News

Archi-Spring has Sprung: A.N. Takes in Three Events Across New York

Architect's NewspaperMarch 28, 2012
It was a busy archi-spring night last night. The Municipal Arts Society held their debate on NYUʼs 2031 expansion plan, the AIDS
Memorial exhibit opened at the Center for Architecture, and Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century opened at the newly re-dubbed Walker Tower on West 18th Street. Read on for highlights of the MAS debate and to view few photos from the Center and Walker Tower…

The MAS debate was the most sober event of the evening with a panel packed with academic all stars. The NYU opponents applauding statements they found to their liking lent the debate the air of a souped-up community board meeting. Nevertheless, it was refreshing to hear ideas cleanly teased out by moderator John Alschuler, of HR&A, the real estate/economic advisory firm. The community had an informed voice on stage in CB2 Chair Brad Hoylman. His point of view was largely backed up by Prattʼs Ron Shiffman, while NYUʼs Hilary Ballon and Pennʼs Gary Hack tipped the balance back in favor of NYU.

Alschuler got the ball rolling by stating “nobody loves the Coles Gymnasium,” the bland brick bunker on the corner of Houston and Mercer, and that “some level of change is going to come there,” partly in the form of a hotel in the so called Zipper Building. This immediately spurred Schifman to respond that there is little need for a hotel on the campus as NYC has plenty already. “People can
get on the subway, why are we protecting them,” he said of the NYU visitors. “Thatʼs a formula for disaster.” Hack argued that at Penn they began their expansion with a hotel, because thatʼs what visiting academics need most—a place to stay on campus. While Ballon, who is based at NYU Abu Dhabi, said the universityʼs international franchises mean they need a hotel more than ever.

In the end, the southern super block with its two towers was the source of less tension, as opposed to the proposed Boomerang
Buildings on the northern superblock. Schiffman went so far as to say that he likes the Kimmelman plan, which would keep the
below grade space but nix the above grade structures. But Hack said the new proposal, including the buildings, would open the
superblock up and provide better circulation. He added that the additional space would give students a place to gather instead of
meeting at “third place haunts” like Starbucks. Hoylman said the north block proposal would more likely become a student
thoroughfare, not a neighborhood square. “This is about NYU solving an identity crisis; they get their quad,” he said.

Ralph Walker Renaissance

DwellMarch 27, 2012
To Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Walker was “the only other honest architect in America,” and to The New York Times, he was the “architect of the century.”* Throughout his lifetime, his art deco style redefined the notion of a skyscraper thanks to his innovative detailing and ornamentation that finessed the buildingʼs rigid structure. The 1920s and 30s witnessed Walkerʼs heyday—as a principal at Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker, he contributed to Manhattanʼs skyline with the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building (1926) and the Irving Trust Building at 1 Wall Street (1931). Walker was a true advocate for a new modernist architectural vision in New York and America; and starting today, an exhibition celebrating his oeuvre opens at one of the architectʼs overlooked buildings at 212 West 18th Street.

Walkerʼs architectural legacy extended beyond New York and its skyscrapers with his work for the Chicago Worldʼs Fair (1933) and another fair on his home turf in 1939. By the late 1940s, he was elected as head of the AIA New York, and in 1957 he received the national organizationʼs highest honor, the Centennial Medal of Honor.

The Walker Tower, nestled off Seventh Avenue between West 17th and 18th Streets, was once known as the Verizon Telephone Building and housed the companyʼs corporate headquarters for decades. (Verizon will maintain its toehold on floors one through seven; the new condos will occupy all the space from the 8th floor on up.) Designed in 1929, the buildingʼs exterior displays the essence of Ralph Walker with its folded, curtain like brick façade and detailed ornamentation. Today the developers Michael Stern of JDS
Development and Elliott Joseph of Property Markets Group, with the help of local architecture firm Cetra/Ruddy, are carefully restoring the façade. The hat trick here is to retain Walkerʼs early 20th-century aesthetic while gutting the interior space and refiguring the layouts of the upper floors to accommodate Manhattanʼs luxury-condo-hunting population. (One thing that wonʼt be edited: the towerʼs interior ceiling heights of 14 feet and more.)

Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century opens free to the public this week (by appointment only) and displays original drawings, renderings, and plans done by Walkerʼs hand, in addition to archival photos and details on the buildingʼs present incarnation as luxury condominiums.

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick To Call The Heights Home

Brooklyn Heights BlogMarch 26, 2012
Paul Giamati, meet your new neighbors. Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick are purchasing a pair of townhouses in south Brooklyn Heights on State Street near Sidney Place. The New York Daily News‘ real estate guru Jason Sheftell reported late Friday that the family is closing in on a contract, after purchasing a Manhattan townhouse on East 10th St. townhouse two years ago that they never moved into.

In 2011, Parker filmed I Don’t Know How She Does It in Brooklyn Heights. Check out our coverage here.

The couple currently resides in a townhome in the West Village on Charles Street, near West Fourth Street, with their son James Wilkie, 9, and twin daughters Marion and Tabitha, almost 3. A source told the Daily News, “They loved the West Village but wanted something more private, laid-back and discreet."

When construction is completed, the two adjoining State Street townhouses the actors purchased will create “an urban mansion of 7,000-plus square feet with a suburban-size backyard,” the News reports. Both were an “off-market” transaction, meaning the houses weren’t officially for sale, according to Sheftell. City records show both are owned by Mark and Diane Baker.

Parker and Broderick paid $18.995 million for the East 10th Street townhouse two years ago, and fully remodeled the home, which the News says is now on the market.

CORE senior vice president Doug Bowen noted, “Brooklyn Heights is the city’s first official historic landmark district; that’s how beautiful it is and what it means to New York. The price difference between the West Village and Brooklyn Heights is sometimes two, three, four times the amount. That’s why even big names are deciding to live here. It’s an easier financial commitment.”

'Selling New York' Recap: CORE Sells 5th Avenue Penthouse for Over $6 million

GatherMarch 26, 2012
This week on Selling New York Vickey Barron of CORE meets with her client, Ivan Schneider, who is selling his penthouse apartment to retire in Florida's sunshine. He's already bought a place in Florida so he hopes to sell the apartment quickly and he's a little pushy about it.

Ivan's apartment is 2,400 sq. ft. The list price is $6.995 million. There's one small issue, the building does not allow open houses so Vickey needs to get creative with her marketing campaign. She decides to create a marketing competition between two of her sales teams. The winner will receive a $10,000 bonus when the penthouse is sold, a good incentive to sell the place.

The first marketing team presents a past, present and future scenario to prospective buyers and brokers. They hire an architect to create 3D images of how the penthouse could look with a modern renovation. They also provide a history recap focusing on the location of the apartment on 5th Avenue. The presentation goes extremely well.

The second team provides a multi-media marketing plan. The present a time-lapse view of the sunset from the outdoor space of the penthouse and give a glimpse of a renovation, which maximizes the enormous views from the apartment.

Vickey meets with the executive team and they decide that team one provided the best marketing campaign. They win!

Several potential buyers look at the penthouse as a result of the marketing competition. One potential buyer comes back for a second look and loves the renditions of the new modern look to the penthouse. They make an offer and it's accepted. Team one gets $10,000!!!

Next, Vickey is asked to sell the furniture for Ivan... it's a win-win for everyone involved! Bonus round in the money category...

The second scenario, Michele Kleier takes two new recruits, John and Isabel, to the Financial District to sell a great apartment with killer views of the New York Harbor. The apartment is listed for $1.495 million and has just over 1,200 sq. ft.

Michele is anxious to sell the apartment because the sellers want to purchase another place but are unwilling to buy until they sell their current home.

John and Isabel hold an open house on a Sunday morning. The turnout is low. Michele's advice is that Sunday mornings are not a great time to showcase an apartment. She lets the interns learn a valuable lesson in the real estate market without controlling the process, the sign of a great leader.

John and Isabel hold an open house on a Sunday morning. The turnout is low. Michele's advice is that Sunday mornings are not a great time to showcase an apartment. She lets the interns learn a valuable lesson in the real estate market without controlling the process, the sign of a great leader.

John and Isabel have a second open house. They think they need to lower the price to $1.3 million. The owners are hesitant to drop the price $200,000 but they agree. The recommendation works and they get two offers almost immediately. The apartment is sold and Michele is able to move forward.

Slide home: stairs optional at the East Village pad

NY Daily NewsMarch 23, 2012
When real estate brokers Lindsee Silverstein and Elizabeth Kee are trying to determine who is serious about buying their swanky new East Village listing, they check to see whether they are willing to have a bit of fun first.

Are they willing to go down the giant metal slide that connects the two floors of the penthouse at 425 E. 13th St.?

“This apartment brings out the fun in people,” said Kee of the unit, which is listed for $3.99 million. “A broker in her 70s went down the slide four or five times when she came to look at the apartment.”

The slide was the brainchild of professional poker player Phil Galfond, who bought and combined two apartments for $3.2 million in 2008, the same year he won the World Series of Poker. In April 2011, Galfond relocated to Vancouver following a crackdown by the Justice Department on many online poker companies. “He didn’t want to give up the apartment, but until the law changes, it doesn’t make [financial] sense for him to live here,” Kee said.

Silverstein said Galfond originally installed the slide to be a whimsical addition to the stark modern white apartment — but that he would often use it to go downstairs between breaks in hands while playing online.

The three-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment is accessed through a keyed elevator. There’s a media/game room with a wet bar and a $35,000 custom pool table, which could be negotiated into the sale of the apartment. The apartment has two terraces — one facing north toward 14th St.; the other south — as well as rooftop space. Galfond used it as a private putting green, but it’s being redone with pavers. A nook on the south side would be the perfect place for a Jacuzzi.

The apartment is housed in the A Building, a luxury development of 15 apartments. Because of the East Village location, a common rooftop with a sundeck, pool, cabanas and barbecue area, the building had a reputation of being a party hot spot when it opened in 2008. Now it’s a bit tamer, Kee and Silverstein said, as the building also houses a mix of singles and families.

The brokers say they are surprised by the variety of people who have checked out the apartment, ranging from guys who work in finance to families. One man in his 70s who lives in Miami sent his broker to look at the apartment, wondering if the slide hole was big enough to fit his large dogs down it. “It’s pure, unadulterated fun,” Kee said.

They’ve gotten only one inquiry about how much it would cost to remove the slide.

“It wouldn't cost much to build out the floor,” Kee said. “But it would be so sad.”

Goodbye Malaria, Hello Condos

The New York TimesMarch 23, 2012
IT can seem hard to believe, but there was a time when people didn’t value Central Park for its views.

In the late 1800s, after the park was created, most buildings were still no more than five stories high, residents often decorated with heavy curtains, and an infestation of malaria-carrying mosquitoes was a cause for alarm.

That was before skyscrapers began shooting up around the park, giving rise to the notion of “park views.”

Today, those two words are worth untold millions in the world of New York real estate. Apartments overlooking the park can command prices of as much as $88 million, for the full-floor penthouse at 15 Central Park West, and the developer Gary Barnett is betting he can sell the two-floor penthouse at 157 West 57th Street, the crown jewel of his One57 project, for $115 million.

But if park views at the south end bring such eye-watering premiums, what about residences at the north end?

To find out, I visited the Harlem side of the park. After getting off the subway at 110th Street, I walked just a few steps to 111 Central Park North.

There, from an 18th-floor apartment with a sizable terrace, you can look out on an idyllic view of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s landscaped wonder. Ducks glide through the Harlem Meer. Older residents walk slowly with canes next to groups of adolescent girls strolling through the garden during lunchtime. Just beyond the trees along Fifth Avenue is the Conservatory Garden, where brokers say they have seen brides being photographed. Absent were the horse-drawn carriages (and the accompanying trail of manure) and hordes of tourists that occupy the southern and southwestern side of the park.

The Harlem side is known as the “mountain” region of the park, for its more hilly terrain. On this day the southern sun was shining brightly, and the terrace at 111 Central Park North offered eastern and western exposures as well.

From here, you can see the opposite edge of the park, including the Plaza, and a construction crane hovering over One57 through the haze that offers a reminder of how that 90-story building will tower over most others in Midtown.

Harlem, it turns out, is one of the few remaining places in the city where you can get a park view for relatively low prices.

The price of this view? The three-bedroom three-bath condo, with 1,914 square feet, is listed at $2.39 million.

In 2008, as the financial crisis took hold, a buyer sold a penthouse in the building for $8 million, $500,000 less than he had paid, after trying to flip it for $12 million, said Jill Sloane of Halstead, a broker on the deal.

Walking east along Central Park North I passed low-slung residential buildings of no more than six stories, a correctional facility that houses the disgraced Tyco executive Dennis Kozlowski, and a church on the corner of Fifth Avenue. A small organic-food store is expected to open soon on the block, a sign, real estate brokers say, of the area’s gentrification.

On the east side of the intersection, an agent gave me a tour 1280 Fifth Avenue, which opened last year and was designed by Robert A.M. Stern, the architect of 15 Central Park West.

The Harlem building offers tranquil, unobstructed views of the northeast corner of the park. There are “intimate” views from one seventh-floor corner unit I visited, and “panoramic” views from the higher floors of the 20-story building.

“People realize they would be paying double and triple in Midtown and would not have this kind of vista,” said Tom Postilio, a broker at CORE. “People with a little more pioneering spirit are here investing.”

About half of the buyers in the building so far have been foreign, and have predominantly been all-cash buyers, according to Kathleen Corton, a principal of Brickman, the developer.

Parul Brahmbhatt, a sales associate at CORE, parsed the difference for me in pricing at 1280 Fifth to help me understand the premium placed on park views. Unit 7B, which faces the park, has 1,480 square feet and is listed for $1.87 million. A north-facing unit on the same floor with no park view is going for $1.265 million and is just 10 square feet smaller.

Regardless of which side of the park an apartment faces, brokers and appraisers say a Central Park view is worth 25 percent to 50 percent more than a nonpark view for a similar-sized residence. New York is one of the few cities in the United States that put a higher premium on a park view than a river view, said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel real estate appraisers. Views of the Hudson command a 10 percent to 25 percent premium. “We are inward-looking,” Mr. Miller said.

It’s remarkable to think that in the 19th century “the park was simply a kind of protector, a presentable front yard,” said Christopher Gray, who writes the “Streetscapes” column for The New York Times. Early on, the park also was a health concern. An Oct. 13, 1877, edition of The Real Estate Record and Guide noted that malaria in the park was “becoming more palpably widespread and painful.” The “chills and fevers and other malarious disorders” were causing a “widespread prejudice” among residents “against choosing any locality in the proximity of the park for a place of residence,” The Record and Guide reported. Still, by the turn of the century, Fifth Avenue opposite the park was already the most desirable house site in the city, Mr. Gray said.

(Malaria was later controlled, obviously: The Times reported in 1888 that its incidence among park police officers had sharply decreased.)

Despite the health concerns, developers pushed to build taller buildings. By 1930, the 27-story San Remo towers and residential hotels like the Ritz, at 101 East 57th, were offering spectacularly different views. About a dozen buildings of that size were built before the Depression intervened, halting most construction. “The typical building in 1960 was no different in mass than the typical building in 1925 — they were all 15 to 18 stories,” Mr. Gray said.

The concept of fabulous views didn’t return until after 1961, when a zoning resolution awarded air rights for taller buildings in exchange for building plazas. The move spurred tall building construction.

The concept of marketing park views evolved as well. Nobody bothered with the idea of building penthouses until the early 1920s, preferring to leave tar-topped roofs. In the mid-1980s, Mr. Miller recalled, most new condominium buildings had little-used health clubs and pools on the roofs.

“Now the configurations tend to be weighted toward larger units at the top because of the premiums for larger square footage,” he said. “You get a double premium — for the size and for the view. Developers are marketing for the global citizen as opposed to the family that wants to move into the city.”

The “capitalists” derided in The Real Estate Record and Guide in the 1800s who wanted to build tall ended up having vision akin to that of Steve Jobs, who instinctively knew we wanted iPads and iPhones before we ever thought to ask for one. Mr. Gray imagines that even a Vanderbilt might have a new appreciation today of park views. “Ms. Vanderbilt, in her 1882 mansion on 57th and Fifth, if offered an apartment in 15 Central Park West, would say, ‘Pretty cool, I could dig this.’ ” he said. “She would not say, ‘I want some heavy curtains in here.’ ”

Selling New York Recap: Tag Team Time

CurbedMarch 23, 2012
March 23, 2012
HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 3/22/2012.

A few key lessons were imparted on last night's episode of Selling New York:

#1: There's nothing like some good ol' Hunger Games-style competition to bring out a team's best efforts.

#2: Mama Bear is the real estate version of Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid

#3: Hit up Sunday morning open houses because it's like a free brunch!

In other words, an agent challenges her marketing group to come up with the best ideas to sell a Greenwich Village penthouse quickly. Will the winner get a pat on the back, cash, OR BOTH?!? Then, a matriarchal Manhattan maven guides two fresh-faced brokers as they try to sell their first apartment in the Financial District. Will her charges nail a sale? Find out all this and maybe more in this recapulous recap!

And remember, there's no I in team >>
CRISIS #1: AGENT PITS MARKETING TEAM AGAINST ITSELF IN (NON)FEROCIOUS FIGHT TO HELP SELL A GREENWICH VILLAGE PENTHOUSE

CORE agent Vickey Barron is meeting with her client, seller Ivan "I've had it with New York" Schneider. Ivan's anxious to sell his penthouse at 11 Fifth Avenue and fly down to Flaw-ree-da forever.

The two chat n' chew in my favorite place to admire hanging salamis:
Katz's Delicatessen, of course!

Ivan's giving Vick a six month exclusive to unload his $6.995 million pad and wants it done quicker than it takes for me to eat a Katz's hot dog. Vick assures him that her marketing team doesn't "just sit and wait for the phone to ring."

They make stuff happen! Vick recruits four newer CORE agents to survey the apartment. Let's eavesdrop:

With a no open house policy, how will Vick drum up excitement? A competition, that's how! Vick breaks up the agents into two teams and asks them to each come up with a marketing plan for the apartment. There will be a presentation later to share their ideas, and the best one wins...$5,000 to $10,000 of Vick's commission cash* (*if she sells it). "May the odds ever be in your favor," Vick says in the Hunger Games version of this episode.

First, Vick meets with Team JenTon (comprised of agents Jennie Ma and Tony Sargent) and architect Luca Andrisani.

JenTon propose working with Luca to develop renderings of how the space can be renovated:

Vick's concerned that their plan to show a gut reno might turn off buyers, but JenTon isn't deterred one bit.

Next, Vick pow-wows with Team DavIv (David Beare and Ivana Tagliamonte) and architect Matthias Hollwich. Uh-oh! DavIv wants to do renderings too. Vick steers them away from that concept (JenTon's turf!), but warms up to their idea of focusing on the fantastic view.

DavIv created a flipbook featuring the view's sunset:

Oooh, aaaah! It's so cool...for about 3 seconds.

Finally, it's time for the teams to get in the ring and knock each other out with their hard-hitting marketing plans. Brokers, buyers and CORE peeps gather at NYC Loft Kitchen to cheer (watch politely) and boo (watch politely):

Ding, ding ding! And the winner is...

JenTon. They get to live! Their inclusion of the building's history really impressed Vick and her trusted CORE voters, while DavIv's focus on the view felt distracting from the actual apartment.

Later, Vick gives a round of showings and gets good feedback on the presentation: On the phone, Ivan's not falling for any of Vick's positive posturing and tells her to "get me an offer." A mere three weeks later, Vick does just that, and is also helping Ivan sell his furniture. Ivan ain't jivin' when it comes to getting the heck outta NYC!

CRISIS #2: NEWBIE BROKERS MUST NAVIGATE FIRST SALE WITH EXCELLENT GUIDANCE AT THE READY

Michele Mama Bear Kleier has deemed her youngest agents, Isabel Solmonson and John Liss, ready to graduate into their first exclusive listing. Mama lives by the credo "you don't learn by watching, you learn by doing" and wants her lil' cubs to take the reins at 88 Greenwich Street in the FiDi.

As part of her mentoring regime, Mama brings JoBel back to the apartment with a photographer. They learn how to compose a shot, which rooms to snap and Mama's three golden rules before the camera clicks:

#1) Put crap away

#2) Make sure you can't spell your name on the windows with grime

#3) Make sure the decor smiles—real smiles, not faksies!

JoBel may be young, but they've got that glimmer, that go-getter-ness, that GUMPTION:
Heyyy, it's time for JoBel to shine on their Sunday morn open house day. They've got beaucoup de bagels and fruit salad...but hardly any people:

I call cinnamon raisin! Apparently, Sunday morning is the exact not right time to host an open house in FiDi.

This, and basically just this, is discussed over lunch at Burger Heaven (where burgers go when they die, so comforting):

A peek into the $1.495 million 2 bedroom/2 bath property:

The sellers have their eye on a much bigger apartment, but want to wait to sell this first. Which = BIG TIME PRESSURE for Team JoBel!
Later, JoBel go to Mama's den to discuss progress AKA there is none. They decide a good option would be to lower the price and show the world the sellers are motivated:

At first JoBel suggest a $200k price cut to Mama, but then lower it to $100k before they call the seller. He agrees which is a coup for JoBel and their nascent negotiating skills. Did the dollar drop snag a deal? Well, the update explains two offers came in...but according to the listing, it's still up for grabs. JoBel, you gotta sell!

Episode Review: There was no teamwork tension to heighten the stakes, but a penthouse was sold and a commision was raked! Plus I got to name teams, celeb-hybrid style which leaves me elated with 4.0 out of 5.0 CLEARLY I NEED A MENTOR cackling Kleiers

Take the Slide at Pro Poker Player’s A Building Penthouse

CurbedMarch 23, 2012
Pro poker player Phil Galfond moved, which leaves his penthouse in the A Building free for the taking. Or not so free: the ask is $3.99 million. Galfond paid $3.2 million for two uncombined penthouses in 2008 and had Turrett Collaborative Architects create a helical slide between them. Which makes broker parties in the space a lot more fun than your average open house. Curbed videographer David Sherwin headed over to the penthouse last night to capture the slide experience on camera. Galfond himself "originally installed the slide to be a whimsical addition to the stark modern white apartment—but…would often use it to go downstairs between breaks in hands while playing online," according to the Daily News. Only one potential buyer has asked about removing it; another sent his broker to check whether the slide entry was big enough for his dogs.

A little bit of 'Sex' in Brooklyn - Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick set real estate sights on Heights

New York Daily NewsMarch 23, 2012
CARRIE BRADSHAW is planning on pulling a Miranda and moving to Brooklyn, sources in the Heights tell the Daily News.

“Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick are closing in on a contract to purchase adjacent townhouses on State St. near Sidney Place in the borough’s most expensive neighborhood.

“They loved the West Village but wanted something more private, laid-back and discreet,” says a source familiar with negotiations.
When construction is completed, the combined home would create an urban mansion of approximately 7,000-plus square feet with a suburban-size backyard — perfect for the family’s growing children, son James Wilkie, 9, and twin daughters Marion and Tabitha, almost 3.

The purchase of the townhomes will be an “off-market” transaction, meaning the houses weren’t officially for sale. Reps for the actors had no comment.

Neighbors say the high-powered couple will fit right in.

“It’s a quiet, family-oriented area. A lot of the homes are owned by people with children, and it's a really safe neighborhood,” said Billy Calder, 22, who has lived on State St. his whole life.

“There are quite a few celebrities around here already,” he added. “Norah Jones lives close by; Gabriel Byrne lives a few streets away, so I don’t think it would be a big deal.”

City records show both homes are owned by Mark and Diane Baker. They did not have a comment on the proposed transaction.

SJP and her “Ferris Bueller” star hubby are burgeoning real estate moguls, having closed on an E. 10th St. townhouse two years ago for $18.995 million.

The famous couple is quietly shopping that home after remodeling, having never moved in.

They continue to reside in their townhome on Charles St., near West Fourth St.

But apparently they can’t resist red-hot Brooklyn Heights.

The Truman Capote House at 70 Willow St. recently sold to the creator of the video game Grand Theft Auto for $12.5 million, a borough record for a single-family residence.

“Brooklyn Heights is the city’s first official historic landmark district, that’s how beautiful it is and what it means to New York,” says CORE senior vice president Doug Bowen, a Brooklyn townhouse expert who has a listing at 161 State St.

“The price difference between the West Village and Brooklyn Heights is sometimes two, three, four times the amount. That’s why even big names are deciding to live here. It’s an easier financial commitment.”

Just having turned 50, Broderick, born and raised in the West Village to artist parents, shouldn't have trouble adjusting to life in the Heights.

With charming streets, hidden lanes, carriage houses, writers and landscape architects, it’s like the West Village 25 years ago — with a dash of Paris thrown in.

House of the Day: Penthouse Doubles as Playhouse

AOL Real EstateMarch 22, 2012
This infamous condo complex in New York City's East Village is known for being a a rich man's playground, but it looks like one of the A Building's tenants took that idea a little too literally: He had a slide installed inside his penthouse.

Connecting the duplex apartment's second floor to its first, professional poker player Phil Galfond's helical slide starts by the top-floor office (which also boasts a wet bar), and ends somewhere between the living and dining areas on the bottom floor. The 18-foot sculptural slide features custom-made glass railings and with its careful detail, according to the architects, is an "unexpectedly elegant addition" to the space.

We're not so sure "elegant" is the word we'd choose to describe a slide built into a grown man's 2,500-square-foot Manhattan apartment, but it sure is cool. Galfond has also thoughtfully installed an Italian-made Rintal staircase as an alternative for less-daring guests.

The $3.990 million penthouse also features four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a game room, an 18-foot atrium and a private roof deck. It features views over Manhattan from all angles and, even sans the slide, is pretty baller!

Why is Galfond selling, then? He tells The Wall Street Journal that, given the uncertainty about the legality of online poker-playing in the U.S., "It doesn't make sense for me to hold onto the apartment." Shame. We would've just kept it, maybe, if the slide had a ball pit at the bottom.

Elizabeth Kee and Lindsee Silverstein of CORE Group NYC have the listing.

3 tips to seal the deal on your new home

MetroMarch 21, 2012
A good broker is key
"Finding a smart broker is essential," says Boston-based realtor Maggie Gold Seelig. "They educate buyers about the market. Each city has its own rhythm. The broker must know the neighborhood and the comparables, or you'll miss opportunities." Comparables are used to determine a property's fair market value via comparing similar recently sold properties in the area. Because a home might have unique qualities or fixtures, though, comparables are only a guide.

Keep your cool
When it comes down to the actual negotiations, it's important to keep things impersonal and amicable. "Whether you're a buyer or seller, never take anything personally," says HGTV's "Selling New York" cast member Tom Postilio, who heads New York real estate firm CORE. "It's such an emotional purchase. Remove yourself. [Remember] it's business. It's about numbers."

Negotiations shouldn't fixate on price
"There are levers outside of price," says Seelig, "like closing dates and time frames, which might be more important to the seller than holding out on price. For sellers, perhaps there's something you can include to sweeten the deal for the buyer. Always remember to leave something on the table for the other side. The seller and buyer have to feel good about the deal. Never close a door -- have a conversation."

Deal in gridlock?
HGTV's Tom Postilio has advice for both sides:

Sellers should ask:
"Is this the best deal I'm going to get? How long do I want to hold out for?"

Sellers shouldn't:
"Negotiate with anyone whose finances are not in order. If they're not pre-approved, they must [at least] look like strong candidates."

Buyers should ask:
"Can I live happily without this house?"

Buyers shouldn't:
"Leave financing too late. Today with all the hoops the banks make people jump through, pre-approval can take a bit longer."

Want an Apartment With a Slide in It?

NY MagazineMarch 21, 2012
Perhaps the proprietors of East 13th's luxury lifestyle "A Building," in creating the above advertisement featuring an apartment with an actual built-in slide, were making a very coy nod at the work of Carston Holler, or simply to the idea of New York as a playground for the wealthy.

Or, more likely, they were catering to the needs of the kind of sophisticated, mature tenants who have flocked to the building since it opened.

Chelsea Conversion Plays Up Architect's 1957 Reputation

CurbedMarch 20, 2012
We've already discussed the sky-high pricing at Walker Tower, the Chelsea conversion of a former Verizon building into condos asking between $3,000 and $10,000/square foot. One thing at the building is free: the exhibit (Warning: music and video) about the life and work of architect Ralph Walker, which opens to the public next week. And the building's new signage, above, is happy to play that up, trumpeting the "architect of the century" label the Times gave to Walker in 1957. Work is already underway on the condo conversion of a second Walker-designed building at 435 West 50th Street, so maybe we can just forget about that half-century of obscurity in the middle.

Ralph Walker: Architect Of The Century

The Architects NewspaperMarch 19, 2012
This is the first ever exhibit to explore the life and work of Ralph Walker (1889-1973), the great and influential architect who shaped
New Yorkʼs skyline during the Roaring Twenties through iconic Art Deco skyscrapers including the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building at 140 West Street and the luxurious Irving Trust Building at One Wall Street in the heart of the cityʼs Financial District. Walker was called “the only other honest architect in America” by Frank Lloyd Wright, and hailed in the New York Times as the “architect of the century,” yet few have
heard of the man or understand his contributions. Walker was a master of modern ornament, using his skills as a designer to “humanize” the skyscraper and the city itself.

Across the 50 years of his practice, Walker invented a new language for telephone buildings across the country, shaped the Chicago and New York Worldʼs Fairs of the 1930s, and became an outspoken advocate for his vision of a modern American city. This exhibit – which includes archival plans and drawings, large models of Walkerʼs masterpieces, and interactive digital displays that provide visitors with a guided tour through his career – is housed in the ground floor of 212 West 18th Street, a classic Walker-designed telephone
building that was completed in 1929. The building was recently renamed Walker Tower in honor of the architect. The exhibit is curated by Kathryn Holliday, an architectural historian and professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and features materials from her upcoming book, Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century, to be published in the fall by Rizzoli. The exhibit is free and open to the
public daily, by appointment only. Please call 212-335-1800 to make an appointment or visit ralphwalkerexhibit.com for more information.

Jarrod Guy Randolph Joins CORE

March 16, 2012
FORBES’ “30 UNDER 30” RECIPIENT AND TOP BROWN HARRIS STEVENS BROKER ANNOUNCED AS VICE PRESIDENT

New York, N.Y. (March 16, 2012) – Industry leader, Jarrod Guy Randolph, joins CORE as Vice President, Associate Broker. With a successful decade in the business, Jarrod’s personal contributions to new development projects have resulted in sales valued at over $400 million. Among his notable roster of projects is addresses such as 84 Bedford Street, Starck Downtown--15 Broad Street, 4 West 21st Street, River Lofts, Ariel East and West, The Lucida--151 East 85th Street and 515 East 72nd Street. Jarrod’s efforts were recently recognized by Forbes Magazine as he was named to their prestigious list of “30 under 30”.

“Jarrod is the epitome of what we look for in a CORE agent and the new development and resale opportunities we offer are the perfect fit for his business model," notes Reba Miller, Senior Managing Director of Sales. “His knowledge base, commitment and passion for his career and clients is apparent to everyone he comes in contact with. He is a thoroughbred of an agent and we can’t wait to watch him grow his personal brand at CORE.”

“I am excited to break out on my own; this move was a great opportunity that I could not pass up," says Randolph. “When I heard that CORE is a marketing firm that happens to sell real estate, I knew that CORE is the perfect place for me to build my business. CORE is a very forward-thinking brokerage that understands what tools are necessary to be successful in real estate and I can’t wait for my business to grow exponentially.”

Along with his new development expertise, Jarrod is a trusted sales professional and practiced market analyst renowned for his knowledge in the New York City residential sector. His awareness of the market provides clients with instrumental information which guides and aids their decision making. Jarrod is respected for his attentiveness, product positioning, underwriting and strong ability to recognize market trends and emerging neighborhoods He is known throughout the industry as an efficient salesperson whose professionalism stands out.

Jarrod carries a certified negotiation expert (CNE) designation, a title which only 1% of agents in the nation hold. He is also a New York Residential Specialist, a REBNY "Board Certified" designation awarded to top New York City brokers who have successfully completed a course which provides additional education in real estate brokerage, law, ethics, marketing and finance.

Jarrod holds a Bachelor of Science in Real Estate Development degree from New York University and is a proud supporter of the arts. He is currently a board member on the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) Generation Advance and has previously been involved with the American Ballet Theatre.

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

Score for Core: A BHS Vice Prez Joins the Firm

The Real DealMarch 16, 2012
On the heels of numerous departures from Core comes word that a Brown Harris Stevens vice president is moving to Core, according to a statement from Core today.

Jarrod Randolph, named one of Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30″ for real estate last year, will be a vice president, the statement said.

“Jarrod is the epitome of what we look for in a Core agent and the new development and resale opportunities we offer are the perfect fit for his business model,” said Reba Miller, senior managing director of sales at Core. “He is a thoroughbred of an agent.” Miller joined Core last year after the firm she founded in 1998, R.P. Miller & Associates, was acquired by Core.

“Core is a very forward-thinking brokerage that understands what tools are necessary to be successful in real estate,” Randolph said.

Core has seen many brokers come and go in recent months. Lawrence Rich, a former Prudential Douglas Elliman vice president who left in August for Core, recently defected, returning to Elliman, citing the fact that Elliman felt “more like a family.” And as The Real Deal previously reported, at least five other brokers have defected from Core since December, including Jeannie Ma, Ivana Tagliamonte and Liz Dworkin.

Randolph is starting today and will work from Core’s Chelsea location, at 127 Seventh Avenue, according to a spokesperson for Core.

Randolph sold a penthouse at the Lucida, at 151 East 85th Street, for $15.8 million last year — the highest price per square foot ever paid in the building at that time, the spokesperson said.

Selling New York S5E8: Chilly Reception & Hot Houses

CurbedMarch 16, 2012
HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 3/15/2012.

Frustration (see above)! Mild annoyance! Last night's episode of Selling New York spanned a middling range of emotion when brokers pounded the pavement and palm trees to please their clients. When a Chelsea apartment gets the cold shoulder, a broker stages a decor intervention to get the seller's place the props it deserves. Will spiffy new side tables = a jiffy sale? Then, an anxious agent aims to tap the St. Barts real estate scene with some wealthy buyers. Are you prepared to get low-level depression looking at luxury properties in the Caribbean? Buckle up because we're hopping onto a private plane headed towards Recap Villa!

CRISIS #1: SELLER'S OVERSTUFFED LEATHER FURNITURE TURNS OUT TO BE A HUGE TURN OFF

CORE broker Tom Postilio is having a terrible time selling his client's 2BR, 2BA Chelsea House apartment at 130 West 19th Street. To emphasize the egregious interior design, Tom brings in potential buyer Rob Miketa to point out all the furniture flaws:

Between the view of a brick wall and the master bedroom resembling "a king size suite in a bad hotel," Rob looks like his eyeballs have been scrubbed against a dirty 1993 Marriott lobby carpet:

With one month left on his six month listing, Tom is desperate to flip the anti- Chelsea decor for a sleek, modern vibe. The owner, Tom McDonald, doesn't quite understand why his "lovely Vermont chalet furniture" is getting iced. Tom McDonald: Lifelong Defender of The Leather Couch:

Tom P. convinces him that buyers "get very confused by the decor" and run screaming out the door. Reluctantly, McTom agrees to banish his ski lodge setup and fork over some lift ticket money to bring in textiles that won't make Chelsea buyers visually vomit.

Enter Susan Goldstein, professional stager! Sooz is feeling metals, glass and everything opposite leather.

Oooh, an after video!

At the open house, the refreshed pad gets good reviews even with the brick wall view. The price? $1.625 million. Preferably delivered in increments of leather couch.

Finally, the two Toms meet up at The Metropolitan Room where Tom McD's daughter is singing some tunes. Plus, there's an offer!

Tom McD isn't loving the $1.525 million deal on the table and tells Tom P. to counter at $1.610 million. Handshake! Seems the staging sealed a sale, since the update shares that the former chalet sold for $1.58 million. Let's hope the couches made it back to their homeland of Vermont!

CRISIS #2: BROKER MUST PROVE WORTH TO BUST INTO ST. BARTS MARKET

Warburg's Richard Steinberg is ready to conquer the Caribbean when he meets with SiBarth director Robert Brown at The Russian Tea Room. Rob wants Richard to tap into his luxe NYC clientele and find a buyer for his portfolio of posh St. Barts villas. The catch? Richard needs to come down to St. Barts with a potential client for some hardcore villa viewing. This is not "some extended vacation," Rob warns. Because the Caribbean is NOT JUST ABOUT FUN!

Richard nearly pops an eyeball at this golden opportunity:

A few plane flights later, Richard escorts his buyer friends Roger and Barbara Felberbaum to a series of outstanding properties that make you feel like you will never win at life.

Let's start with this low end $10.9 million estate:

The upside? The views. The downside? Barbara isn't so into the steep hill the house is on, so ix-nay this aradise-pay for the elberbaums-Fay!

Maybe this $19.71 million wonder will suit their fancy and their family?

With a private beach, sprawling 4,305-square-foot layout and gorgeousness everywhere, it's not surprising Roger loves it.

Also, there is a pool filled with clouds! St. Barts is dreamy like that:

Off to the side, Robert grills Richard (aaagh, so many R names!) on how he knows the F'baums. "90 percent of my clients are friends," explains Richard. Way to work your friendships, Steinberg!

Later, the trio of R men and Babs go to a SiBarth mixer at one of their $25 million villas so the F'baums can get to know other SiBarthers AKA mingle with ultra rich folks. Richard rockin' a beachy choker while making new friends:

At the party, Rob and Richard pow-wow about the F'baums. Richard's all "you can't expect them to buy a place in 3 days" and Rob's all "I know, but I WANT THEM TO." Rob suggests that they rent first, like how everyone else does.

Richard says his clients want to indeed rent first, and Roger understands. All of a sudden Roger's all "selling in St. Barts takes patience" but meanwhile he was chomping at the F'baums wallet the whole time!

AnyRogermakesnosenseways, he's happy to collaborate with Richard and Richard is stoked to expand his business. Did the nice couple end up renting? Why yes, they did! And, as the update informs, they're bringing their entire family down to try it out for a 2 week vacation. Cuz that's how the F'baums roll.

Episode Review: The extreme Chelsea make-over + a blast of unaffordable St. Barts sunshine + some deals = 3.5 out of 5.0 PROMISE NOT TO ENJOY SELF IF SENT TO CARIBBEAN FOR WORK cackling Kleiers. After their non-vacation vacation, R & R meet up at Warburg offices to review Richard's Caribbean performance:

Ralph Walker: Architect Of The Century

NYC.ComMarch 15, 2012
This is the first ever exhibit to explore the life and work of Ralph Walker (1889-1973), the great and influential architect who shaped New Yorkʼs skyline during the Roaring Twenties through iconic Art Deco skyscrapers including the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building at 140 West Street and the luxurious Irving Trust Building at One Wall Street in the heart of the cityʼs Financial District. Walker was called “the only other honest architect in America” by Frank Lloyd Wright, and hailed in the New York Times as the “architect of the century,” yet few have heard of the man or understand his contributions. Walker was a master of modern ornament, using his skills as a designer to “humanize” the skyscraper and the city itself.

Across the 50 years of his practice, Walker invented a new language for telephone buildings across the country, shaped the Chicago and New York Worldʼs Fairs of the 1930s, and became an outspoken advocate for his vision of a modern American city. This exhibit – which includes archival plans and drawings, large models of Walkerʼs masterpieces, and interactive digital displays that provide visitors with a guided tour through his career – is housed in the ground floor of 212 West 18th Street, a classic Walker-designed telephone building that was completed in 1929. The building was recently renamed Walker Tower in honor of the architect. The exhibit is curated by Kathryn Holliday, an architectural historian and professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and features materials from her upcoming book, Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century, to be published in the fall by Rizzoli. The exhibit is free and open to the public
daily, by appointment only. Please call 212-335-1800 to make an appointment or visit ralphwalkerexhibit.com for more information.

New Listings: 150 E 49th St. #2A

Brokers WeeklyMarch 14, 2012
Turtle Bay
150 E49th St. #2A
$760,000

Renovated, pre-war two bedroom, 1.5 bath home. Open kitchen with custom cabinets, granite counters and serving island. Both bedrooms have fantastic closet space. Hardwood floors, French doors, pre-war details and windowed kitchen and baths. Custom built-in cabinetry, washer/dryer. This co-op features a live-in super, laundry room, outdoor shared space and oversized storage unit. Agent: Alison Abovsky, CORE.

On the Rental Market Not Far from Pratt, Renovated Rental Asks $4,300/Month

CurbedMarch 12, 2012
Occupying the upper two levels of an 1850s Italianate townhouse, this two-bedroom duplex has been recently renovated with a designer's eye that suits the house's graceful facade. The owner, Deutsche Bank managing director Gary Hattem, is a known green building booster, so it stands to reason that this place was renovated with an eye to the environment (though no mention is made in the brokerbabble). The price is far from philanthropic, at $4,300 per month, for two bedrooms and one bath in this Clinton Hill-meets-Fort Greene location, but the quality of the renovation, a gracious floor plan, and a private office add to the desirability.

Chelsea's Walker Tower Will Ask Up to $10K/Square Foot

CurbedMarch 09, 2012
"I can already tell that I can't afford it," wrote one commenter when we detailed our visit to the gutted upper floors of 212 West 18th Street last fall. Most of us probably can't, commenter. The Art Deco Verizon building designed by Ralph Walker will begin its next life as the Walker Tower condos when it opens for occupancy this spring, and the Times has some deets on pricing and interiors. Pricing for most units will probably be around $3,000/square foot—except for the eight penthouses, which will ask a whopping $10,000/square foot. The 55 condos cover the eighth through 23rd floors (the first seven are Verizon offices, with a separate entrance on West 17th Street).

For those kinds of prices, we'd expect almost mind-boggling luxury in terms of interiors. So? The Times describes a little of what's to come: "The 12- to 15-foot-high ceilings will be coffered. Radiant heat will course through French-oak herringbone floors. Washing machines and dryers won’t be stacked, as in many buildings, but will sit side by side, in individual laundry rooms." In this town, individual laundry rooms with side-by-side appliances are what passes for mind-boggling luxury.

For those who might not find Walker Tower to their liking, the developers just began work on another project at 435 West 50th Street. Like Walker Tower, this one is a former telephone building designed by Ralph Walker, and it's also going condo. Too bad the Walker Tower name can only be claimed once.

Penthouses in Chelsea Verizon building conversion to ask $10,000 per foot

The Real DealMarch 09, 2012
JDS Development’s conversion of the Verizon building in Chelsea will yield 53 condominium units priced between $3,000 and $10,000 per square foot, the New York Times reported.

As The Real Deal previously reported, the project is a joint venture between JDS Development and Property Markets Group and obtained equity from Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital. It is set to hit the market in this spring under Core, which told The Real Deal yesterday that it selected Vickey Barron and Emily Beare to head the marketing effort.

The building, erected in 1929 at 210 West 18th Street, was one of several central offices for the telecommunications giant that housed copper wire for landlines that has been rendered obsolete by the proliferation of cell phones. Its transition to new ownership was complicated by state regulations regarding telecommunication properties and Verizon’s desire to maintain a small presence in the building. The company will maintain ownership of the second through seventh floors, which it will utilize for offices.

The rest of the 23-story, Ralph Walker-designed project, named Walker Tower after the architect, will house luxury condominiums. The renovation includes lengthening windows, adding new windows and shifting the exterior to allow for terraces with better views the final units will retain the building’s 12- to 15-foot-high ceilings, will include heated French-oak herringbone floors and will feature laundry rooms with side-by-side washing and drying machines. The average unit size will be 3,000 square feet, and the eight penthouses will be listed for as much as $10,000 per square foot. [NYT]

Dial C for Condos

The New York TimesMarch 09, 2012
CELLPHONES have been blamed for all sorts of transgressions: the disappearance of phone booths, the decline of civility in restaurants and movie theaters, even for being potential carcinogens.

But there is at least one point in their favor: they have helped increase the supply of real estate in New York City. As the communications world has gone wireless, Verizon has been selling some of its monolithic “central offices,” once needed to house copper wire for land-line calls but now mostly obsolete. Among the new uses have been business offices, medical research labs and even high-school sports complexes.

One of those Verizon buildings, a 1929 tan-brick Art Deco high-rise at 212 West 18th Street in Chelsea, is being converted into luxury condominiums. The 53-unit project is called Walker Tower for its architect, Ralph Walker, who also designed several other phone company buildings.

The $200 million project is a venture of JDS Development and the Property Markets Group. The developers say they are sparing no expense in the furnishings and finishes. The 12- to 15-foot-high ceilings will be coffered. Radiant heat will course through French-oak herringbone floors. Washing machines and dryers won’t be stacked, as in many buildings, but will sit side by side, in individual laundry rooms.

“It’s such a rare perfect storm in New York to have an asset like this, so we’re not going to denigrate it,” said Michael Stern, the managing partner at JDS, on a tour of what will become a three-bedroom with a home office.

Prices were set in the condo’s offering plan, which was approved last year, but because the residential market has heated up since, the developers are seeking to raise them by 10 percent in an amended plan, he said. When the sales office opens this spring, condos are likely to cost about $3,000 a square foot — double the going rate in the neighborhood, brokers say — and as much as $10,000 a foot for the eight penthouses, said Shaun Osher, the founder of the Core Group NYC, which is handling sales. With an average size of 3,000 square feet, a typical unit might cost $9 million.

In some ways, Walker Tower’s most impressive feat might be even getting built at all. Mr. Stern, who first toured it on Sept. 15, 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed, taking down much of the economy with it, had to get permission to take it over from the state’s Public Service Commission, because it housed a telecommunications company.

That extra layer of approval meant that it took a relatively long time to close the deal, Mr. Stern said. Further, Verizon didn’t want to concede the whole building, so it was divided into two condominiums.

Verizon owns Floors 2 through 7, which contain offices for about a dozen employees who will come to work through a West 17th Street entryway. Mr. Stern owns the condo that encompasses Floors 8 through 23.

Other major changes included lowering the parapet wall on the tower’s many wedding-cake-type setbacks, to one foot from four feet, to improve views from terraces. Similarly, windows were lengthened to 10 feet, from 5, and cut into the eastern wall where none existed before, developers said.

Some elevator shafts in the building, which is supposed to be ready for occupancy in spring 2013, were also removed to gain residential space.

If the project has been difficult, the developers don’t seem deterred. In fact, the same team recently started interior demolition on another Walker-designed telephone building it owns, at 435 West 50th Street, which is also envisioned as a condo conversion.

In both, thick walls and floors that were strong enough for crackling switchboards have proved ideal for residential uses, said Mr. Stern, who added, “There are no more solid buildings than these.”
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