News

On the Dubbel

New York PostFebruary 23, 2012

Award-winning starchitect Winka Dubbeldam, who designed the gorgeous, glassy, 11-story 497 Greenwich St., otherwise known as the Greenwich Street Project, has just put her sixth-floor home there on the market for $2.35 million.

 

Dubbeldam had previously been more interested in renting her condo, sources say, although it had briefly been on the market in 2010 for $2.39 million. The two-bedroom, 1 1/2- bathroom unit is 1,661 square feet with high ceilings, an open layout and sliding doors.

 

The doorman building, with a penthouse owned by artist Cindy Sherman, includes a gym, screening room, wine cellar, pool and Zen garden. There’s even a guest-suite duplex and 24-hour concierge.

 

One reason we love Dubbeldam: In one interview, she lists books as the most underrated object. “I still like their physical presence and having a wall full of them to browse,” she said.

 

Listing broker Jason Walker of Prudential Douglas Elliman declined to comment.

 

Picture Perfect

 

One pricey downtown condo is getting its share of close-ups.

 

Model Angela Martini, Albania’s representative in the 2010 Miss Universe competition, shot a video for her new Martini Bikini swimsuit collection at a 4,700-square-foot penthouse at TriBeCa’s 200 Chambers St. The unit, listed by Platinum Properties, is on the market for $17.995 million and features Andy Warhol and George Condo art, Marilyn Minter photographs and furniture including a $63,000 de Sede sofa. Also included is a $50,000 antique chandelier, which fashion designer Betsey Johnson swung from during a recent photo shoot.

 

Sighting

 

Hot-shot real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey — known largely for lawsuits he’s filed against condo buildings — dining at STK Midtown.

 

Irving Place

 

Irving Schneider, the 91-year-old real estate mogul and philanthropist, is still wheeling and dealing. Schneider, a longtime business partner of Harry Helmsley, just sold his high-floor co-op at 880 Fifth Ave. for $5.9 million — well above its $5.495 million asking price.

 

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,500-square-foot co-op is in an exclusive Emery Roth-designed, 21-story building that dates back to 1948. Schneider currently resides in Palm Beach, Fla.

 

The buyers are insurance executive Francis Mitterhoff and his wife, Charlotte, who purchased a lower-floor unit in the same building in 2005.

 

Listing broker Jacky Teplitzky of Prudential Douglas Elliman declined to comment.

 

We hear . . .

 

That multiple potential buyers are lining up to see Katy Perry’s $2.75 million TriBeCa penthouse at 65 N. Moore St., where showings began on Wednesday. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,500-square-foot unit is still described as a “romantic duplex” in the listing despite Perry and Russell Brand’s divorce. Prudential Douglas Elliman broker John Prince could not be reached for comment . . . That socialite Michelle-Marie Heinemann just bought her second apartment at 923 Fifth Ave. for $1.85 million . . . That Silverstone Property Group’s Martin Nussbaum bought the 17-story residential building at 247 E. 28th St. from Samson Management’s Arnold Goldstein for $53 million. Broker Steven Vegh of Multi Investment Group represented both sides of the deal . . . That 322 Meadow Lane in Southampton closed last week for $28.5 million. The 9,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, 6 1/2-bathroom mansion was listed for $32 million.

Selling New York Recap: ASAP Apartments

CurbedFebruary 17, 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: 2/16/2012.

NEED. APARTMENT. NOW-ISH! Time was mildly of the essence in last night's Selling New York, when two buyers bustled around town trying to hone in on a home. First, a broker helps a couple from Atlanta land an Upper East Side apartment. But with a home still for sale in the ATL, can they bring the bucks up north? Then, with one inning left in the baseball season, an agent assists the wife of the Oakland A's manager (MONEYBALL, PEOPLE!) in locating a downtown loft. Will she score a home run or get benched for the season? Aaaand, you're welcome for all my terrible puns. Boil up a Hebrew National, grab a brewskie, and munch on this recap stadium style! Delicious, no? >>

CRISIS #1: BI-CITY COUPLE SEEKS TO REUNITE IN CHARMING UPPER EAST SIDE PAD
Sabrina Kleier-Morgenstern is happy—she gets to show buyer Debbie Pagano apartments in her fave nabe...the Upper East Side! The two ladies meet at Yura on Madison to discuss Deb's sitch, which is that her hubs just got transferred to NYC for a job. Deb's still living in Atlanta with their pooch and is trying to sell their house so she can move up here within the next few months. Her budget? A healthy $1.5 to $2 million. First stop is 900 Park Avenue (or if you want to get Upper East Sidey, The Parc 900 Condominium). Shall we take a glance at this $2.445 million unit? Spoiler: it's pretty snoozy.

Deb likes the location...and that's about it. The 14th floor is too high, the apartment's too modern, and she wants some charm gollydarn it! Naturally all of this is discussed during a heated dance-off, dj'd by the jukebox:

Next, Sab takes Deb down the street to 785 Park Avenue to tour a $2.3 million pre-war property.

The classic decoration and the layout scream peachy keen to Deb's sensibilities. "I love it!" Deb gushes. But...because there has to be a but...Deb wants to sell her Atlanta home before buying in NYC. Sab gets thrown for a loopety with this news but bounces back with a practical suggestion: find a place that has a rent-to-buy option! Liking that idea, Sab brings Deb and her man Grover (unfortch, not THE Grover from Sesame St.) to a $1.795 condo listing at 40 East 94th Street in Carnegie Hill. Will this be the one?!?

Deb and Grover both like the space, and are anxious to live under one roof again. Awww. Later, over scones at Sarabeth's, Sab has a load of good news/bad news to share with Deb. The bad? The sellers of 40 East 94th don't want to rent after all. The good news is that Sab scouted out a bunch of UES listings that are down with the rent-to-buy scenario. Deb says that she likes that idea so much, they've decided to offer the same option for their Atlanta house. Hmmm...if my landlord let me do that, I could own my place in just several decades!

I know you have burning questions about what happened with Deb's search. According to el update-o, many moons later Sab is still trying to find Deb the perfect pad. Guess that whole urgency to live in the same city has gone south of the Mason Dixon!

CRISIS #2: BASEBALL WIFE SCOUTS DOWNTOWN FOR DELUXE DUGOUT

CORE broker Kirk Rundhaug and buyer Kelley Melvin have a lunch date at sushi joint Haru. Outside of the restaurant, they manage to completely ignore this caricature offer. OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE MAGIC OF YOUR CARTOON SELF!:

Kells, wife of Oakland A's manager (this is the Moneyball team!) Bob Melvin, has ditched her old agent and wants to sign on Kirk for TEAM FIND US A COOL DOWNTOWN APARTMENT. Right now, Kells is living in her daughter's 1 bedroom with her daughter there. It's like a sitcom waiting to happen! Or maybe it did happen and was so bad it never got past the pilot. Bob will be returning Big Apple-side in a few weeks and she wants to secure a place before he arrives. With a budget of $2.5 million, somehow I don't think she'll have a problem. Kells wants a Soho or Greenwich Village loft-like feel, which is why Kirk takes her first to...Tribeca? A $1.995 million spot at 68 Thomas Street is first on the list:

Kirk scores points for the industrial vibe, but Kells wants Soho or G'wich Village, mmm'k? Struuuu-ike! Next, Kirk brings Kells with her daughter Alexi in tow to a chic Soho unit selling for $2.595 million.

Drink in the luxurious bareness:

The loft makes Kells' heart sing and she doesn't want to lose it but...she thinks she should look at a few more juuust to make sure it's the right pick. Kirk doesn't want to push Kelly to buy, but is concerned she'll lose out if she waits too long.

Off K & K go to another contender at 252 7th Avenue (aka the Chelsea Mercantile) to peek at a $2.495 million 2 bed/2 bath abode:

The more Kells looks around, the more she wants the Soho locale. Soho "really feels like home to me," she shares. Time to make a bid! Kirk gives Bob a call pronto and advises him to give a low offer at first to gauge the seller's price. Oooh, a counter offer of $2.475 million came in. Bob gets video chatted Jetson style with the news:

Kirk thinks an offer of $2.3 million is a fair comeback and Bob agrees. Which is good, because the offer was accepted! K & K celebrate the good news with some cheers'ing at Le Pescadeux:

Kirk gets the MVP treatment with a dinner invite at the Melvins' new Soho address. The update explains that the Melvins were so thrilled with their purchase, they've referred Kirk to friends. He's already picked up a new client from the deal. Go Captain Kirk!

Episode Grade: A dead-end search that gets stale and front row seats to a major league sale leave me ever so slightly buzzed with 2.5 cackling Kleiers.

'Burg's Louver House Hits 60; Cornell Campus Picks Admins

CurbedFebruary 16, 2012
WILLIAMSBURG—268 Wythe Avenue, 91-93 Metropolitan Avenue, Louver House: whatever this building is called, somebody's finally buying there. In fact, reps tell us, the building is now 60 percent sold. StreetEasy shows three 2BRs available for $669,000 to $733,000. [CurbedWire Inbox]

ROOSEVELT ISLAND—Further movement at Cornell-Technion's future Roosevelt Island campus: a few major administrators have been appointed. According to a press release: "Professor Daniel P. Huttenlocher, Cornell University’s Dean of Computing and Information Sciences, has been named Cornell Vice Provost and founding Dean of the university’s historic tech campus, home of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. Cathy Dove, currently associate dean in Cornell’s College of Engineering, will co-lead the campus as Vice President, and Technion Professor Craig Gotsman will serve as the founding director of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute." A hearty congrats to all. [CurbedWire Inbox]

NYC—And a hearty Launches & Releases welcome to CORE's Pinterest page. Notable because this is the first brokerage we've seen with its own Pinterest page, and because there's a section for Selling New York fans. [CurbedWire Inbox]

Centurion Unveils a Terrace: UCB Does Real Estate; More!

CurbedFebruary 14, 2012
CHELSEA—And finally, a quick dispatch from Chelsea's sometimes marketing-challenged Cammeyer. The Sixth Avenue building is officially 80 percent sold. The CORE blog also has a little more to say about the building's lobby, which includes "a box from huge panels of white Corian cut out by water jet to produce “tree branches,” their shadows projected onto the plain white walls by a simulated skylight." [CORE]

Haute Event: "Love and Real Estate"

HauteLiving.comFebruary 14, 2012
With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, exclusive Matchmaker and founder of Samantha’s Table matchmaking, Samantha Daniels along with top real estate agent and Managing Director at CORE, Vickey Barron hosted a “Love and Real Estate” event on February 2. The two women brought together people who love real estate and who are looking for love so that they could meet each other, chat about great homes and hopefully find a match.

“Love and Real Estate” brought together a select group of both Daniels’s clients and as well as Barron’s single clients in the hopes of pairing some of the invitees together and at the same time create a very unique episode for “Selling New York.” Daniels, who is regularly seen on TV for her matchmaking expertise and insight, helped Barron select the attendees for a night of wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres and breathtaking views at one of Barron’s current listings at 256 West 10th Street, 6‐D.

The exclusive event is being filmed for HGTV’s hit show, “Selling New York,” which showcases high end unique real estate in NY. “Selling New York” is HGTV’s second highest‐rated program and offers viewers a rare glimpse inside Manhattan’s high stakes world of buying and selling luxury real estate.

New York City’s Most Mind-Boggling Red and Pink Rooms

CurbedFebruary 14, 2012
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! In honor of this day of universal happiness and joy, where nobody is super sad and alone and just barely holding it together right now, we bring you a list of the best red and pink rooms of all time, an inordinate number of which seem to be located on Park Avenue. Unlike Valentine's Day candy, these listings will not be 50 percent off tomorrow. (Or perhaps they will be.)

The Word on the Street: A new breed of lobbies is reinventing New York real estate.

Interior DesignFebruary 13, 2012
The boutique lobby, a new subspecies, has invaded. Fitted or retrofitted into predominantly midsize, midblock buildings, it is changing the game and the New York cityscape.

Through lobbies, the entire history of office and apartment buildings can be told. That history has been continuously written as architectural style moves on, but the speed of change has accelerated under the twin demands for improved technology and increased security. Also forcing change, a decade of front-page spectacles, such as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, has trickled down to raise expectations everywhere.

What has occurred is the advent of lobbies as environmental art-meticulously detailed, conceptually complex works conceived to be original, individual, and unexpected rather than safely corporate. Microcosms within a building and within the design field, they represent big experimentation on a small canvas. They are cool.

Take the small lobby in a Ladies' Mile commercial building that Eran Chen converted into condominiums when he was a principal at Perkins Eastman. (He now heads his own firm, ODA-Architecture.) Around the concierge desk, he built a box from huge panels of white Corian cut out by water jet to produce "tree branches," their shadows projected onto the plain white walls by a simulated skylight. The branch motif repeats as carvings in the elevators. “Converting old buildings, I'm intrigued by showing the layering over the years," Chen says. "The idea was to create an extreme expression of the new inside the old, a contemporary white box inside a box of beautifully articulated 1906 masonry. The lobby is not an art piece per se, but it's definitely conceptual."

Many boutique lobbies feature actual art, like their bigger brethrendo, but the newcomers are not passive, like a gallery. Instead, they occupy a middle ground between art and architecture. At a glass tower built by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, artist James Turrell dissolved the lobby into a cavern of light, a mystic installation in the thick of the Manhattan hubbub. "The walls are just gyp," KPF principal Douglas Hocking says. "You can get so much done now with so little, just a core idea and a few materials. I've noticed a tendency toward less ostentation and more refinement, a reaction to ornate work."

Having long relied on acres of marble and granite to produce Karnak-esque moments of entry, designers are deploying light as a primary material. And they usually hide the source, so visitors occupy the glow and the color without seeing the bulb-miniaturization has advanced the cause. Many designers have also adopted Turrell's technique for walls: They taper to a thin edge, dematerializing them as shiding the cove. Matter cedes to luminescence.

LB Architects relied on light in redesigning a 1989 office building, Tower 45. On the side plaza, which acts as a pocket park, and in the lobby, senior designer Eric Lukenich suspended monumental illuminated rectangles at odd, jostling angles. These light trays animate both of the spaces.

Rather than treating lights as chandelier objects in the lobby of a1959 office building, Lukenich tucked fixtures into coves and pockets to showcase an array of features, including a wall of stacked textured marble. He composed his interior from shifting, asymmetrical blocks. Classic simplicity has given way to material and geometric complexity." We created a continuity from outside to inside, a procession that celebrates the entry into the building," project manager Elizabeth Dull says. "In such a small space, detailing was key-the transition between materials, how each should meet another."

In boutique lobbies, the attitude is liberating, the results are expressive, and the rules are few. Still, it's important to respect the bones of the spaces and to facilitate functionality without foregrounding its mechanics. What matters is invention at the service of beauty and effect, making the private more public and offering a visual gift to the street. From the front doors to the elevators, a total environment delivers an intensified experience. Unlike modernist forerunners, boutique lobbies are conceived not as prototypes but as a site-specific new reality.

Selling New York Recap: Grooming and Guidance

CurbedFebruary 10, 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: 2/9/2012

Helping hands were extended in last night's Selling New York when two newbies dared to dip their careers and wallets into NYC real estate's raging waters. First, a fast-talking agent agrees to bring his sweet daughter-in-law under his wing for a crash course in real estate know-how. Will she ever be able to ditch her training wheels? Then, a potential buyer is more interested in her broker's under-renovation apartment than a move-in ready unit. Ethical drama ensues! Bring your GPS because that storyline is ALL OVER THE MAP. Feeling lost already? Hint: Scroll your mouse due south for the next 8 feet of recap routing!

First, click on the blue text >>

CRISIS #1: WILL RICHARD STEINBERG'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW MAKE IT OR BREAK IT IN THE REAL ESTATE BIZ???
It's family dinner night at Orsay for Warburg broker Richard Steinberg. On the menu? His daughter-in-law, Jill Steinberg, asking her pop-in-law if she can work with him. Jill'll be taking her real estate exam and getting her license in a few weeks and wants some heels-on experience stomping around the real estate world. Richard had a feeling Jill would ask—and now, for the first time ever, his "I knew it" face exposed!

"I would be honored," says Richard—but she has to start at the bottom as his assistant. He explains she'll shadow him (AKA no talking, woman!) when he goes to pitch for a 10 condo exclusive at...

Williamsburgh Savings Bank. The one at 175 Broadway in Williamsburg, not the one at 1 Hanson Place in Downtown Brooklyn. There, he meets with The Dome Voyagers developers Juan and Carlos to check out the space and offer his services.

Check out the soaring lobby, and some manufactured meddling from Jill who's just trying to unsubtly make Richard look good:

Jill's untimely interruptions to Richard's pitch unsurprisingly earn her a "less is more" lesson from pops. Next, Richard takes Jill to Level 2 of Real Real Estate Experience with an apartment showing at 205 West 19th Street in Chelsea.

Richard leads a potential buyer through the layout of this $3.695 million beauty. Jill? She watches. And listens. And learns. FROM THE MASTER!

Why are these candles bent over? WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THESE STICKS OF WAX? CSI: Special Candle Unit needs to get on the case!

The buyer likes the size and the light, but not so much the open kitchen or bathrooms. Pass! Richard commends Jill on a job well done (of keeping her trap mostly shut). Richard has one more level for Jill to complete. There's an open house at 39 East 29th Street and SURPRISE! Richard makes Jill in charge of showing the $2.035 million listing.

Will Jill carpe the open house or crash n' burn? Jill handles questions, knows to call a regular bathtub a "soaking tub" and is all around pleasant and professional. Richard thinks Jill did a Steinbergtastic job and explains it's all about confidence. Back at Jill's home, the family is in a celebratory mood. Richard says that since the open house, there have been two offers and two contracts signed on units in the building. And, Jill passed her real estate test and is fully licensed. Even better? Richard wants Jill to work at Warburg and tap into the young families demographic.

All this good news is too much for Elmo—he has an unnoticed fainting spell with his eyes open. I know, why is no one paying attention to this?:

Where is Jill now? Well, she's got her own page on Warburg's site for starters. And the update shares that she's working on a Warburg initiative to sell NYC properties to overseas clients. Get it, girl!

CRISIS #2: BUYER WANTS WHAT THE BUYER CANNOT HAVE—HER BROKER'S PAD!
CORE agent Vickey Barron has one goal: to sell a recently renovated apartment at 280 Park Avenue South in Gramercy. Maybe it will be to potential buyer Irasema Alonso. She's been looking for just the right 1 bedroom in the nabe to snatch up, but she hasn't seen her dream digs. Will this $1.35 million unit compute with the Yale economics professor? "

"This apartment has everything I'm looking for" Irasema gushes. But it doesn't have cans of paint all over the place, ladders in the middle of the room and exposed wires! Irasema is intrigued when Vickey mentions she's renovating her own apartment which is right around the corner. Maybe she wants to renovate a place too! She asks Vickey if she can see her place. Weird, but OK! (And actually, it's apparently not the first time this has happened.) The ladies go down the block to Vickey's for a look at her $1 million unit, with $250k already sunk into renovations:

Could this tubing be the latest trending NYC amenity...a gerbil chute?! Because gerbils need indoor slides too:

Vickey's no amateur when it comes to reno'ing real estate—she's done 10 apartments in the last 18 years. Hello, side business! "Renovating takes vision, time and commitment" Vickey explains, which is why she doesn't encourage buyers like Irasema to embark on the headache of renovating places themselves.

It seems that all of Vickey's reno-bashing has only made Irasema want her apartment more! When the two sip some outdoor drinks, Irasema has lots to say. First, she wants to offer $1.215 million for the Park Avenue South pad. All cash, baby! Second, she'd rather buy Vickey's place for $1.3 million cash money.

Vickey seems almost annoyed at the offer:

Because she needs to focus on selling Park Avenue South, not wheel and deal her own stuff. Despite her negative reaction, Irasema still wants Vickey to think about her offer. So much so that when they grab some grub at Socarrat, Irasema asks about her apartment AGAIN. No dice. Vickey sticks to her ethical guns and says her responsibility is to sell her listing. Whose owners have counter-offered Irasema's bid with $1.250 million.

It seems that Irasema shied away from the counter offer since Vickey is showing the place to other buyers. She miiiight consider selling her own apartment once 280 is in the can... Hey! 280 got sold! Irasema goes to Vickey's now finished home to see the final product:

Dazzled by the design and layout, Irasema extends her offer again to Vickey. But it's not enough dough to put a dent in Vickey's reno costs. Bright side! Vickey agrees to be Irasema's broker and help her find the perfect spot to call home. Yay? Episode Grade: A cockles-warming tale of helping one's family mixed with a meandering story that kind of went nowhere leaves me lukewarm with 3.0 out of 5 cackling THE STEINBERGS ARE TAKING OVER THE SHOW!

Chelsea penthouse wows with 7,000 square feet of outdoor space

NY Daily NewsFebruary 10, 2012
Looking for your own California oasis? It's near the corner of W. 23rd. St. and Seventh Ave., on top of the former McBurney YMCA building, so high above the street you'd never know it's there. But take the elevator up nine floors, and suddenly you're in Malibu - and out nearly $9 million.

With exposures in four directions, tons of floor-to-ceiling windows and no neighbors on the floor, the space feels like it has been airlifted from the west coast and placed on top of the Beaux Arts-style building. Dubbed the Chelsea Skyhouse in marketing materials, it was built in the mid-2000s when the lower floors were converted to condominiums.

"The beauty of the building is that no two floors were the same," said Shaun Osher, the CEO of CORE who represented the building's sponsor during the conversion. Each floor had different ceiling heights and features - one apartment in the building that once served as a gymnasium and running track has soaring ceilings.

The penthouse is 6,000 square feet inside, and got a whopping 7,000 square feet of outside space that is divided among three levels of terraces. A dramatic floating staircase rises up through a 30-foot atrium.

The space is currently configured with four bedrooms - all with access to outside terraces. Family room and library areas are separated with partial walls, and since the owners are art collectors, all were built reinforced to create a gallery-like space to display works.

But it is hard to take your eyes off the views. Looking west, windows frame the Frank Gehry-designed IAC Headquarters and the nearby iconic Chelsea Hotel. Look east and you can see the Metropolitan Life Tower's clock faces at 1 Madison Ave. You can also spot the Empire State building and views of the Hudson.

The apartment was staged with furniture by Interior Marketing Group (BRYAN SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

"People in the suburbs don't have backyards this big," said Emily Beare, a managing director with CORE who shares the listing with Christian Rogers. "You have the privacy of a townhouse but you get this view - and all this light."

(BRYAN SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

The space has been on and off the market - once for as high as $15 million. Beare and Rogers have held the listing for about a year, and think that the time is right for a sale as the demand in the city for large, high-end property continues to rise, and scaffolding that was up for exterior maintenance work has recently been taken down.

"This is like a living gallery," Beare said. "The apartment itself is a work of art."

Real estate broker brings matchmaking skills to the dating world

VoeyurFebruary 10, 2012
Any single girl in New York can tell you: A good man — and a good apartment — are hard to find.

Lately, CORE managing director Vickey Barron has been helping clients do both.

She recently hosted an event at her listing at 256 W. 10th St. with matchmaker Samantha Daniels in the hopes of introducing her clients to their soul mates.

RELATED: How to prep your place for Valentine’s Day

“I can’t promise that I can find someone for you that will hold your hand through Central Park,” Barron said. “But I know that they have a great credit score, are employed and not wanted by the law.”

And, after enough bad OkCupid dates, that sounds like a pretty good catch.

Barron had Brooklyn-based design company WrecordsByMonkey make color-coded bracelets with a graphic based on the views from the West Village apartment. Attendees picked a color based on their neighborhood and had an instant ice breaker.

“It’s easy to ask someone where they live. Prewar or postwar? Condo or co-op,” Barron said.

Like most things dating, the beginning was awkward as men and women stayed in different areas of the apartment, middle-school dance style.

(NICO ARELLANO FOR CORE)

Drinks from the Natural Wine Company, small bites from Lievito Pizzeria and tiramisu from Dolce Vizio helped ease the discomfort. About an hour in, the crowd was buzzing and iPhones were out as people exchanged numbers.

Daniels, who invited about 20 of her clients to meet Barron’s invitees, was out mingling with guests.

“There’s the same sort of intangible chemistry in real estate that there is in dating,” Daniels said. “You can put people together that have things in common but if the chemistry isn’t there, it’s not going to work. It’s the same with apartments.”

RELATED: Best places in New York City for a kiss

This one has a swoon-worthy wood-burning fireplace, a 35-foot-long living and dining space and a west-facing balcony.

A few days later, Barron thinks that there were three matches made.

But unfortunately, for those who only fell for the apartment, it’s taken. The $2.825 million one-bedroom is in contract.

If The Millionaire Matchmaker Also Had Real Estate Listings, This Is What You’d Get

JezebelFebruary 10, 2012
Bravo has given the greenlight to a new show, Love Broker, in which two best friends — one a real estate agent, and one a matchmaker — set up male clients in New York City. It's not exactly "sign here and get an apartment and a girlfriend," but every now and then, it does happen: "Sometimes, after selling an apartment, we sign [the buyer] up to find their [life] partners," Love Broker's Jennifer Zucher says. The truth is, I suspect a lot of people wouldn't mind outsourcing this kind of stuff: Way way back in the day, we had limited choices in terms of living spaces — this cave or that one — and either you just hooked up with whomever wasn't your brother, or the elders told you where to live and who to hang with. Now we're so busy and the world is so big it's hard to figure all this shit out. Plus, real estate can be a major factor in love lives: Some people won't date other people based on their neighborhood/borough/commute time. And if Pretty In Pink taught us anything, it's that your feelings about someone can change when you see what kind of house they live in.

The folks at Core real estate have it all figured out — on Valentine's Day, they're throwing a singles event in a property that's up for sale. Vicky Barron, managing director of Core, points out a bonus to meeting real estate clients:

"I got them through the New York real estate process, so they all have a good credit score, they're employed and they're not wanted by the law," she joked.

UES broker and BFF matchmaker to star in new Bravo show, "Love Broker", Core tries to pair real estate and love by hosting matchmaking event [The Real Deal]

211 East 51st Street Unveils Totally Renovated Penthouse

CurbedFebruary 09, 2012
Event: The re-unveiling of Penthouse B at 211 East 51st Street

In the House: Lots of CORE brokers, the ever-present Selling New York camera crew, and some downstairs neighbors eager for a closer look.

Dress code: Broker chic

Menu: We saw glasses and folks busy in the kitchen, but managed to miss all the actual nibbles.

Overheard: Lots of chatter about what the penthouse used to look like vs. what it looks like now.

What We Saw: The $6.495 million penthouse—our amateur photos in the gallery above. The people-free listing photos are here; last night, that TV was showing an ocean scene.

The Skinny: This penthouse has been on and off the market since 2008, when it first showed up asking $4.5 million. So what's changed? Everything, actually! The 3,175-square-foot duplex has been completely reconfigured.

We pulled the old floorplan from StreetEasy to compare (click to expand):

Interns Look to NYC Brokerages for Unpaid Work

The Real DealFebruary 07, 2012
Real estate agents are accustomed to working sans salaries, but a new crop of young people are willing to work without commissions, too. The New York Times reported that unpaid internships with residential brokerages in Manhattan are becoming more common.

For students who covet a career in the real estate industry and can afford a summer without pay, the idea of helping out brokers by copying keys, sending Evites, managing social media and preparing open houses is attractive — especially after spending weeknights seeing how these tasks contribute to the five‐ and six‐figure commissions agents on increasingly popular reality television shows earn.

“I initially got interested in real estate because I was watching HGTV”, said Maxine Fouladi, who interned at Core last summer for a small stipend and bonus.

But these interns don’t necessarily dream of a career brokering residential real estate deals, instead they consider the experience, at firms like Core and Gumley Haft Kleier, a way to get a head start in the general real estate industry, the Times said.

But Robert Morgenstern, an academic director at Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University, questioned the need for students to take these internships. Early in an agent’s career “the pay is so infrequent, it’s almost like an internship already,” he said. " Why wouldn’t you just take the licensing course and become a salesperson?” [NYT]

Entering the World of Real Estate, for No Pay

The New York TimesFebruary 06, 2012
n past years, becoming a real estate agent was rarely a first-choice gig. For many people, it was a way to pay the bills while trying to break into another field. For some, it was a second career — or maybe a third or a fourth — tackled after the children went off to college, or earlier paths fell off a cliff.

But more recently the image of the real estate agent has moved away from racks of keys and dingy walk-ups. Sashaying into the limelight by way of reality television and eye-popping sales, the profession started to seem a bit glamorous — and compelling enough that some young people are willing to try it out for no pay.

Please welcome to the bottom of the food chain an ambitious group willing to do anything, earn nothing and wake up early on a Sunday to fluff the couch cushions at your open house: the real estate broker’s interns.

This is the height of the internship application season, and young people — at least those who can afford to work without receiving a meaningful paycheck — are weighing their options. Those who choose to spend the summer in the land of expensive apartments may enjoy these tasks: copying keys, sending out Evites, promoting the boss on Facebook and hiding a seller’s dirty socks when potential buyers come calling.

But there are some perks as well.

“On my second day of work, I was in a $28.5 million apartment,” said John Liss, 18, who was an unpaid intern at Gumley Haft Kleier last summer, and is now a licensed agent with his own listings.

Unfortunately, his cut of that million-dollar-plus commission would have been nothing.

Everyone has heard intern horror stories: A bright young English major spends the summer at a fashion magazine, wedded to a coffee urn, making dentist appointments for her manager without a dime to show for it. And the resistance to endless hours of free labor has lately been picking up steam. Two men who interned on the movie “Black Swan” and one former intern at Harper’s Bazaar filed lawsuits in recent months alleging that their arrangements violated wage laws, and in December, Schneider & Rubin, a law firm that specializes in representing interns, opened its doors.

Federal guidelines require that an unpaid internship (a term that comes from the first year of training that doctors receive after medical school) satisfy six criteria, including that the “trainees” must be taught things they might learn at vocational school or an academic institution, and that they not displace regular paid employees.

Even if training is given, however, some industry professionals consider interning with a broker a peculiar arrangement.

When professional agents start their careers in earnest, “the pay is so infrequent, it’s almost like an internship already,” said Robert Morgenstern, academic director of the continuing education programs at the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University.

“Why wouldn’t you just take the licensing course and become a salesperson?” he continued.

According to Ross Perlin, author of “Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy,” internships have become par for the course in the white-collar work force, but they are especially concentrated in fields like music, movies or media that have an “aura of glamour.”

“They’ve made it basically a requirement that you work unpaid for some period of time,” Mr. Perlin said. Young people, he added, “are told it’s more valuable to be doing something for free in a glamorous profession than it is for them to be working at Jamba Juice.”

Real estate brokers may not be stuck behind a desk, but the profession does have some less enchanting attributes, like being effectively on-call 24 hours a day, and going without one very substantial convenience: a salary. But on television shows like “Selling New York” on HGTV, those drawbacks don’t tend to pop out.

“I’m obsessed,” said Maxine Fouladi, 19, who interned at CORE Group NYC last summer under the managing director Emily Beare for a stipend and a small end-of-summer bonus. “I initially got interested in real estate because I was watching HGTV.”

Freddy James, a senior vice president of program development and production at HGTV, said viewers of “Selling New York” tended to react most strongly to the broker’s commission, prominently displayed in a little bubble on the screen, even more so than they did to the sticker price of a home.

“I see people say: ‘That’s my annual salary! How could they make that in just one sale!’ ” Mr. James said.

Not all broker interns are aspiring superagents. Many, like Mr. Liss, plan to go into real estate development after college and signed up to work for an agent as a way to get to know the business.

Regardless of what has drawn them in, a growing field of real estate professionals stand ready to take advantage of this new labor supply.

A Web site called Intern Profits, based in California, offers instructional videos on what companies can do with interns. “The Single Best Labor Force to Grow Your Real Estate Business!” a headline reads. “Why interns are much better than hiring cheap ‘offshore’ or third world country labor,” a bullet point boasts.

One of the founders, Dreama Lee, said in an interview that the company advocated only internships that provided valuable training in exchange for labor.

And then, of course, there are always opportunities available on Craigslist, where a broker at Bond New York recently placed an advertisement calling for “licensed real estate interns.” (At most firms, agents are independent contractors and are free to do their own hiring.) Inquiries about the advertisement lead to Noah Freedman, one of the company’s founders.

“I don’t know what an intern with a license would be,” said Mr. Freedman, who explained that he had not yet seen the ad. “That sounds a lot like a real estate agent to me.”

Walker Tower Gets Windows; Silver Towers Retail Rumors

CurbedFebruary 06, 2012
CHELSEA—We're eagerly awaiting the debut of Walker Tower, the transformation of West 18th Street's Verizon building into 55 luxury condos. So are some Curbed tipsters, one of whom lingered outside the building long enough to snap a few shots of the window openings being broken into the building's East Facade. Excuse us while we daydream about being on the other side looking out.

MIDTOWN WEST—A reader with an eye on the far west side's Silver Towers reports in: "Apparently the Silver Towers has finally found a retail tenant. They have signs up on the entire 11th Avenue side stating "Coming Soon: Your Neighborhood Grocery Store". But, there is no company name for the store. And as far as coming soon, who really knows, Freedom News the other retail tenant at the Silver Towers has had their sign up for almost 6 months now with no sign of opening in the future." Know more? Intel welcomed in comments or to the tipline.

'Selling New York' S5E2: Tom Postilio Asks the Mintzer's to Reduce Home Price by $1 M

GatherFebruary 04, 2012
Tom Postilio, of CORE, is trying to sell a dated and overly decorated apartment in New York at 135 West 58th Street. The lighting is great, but the place needs to be restaged and repainted badly. A potential buyer commented, "It has a granny's attic feel on the third floor."

Warburg goes to the Liberty Tower where Deborah Lupard has had a listing that she inherited. It's been on the market for six months. The apartment is a bit quirky. There's a mural in the entryway that looks like a jungle. There is the butterfly bathroom... wallpaper everywhere with butterflies on it. Then the second bathroom has "commerce" wallpaper on it. Deborah shows the place, over 4,000 sq ft., to Robin Dolch who works for 100 Stories PR. She has a good contact with the New York Daily News that could be very helpful to selling the property.

Robin invites the reporter, Jason Sheftel, at the Daily News to cover the open house event. Robin and Deborah invite some of the best downtown restaurants, near the apartment Deborah is trying to sell, to serve food, wine, and desserts. The payoff for the food and beverage industry—coverage in the paper and connections to many brokers who may use them for catering in the near future. It's a great turn out and a good match.

Jason's review with the New York Daily News is wonderful. Deborah receives an offer on the apartment, but the buyer decides to rent the place. The seller is exploring their options.

Meanwhile, Tom goes to speak with Chuck and Pearl Mintzer, the sellers of the funky apartment. Tom has to break some hard news. He asks them to reduce the price of their apartment by $1 million, from $3.5 million to $2.5 million. Then he tells them they need to empty out their apartment, restage it, and paint it a more neutral color. The Mintzer's are not too happy. They ask him to prove his point of view. Tom takes the Mintzer's to see comps, and they finally agree to the price reduction.

Next up, Tom needs to sell the apartment. He calls a couple former clients that had looked at the apartment before and asks them to come and look at the place again. He gets good feedback. Marie Ann Mordeno had seen the place before but thought it was priced too high. She's interested in seeing the place again at the new price. She looks at it and loves it. She puts in an offer of $2.3 million, all cash, and she wants the home with the furniture and art included.

They counter at $2.4 million including the furniture and artwork that Pearl Mintzer had created. Marie Ann accepts the counter, and the apartment is sold.

Selling New York airs on HGTV Thursday's at 10:30p/9:30C.

Selling New York Recap: Selling The Six-Month-Old Listing

CurbedFebruary 03, 2012
According to last night's Selling New York, six-month-old listings are knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door, and not in a good way. BECAUSE THEY'RE ABOUT TO KEEL OVER, PEOPLE! But not before some quick-thinking agents try to put some buzz back into their butterfly bathrooms.

An agent saddled with a costly, aging Midtown listing tries to convince the owners to revamp and reduce the price. Then, a broker enlists the help of a PR pro to market her old news Financial District listing to a wider audience. Will these over the hill homes get some love or languish in listing limbo? Find out their fates in this do or die recap!

CRISIS #1: BROKER MUST CONVINCE MIDTOWN APARTMENT OWNERS TO PRICECHOP AND PURGE FUGLY DECOR CORE's show tuniest broker Tom Postilio is singin' the blues. Why? Because he's been trying to sell the triplex penthouse at 135 West 58th Street for some time and no takers. Hoping to lure a buyer (but probably just trying to prove his point that the price is too high), he takes potential buyer (and, ahem, undercover agent) Kleo Phili on a tour of the $3.495 million decorating challenged abode. Shall we?

Kleo admits she's "having trouble getting past the color and artwork" in the pad, and says the price would need to be lowered and the apartment emptied for her to consider it. I guess "sad, scared pony table" isn't her style:

Tom jets to meet the owners, Chuck and his artist wife Pearl Mintzer, at Ember Room for some straight talk over salads. He gently asks them to clean out the apartment for a staging, though Pearl thinks that will be too much of a pain.

Pearl's hair turns red when she's alarmed

Then Tom drops the big bomb and requests the Mintzers to shave off a cool million from the asking price. "I'm not happy about that at all," says Pearl. She thinks the place is fairly priced for the nabe, thought Tom counters with "the market dictates the price." Burn! To back up with evidence, Tom takes the duo to a comparable listing at...

425 West 53rd Street aka The Dillon. The $3.43 million penthouse is gorgeously staged and mercifully frees of clashing colors:

The Mintzers concede that the newer penthouse feels more spacious and can see why buyers would see the value in this 5 bedroom over their more cramped 3 bedroom. The result? PRICECHOP! P.S. We've been all over the reductions from the beginning.

With the go-ahead to re-list the unit at $2.5 million, Tom gets on the horn at a dramatic angle to share the news with previously interested buyers:

Oooh, it looks like a nice, older lady named Marie Ann Mordeno wants to see the property again now that the price is lowered! Tom takes Marie for a second look and she's feeling it. She's also feeling the furniture AND the art. So much so that she wants to put in an offer for the whole shebang.

Yes, even this armless Cleopatra piece has struck Marie's fancy:

Score one for Pearl!

Finally, Tom meets up with the Mintzers at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market to check out the wares and chat about cha-cha-ching:

Marie's offer of $2.3 million in all cash is too low for Chuck and Pearl, but they're stoked by the ALL CASH part. And Pearl feels justified in her non-staging stance now that Marie wants all her goods. Everyone is a winner when, as the update informs, Tom negotiated the home + decor for $2.4 million.

CRISIS #2: AGENT WHIPS UP BUZZ TO SELL STALE FI-DI CO-OP

Warburg broker Deb Lupard has just inherited a listing at 55 Liberty in the Financial District. Which just happens to be where she had her very first listing in NYC. I smell a personal challenge! Deb brings PR pal Robin Dolch to the $3.395 million manse for a tour and to pow-wow about how to create some pizazz-worthy press.

Feast your peepers:

The owners really like, um, original wallpaper:

The maintenance is a not-so-paltry $8k a month, but Deb's all "we need to find someone who'll focus on the price of the apartment" and not the staggering monthly upkeep. Robin suggests having a SUPER WOW open house and is going to try to get the Daily News to do an exclusive article on the property.

Next, the gals lunch at Suteishi and brainstorm about the party. Robin comes up with "a taste of FiDi" as the event theme and they immediately secure free party food from the Suteishi manager. Shake your PR thang, ladies!

Let's go around the FiDi and see what free food Deb and Robin can magic up:

Everyone is so agreeable to free exposure!

Maybe if I go into La Maison du Chocolat and offer to twitter/facebook about my event (me eating mint creams on the couch), they'll give me chocolates to expose (to my mouth)?

Le yum.
It's time for the FiDi food district to shine at the open house! Deb takes Daily News reporter Jason Sheftell on a whirlwind tour through the feeding frenzy:

Post-party, Robin brings in a hot off the presses paper to Deb at Rita Hazan Salon where they proceed to read the article whilst enjoying pedis. Deb's real estate abilities and the unit get rave reviews in a 1 1/2 page spread:

"When stories get told, buildings get sold!" Robin enthuses.

Or not. As the update explains, there's an offer Deb's working on with the owner, but in the meantime another client is renting the space. And it looks like it's still on the market with a price snip at $3.145 million. Someone save this apartment from a listless listing! Episode Grade: Palatial pads, a chocolate moment and a happy ending with Pearl's personal style make this episode worth 4 out of 5 cackling for cocoa Kleiers

Just Sold! - 68 Thomas Street

The New York PostFebruary 02, 2012
Manhattan
TRIBECA $1,900,000
68 Thomas St.

Two‐bedroom, two‐bath duplex penthouse condo, 1,262 square feet, with 18‐foot ceilings,
dining area, oversized windows and private outdoor space with built‐in audio system,
automatic irrigation system and remote‐controlled retractable shade; building features
elevator. Common charges $847, taxes $842. Asking price $2,175,000, on market 32 weeks.
Brokers: Kevin Mallen and Michael Graves, Core, Brittany Fox, A.C. Lawrence and Louis
Caceres, Dwellworks Property Advisor

House of the Week: 252 Seventh Avenue

The New York PostFebruary 01, 2012
Chelsea $2.15 million
Bedrooms: 1 Bathrooms: 2 Square feet: 1,489
Common charges: $883

Fifteen floors above Seventh Avenue, this condo in the Chelsea Mercantile building (with a Whole Foods on the ground floor) offers “sparkling, open city views” to the east, along with high ceilings, “custom‐built” storage, an “open” chef’s kitchen with all‐new appliances, a
den/home office and a 29‐foot‐long living/dining space. Agent: Michael Garr, Core, 917‐ 689‐4504.

All the Fixin’s: A Guide to Renovations That Add Value to Your Residence--and Ones That Don't

The New York PostFebruary 01, 2012
When it comes to a renovation — be it a kitchen, bathroom or an entire apartment — it’s natural to want it to reflect your needs and tastes. But you should also take the long view: In terms of resale, which renovations will hold their value and, more important, which might help or hinder a sale?

Having worked with both New York City buyers and sellers, broker Christian Rogers of Core observes, “It’s less about the bling than about quality work. Assume that everything you put in, you aren’t going to get back — but using high‐quality materials that aren’t taste‐specific can only improve the apartment and increase its value.”

There’s no definitive formula for calculating the value you get from specific renovations. But the 2010‐11 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine notes that even with a minor kitchen reno — which in NYC averages $24,000 and includes replacing
cabinet fronts and counters and installing a midpriced sink and energy‐efficient stove — one can recoup nearly 87 percent of the costs.

“I can say from my discussions with brokers that it’s certainly worth it to renovate and modernize the kitchen and bathroom and use better‐quality appliances,” architect David Katz says.

In fact, an artfully done renovation can make the difference between something selling quickly — and, in some cases, for a hefty profit — or languishing on the market. Rogers gives an example of a three‐bedroom West Village combination, where the owner did a number of things right, including adding lots of storage in the kitchen, going with modern fixtures in the bathrooms, installing white oak floors that were “elegant, very neutral” and skim‐coating the walls.

“In a building where a typical three‐bedroom went for around $2 million, this apartment sold for $3.14 million,” says Rogers.

Another renovation that will pay off?

“Creating storage gives you a lot of bang for your buck,” says Doug Perlson, co‐founder and CEO of RealDirect brokerage. “New York apartments always have less closet space than you want. And it’s relatively easy and inexpensive.”

And experts are in agreement: When in doubt, opt for functional over frills. Says Martin Horner, principal of interior design and architecture firm Soucie Horner, “Trends come and go, but simple detailing and a neutral palette are timeless.”

KITCHEN
A full‐scale kitchen renovation can run well into the six figures, especially when moving walls or plumbing fixtures. This tends to happen with prewar apartments, where the kitchen, once considered a room to be hidden from public view, is often a cramped space
that’s tucked away.

Today, the trend is toward open kitchens that meld into the living area. So, when Horner was tasked with renovating an Upper East Side prewar pied‐à‐terre in 2003, the tiny galley kitchen needed to be addressed.

“We took out a wall that separated the kitchen from the maid’s room,” Horner explains. “And we also took out a full bathroom, too. Normally, I wouldn’t lose a bathroom, but making the kitchen larger was more important.”

He created an under‐cabinet area for a washer/dryer — always a huge selling point — and added flourishes like a wine cooler and a professional range. The tiled floors were ripped out in favor of custom wood, which was seamlessly integrated with the original wood
flooring in the family room (formerly a dining room).

For those looking to do an upgrade rather than a full renovation, Danielle Fennoy, founder of interior design firm Revamp and a regular on HGTV, suggests replacing old appliances with stainless‐steel ones that “are middle‐of‐the‐road but look expensive.” Choose neutral
colors for the backsplash and counters, she advises, and “don’t go too over‐the‐top with tilework and knobs. If you want color, go for it where it’s easy to change, on the walls or the cabinet fronts.”

As for fixtures, “Don’t go just by looks, but by how they work,” Fennoy says. “If you have to do dishes every day, you want a faucet that works well. So, do your due diligence by reading reviews and go to showrooms and try them out.”

BATHROOM
Architect David Katz was brought in when a client needed to get her tired Village apartment into shape to sell. One of the first spaces he tackled was the bathroom. “It had been poorly done 15 years earlier,” he explains.

The dated black bathtub and sink were replaced with new ones — including a pedestal sink — that were true to the prewar spirit of the original apartment.

“To redo a typical bathroom, it runs anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000,” Katz says. “That involves tearing down walls, redoing tiles. For this job, the budget started low but kept increasing as she took more interest in it.”

If you are looking to keep costs down, opt for clean, modern subway tile, which can start at $4 per tile (though hand‐crafted ones go up to $20), and install a pedestal sink, which creates the illusion of more space.

“Invest in good lighting and place it around the mirror not just above it, so you’re surrounded by light; it makes all the difference in the world,” Fennoy says.

She suggests that if you want to splurge, consider a recessed medicine cabinet that doesn’t project out over the sink. It will cost $1,000 to $1,500, plus about $200 for the cabinet, but it gives you much more space.

Which bathroom renovations — besides black tubs — should you avoid? “It’s usually a small space, so don’t go with busy tile patterns or a busy floor,” says Fennoy. “Remember, every single bit of tile has grout lines, so less is always better.

“And don’t do a rain‐head shower — most women don’t like them,” she adds. “And never ever change a bathtub into a shower if it’s the only one in the apartment. People with kids want a tub.”

CLOSETS
According to an NYC buyer survey conducted by RealDirect, 87 percent indicated they wanted “ample closet space” (compare that to just 52 percent who chose “doorman”).

Though you can’t necessarily install a closet where there isn’t one, you can make an existing closet more user‐friendly.

Fennoy notes that in many apartments, “The closets are ill‐conceived and not intended for more than one person.” She typically creates shoe cubbies, adds double‐hanging rods and expands the floor‐to‐ceiling storage space. “When people open up the closet and see how organized it looks, that’s an easy sell.”

A closet renovation is obviously less expensive than other projects, but it’s not necessarily cheap. “The space was there,” Horner says of his client’s bedroom closets, “but we turned it into more of a dressing area.” He built out the two spaces — one had built‐in drawers,
another was designed for just shoes — switched out all the doors and added automatic lighting. The total — $13,000.

Where Not To Put Your Money

Custom window treatments. “People will spend tens of thousands on big, long, heavy drapes, and they’re actually detrimental to a sale,” Rogers says.
Millwork and custom built‐ins. “It’s very expensive to do well, and at the end of the day, the buyer might ask you to rip it out,” Katz says.
Venetian‐plastered walls. “Ninety‐nine percent of the time, it’s done terribly,” Rogers says.
Too much technology. “I’ve had people say, ‘Just give me a dumb house,’ ” Horner says.
Marble or terrazzo flooring in the living area. “This is not Miami,” Rogers says. “It’s an impediment to selling and at a significant cost.”
New bathtub. “It’s an easy thing to refinish a tub,” Katz says.

More Upgrades That Add Value

Home office. “One place had a long, narrow closet, and they opened up the wall, put doors on it and created a home office that became a very important point when they were selling,” Perlson says.
Lighting. “Mix things up for a better look and feel, using decorative and halogen lighting, sconces and pendants,” Horner says.
Entryway. “Carve out a small gallery space at the front, so there’s a sense of arrival in the home,” Katz says.
Central heat and air. “Very expensive, but if you are doing it, get a multi‐zone system,” Rogers says.
Sound systems. “People appreciate having the wiring work and speakers installed. In a weakened market, they’re willing to pay for plug‐and‐play,” Rogers says.
Solid doors with good hardware. “You know when a door feels flimsy,” Katz says.
“Changing out a door is relatively easy.”

The Luxury List: Top Manhattan Real Estate Brokers

The Real DealFebruary 01, 2012
It’s always been difficult to rank the city’s top real estate agents, given the lack of publicly available information about their performance — at least when measured by cold, hard data.

But for the first time ever this month, The Real Deal compiled a ranking of luxury sellers’ agents based on the dollar volume of their closed sales, rather than listings. And we’ve drilled down even farther, discovering who reigns supreme in different corners of Manhattan. We looked at sales of $5 million and up, below 96th Street, which were closed and recorded in 2011. Then we used the new
“Shop for a Broker” tool from listings aggregator Street.

Easy to match up the transactions with the seller’s agents. Lastly, we did our own research to help ensure we weren’t missing any transactions, ultimately matching nearly 90 percent of sales. (A portion of the remaining sales were off‐market deals that never officially had listings.)

Since the identity of buyers’ brokers is not publicly available, the rankings include only listing brokers. The ranking also does not factor in sponsor sales at new developments, since it’s difficult to compare the process of selling condominium units for a developer to working with individual homeowners.

For most of the luxury brokers on the list, the key to dominating in a particular neighborhood was securing one mammoth sale. But a select few — Serena Boardman of Sotheby’s, John Burger of Brown Harris Stevens and Robby Browne of Corcoran, for example — seem to have cornered both the volume business and the megadeals.

These three brokers are household names in the residential real estate world, but they’re not the only ones. However, some familiar names are absent from this list, partly because we’re looking at a snapshot of closed deals from 2011, and partly because some brokers had deals spread across Manhattan, and didn’t dominate in a specific neighborhood.

Upper East Side
More than any other Manhattan neighborhood, the Upper East Side is home to soaring deals. As a result, the competition for the top broker spot is at its fiercest.

High‐society broker Serena Boardman, who ranked as the neighborhood’s top luxury broker, closed over $45 million in deals in 2011 — the most expensive being a $12.5 million townhouse at 13 East 94th Street. The home — sprawling over 15 rooms and five stories — was owned by Maren Properties LLC, an entity that has been linked to Mark and Renee Rockefeller, fourth‐generation members of the prominent family.

Boardman is no stranger to clients with names ripped from the society pages. She also helped Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist and art collector, sell a full‐floor co‐op on the top floor of the Sherry‐Netherland hotel on Fifth Avenue for $8 million.

Boardman rarely, if ever, speaks with the press, and it seems that many of her deals also take place out of the public eye. Take, for example, the $36 million sale of Limited Brands founder Leslie Wexner’s co‐op at 834 Fifth Avenue — one of the priciest to close in 2011 —where Boardman reportedly made hush‐hush calls to other brokers to secure the buyer, real estate developer Larry Heyman of Heyman Properties. (The deal was not included in her total because there was never an official listing.)

Robert Schulman, an executive managing director at Warburg, ranked second with two Park Avenue co‐op sales totaling $44 million last year.

First, he represented Irving and Judith Shafran, a matrimonial lawyer and book editor, respectively, in selling their 18th‐floor, four‐bedroom home at 778 Park. The Shafrans originally listed the apartment in December 2009, mere days before Bernard Madoff was arrested for running an epic Ponzi scheme in which the couple had invested, according to court documents. The property was on the market until this past November, when it was sold to Zygmunt Wilf, a real estate developer and owner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Wilf faced criticism for paying $19 million for the residence while simultaneously seeking municipal tax breaks for a new football stadium in Minneapolis.

Schulman also helped David Matlin, an investor known for his interest in distressed assets, and Lisa Matlin, who runs a Carnegie Hill gift shop, sell a sizeable spread at 625 Park Avenue. The 7,500‐ square‐foot home was made up of two units — one “completely renovated to the highest standards and specifications” and another that “awaits your personal touch.”

David Simon, the CEO of Indianapolis‐based mall giant Simon Property Group, bought the whole shebang for $25 million.

Kathy Sloane — who took third place on the ranking with two deals worth a combined $36 million — has also worked with a cadre of business bigwigs.

A senior vice president at Brown Harris Stevens, she handled the sale of a third‐floor co‐op at 640 Park Avenue for Peter Smith, a retired Lazard Frères executive, and his wife, Marie. The fourbedroom, six‐bathroom residence fetched $20.5 million and went to hotel scion Alexander Tisch.

Sloane worked with another financier on the sale of a full‐floor unit at the Carlyle Hotel at 35 East 76th Street. Peter Schoenfeld, the head of P. Schoenfeld Asset Management, and his wife, Charlotte, sold the home for $15.5 million to Brad Grey, the chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.

By our count, almost 100 agents listed and sold properties of $5 million or more on the Upper East Side last year.

That means that some notable top producers are absent from our ranking. Corcoran’s Carrie Chiang, for example, sold nearly $58 million of residential real estate in the neighborhood, but many of her deals didn’t make the $5 million cutoff. Brown Harris Stevens’s John Burger sold William Lie Zeckendorf’s co‐op at 927 Fifth Avenue for $34.6 million, but that wasn’t quite enough to make the top three — at least on the eastern side of Central Park.

And, one of the most talked‐about deals of the year — Johnson & Johnson heiress Libet Johnson’s $48 million sale of the Vanderbilt Mansion at 16 East 69th Street to Beauty.com founder Roger Barnett — was an off‐market deal between friends. Similarly, it’s unclear whether brokers were involved in J. Christopher Flowers’s $36 million mid‐renovation sale of the Harkness Mansion to art mogul Larry Gagosian, and there was never a public listing.

Upper West Side
Brown Harris Stevens broker and senior vice president John Burger dominated sales on Central Park West in 2011 with a stunning $54.1 million in closed deals. That includes three $5 million‐plus deals at the Eldorado, the co‐op where Burger said he has brokered the majority of the trades for the last 20 years.

Burger’s clients in the building last year included Thomas Tierney, a director of eBay and former CEO of Bain & Co., an affiliate of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s former employer Bain Capital. Tierney sold a 19th‐floor penthouse for $6.25 million. Burger later helped him into another one of his Eldorado listings — a larger unit that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Richard Yanowitch sold for $8.95 million.

Burger, who moonlights as the broker specialist at the Dakota at 1 West 72nd Street, also handled a $14.5 million sale at the San Remo at 145 Central Park West — his priciest in the neighborhood — and a $10.25 million sale at the Park Millennium on West 67th Street. He said he had a record year in 2011. “A lot of that comes from hard work, understanding of the marketplace and a strong pipeline of satisfied clients over a quarter‐century,” he told The Real Deal.

Elliman’s Raphael De Niro sold two pricey properties in the Time Warner Center at 59th Street last year for a combined $48.05 million, easily catapulting him onto the Upper West Side ranking. The smaller of the two was a $17.5 million condo atop the Mandarin Oriental hotel owned by a trust reportedly backed by football star Tom Brady (whose agents signed the deed).

But De Niro’s biggest sale was the penthouse two floors up, No. 76B, owned by Todd Wagner, cofounder of website Broadcast.com, which sold for nearly $30.6 million. The buyer was reportedly Taek Jho Low, a Malaysian financier. The $6,331‐per‐square‐foot deal broke price‐per‐square‐foot records in the building, De Niro said. (It also outranked other powerbrokers who handle listings there, including the Sotheby’s duo Elizabeth Sample and Brenda Powers.)

Still, De Niro doesn’t consider himself a neighborhood specialist. “Modern‐day brokers are not constrained by specific geographies,” he said. “That’s the old way of doing it.”

Moving down the rankings, among Cathy Taub’s four $5 million‐plus sales were two idiosyncratic deals, one at the Eldorado and another at the Majestic at 115 Central Park West, where she’s lived since 1994.

Taub and her Stribling colleague Rosette Arons listed an eighth‐floor unit there for CBS medical correspondent Emily Senay and Avery Seavey, head of Manhattan‐based real estate developer the Seavey Organization. An investment banking executive and his wife paid $5.7 million for the threebedroom in January 2011, but before they moved in, the couple “had a change of heart and bought something completely different,” Taub said. They promptly drafted Taub and Arons to relist the apartment.

Taub then found a buyer, a Bank of America investment banker, who knew exactly what he was willing to pay: $5.7 million. “Talk about having an immediate comp,” Taub said. “It was easy to justify the price.”

At the Eldorado, Taub and Elliman’s Oren Alexander sold two adjacent units owned by separate sellers to a single buyer.

Initially, the two brokers listed the apartments separately, with Taub marketing unit 7G for the estate of Gregoire C. R. B. MacArthur, a member of the family whose eponymous foundation awards so‐called genius grants. Alexander had the listing for unit 7F, owned by architect Bernard Marson, a 30‐year resident of the Eldorado. But they wagered that a potential combination would reel in a better deal.

Richard Barasch, the head of Universal American Corp., a health benefits administrator based in Rye Brook, N.Y., nabbed both for about $13.25 million.

Also worth noting is Upper West Side powerhouse Lisa Lippman of Brown Harris Stevens, who racked up an impressive number of deals in the neighborhood. Some were not included because they were sponsor sales.

Midtown
(including Central Park South, Midtown South, Midtown West and Clinton)

If off‐market deals were included in rankings, Lisa Simonsen’s $48 million sale at the Plaza would top any list. But the seller, still unidentified, apparently chose a less public route to off‐load the 6,000‐square‐foot spread.

That leaves Corcoran veteran Leighton Candler at the top in Midtown with one mega $30 million sale. Hedge fund manager Scott Bommer first enlisted Candler to help sell his apartment at the Residences at the Ritz‐Carlton in November 2008, just a few months after he bought it for $28.5 million. The 5,800‐square‐foot unit, one of 12 residences above the hotel at 50 Central Park South, jumped on and off the market until it sold for $30 million in October 2010. The sale was recorded in August. It was not immediately clear what accounted for the lag.

Meanwhile, Emilie O’Sullivan’s sale of two units at the Plaza may not have broken city records, but at $19 million, it was hefty nonetheless.

O’Sullivan, of Corcoran, represented Gigi Mahon, an author and interior decorator who bought the adjacent apartments in 2007 for roughly $3.8 million and $10.3 million. “It just seemed crazy not to buy two [apartments] since their terraces were so close together,” Mahon told The Real Deal.

A New Jersey native who visited the Plaza as a child, Mahon was initially wary of developer El‐Ad Properties’ plan to convert the upper levels to condos. But she eventually came to think of it as the property’s salvation.

Mahon, who is currently living in Palm Beach, Fla., sold the apartments to afford her a financial cushion. “It just gave me a whole heck of a lot of security,” she said. The buyer was reportedly Barbara Garza, a director of Mexican bottler Coca‐Cola Femsa S.A.B. de C.V.

Ranking third was Elliman’s Victoria Shtainer, who has handled numerous deals at One Beacon Court. The deal that landed her on the list was her sale of the 34th‐floor, four‐bedroom condo owned by Wvc Holdings, an undisclosed entity, to Berkshire Hathaway executive Ajit Jain for almost $14.7 million.

Also known as the Bloomberg Tower, the 105‐unit building has welcomed numerous celebrities, including pop star Beyoncé, NBC newsman Brian Williams, baseball star Johnny Damon and two attorneys convicted of financial fraud, Scott Rothstein and Marc Dreier. In fact, Jain purchased Dreier’s former home at auction in 2009 for $8.3 million. That unit is adjacent to the more recent purchase, which Shtainer listed for $16.5 million.

Midtown East
(including Sutton Place, Turtle Bay, Kips Bay and Murray Hill)

The Midtown East designation is a tricky one, since it encompasses the exclusive prewar co‐ops of Sutton Place, such as the Sovereign and River House, as well as the more moderately priced homes of Kips Bay and Murray Hill, where local brokers say first‐time homebuyers are fueling the market.

Not surprisingly, it’s the agents finding buyers for the former who are pulling in the highest dollar volume of sales in the area.

In 2011, Kathy Sloane — one of only three brokers to make the top‐three list in more than one neighborhood — finally sold Broadway producer Marty Richards’ 14‐room maisonette at River House. Richards first listed the two‐level residence in 2007 at $22.7 million; the unit went into contract in January 2008, but the deal fell apart. The Art Deco building at 435 East 52nd Street is one of the city’s strictest co‐ops.

Then, in October 2008, as the world was reeling from an economic tailspin, the apartment went back on the market for a more austere $13.9 million. It finally sold for $11.65 million in February to the Chilean investment advisor Manuel Balbontin.

Deborah Grubman and David Dubin, who also made the list in Tribeca, sold an apartment at River House owned by Goldman Sachs executive Roy Zuckerberg, who also sits on the board of the Mack‐ Cali Realty Corp, for $10.1 million. Evidently, buyers Firoozeh Foulon and Christopher Toub, a bigwig at the investment firm AllianceBernstein, passed the River House co‐op board’s test. The deal was the Corcoran duo’s biggest Midtown East deal of 2011 and their only one above $5 million in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Ann Jeffery, a senior vice president and managing director at Brown Harris Stevens, brokered the $8 million sale of a co‐op at 1 Sutton Place South, which was first listed at $8.5 million.

The owners were Gavin McFarland, a banker, and Hannah Griswold, a fund‐raising consultant who formed the Young Lions fund‐raising program for the New York Public Library. They paid $5.6 million for the home in June 2008. Charles Moss Jr., the head of Bow Tie Partners, a New York and Aspen, Colo.‐based real estate and entertainment business, bought the residence.

Jeffery also sold a Park Avenue co‐op and a Fifth Avenue co‐op on the Upper East Side for $24.9 million and $6.5 million, respectively, which were not counted toward the Midtown East total.

Flatiron District and Gramercy Park
he Flatiron District has undergone some serious changes in recent years, with additions like Mario Batali’s Eataly food complex, the renaissance of Madison Square Park and new developments like 15 Union Square West and the Cammeyer bringing condo dwellers to the area. When it comes to Gramercy Park, however, the luxury sales are clustered around that exclusive stretch of green that gives the neighborhood its name.

In February of last year, Corcoran senior vice president Tim Cass sold a duplex penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North belonging to the Icelandic retail tycoon Jon Asgeir Johannesson for $22 million. Now, the Icelandic LLC–like entity that bought the apartment appears to be attempting to flip it, looking to Cass again to help. Johannesson listed the unit in June for $21.4 million. It was then taken off the market, and then relisted in January after a 12 percent price cut. Cass declined to discuss the transaction.

Meanwhile, Aligned Real Estate founders Jonathan Isaacs and Steven Ganz, formerly of Core, handled the $14.6 million sale of the 10,000‐square‐foot duplex penthouse at 31 West 21st Street featured in the film “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” The seller was financier Richard Weissman, who paid $1.4 million for the pad in 2003. While the unit’s star turn garnered some attention, it didn’t bump up the price, Isaacs explained. “Somebody at that price point isn’t buying based on the movie,” he said.

Speaking of star power, at least when it comes to real estate, Lisa Simonsen got her fair share of attention last year for brokering the apparently off‐market $48 million sale of a combination unit at the Plaza acquired by Igor Krutoy, the founder of Russian MTV, touted as the most expensive condo sale in New York’s history (see above). But it was a smaller deal at 50 Gramercy Park North that put her on the ranking in this neighborhood.

Simonsen sold a three‐bedroom unit for money manager Thomas Marsico, who was twice named to Forbes’ list of the 400 Richest Americans, for $7 million. The buyer was an LLC, but news reports indicated that actor Jennifer Aniston was behind the purchase. She had toured an apartment in the building in the summer.

Like Johannesson’s former home, the residence sits atop the Gramercy Park Hotel, the posh conversion backed by Ian Schrager and designed by John Pawson that bestows upon owners a key to the private park. Simonsen, who touts her “highly discreet” service on her firm profile, did not return a request for comment.

Chelsea
In recent years, Chelsea has been a breeding ground for new condominiums, and some of the neighborhood’s highest‐grossing agents are working at the sales offices of these developments, such as the Jean Nouvel–designed 100 Eleventh Avenue, 305W16 and +aRt at 540 West 28th Street.

Meanwhile, the high‐powered Elliman team of Leonard Steinberg and partner Hervé Senequier were busy closing these, and other, kinds of deals. They sold two units over the $5 million mark in the neighborhood, totaling $12.6 million.

In August, the two sold a T‐shaped four‐bedroom loft with a 1,000‐square‐foot outdoor terrace at the Eagle, an almost 12‐year‐old condo building at 532 West 22nd Street, and fetched $6.65 million.

Steinberg remained tight‐lipped about his clients, but said that last year none of them were tabloid fodder. “We don’t want Kardashianism in our real estate — although if they did come along with the right check, we might succumb,” he joked.

Core’s Emily Beare spent much of 2011 in the Flatiron District, heading up the sales office at Savanna Partners’ 141 Fifth Avenue, where the last remaining unit, the $13.3 million cupola penthouse, sold in April. Said Beare, “141 was my baby.”

That sale, however, did not count toward her total because it was a sponsor sale. Instead, it was the early sale of a penthouse at 252 Seventh Avenue that put her on the ranking — and in Chelsea no less. Known as the Chelsea Mercantile, the building is home to Montreal Canadiens hockey player Scott Gomez. Rungravee and Larry Wienman sold their 3,800‐square‐foot four‐bedroom there for $7 million in January 2011.

Elliman’s Richelle Spindell ranked third with a nearly $6.4 million unit in the Steiner building at 257 West 17th Street for financier Jonathan Copplestone and Lisa Pomerantz, a fashion marketing executive.

The 4,000‐square‐foot apartment was fashioned out of two units, one of which the couple bought for less than $750,000 in 1996, before the building was converted to lofts. “Their architect did, really, an incredible job,” Spindell said.

The result was featured in the Best of Elle Décor Book, and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra was among the would‐be buyers who came to check out the spread, Spindell said. Ultimately it went to Raphael Marquez, a member of the New York Red Bulls soccer team.

“My entire business is built on referrals and repeat business,” said Spindell, who lives on Sutton Place but enthuses about Chelsea. “I’ve had a lot of people who’ve moved to different areas of the city.”

West Village and Greenwich Village
Corcoran’s Robby Browne may live on Central Park West, but he racked up several high‐priced West Village deals last year with his three team members. Browne closed four $5 million‐plus deals worth a combined $33.11 million in the neighborhood.

At 147 Waverly Place, Browne sold two three‐bedroom lofts: one belonging to Chipotle founder Stephen Ells for $6.1 million, and another (two floors up) belonging to Alastair Tedford, cofounder of the investment firm Albion Investors, for $7.5 million. (Browne also represented Ells and Tedford when they originally bought the apartments.)

Plus, he also handled the sale of the townhouse at 64 Perry Street — next door to the fictional home
of Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City” — for the estate of Wheaton Galentine, a documentary filmmaker, and Harold Eliot Leeds, an architect and professor. After 27 days on the market at $8.5 million, the home sold for just over $9 million. “We never said no to a showing, so everyone was able to get in and see the house,” Browne said.

Still, there were pricier townhouses on offer in the neighborhood.

Last spring, Corcoran’s Eileen Robert represented the Malaysian‐born media mogul Clive Ng and model Farrah Summerford in selling their 25‐foot‐wide townhouse at 20 East 10th Street. The buyers are rumored to be actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

But not all townhouses fared so well when it came to getting their asking price. Tim Desmond, Alexa Lambert and Linda Melnick of Stribling and Serena Boardman of Sotheby’s secured about $16.8 million for the sale of 47 West 9th Street — just over half what the seller hoped to get.

Andre Singer, a Belgian real estate developer, bought the property for $12.7 million when he moved to New York in August 2008. At the time, the dilapidated building housed four market‐rate rental units, but Singer planned a massive renovation.

“This was a house that was a prime candidate for what he was looking to do,” said Desmond, who represented Singer in both deals.

The developer outfitted the 28‐foot wide townhouse with an elevator, screening room, gym and 1,000‐bottle wine cellar.

He put the 9,000‐square‐foot home on the market for $28.5 million in February, and cross‐listed it with Stribling and Sotheby’s to get the widest exposure, Desmond said, though he added that the brokers advised pricing it in the low 20s.

“He wanted to shoot for the moon,” Desmond said. “He probably was disappointed, but that is the nature of this business.”

Soho
(including Little Italy, Noho and Nolita)

The luxury sales in Soho in 2011 exemplified the breadth of housing stock there, from the renovated artist lofts in Soho proper to the new developments rising to the north.

Elliman’s Dennis Mangone helped hotelier Ian Schrager sell an $11 million four‐bedroom duplex penthouse at 285 Lafayette Street that boasts 23‐foot ceilings in the living room and a sky‐lit private gym. (He co‐listed it with Kirk Rundhaug of Core.)

At 40 Bond Street, the Herzog & de Meuron–designed development where both Schrager and Mangone own condos, the broker also sold a $5.6 million unit, reportedly to the same Londonbased family that purchased two other units in the building.

Mangone, who joined Elliman from Brown Harris Stevens about a year ago, has a roster of boldface names on his client list, including Ricky Martin, Beyoncé and fashion photographer Mario Testino. Despite his Downtown address, he said his business is focused on lifestyle, not geography.

“I work with developers that have a proven track record, and I see who they hire to be the architect of the building and where the land is located, and I look at the floor plans and the views and the finishes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s Meg Siegel handled four listings on Soho’s Wooster Street, a cobblestone road of fin‐de‐siècle loft buildings. Two deals topped $5 million.

The priciest sale was a penthouse at No. 102 owned by investor Erik Postnieks and his wife, Lynn, for $8.2 million in July. The home, first listed at $10.5 million in March 2010, spent more than a year on the market, and the Postnieks sliced the price five times before signing a deal.

That kind of tinkering was par for the course in the neighborhood, said Soho‐based Siegel. “I had sellers who were really uncertain where the market was, so we found the market, and some of the deals took a little time to do that.”

Siegel also sold a $5.25 million loft at No. 104.

Arlene Weidberg, an executive vice president at Halstead, helped Susan Bloomberg, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ex‐wife, off‐load two adjacent penthouses at One Kenmare Square for a total of $11.6 million in November. Bloomberg, the mother of the mayor’s two daughters, bought the units in 2006 for $10.3 million. Painted in eye‐popping pinks and yellows, the apartments come with a
4,000‐square‐foot private rooftop terrace, but they were never combined. The buyer, an LLC, purchased both.

Tribeca
For Deborah Grubman, 2011 marked a full year without former partner Carol Cohen, who was allegedly forced out of Corcoran in December 2010 in response to (now dismissed) allegations that she scammed a rent‐stabilized apartment. Now working with David Dubin, Grubman’s biggest Tribeca sale of the year — by a long shot — was the three‐level penthouse at 25 North Moore Street, also known as the Atalanta. The seller was Craig Nevill‐Manning, a top Google engineer and New Zealand native, who bought the spread for $8.25 million in 2005.

Additionally, the pair brokered the sale of a $5.9 million condo in the Hubert at 7 Hubert Street. The seller, Nuprop Owner LLC, purchased the unit for just under $2.7 million in 2004. The buyer was also an LLC.

Platinum Executive Vice President Daniel Hedaya handled two sales for the same client, T Sky LLC, in two different parts of the River Lofts condominium complex. One was in the tower portion at 92 Laight Street and sold for $11.5 million to ex‐Deutsche Bank executive Michael Cohrs. (The other was a two‐bedroom at 416 Washington Street that fetched $2.5 million, but was not included in The Real Deal’s ranking because it fell under the $5 million marker.)

Ranking third in the neighborhood for 2011 was Dolly Lenz — a familiar name on top broker lists. Last year, the Elliman vice chair and powerbroker swooped in to help Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha, sell a penthouse at the Ice House that had been languishing on the market since 2007. The 3,884‐square‐foot, two‐level unit at 27 North Moore Street, a 1905 refrigeration building converted to 58 lofts, sold for $8.6 million. The buyers were hedge‐funder James Flynn and his wife, Kerianne, who are reportedly planning to combine the home with an adjacent penthouse they own in the building.

That’s not to say that Lenz didn’t score deals in other parts of Manhattan, including the $18.3 million sale of Winick Realty Group Executive Vice President Lori Shabtai’s Upper East Side townhouse.

Other brokers made strong showings in Tribeca, among them Raphael De Niro, whose actor father Robert founded the Tribeca Film Festival. However, some of the broker’s more high‐profile deals didn’t quite make the cutoff, such as a unit at 195 Hudson Street that sold for a hair under $5 million, and director M. Night Shyamalan’s penthouse at 45 Walker Street, which closed too late for our ranking.

Other neighborhoods
The ranking excludes sales below $5 million in an effort to use the most accurate and comprehensive data. However, that meant effectively eliminating certain neighborhoods — among them the East Village, the Lower East Side, the Financial District, Harlem and Inwood — because there weren’t enough deals that met the criteria.

Naturally, top brokers working in these areas are still selling a hefty amount of real estate.

Elliman’s Ariel Cohen, for example, brokered nearly $19 million worth of resales at 15 Broad Street in the Financial District, the 382‐unit condo conversion where he helped with pre‐construction sales in 2004 and has lived since 2007.

Kelly Cole, a senior vice president at Corcoran, sold 23 properties in Inwood and Washington Heights. And, at Co‐Op Village, a collection of 12 co‐op buildings clustered on the far east corner of Grand Street, two teams of brokers — Neal Young and Jeremy Bolger of Halstead and Jacob Goldman, the founder of Loho Realty — each sold close to $15 million in co‐ops.

Furthermore, brokers who have done the difficult work of selling out new condo projects may not appear here, since the list does not include sponsor sales. That effectively cuts out Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes, who work at new developments across Downtown; Warburg’s Richard Steinberg, who was responsible for a slew of deals at Twenty9th Park Madison in Midtown South; and Brown Harris Stevens’s Shlomi Reuveni, who handily spearheaded sales at the Laureate on the Upper West Side, among others.

Home and Garden: Market Ready

The New York TimesFebruary 01, 2012
Q. Should I remove the family photos hanging on my wall before listing my apartment?

A. Clearing out family photos “should be the very first thing you do when you prepare an apartment for sale,” said Elizabeth Kee, an associate broker with the New York real estate company Core.

It’s important “to depersonalize and declutter,” Ms. Kee said, and “that includes picture frames that are located on mantels and bookshelves.”

The reason, she said, is that “you have a lot of different types of people, from all walks of life, with different customs, cultures and religions,” coming through to look at a home when it’s on the market. “You don’t want the space to feel like it belongs to any one group of people.”

Ms. Kee acknowledged that taking down family photos can be a task fraught with emotion.

“I’ve had a lot of instances where people feel like they should leave their wedding pictures up,” she said. “They think that they’re so beautiful, and they probably spent a fortune on them. They feel that having a picture like that shows what a great home it is. But that can actually be a huge turnoff to buyers, especially in New York, which is a transient city.”

However, David Kassel, the owner of ILevel, a New York art-placement and picture-hanging service, isn’t so quick to dismiss family photos.

“With a family photo wall, it may be a good thing if it’s done really well, so people can imagine their own family there,” said Mr. Kassel, who has worked with interior designers like Jeffrey Bilhuber and Charlotte Moss. “Our experience is that people have a really hard time making these design decisions and can’t fathom how to arrange pictures.” In that case, you might actually be doing the buyers a favor by leaving your photos up.

To create a stylish family photo wall, Mr. Kassel offered a couple of tips. First, use frames that complement one another. “You don’t want to have gold and silver frames together,” he said. “Gold and wood frames together are good; black and white frames together are good.”

Also, make sure the pictures are arranged in a grid or with common spacing — about an inch and a half between the frames — to create an orderly composition.

If your photo wall isn’t that aesthetically appealing and you’d prefer to take the pictures down, Mr. Kassel had some advice for cleaning up the wall.

To remove pencil marks and scuffs left by frames, he said, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. To fill the holes left by picture hangers, use spackling paste, but be sure to wipe the repair down with a wet sponge before it dries to get a smooth finish that doesn’t require sanding. “You might have to spackle it twice,” he said, and “it’s a lot easier to rub it with a damp sponge as opposed to sanding and creating a big dusty mess.”

Who's News: Anne Marie Salmeri Joins CORE

Brokers WeeklyFebruary 01, 2012
Anne Marie Salmeri has joined the ranks of CORE as a senior associate broker. The former Corcoran agent has nearly 20 years of real estate experience and has assisted both buyers and sellers in all areas of Manhattan – from Battery Park City to Inwood – as well as in many neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She has broad experience in townhouses, condos and co‐ops, and is meticulous when preparing board packages and preparing her clients for the co‐op board approval process. As a member of REBNY, she has spoken at various seminars, including a real estate class on co‐op board packages at New York University. Prior to her career in real estate, Salmeri worked for a health and fitness company which led to her relocation from Connecticut to Manhattan.
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