The Makings of MVP

OWNMay 11, 2012
CORE Real Estate Group celebrates their recent prize winning acquisition, however not in the form of property but of new agent, Jarrod Guy Randolph. Although, he bears a most youthful demeanor, this gentleman has 10 years of experience under his belt and a sales record of over $500 million, which is what got him named on the prestigious Forbes list of "30 under 30." Mr. Randolph's amicable persona will soon air on HGTV’s hit series, "Selling New York," where all can view exactly how he moves multi-million dollar lux Manhattan real estate without breaking a sweat and maintaining a smile. When asked about his sentiments on making the list, Mr. Randolph said:

“I cannot express how honored I am to be a part of the coveted Forbes '30 Under 30' in real estate. With this exciting acknowledgement, I have no choice but to take my business to the next level and knock it out of the ball park!”

The commemoration was hosted in CORE's exclusive Blue Penthouse at 105 Norfolk Street. Many of the diverse mix of attendees were Mr. Randolph's friends and ranged from stylish downtown types to the upper crust. Interestingly enough, the congregation reflected Mr. Randolph's varied clientele, which consists of celebs, musicians, and designers. DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua (Global Music Director
for the W Hotels) kept hitting the right spots with a familiar musical selection mirroring one's own ipod play list. Staging came courtesy of celebrity interior designer, Lauren Stern.

Additionally, on display were the melodic works of Mr. Randolph's dear friend, Conor Mccreedy. The ambiguity and indecisiveness of Mccreedy's movements are complimented by his clear direction and bold commentary on race, sexuality and social identity. As an Aquarius, his "blue period" definitely coincides with the water bearer aspect of his astrological sign and coincide with the indigo tinted windows of the CORE's Blue Penthouse.

'Burg's New Most Expensive House Comes With Loading Dock

CurbedMay 11, 2012
Is the Williamsburg townhouse market about to see a Pat Kiernan-inducedpricing bump? Actually, the neighborhood's newest townhouse listing, at 257 Berry Street, is already way above Kiernan territory—it's asking $3.79 million, making it, judging by a quick search, the most expensive single-family townhouse currently listed in Williamsburg. It's new construction, according to the broker babble, and looks it. But the interior's got some cool stuff: a sculptural steel staircase, four terraces, and a 1,150-square-foot (non-commercial) gallery with a loading dock. Maybe Kiernan should have held out for this one

New-construction Townhouse is Williamsburg’s Priciest Single-family Home

The Real DealMay 11, 2012
The most expensive single-family home townhouse in Williamsburg just hit the market, Curbed reports. The new construction townhouse, at 257 Berry Street, is asking $3.79 million, the blog said. The five-story home, at Grand Street, features a sculptural steel staircase, four terraces, a gallery and a loading dock. The 3,780-square-foot home has four bedrooms and 2.5 baths, according to

Harlem Becomes Magnet for Wealthier New Yorkers

NY Daily NewsMay 10, 2012
There goes the old neighborhood.

Apartment prices are on the rise again in Harlem as the historic area increasingly becomes a magnet for wealthier New Yorkers and topnotch attractions like the Museum for African Art.

A luxury penthouse in One Museum Mile — the same building at 1280 Fifth Ave. that houses the museum — just sold for $3.1 million. And developers say it’s a sign of things to come.

Museum President Elsie McCabe said this will be good for Harlem. “No housing was lost, no one was displaced here,” she said. “This only adds housing to the neighborhood and brings a higher-income demographic that increases the local diversity.”

More importantly, McCabe said, “it adds a cultural context this part of the city has never seen before.

“Museums are economic engines,” she said. “We expect more than 630,000 visitors in our first year of operation. This will bring money in from outside the community, the city, and country.”

But not everybody is thrilled by the transformation taking place in what many consider the nation’s preeminent African-American neighborhood.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito warned it could embolden local landlords to drive up rents. “Those prices are sheer madness,” she said.

The One Museum Mile building, in particular, is a “sore spot,” she added.

“That building was originally slotted for education purposes, then the museum became community space for the luxury condos.”
What Harlem needs, Mark-Viverito said, is more affordable housing.

Good luck with that.

The newly purchased penthouse, which sold for around $1,767 per square-foot, didn’t shatter selling price records. But it’s leading a trend.

The Central Park Conservancy found that home values around 110th St. jumped 39% from 2007 to 2012.

“The restoration and ongoing maintenance done by the Conservancy has had something to do with the real estate renaissance taking place on the north end of the park,” says Doug Blonsky, president of the Central Park Conservancy. “With the Conservatory Garden and Harlem Meer, it’s become one of the best sections to live on the entire park.”

The price per square foot record puts the area on the same playing field as Chelsea, the East Village, and parts of the upper West Side One Museum Mile, located at the northeast tip of Central Park, has more in common with the multimillion-dollar prewar co-ops 20 blocks south than its neighbors. The price per square foot for the sprawling three-bedroom, three-bath doubles and triples current sale prices in and around El Barrio and Central Park North.

Designed by 15 Central Park West architect Robert A.M. Stern in conjunction with Andre Kikoski and SLCE Architects, the building boasts stunning views of Central Park and one of the highest rooftop pools in the city. Its swank common areas include a gym, children’s playroom, teens lounge, catering kitchen and formal dining room on Central Park, plus a 24-hour doorman and on-site parking garage.

Opera singer Kathleen Battle and several NFL stars are among the well-heeled homebuyers who have been spotted touring the building. “That pool and roof are incredible,” says Walt Frazier 3rd, son of the Knicks basketball great, who is a Keller Williams real estate agent. “There isn’t another building like it in Harlem.”

CORE CEO Shaun Osher said nine contracts have gone out to buyers in recent weeks.

Gimme Shelter: 72 Reade Street

New York PostMay 10, 2012
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White is looking for an apartment big enough for him and his snowboards and skateboards. He recently toured a $5.75 million condo at TriBeCa’s 72 Reade St. The 3,360-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom full-floor loft has keyed elevator access, original columns, a gas fireplace and a terrace. Listing broker Michael Graves of Core declined to comment.

Rich People Moving On Up

CurbedMay 10, 2012
Harlem is becoming more inclusive (of rich people) as rents rise and buyers are drawn to properties like One Museum Mile at 1280 Fifth Avenue, where a penthouse recently sold for $3.1 million. “This only adds housing to the neighborhood and brings a higher-income demographic that increases the local diversity.”

Square Feet: Inside an Amazing Six-Story Chelsea Townhouse

NBC LXTV-Open HouseMay 07, 2012
We're inside a gorgeous six-story Chelsea townhouse. For more information on this property, please contact Tom Postilio (212-726-0783), Natalie Rakowski (212-726-0779) and Mickey Conlon (212-612-9623) of Core. View the listing.

Is This the Best Roman Orgy Bath in the State of New Jersey?

CurbedMay 07, 2012
As seen before, Versailles knock-offs can pop up in any form, which is actually a good thing because it allows French manor houses to be built exactly where they belong: North Jersey. This one, 25,000 square feet yet solar-powered and "green," according to the listing, sits on 4.4 acres in Saddle River (where Mary J. Blige is still trying to unload her very similar-looking mansion) and has moldings to evoke the grandeur of yesteryear, a foyer dripping in crystal and marble, and an interior pool area within a practical stone's throw of the dining room and kitchen. Provided he/she has $19M, the next owner can look forward to curling up on one of those knock-off Knoll sofas with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. Do take a video tour.

Field Trip Friday: Ralph Walker Exhibition

Open House New YorkMay 07, 2012
This week, volunteer council members Connie Finstad and Joseph Giargiana are our guest bloggers who have written about their visit to the Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century exhibition. Ralph Walker, called “the only other honest architect in America” by Frank Lloyd Wright, was one of the most influential minds to shape New York’s skyline, producing most of his work during the first half of the twentieth century. His most notable buildings include the Irving Trust Building at One Wall Street and the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building, now known as the Verizon Building. The exhibit, open through mid-May by appointment only, celebrates and explores the life of this legendary American art deco architect and his influential works, which subtly surround us and which we pass every day. Read about Joe and Connie’s experience below.

I had passed the building so many times before and certainly had photographed the entrance a number of times. Last summer, my best friend, visiting with his son, stopped me in front of 212 West 18th Street and asked, “what is this building?” I had to answer honestly, and say I just didn’t know.

Here was our conversation:

“I think it used to be a telephone building, but I don’t know what is it now.”

“This was a utility building? No, it’s too elegant for that.”

“No, I’m sure it was, see the subtle signage?”

“What are they doing with it, what’s all this scaffolding for?”

“I don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll find out.”

His son photographed the elaborately designed grill and glass work above the entrance, and we moved on.

It’s those details we pass, every day, that make me stop and appreciate the inherent design, architecture and history of this city. Needless to say, living here, I feel blessed and inspired every day.

Walker's words brought to you by TriBeCa signage shop Let There Be Neon

Last weekend I entered the construction site with a colleague to visit the first ever exhibit to explore the life and work of Ralph Thomas Walker (1889 – 1973), the great and influential architect to shape New York’s skyline during the “roaring twenties” through iconic skyscrapers with asymmetrical setbacks and art deco ornament.

“Ralph Walker?” I thought. I’ve never heard of him.

Preliminary drawing of the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building at 212 West 18th Street (late 1920’s).

The New York Telephone Building (constructed 1929 – 1931) at 212 West 18th Street is being restored, modernized and transformed into a collection of 53 expansive residences and renamed “Walker Tower” (floors 8 to 23). Verizon owns the lower floors. His passion for elegant detail separated his designs and ornate details from other applicants of proposed civic architecture

Building at completion (1931) shows the lack of a full-height spire.

Walker’s architectural style is best known as “humanism,” the attempt to design buildings less industrial and more warm and appealing to the eye. In the exhibit we saw a number of examples of the buildings he designed and proposed, as well as photographs of his breath-taking interiors. The docent, Marci, is pleasant, knowledgeable and informative, and answered most of our questions before we even asked.

Walker Tower is being developed by JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group. Their intention is to complete Walker’s original design, which had been compromised due to budget restraints when first constructed. An architectural model of the project is also in the exhibit. CORE reality at 127 Seventh Avenue and 18th Street has the exclusive offering agreement and will launch sales in the building during 2012.

The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building (constructed 1922 – 1926) at 140 West Street is his masterpiece. The recently published, limited edition book by Kathryn R. Holliday is available at the exhibit.

Marci holds Holliday's limited edition book showing the magnificent golden interior in front of an image of the original Irving Trust Building at One Wall Street and Broadway.

The exhibit located on the ground floor at 212 West 18th Street is free and open to the public daily, by appointment only and should be available for viewing through mid-May.

From Penthouse to Playhouse: Inside the New York City Duplex with an 18ft Stainless Steel SLIDE

UK Mail OneMay 07, 2012
There’s finally an apartment for the man that refuses to act his age - and it has even got a slide to keep him forever young.

Nestled on 13th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A, the asking price for this 2,400 square foot duplex is just $3.9 million, a little more than the average kid's allowance.

Beyond the slide, it’s got four bedrooms, four baths, two terraces, a garden and just about every other amenity from those adults suffering from playground envy.

Expensive Toys: Nestled on 13th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A, the asking price for this 2,400 square foot duplex is just $3.9 million

What a Man Wants: Professional poker player Phil Galfond commissioned the slide to be custom built by an engineering firm for a cool $250,000

It Gets Better: Even though the slide is the centerpiece of the man-child palace, the apartment also boasts a game room with a $35,000 glass pool table and a 18-foot high atrium

The stainless steel sculpture was delivered by freight train to its East Village home.

‘The owner combined two apartments and he wanted to put a fun and creative new way of going from the top level to the bottom, CORE broker Lindsee Silverstein said.

Sweet Dreams: The apartment has four bedrooms, four baths, two terraces, a garden and just about every other amenity

Apples and Pears: There's also a staircase for the less adventurous

Step Right Up: The condo has 360 degree views of New York City as well as a 24-hour door man and concierge

It connects the upstairs office to the downstairs living room with just 18 feet of fun.

There’s also a staircase for the less adventurous.

Even though the slide is the centerpiece of the man-child palace, the apartment also boasts a game

Houses of the Week: 133 West 14th Street

New York PostMay 03, 2012
$1.795 million

Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2 Square feet: 1,600 Common charges: $558
“Centrally located” on 14th Street, at the crossroads of Chelsea and the West Village, this “turn-key” condo loft offers a 25-foot wide living/dining area, an open chef’s kitchen, “oversized” windows, a wood-burning fireplace and a washer/dryer. Agent: Vickey Barron, Core, 212-612-9647

Inside Look: NYC Penthouse Playground

AOL Real EstateMay 03, 2012
New York City's famous for being a rich man's playground and we couldn't have found a home that takes this idea more seriously than this East Village penthouse -- with a built-in slide.

Unsurprisingly, the silver, 18-foot-tall sculptural slide pretty much smacks you in the face as soon as you walk in. Unlike other luxury features, its presence tends to dominate the penthouse (the rest of which is actually incredibly sleek, sophisticated and somewhat minimalist). But the faster you get over the initial shock of seeing a slide built inside someone's apartment, the faster you can hop right on it -- and naturally, we did. Our entire crew. Multiple times.

In case you were wondering, the owner of the now-infamous "slide penthouse" is Phil Galfond, a professional poker player who's only 26 years old!Slide aside, Galfond has also decked out his pad with some truly amazing, one-of-a-kind pieces ($35,000 glass pool table, anyone?).

See for yourself below:

Like what you see? Elizabeth Kee and Lindsee Silverstein of CORE Group NYC have the listing.

House of the Day: A Condo in Old New York

The Wall Street JournalMay 03, 2012
Price: $ 5,750,000
Location: New York, NY
Type of Home: Apartment

Victor Benson, 69 years old, and his wife, Susan, purchased this loft apartment in Lower Manhattan for $2.5 million in 2004, according to public records. In another life, Mr. Benson said his apartment was home to a perfume factory. Part of the 1915 building was converted into condominiums starting in 1998, records show.

Best Place of the Week: 55 White St

NY Daily NewsMay 03, 2012
The great room in a triplex apartment at 55 White St. in Tribeca has the kind of grandeur that evokes library scenes from movies like “The Music Man” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

There are 16-foot ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, Corinthian columns and custom book shelves- complete with the kind of librarian’s ladder that makes you want to climb up and perform a musical number. A staircase leads up to an open office and a walkway to the master bedroom.

Adjoining the great room is a kitchen with pocket doors that can be opened to share the space or closed during a party. There’s also a bedroom on the main floor.

Downstairs is a giant family room and an additional bedroom and bathroom.

The entire space is 2,600 square feet. It’s listed with Ryan Fitzpatrick with CORE for $3.15 million.

Walker Exhibit Extended Through May

CurbedMay 03, 2012
CHELSEA—Bummed you missed the "Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century" exhibit inside his West 18th Street building currently undergoing condo-ification? Good news! You have another month; the exhibit has been extended through the end of May. The lobby exhibit of Walker's work is open to the public, but by appointment so make arrangments in advance now that you've been granted an extension. [Curbedwire Inbox; Ralph Walker Exhibit]

LONG ISLAND CITY—Court Square’s 75-unit luxury condominium building The Industry LIC has now reached the 51 percent sold mark. All of the 1, 2, and 3BR penthouses have already been sold. Remaining studios, 1BRs, and 2BRs, start at $414,750, $462K, and $749K, respectively.

Flatiron’s Most Unusual Wine Cellar Returns for $6.75 Million

CurbedMay 02, 2012
We've seen the fifth-floor at 17 West 17th Street before, when it popped up last year asking $6.585 million for all kinds of fancy gadgets, including that 2,000-bottle custom wine cellar. But PriceUpping already-expensive year-old listings is all the rage right now, so we're not totally surprised to see 17 West 17th return. It's got slightly different photos (above) and a slightly higher price of $6.75 million, up from $6.585M. Welcome back, friend.

Going it Alone: Some High-powered Female Real Estate Execs Opt to Start Parenthood Without Partners

The Real DealMay 01, 2012
Laurie Golub always knew she wanted to be a mom, but in her 20s and 30s, she wasn’t ready.

“During those critical years, I was more focused on work,” said Golub, now in her 40s, who is the general counsel and managing director of business affairs at real estate development company Africa Israel USA.

That changed suddenly a few years ago. “I felt that, notwithstanding my incredible career and fun, exciting life, something was missing,” she said.

Golub wanted a family, and she wasn’t about to let the fact that she is single get in the way. After three unsuccessful attempts at adoption, she brought home daughter Jayda Jynx, who is now 19 months old.

“It is the happiest thing I’ve ever done,” Golub said.

The real estate market may not have fully recovered, but there’s at least one boom happening in the industry: a baby boom. Golub is one of a bumper crop of real estate women who have recently decided to become moms — often going it alone without men in the picture.
Some jobs in real estate — being a residential broker, for example — are especially well-suited to child-rearing because they offer flexible schedules and the ability to bring kids to work, these parents said. Single mom Shawn Williams, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, said she frequently brings her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to apartment showings.

“If she is not in preschool or with a sitter, I’ll say ‘No problem, I’ll do the showing and my child will be with me,’ ” said Williams, who used artificial insemination to get pregnant. “No one minds. I feel I am really lucky to have that flexibility because I can spend that time with her.”

The flip side, of course, is that a career in real estate often means being available to clients at a moment’s notice.

“I was handling a six-hour closing [when] I started having contractions,” said Core’s Reba Miller, a single mom who got pregnant at age 48 after years of trying. “This caused all sorts of anxiety for me, but we got it done and closed.” Her son, Shaun, was born shortly thereafter.

And single mom Dina Lewis, a broker at Elliman, pitched a listing only six days after giving birth in January to daughter, Hannah.
Both single and married moms agree that making it all work requires extreme organization, and said nannies and assistants are a must. But when it comes to real estate, being a mom can also yield some advantages.

Yael Dunayer of Barak Realty, who is currently expecting her third child with husband Barak Dunayer, said being pregnant actually made her a better negotiator. When she and her husband were opening the first office of Barak Realty, for example, Yael pushed vendors to stay on schedule — her schedule.

“I told people, ‘I am eight months pregnant,’ ” she recalled. ‘You must make this happen now.’ ”

Using Their Powers for Good?

The Real DealMay 01, 2012
In late 2009, the owners of 15 apartments at the Atelier in midtown filed suit against members of the condo board, including its president, Daniel Neiditch. They claimed that Neiditch, head of the brokerage River 2 River Realty, was using his influence to gain a monopoly on real estate deals there.

Neiditch had been directing all leasing and sales inquiries in the 42nd Street building to his company, they claimed in court documents, treating it as “his own fiefdom.” Owners who listed their apartments with an outside broker, the suit claimed, would never make a sale.
“Leasing and sales activity … has been dominated by River 2 River and Neiditch, who effectively controls, as a result of Neiditch’s position as president of the board, the vast majority of units in the condominium,” the complaint alleged.

Neiditch, who currently has 32 of the 38 active sales listings at the Atelier, according to StreetEasy, declined to comment on the accusations

The case was eventually dropped, on the basis that individual owners in a condominium can’t assert claims for damages against the common interests or finances of the building.But the suit highlights the ethical issues that confront real estate brokers serving on the boards of their co-ops and condos.

There is no law prohibiting real estate professionals from serving on their building’s boards, and some of the city’s most prominent agents are currently members of co-op and condo boards. In fact, many in the industry say real estate brokers bring invaluable expertise to the management of their buildings.

Still, the question of possible conflicts of interest has become increasingly visible recently, due in part to a late March e-mail blast from Neil Garfinkel, residential counsel to the Real Estate Board of New York.

In his e-mail, which was sent to every residential member of REBNY, Garfinkel strongly criticized the practice of brokers serving on boards.

“I do not believe that a co-op board member (whether the president or not) should serve on a co-op board and act as a real estate broker in real estate transactions in the co-op building,” he wrote.Despite good intentions, Garfinkel continued, it’s not always possible for brokers to properly balance competing obligations to their clients and to the board.

In one recent instance, he said, a REBNY broker was serving on her co-op board, which was considering a major capital improvement program. As a broker, she felt she had an obligation to disclose the existence of the project to a prospective purchaser, since it would impact the value of the property. But the board president had forbidden her to disclose the capital improvement project to anyone.

The situation put her in “an untenable position,” Garfinkel wrote. “She has a duty of confidentiality to her co-op board that directly conflicts with her duty of disclosure to the prospective purchaser.” Still, a broker could serve a lifetime on a board without encountering a conflict like this one, Garfinkel told The Real Deal, and would likely not be able to foresee such a conflict until it’s too late.But in recent years, some buildings — often after encountering situations like these — have instituted policies prohibiting brokers form serving on their boards.

In 2009, an Upper East Side building removed a real estate broker from the co-op board and amended its bylaws to prohibit other brokers from serving, said Aaron Shmulewitz, a partner at the law firm of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, who currently represents the board.The move stemmed from what the board felt were the brokers’ efforts to “take advantage of his position and benefit monetarily,” Shmulewitz said.

A few isolated incidents like these have sullied the perception of brokers who serve on co-op and condo boards, said Core broker Tony Sargent, a former board member at 31 Jane Street. Whether it’s warranted or not, he said, “shareholders can have a negative connotation with brokers being on boards,” suspecting that agents will “use the building as a personal piggy bank.”
As a result of perceptions like these, some brokers, like Elaine Mayers of Citi Habitats, have purposefully opted out of serving on their boards to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

“I think I could be totally impartial,” said Mayers, who resigned from her co-op board at 205 Third Avenue when she started working in real estate seven years ago. “But I don’t want any appearance of impropriety. Even if I recuse myself on certain issues, someone might think the board viewed my deals more favorably because I was a member.”

Residential Sales Around The Region: 68 Thomas Street

The New York TimesMay 01, 2012

A Tale of Two Markets: Walker Tower

The Real DealMay 01, 2012
In a still-difficult economy, developers are increasingly tailoring buildings to suit the needs of serious buyers. That means targeting two very active groups of purchasers at opposite ends of the spectrum: out-of-town buyers looking for small pieds-à-terre and families raising children in the city.

Empty-nesters, pied-à-terre purchasers or just people looking to avoid a jumbo mortgage often want small but comfortable apartments in full-service buildings, and many new developments are now aimed at this demographic.

At the other extreme are homebuyers — many of them families forsaking the suburbs— seeking multithousand-square-foot apartments with several bedrooms and features like private laundry rooms.

Sales of both these types of units surged in the first quarter of this year. Studios and one-bedroom apartments made up 48 percent of all condo sales, jumping up from 39 percent in the same period of 2011, according to market data from Prudential Douglas Elliman.
At the same time, three-bedroom market share nearly doubled to 20 percent.

As developers aim their buildings at one group or the other, two sectors of the market are emerging and, increasingly, diverging.

Walker Tower, a new condo under construction at 212 West 18th Street, is intended to satisfy the increasing demand for larger units, with units averaging 3,000 square feet and three bedrooms, according to developer Michael Stern of JDS Development.

By contrast, another JDS project — a midtown tower with Central Park views that Stern said he could not yet name — has smaller units more in line with the tastes of foreign buyers.

This kind of specialization means developers “take a little bit more risk,” Stern said. But overall, it’s “good for the market, and leads to more diversity of product.”

Below is a look at these two increasingly different types of dwellings.

Supersize it

Larger Spaces
Many buyers in the current New York marketplace are looking for “grown-up apartments,” with spacious rooms and many of the same conveniences they might find in suburban houses, said Dan Kaplan, a senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects.

When completed, Extell Development’s under-construction One57 will be the tallest residential tower in Manhattan. Three-bedrooms there are reportedly around 3,200 square feet — what might be a five-bedroom in another building.

At Walker Tower, Stern said, all 53 units — there were originally 55, but two buyers have combined apartments — have two or more bedrooms and at least three bathrooms. Most also have a home office.

Tim Crowley, managing director for development at the architecture and development firm Flank, said his firm’s new condo project, the Abingdon in the West Village, consists of six apartments, two penthouses and two multifl oor “mansions.”

The smallest apartments are 3,200-square-foot, three-bedroom units. The “mansions” will be 5,900 and 10,000 square feet.
Buyers for these types of apartments “want to see an apartment that looks like a home,” Crowley said.

Suburban-Style Kitchen

Much like suburban houses, many new multibedroom apartments now feature spacious kitchens. Many, like One57 and 77 Reade in Tribeca, have center islands.

Whereas a traditional New York kitchen might measure 60 or 80 square feet, kitchens in buildings like Walker Tower can cover 250 square feet. But while size has changed, design has changed even more to make kitchens flow more smoothly into surrounding rooms, said John Cetra of the architecture firm Cetra/Ruddy, which is designing Walker Tower as well as the unnamed JDS building in midtown.
In large prewar apartments, he said, “they would have big kitchens, but they weren’t as inviting because the way they were set up was for people with servants.”

Rather than being tucked-away service spaces, today’s large-apartment kitchens are designed to be “showpieces,” as well as the center of family life, according to Vishaan Chakrabarti, a partner at SHoP Architects.

Kitchens in the Abingdon’s three-bedroom units measure 15 square feet — large in their own right — but they are linked by double-width pocket doors to adjacent dens, Crowley said. When the doors are open, the resulting space is 15 by 30 feet.

Private Laundry and Storage Spaces

Buildings with supersized apartments tend to place less of an emphasis on elaborate common spaces, but have more in-apartment features.

In family-style buildings, “people have bigger and better video screens in their apartments than they have in the public amenities space,” said Randy Gerner, a principal at the Architecture firm Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel. “So why go to the amenities space?”

Today’s large apartments also tend to have large walk-in closets and in-unit storage space that’s easily accessible, Cetra said. Some projects he’s worked on have laundry rooms “big enough that you could do the ironing in there.”

These spaces can also be used as “hobby rooms.” At one family-style building near the Theater District that his firm is working on, Cetra said he is exploring the idea of making such extra rooms soundproof so musicians can practice in them.

At buildings like Walker Tower and One57, master bedrooms aren’t just for sleeping: They often have separate dressing and/or lounging areas.

“This is going beyond just the big bedroom,” Cetra said. “It’s creating an adult suite.”

Cetra said he’s seen these areas furnished as sitting areas with TVs, or outfitted with wet bars. That way, he added, “if you’re not sleeping, there’s another way to use the space.”


Small but not too small

By contrast, some buildings are specifically aimed at buyers who don’t need or want as much space. Blesso Properties’ 421 West 22nd Street, for example, features all studio apartments with custom-made Murphy beds and hidden Bosch washer-dryers, while William Beaver House in the Financial District has “Murphy offices” concealed behind sliding closet doors.

Still, as more wealthy international buyers flock to Manhattan, the definition of pied-à-terre has expanded beyond simple “foot-on-the-ground” crash pads, said Cetra of Cetra/Ruddy architects.

Pieds-à-terre these days tend to be between 850 and 1,100 square feet — room enough for a small two-bedroom, or a one-bedroom with flexible extra space for a guest.

At new Tribeca condo Reade57, which the building’s website describes as “perfect for year-round living or pieds-à-terre,” one-, two- and three-bedroom units range from 713 square feet to 1,863 square feet.

Compact Kitchen Appliances

Buildings like 20 Pine and William Beaver House have “targeted their marketing to bachelors and pied-à-terre buyers,” explained StreetEasy’s Sofi a Song. As a result, “their kitchens [aren’t] suitable for a family, but rather for those who liked to order in.”

At William Beaver, Tsao & McKown Architects designed compact “Murphy kitchens” that are smaller than the units’ bathrooms, the New York Times reported.

And at new condo 200 Eleventh Avenue on 25th Street, an Elliman ad for one unit describes the kitchen as “discreet” and “concealed by folding teak doors.”

“Sometimes it’s not worth it to have a really large kitchen, because if you’re just going to have breakfast there, or you’re just going to keep chilled champagne in the refrigerator, you’re not going to need it,” Cetra said.

Still, maintaining resale value means kitchens can’t be discarded completely, even when residents eat most of their meals out, said Eran Chen, design director at ODA Architecture.

So the developers of these apartments often use smaller dishwashers, ovens and refrigerators to conserve space.
Gerner of Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel said at pied-à–terre units his firm has worked on, appliances are “small and fabulous” rather than “large and fabulous.”

“We might use Gaggenau appliances,” he said; while fully functional, they are often “more seen than used.”

More Building Amenities

Buildings with smaller apartments, Cetra said, tend to have more common amenities, to give residents an outlet from their tighter spaces. The A Building at 425 East 13th Street, which Cetra Ruddy designed, has a rooftop pool — a first for the firm, he said.

William Beaver has a 40-seat screening room, a lap pool, a basketball court and a landscaped dog run. Reade 57 has a landscaped common terrace, fitness center and lounge aimed to create “a cool, urban club ambiance,” according to its website.

Pied-à-terre buyers tend to be more focused on fullservice buildings than on in-home amenities, especially since they may not be planning to spend much time in their apartments.

“If you’re coming in and out of the building only a few times a year, typically you want the knowledge that it’s a staffed building with doormen and such,” Chakrabarti said. “You want as few headaches and as little maintenance as possible.”

That may include the services of a full-time concierge.

William Beaver House takes it a step further, with a “lifestyle manager,” to provide services to its residents.

Reade 57 has a 24-hour doorman, and all the apartments are prewired for cable, phone and Internet; services that “are designed to make your life easier and hassle-free,” the website says.

NJ Mansion Took Seven Years To Design

CBS Living LargeMay 01, 2012
May 1, 2012 Living Large: NJ Mansion Took Seven Years To Design The owner of this incredible home took numerous trips to France over the course of its seven-year design, all so that the finished product would mimic a French palace. CBS 2′s Emily Smith toured the Saddle River, New Jersey estate in the latest edition of Living Large.
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