benaim, whose growing boutique agency has offices in Long Island City and Williamsburg, two neighborhoods with strong inventory in the $400,000 to $850,000 range.
"We like the areas five to 10 minutes from Manhattan," says Benaim. "We feel they offer great bang for the buck. But act fast. Inventory is going down there as well."
It's never too late to start a real estate empire, especially as big developers see construction loans come in and neighborhoods all over the city improve due to infrastructure changes and retail enhancements. Here are 10 neighborhoods to look at, and some projects in those areas that could pay off with a little patience.
1. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
This is the still the hottest neighborhood on Earth. Walk the streets day and night to see hordes of young people from all over the globe. During the day, it's quiet and casual. At night, the streets are packed. Couples make out in doorways.
Lately, like any other great neighborhood, young families and empty-nesters have come to Williamsburg looking for some life. The riverfront park by waterfront condos the Edge and North Side Piers feel like a resort. Allswell, a new restaurant from some Spotted Pig alums, serves farm-fresh food, tasty cocktails and pies and tarts for sweet tooths.
This neighborhood is way underpriced. Aptsandlofts.com has one-bedroom apartments at 29 Montrose in East Williamsburg for as low as $365,000. Near Lorimer and Metropolitan, $500,000 can buy a two-bedroom in a number of boutique condos. Anything in this area could increase in value by 40% by 2015.
To buy: Aptsandlofts.com, led by Dave Maundrell, has new developments, rentals and top area listings.
2. Long Island City, Queens
While renters flock to this neighborhood on the water for value, smart home buyers look here for living experience and investment. Vernon Blvd. seems to get new restaurants and boutiques every week. Home prices remain stable while inventory disappears. That means prices can only go up in the years to come. Lots of room for loft conversions.
Industry, a condominium, from longtime neighborhood developers the Suna brothers (they own Silvercup Studios) is almost sold out. They have a penthouse studio loft marketed by Modern Spaces with Manhattan skyline views and balcony on the market for $560,000. At One Murray Park near Court Square, CORE's Doron Zwickel is selling a range of apartments, including studios for $385,000 and one-bedrooms for $410,000. For buyers looking to rent out units, one-bedrooms in Long Island City can fetch around $2,500.
To buy: Modernspacesnyc.com is a boutique agency that has helped Long Island City grow. They have listings at all price points.
3. Battery Park City, Manhattan
For New Yorkers on the move who like the outdoors, Battery Park offers an eco-friendly response to city grime. Recent deals for studios across several buildings show value potential in owning and investing.
At 225 Rector Place, from Related Companies with design by New York-based Clodagh, amenities include an indoor swimming pool with skylight, roof lounge, sun deck, kid's room and fitness center. The Hudson River is steps away. Studios start at $520,000 with one-bedrooms priced at $645,000. The Conrad New York is a new local destination.
To buy: Related Companies has a strong rental building called Tribeca Green and condo at 225 Rector Place. Go to related.com for more.
4. Lower East Side, Manhattan
Just a 10-minute bike ride to Wall St., this area should draw more young people looking to stay in Manhattan. The area still has grit, and Orthodox Jewish, Latino and Asian populations. Young families who see the area as a place to raise children are the latest population boom.
According to LoHo Realty, the leading local agency, a two-bedroom, one-bath with a balcony in a co-op building with a private playground is on the market for $439,000. A one-bedroom with a balcony can be had for $345,000. Go to lohorealty.com for more.
A condo conversion of an old school, the Madison Jackson, is also off and running. All units have two stories and double-height ceilings. Top floors get strong light. For an artist who wants a lower East Side lifestyle, these no-frill homes work. Go to Madison-Jackson.com. Prices start at $434,000. We hear investors want to buy multiple units.
To buy: If you like local real estate agencies, you will love LoHo Realty (lohorealty.com). For info on Madison Jackson, go to Madison-Lackson.com.
5. Downtown Brooklyn
Say what you want about the new Barclays arena, but big-money projects that change cities almost never hurt property value. The Staples Center in Los Angeles was severely criticized for years. Now the area around it is the biggest boom town in Southern California.
The same will hold true of the Barclays Center, spearheaded by Forest City Ratner. Not only is it a good decision to look around there, it's a smart decision to look a half-mile away.
Downtown Brooklyn could benefit the most from the new arrival. It needs a retail boost to coincide with the residential projects. Oro still has alcove studios with a sleeping alcove for $475,000.
Toren might have a few smaller homes still left. We like the area in Prospect Heights around Grand Army Plaza. You can grab a one-bedroom in a townhouse or prewar building ranging in price from $310,000 to $350,000. This area should continue to take off.
Go with the established players here. Halstead.com and Elliman.com have strong downtown presences.
6. Central Harlem, Manhattan
Frederick Douglass Blvd. above 116th St. has become one of the liveliest stretches in the city, meaning Harlem is still a strong place for the real estate dollar.
At 88 Morningside, two homes are left in an almost-sold-out development across the street from the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed Morningside Park. A one-bedroom with a dining area is priced at $499,000. The Aloft, part of a hotel chain from Starwood, is a lodging destination for international tourists.
To buy: Corcoran Group’s (Corcoran.com) Vie Wilson knows the uptown landscape. For info on the new development, see 88morningside.com.
7. Rockaway, Queens
Beach living in New York City doesn't come with a Hamptons price tag. Arverne by the Sea in Rockaway Beach is beachfront living with a 20-year tax abatement. It's priced to sell, with home buying opportunities going for around $559,000, or $1,595 per month mortgage for a two-family home with Atlantic Ocean views.
This neighborhood-changing project has several home models to choose from. Owner units are 1,711-square-foot, three-bedroom two-bath condos with a rooftop terrace and garage. Rent on the tenant units can be as high as $2,000. The master plan includes a new shopping center with a Stop & Shop and restaurants. If you want history, a nearby bungalow can be had for around $400,000.
To buy: The whole world is talking about tacos and catching waves. Arverne by the Sea (arvernebythesea.com) has brand-new two-family condos.
8. Stapleton, Staten Island
A new project from New York City's Economic Development Corp. and Ironstate Development Co. out of Hoboken brings a multibuilding waterfront rental and retail complex with a renovated train station and waterfront park to what is called Homeport.
It also means an increase in the value of retail and residential real estate. With the $33 million city project a few years from completion, property values are still down.
Three-family houses can be had for less than $400,000. Historic homes on Harrison are available for slightly more than $500,000. The Pointe, a new condominium on the border of St. George and Stapleton, has one-bedrooms with harbor views for slightly more than $300,000. That is giant value. Marketing Directors is selling the project.
To buy: This is a big project. Nycedc.com has the details. For info on The Pointe, go to ownthepointe.com.
9. Pelham Parkway, the Bronx
Century 21 Metro Star associate broker Gregory Tsougranis just had a bidding war on a 1,700-square-foot brick detached house with a backyard listed for $549,000. Thirty buyers walked through. Three days after being on the market, he had an accepted offer. That's how fast things are selling in this residential neighborhood near Jacobi Medical Center and Pelham Bay Park. Tsougranis also likes Pelham Gardens, where he says houses are one-third the price of the same homes in Brooklyn or Queens.
To buy: All kinds of value in the Bronx. Gregory Tsougranis gives tours. Find him at century21metrostar.com.
10. Hudson Heights, Manhattan
Broadway singers, Buddhist monks and European couples who like a gentrified life call Hudson Heights home. It's easy to get to and just far enough away from midtown (25 minutes on the A express train) to feel the peace and quiet.
(At left, Tudor apartments in Hudson Heights; photo credit: Bryan Smith for New York Daily News)
Stein-Perry Real Estate has the beat on value-based listings. Small one-bedrooms start at $149,000, with two-bedroom one-bath homes priced at $329,000. Some have Hudson River and George Washington Bridge views. If you go the one-bed route, that $500,000 can buy you three.
To buy: You might not catch a windfall, but you’ll be happy with the return. Contact Gus Perry thru steinperry.com.
Modern NYCAugust 10, 2012
Live on the entire 12th floor of the Yves in this stunning, four-bedroom condominium
with views in all directions from floor-to-ceiling windows. This beautiful penthouse
features rich, walnut flooring, 10-foot ceilings, a multi-zone central air system,
4.5-baths and a Bosch washer/dryer. The Valcucine kitchen includes a Miele
oven and dishwasher, two Sub-Zero refrigerators and a Sub-zero wine storage.
The Four bedrooms have en suite bathrooms with Duravit fixtures. Crestron
controlled lighting system illuminates the home. Other unique components
include a Sonos music system, an EcoSmart fireplace and an internet controlled
ecobee energy Smart Thermostat system. Private 230SF Rooftop Terrace.
Designed by Ismael Leyva, the Yves' first-class amenities consist of a lap pool,
a fitness room with sauna and a landscaped roof terrace with dazzling views,
right in the heart of Chelsea.
CurbedAugust 10, 2012
LONG ISLAND CITY—Sales for the 45-unit One Murray Park condo building launched at the start of the season, and CORE reports that the more than half of the building's units are already in contract. Located at 11-25 45th Avenue in LIC, the building has a doorman, gym, indoor parking, roof deck, and library lounge, and current available units range from a $385,000 studio to a $900,000 2BR/2BA. All of the listings can be found here. [CORE Blog; previously]
GREENPOINT—If heavy industry and urban pollution are your thing, then the latest Obscura Society tour is right up your alley. Called "The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek," the tour will explore the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the creek on August 25. The area is the heart of the 1978 Greenpoint Oil Spill, which is one of the largest oil spills ever recorded in the United States. You'll be traipsing through a "virtual urban desert" with broken pavement and industrial remnants, making your way toward the Kosciuszko Bridge. [Curbedwire Inbox; tickets]
BuzzBuzzHome BlogAugust 09, 2012
Call it New York’s most expensive two-for-one deal.
Steel tycoon Leroy Schecter is combining two of his condos at 15 Central Park West into a single five-bedroom apartment that he hopes to sell for $95 million.
If the 35th-floor abode trades for that price, it will break the record for most expensive condo in the city, set earlier this year when former Citigroup head Sanford I. Weill sold his apartment in the same posh building for $88 million.
Schecter, the head of Marino/Ware Industries, paid $18.9 million for the original two apartments and tried to sell them in 2010 for a combined $55 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.He had previously rented the two units for a total $70,000 per month to Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez and Cendant Corp. founder Henry Silverman.
“Nobody knows what the right price is,” he told The Wall Street 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 apartment is 20 percent smaller than Weill’s former residence on top of a 20-story section of 15 Central Park West, but allegedly boasts better views of the Hudson River and cityscape. The living room, study and dining room in the merged unit will face Central Park, and the bed in the master bedroom will also command an impressive view of the park.
Schecter’s apartment, listed with Emily Beare of CORE, is the second-priciest condo on the Manhattan market, after the $100 million octagonal CitySpire penthouse on West 56th Street.
Below is the floor plan for the combined unit:
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.
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 www.corenyc.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.”
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.