News

Just Listed: 188 East 75th Street, 6-AB

Brokers WeeklyNovember 23, 2011
This renovated two bedroom home off Lexington has been listed at $1.195 million by CORE's Adrian Noriega. The top floor apartment in the pre-war elevator building at 188 E75th has renovated kitchen and bathrooms, living room and dining room. There is a custom-built laundry room in the unit and the building has a bike room and additional storage.

'Selling New York' Recap: Harlem and Chelsea

GatherNovember 21, 2011
This week on Selling New York, Warburg goes to Harlem and CORE takes a risk on a huge single-family residence in Chelsea.

Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, works with Bruce Gallagher, the developer, to complete a beautiful construction of a single-family home located at 233 West 20th Street in Chelsea. The bottom two and a half floors of this home are original build, and the top three floors are new construction.

Laurie Messman, interior decorator, is brought in to create an inspiring minimalistic approach. She creates an art gallery entrance including statues and paintings. The theme of the décor is fun, lively, and functional.

Bruce Gallagher wants to launch the open house immediately just as the construction is complete. CORE only has a very tight schedule to pull the event together.

The Chelsea house is priced at $13.65 Million. It has 7,000 sq. ft., 5 bedrooms, and 6.5 bathrooms, an elevator, plus a nice courtyard.

The Open House seemed to be a great event. However, after nine weeks there were still no offers. I'm sure Shaun wasn't too happy with the outcome.

"Selling New York" Recap: Deck-o-Rate The Halls

CurbedNovember 18, 2011
Selling New York came down with a ragin' case of stagin' last night when two very different habitats required their rooms to be re-imagined. First, a broker works with a designer to doll up a tres cher Chelsea townhouse for a long-awaited open-house. Then, a pair of agents must convince a Harlem luxury building developer to pony up some cash so they can convert a model apartment into a supermodel sale. Will fists fly over a far-out sculpture? Will brokers literally wrestle a developer for a few grand? Yes and yes (in my SNY dreams). Take my hand as I lead you through the land of tricked out tables and tastefully decorated terraces. Oh, and p.s. we're on a T-day break next week, so I'll catch you post-gravy on 12/2!

FIRST-WORLD CRISIS #1: BROKER MUST MAKE $$$ CHELSEA TOWNHOUSE LOOK LIKE A MILLION BUCKS
CORE boss Shaun Osher is meeting up with project manager, Bruce Gallagher, at this towering Chelsea townhouse:
So! Tall! This pre-war building at 233 West 20th Street was originally a 2.5 story, but the developer decided to bump it up to 6 stories over the last five years. Shaun explains that he helped Bruce "identify" what the property should be, and they agreed it should be positioned as a humungous single-family residence—topping out at 7,000 square feet. With a $13.65 million price tag, Shaun says "there will be hell to pay if we don't sell it."

As construction finishes up, Shaun enlists CORE broker Tom Postilio to gussy up the guts. Tom hires designer Laurie Messman to sprinkle her furnishing talents all over the joint.

Laurie's mind crackles with thoughts of harvest tables and an in-home art gallery:

Her design secret? She visualizes the space by sending style savvy lightning bolts from her hands. Those bolts totally reveal all:

Next, Tom and Laurie have a decorating date in a groovy Soho home store to look at pieces Laurie's picked out:

With a mere touch of her hands, Laurie makes a table multiply!

Laurie's key piece of staging advice for you wannabes? "You want to connect the potential buyer emotionally to the space," she says. If that's true, than if anyone wants me to buy a place, there better be fresh nachos on the kitchen table. WITH ALL THE FIXINS!

Back at CORE HQ, Shaun delivers some not great news to Tom. He just learned that he has a green subway station light growing out of his head (but he's cheerful about it):

So sad. Oh, and Tom's deadline for finishing up the interior design has been pushed up to Eeeksday! Bruce wants to launch the building nuh-nuh-nuh-now!!

It's Staging Day and the movers are hauling in haute furnishings inside the townhouse. Laurie doesn't love the time constraints, stating that "nothing is easy about New York." She speaketh of the trutheth.

Uh-oh, it looks like a couple big-drinking penguins have crashed Staging Day. I wonder if they're gonna hook-up:

What holiday comes after Staging Day? Open House Day! I always mix them up. It's OHD and the townhouse is in full furnished glory. Replete with art gallery!

Ooh, and there was on-the-spot graffiti creation! By artist Malt:

Not my cuppa drawing, but an interesting open house idea. And some of us were there! Bruce is happy with the outcome of the staging and the swells of peeps there to peep around. Yay! But Naaaaay because, according to the update, the 5 bed/6.5 bathroom property's been on the market for 9 weeks and still no offer. Sorry Laurie, maybe plastic furniture is the way to go?

Episode Grade: Did this episode eat T-day turkey early and fall asleep at the table? A dash of snazzy style, but overall a bit of a snoozer with one dull sale makes me give this one 2.5 out of 5 cackling sleepy Kleiers!

Walker Tower: The Newest Very Old Chelsea Building

New Construction ManhattanNovember 18, 2011
The Chelsea neighborhood is in the interesting position of being one of the hippest and most modern neighborhoods in all of Manhattan, while still being decked out in equally hip and desired pre-war buildings. As we've written about before, developers often address this position by renovating old pre-war apartments to fit with a modern style and sensibility. We’ve seen this often enough, developers will buy an old apartment building, raise the ceilings, expand the windows, and put the new luxury condos back on the market, describing them as a combination of the new and the old.

Walker Tower is the most recent building to be subjected to this transformation. A massive skyscraper located on West 18th Street, Walker Tower is renowned in architect circles because of the architect who designed it: Ralph Walker, a peer and companion of Frank Lloyd Wright who contributed to several notable aspects of the New York skyline, including One Wall Street and the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building. His namesake, the Walker Tower, has never been available as an apartment complex before, but in 2009 New York developers Michael Stern and Elliot Joseph bought space in the building with an eye towards opening it up to the public.

Another thing: Stern and Joseph have fitted the tower with 55 housing units, a number considerably bigger than these renovation projects usually yield, which they’ve used, along with the Ralph Walker legacy, to generate buzz. So far Curbed and the New York Observer have picked up the story, and a somewhat cryptic photo of the construction that CORE, the real estate company that’s handling the business side, has released has begun making rounds on the Internet. We’re interested to see how this newest addition fits into Chelsea.

Real Estate Featured Q&A - With Shaun Osher of CORE, from "Selling New York"

NYC ResidentNovember 16, 2011
In Manhattan, where you live can define your status amongst the finest of all things. Many will claim the Upper East Side and TriBeCa hold their place as home to some of the priciest properties in the city, and that would be accurate. There are those properties that are now fetching top dollar downtown in the Financial District in anticipation of the new 1 World Trade building. However you view your status, New York City is a “real estate city” so, why not create a television show that gives you a birds eye view of the ins and outs of how NY residential real estate gets done, and some of the major players behind what moves those million dollar properties.

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of reality TV, although there are a couple of shows that I will from time to time take a few moments to catch, for the drama, suspense and occasional surprise episode. There is, however, one reality show that I have followed since its premiere: “Selling New York,” which airs on HGTV and is about to begin its 4th Season. Now I may be a bit biased here, since I have been involved in the real estate industry for some time, mostly on the media side; nevertheless, I live to see new buildings being erected and how our skyline takes new shape, and learning about the people who make these things happen.

The 4th season of “Selling New York” premiered on October 13th in the 10:30pm slot, to much fanfare. The show follows three prominent NYC real estate brokerages as they usher buyers and sellers through some of Manhattan’s priciest pads. We had the chance to sit one on one with Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, which is one of the three featured real estate companies, and a businessman who sure knows his way around the sometimes tough NY real estate world. Shaun and I had what seemed to be a very relaxed conversation where the answers just flowed from him in an unassuming way. When all was said and done, Mr. Osher had to make room for one more person on his "new way of doing real estate" bandwagon. The passion that was eagerly displayed on his face with each and every answer to my questions was testiment to this trailblazer’s mission to redefine the way that real estate is done in Manhattan and beyond.

Resident (NYR): When did you start CORE?

Shaun Osher (SO): We started the company in April of 2005 after realizing that the way real estate is done needed to be changed and redefined.

NYR: How has being featured on the TV show ‘Selling New York’ affected you and your company?

SO: Well, it certainly has given us more visibility, but I am still the same simple person I was before.

NYR: Since being featured on ‘Selling New York’ have you noticed people recognizing you from the show?

SO: Yes.

NYR: Do you feel a bit of celebrity setting in to your personality?

SO: Nope. I'm still the same person I've always been.

NYR: What can people expect when doing business with a CORE agent?

SO: An expert with a company that is going to deliver the highest level of service with more resources than any other company in the industry.
company in the industry.

NYR: What are your thoughts on the state of the real estate market over the previous three years to today, and going forward?

SO: The industry as a whole has taken a tremendous downturn; with that said, I believe that there will always be sales taking place, namely in
NYC, and I see considerable growth happening over the next five years.

NYR: Where does CORE sit among the many NYC real estate brokerages?

SO: First and foremost, we consider ourselves a marketing company that happens to sell real estate. We have built a brand that has become synonomous with luxury and high level service; in doing so we have the top producing and most knowledgeable agents in the city.

NYR: Compared to other real estate companies, what makes CORE Agents different?

SO: I give my agents more resources than any other company. We have an incredibly active blog (www.coretalks.com), we have an in-house PR team dedicated to our listings and agents, we as well have in-house photographers who have been trained under our brand to deliver the level of photography and imagery that our clients have come to expect.

NYR: What are your thoughts on social media/networking in regards to your business?

SO: We have a social media marketing expert in-house who will sit with the entire CORE team, including myself, and come up with ways to virally spread the message, so, to answer your question, I believe that it is a very important part of doing business in today’s business world.

NYR: Being in real estate for almost 20 years, how has the business changed, or has it?

SO: Well, for one I am very much for transparency in the industry and that was almost non-existent when I first became an agent. Brokers are now relied upon for service and insight, not data. Much of the data that only the professionals had access to many years ago, prior to the evolution of the internet as we now know, is available with a few keystrokes by pretty much anyone.

NYR: Is being a real estate broker in NYC as tough as it is perceived by many?

SO: One of the most difficult accomplishments is building a great reputation in this city and I believe that a real estate company is only as good as its weakest agent, which is why we have to focus our culture as a company on consistency and transparency so, we can learn how to get better and better from one another.

On The Market...Select Listings

NYC ResidentNovember 16, 2011
The building has a splendid Tudor style lobby and charming English courtyard garden, but all of the apartments have been updated by noted designer, Victoria Hagan. Located on a beautiful, quiet block of 10th Street, this classic pre-war condominium is steps from University Place in the ever vibrant Greenwich Village. Apartment 9C offers abundant light through western exposure and custom Pella windows. Additional features are custom moldings, millwork and 4-inch white oak hardwood floors throughout. Composite glass-topped counters with marble tiled backsplash and polished nickel hardware by E.R. Butler, grace the open kitchen along with appliances by Sub-Zero, Wolf and Bosch. The sunny bathroom offers marble counters, fixtures by LeFroy Brooks, Thassos tile floor and bathtub by Waterworks. Amenities include a full-time doorman, fitness center, children's playroom, individual storage units, bike room, cold storage, resident superintendent and landscaped rooftop terrace.

'Selling New York' Recap: Trump World Tower Takes a Spotlight

GatherNovember 13, 2011
This week on Selling New York, a pricey renovation in Trump World Tower needs some ingenuity to find a target sales price. Then a stubborn woman does not want to drop the price of her condo ($1.775 million) after six months on the market without serious offers.

The Trump Towers condo has had over $1 million in renovations and custom work. Margaret Wailes, Jay Glazer, and David Jacobs of Warburg are the social media mavens and are challenged with marketing this project with a tech edge. Everything in the apartment can be remotely controlled.

The comp apartment is listed for $3.39 million but it is not a techy apartment. It is not customized like their listing. The comp does have more square footage, 2087 v 1600 sq ft. It is on a higher floor with slightly better views. But it is not customized.

The Warburg group invites brokers to a cocktail party to teach them new ways to research properties using technology. The party is a huge success. However, after four weeks of increased traffic the condo still has no offers.

Michael Graves of CORE needs to help a woman sell her condo, after six months without any offers. She refuses to lower her price. The views from the apartment are about to change. There will be an obstruction caused by a tower going in across the way. He tells her that he may drop her listing. She counters him with bate of three possible commissions: her current home, the one she will be purchasing, and another in a few years. Now Michael is hooked!

Michael finds an amazing property for his client to purchase. It's 1,221 sq ft., 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms and is listed for $1.885 million. He needs to sell her existing place and try to make a deal on both ends, selling and purchasing. The client falls in love with the apartment!
Michael meets with Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, to discuss new tactics to sell his client's current apartment. The suggestion: "You're not selling a view, you're selling a neighborhood." The new towers that are going in will bring new movie theaters within walking distance, new high-end restaurants, three and half of green space, underground parking and more.

Michael takes Shaun's advice and hits a home run! The condo is sold for the $1.75 million, and he is able to get a great deal on the purchase ($1.65 million) for his client. It's a win-win for everyone!

Selling New York airs on HGTV Thursdays at 10:30p/9:30C.

$849,000 for an 1830s 1BR With a Very Cozy Footprint

CurbedNovember 11, 2011
Price: $849,000
Address: 47-49 King Street #13, in the no man's land west of Sixth Avenue and south of Houston
Size: Unlisted and cozy
Maintenance: $969

You know that row of Federal-style brick rowhouses on King Street, now surrounded on each side by the pervasive traffic snarls of Varick Street and Sixth Avenue? Well, this is one of those. The landmarked 1830s home at 47-49 has been remade into twelve co-op units; #13 is on the third floor and overlooks the building's lush central garden. OMG, cute. The apartment is pretty tiny, though its original wide plank floors, 10-foot beamed ceilings, wood-burning fireplace and exposed brick walls make up for it in the looks department. The kitchen, for its part, is rather roomy and has a skylight. There isn't a ton of storage in the unit, though the building offers communal space in the basement.

"Selling New York" Recap: Sky High Strategies

CurbedNovember 11, 2011
Holy Heights, you guys! Last night's episode of Selling New York was all about atmospheric apartments with matching sky high price tags. Oh, and all the agents featured were juvenile non-liquents (as in way young and successful, as in under 30 but over 26). First, a baby-faced real estate buck grows some antlers when he tells the owner of a not-selling Lincoln Square apartment that she needs to lower the price or he's dropping the listing. Then, a trio of under-30-year-old brokers band together to help one of their own market his parent's trumped-up condo in Turtle Bay. Will the real estate youth of today elevate their income or languish in listing limbo? Strap on your parachute and hold onto your stomachs as we fling feet-first into this head-spinning recap!

Continue reading "Selling New York S4E5: Sky High Strategies"

CRISIS #1: BROKER BATTLES WITH ORNERY OWNER ABOUT PRICING FOR HER WEST SIDE WATER VIEW APARTMENT

CORE agent Michael Graves is in a tizzy over his client's 1,329-square-foot pad at 10 West End Avenue. He's been showing it for the past six months and no one's plunked down the firm $1.775 million asking price yet. Could it be because of the blinding sunlight or pervasive odor of truffle oil?

The main ish is that the Riverside Center megaproject is being built and will block river views from the 21st-floor windows. Way to obstruct, Riverside Center. So uncool of you. And also, the same pad a few floors up is selling for $100,000 less. So uncool of you to undercut, higher apartment!

Michael hosts yet another showing just to prove the overall negative reaction he must bear:

Anguished with the absence of interest, Michael takes a moment to contemplate his future and his connection to nature on the balcony:
Then, he meets up with owner Rosalind Rodbury to talk some lowering-the-price sense into her. But Ros is resolute. "I cannot drop the price and I don't want to drop the price," she insists. She is not going to let trifling truffle oil spoil her spoils!

Displeased, Michael counters that he'll need to lose the listing if she doesn't drop the price. He's got no time for Miss Stubborntrufflebury.
Like all good ultimatums, this one worked! Sorta. Ros shoots back with a tantalizing offer-matum. If Michael promises to sell her apartment at asking price, he'll get her business for the new place she buys AND commission for that place when she retires and moves out of Manhattan.

Who's going to pass up the exclusive on three commissions? Not Mikey. "I'm gonna dig deep," he says about re-approaching the listing. Will he find gold in the mines of his mind?

Next, Michael takes Ros to a pre-market listing at 300 East 23rd Street's Tempo building in Gramercy. We're quite familiar with ol' Tempo. Ros is hesitant to look at another place when hers isn't sold, but Michael is hoping she'll fall in love with it and want to move quickly on a sale.

Ros' temperature on the Tempo is 98.6 degrees of LOVE IT:

She's digging the $1.885 million digs, but not enough to lower the price because the lady does not waver unless it's in her favor.

Every ambitious youngster has a mentor, and for Michael that's James Bondy boss Shaun Osher. During their sunglassed sidewalk saunter, Shaun advises him to "breathe new life into the listing" and to pretend like he just got it. Sell the neighborhood, kid, not the effed-up view.
Note the matching hands in pocket action—way to mirror your mentor, Mikey!

Michael heeds the advice and rassles up another showing—this time with knowledge about the growing nabe and brochures to hand out:
Shaun was right! When Mikey emphasizes the Riverside Center amenities (3.5 acres of greenspace! A movie theater! Other crap!), he gets smiles instead of frowns:

So much so that...

...an offer comes in! Mikey negotiates the numbers up to $1.7 million, which is still $50,000 less than Ros requires. He gets Ros to meet with him in person to sway her into the deal...

But c'mon! We know Ros by now. She's not going for it. Though Michael does get her to put in an offer of $1.5 million on the Tempo unit so she doesn't miss out on it before it hits the market AKA so he can nail down at least one of the promised commissions.

And hey! The updater shares that Michael scored a second commission from Ros when he sold her apartment for $1.75 million. And Ros scored her Tempo for $1.65 million. Hurrahs for patience, persistence and pocketing that cash!

CRISIS #2: BABY BROKER STRUGGLES TO SELL PARENT'S HEFTY-PRICED CONDO, EVEN WITH HELP OF CO-BABY BROKERS
Meet Warburg's "3 under 30" triumvirate of wrinkle-free agents: David Jacobs, Margaret Wailes, and Jay Glazer.

Dave's trying to unload his parent's condo in the Trump World Tower at 845 U.N. Plaza in Turtle Bay. He brings Mags and Jay along to get some feedback on the 23rd floor property and to help him with pricing. The challenge? His parents sunk a million (!!) bucks into fancy renovations that need to be reflected/recouped in the market price. No wall-creeping carpet in this unit, darn!

A tour of silly hi-tech sound systems and overpriced custom cabinets awaits!

The triad agrees that the price should veer towards $3 million, even if comparable non-reno'd pads are going for $2.4 million.

Oooh, look! A boat view! For people who like to wave at boats, or maybe just space out the window watching them go by:

Now that they've nailed down a price range, the brokers have to figure out a marketing strategy to pump up their Trump. Off they elevate to the 39th floor (in the same building) to look at a comparable unit, priced at $3.39 million:


The brokers bond brains to figure out an alluring hook for an open house...something useful that the youngsters can teach the elders...JACKPOT! They come up with the idea to have a "tech seminar" for their fellow Warburg colleagues to school them on the latest real estate internet tools. It...makes...no...sense. But they all seem committed to the idea.

Before the open house party, there's a pit stop at the Central Park Boathouse. Warburg Prez Fred Peters and his wife are being honored for their work with the Neighborhood Coalition For Shelter. Way to give back, Freddie! There, Fred advises the threesome to "get the feet of the brokers who work the neighborhood" into the open house. But aren't they just inviting their co-workers?! Just send an e-mail blast for crying out loud. Maybe there is a need for a tech seminar!

AnyI'vestoppedtryingtomakesenseofthismessways, it's open house time and the hosts are whipping out iPads and teaching the old folks which end is up:

So now that fellow Warburg brokers are aware of Dave's $2.95 million parent's pad, I know you're foaming to know what happened. In a word: Nothing. In five words, courtesy of Dave: "Traffic's strong, but no offers." I'd link to the listing, but it's nowhere to be found...was it even on the market?!

Episode Grade: Points for Ros finally packing her duffels and fleeing the truffles. But annoyance with Dave and broker buds for boring ideas means these aspirers get only 2.5 out of 5 cackling Kleiers.

Less Than $1M For a Pre-Civil War House in Fort Greene

CurbedNovember 09, 2011

If the pre‐Civil War houses of the West Village are a bit out of reach, financially, consider this Fort Greene charmer, a detached two‐and a‐hal story home "sporting Greek Revival and Italianate architectural details." (Looks like a modified saltbox to us, but hey, we're no broker.) 141 Clermont Avenue comes with itsoriginal wide‐plank floors intact and lots of wood: beams, floors, lofted bedroom upstairs. It's currently configured as two one‐bedroom apartments (squeezed into 1,324 square feet!) but would be easy enough to renovate into a single family residence. Side bonus: the lot is 25'x100' and it's got a driveway. · Three of a Kind: Historic Houses That Are Decorators' Dreams [CORE Blog] · Listing: 141 Clermont Avenue [CORE]

Osher's CORE Acquires Residential Firm R.P. Miller & Associates

The Real DealNovember 08, 2011

CORE Acquires R.P. Miller & Associates Inc. and Names Reba Miller Managing Director of Sales

November 08, 2011
New York, NY – (November 8, 2011) – CORE is pleased to announce that today, it has acquired R.P. Miller & Associates Inc., owned by industry leader, Reba Miller. In addition to this acquisition, Reba Miller will take a role as CORE’s Managing Director of Sales, where she will oversee both the firm’s agents and its re-sale business.

“I have admired and have been friends with Reba for over a decade. She has one of the finest reputations in the industry,” states Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE. “She is a consummate deal maker with the highest level of integrity and professional standards. Reba fits perfectly into our culture as a forward-thinking marketing and sales company. I feel that her expertise is going to provide our agents with the best level of management service in the city – bar none. “

“After many years in the real estate business, I recognized that CORE's business model was complimentary to my own way of thinking,” notes Reba Miller, CORE’s new Managing Director of Sales. “I look forward to continuing to represent the CORE vision of integrity and outstanding service. The incredible support that Shaun and his management team provide for the agents speaks volumes about the belief they have in their business and agents. This is truly a great match for both of us.”

Over the course of her twenty-seven year career, Miller has sold over $1 billion in real estate with notable sales including deals at 15 CPW for $4,000/foot and at The Plaza for $5,000/foot. In addition to these record-breaking sales, she has done 90% of the sales and leasing in converted buildings such as Leonori, 26 East 63rd, 44 East 677th and 21 East 66th, where numerous apartments have been sold or rented multiple times since 1985. In addition, R.P. Miller & Associates, Inc. has sold and represented properties in other top residential condominium buildings including Olympic Tower, Trump Tower, The Chatham, The Empire and The Europa.

She also has extensive experience in new development; her past projects included 985 Park Avenue where, in partnership with Barbara Fox, 9 units sold at an average price of $6 million, the successful repositioning and rebranding of 333 West 14th and the sellout of 211 Madison. Among Miller’s many other accolades was receiving a third place Deal of the Year Award for her work on a complicated deal at 188 East 78th, resulting in 6 commissions paid at the closing. Miller is presently the Co-Chairman of The Board of Directors of the Real Estate Board of New York, where she’s served for the past three years.

“The acquisition of Reba Miller and her firm is a real coup for CORE,” notes Barbara Fox, President of Fox Residential Group, Inc. “Reba is one of the smartest, most creative minds in residential brokerage in Manhattan today. Reba’s experience and business wisdom will be of great benefit to CORE.”

This acquisition will add to CORE’s recent strategic growth and evolution; which included the launch of an innovative new website, the development of CORE Control, a new listings platform built in collaboration with StreetEasy and the opening of a new corporate headquarters in Flatiron.

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.

# # #

Chelsea Housing Gets Google Lift

The Wall Street JournalNovember 04, 2011
Google Inc.'s decision five years ago to move its New York headquarters to 111 Eighth Ave. was expected to bring a flurry of new office tenants to the Chelsea area. Less anticipated was that some developers would seek to cash in on the influx of tech workers in the design of their residential projects.

One such developer, Harlan Berger, chief executive of Centaur Properties, began assembling several prime plots of land at West 16th Street and Eighth Avenue in 2004 when the sprawling brick building across the street at 111 Eighth was more of an eyesore than an attraction.

But in 2006, Google signed its first 270,000‐square‐foot lease there, and Mr. Berger quickly saw an opportunity. At one point, he said he had informal talks with the Internet search giant to create "Google House," a residence solely for Google employees, who would live across the street from work. The project ran into bumps with zoning, and never materialized, he said.

Google declined to comment about whether it was ever in discussions with Mr. Berger.

Nonetheless, a building that the developer erected at 305 W. 16th St. clearly caters to the area's growing tech set. "Google is a game‐changer for the neighborhood and the city," said Mr. Berger.

At least two Google employees have purchased condos in the building, and Mr. Berger also said he is seeing an unusual number of young and first‐time buyers, including parents who purchased a two‐bedroom for a New York University student.

To attract more tech‐savvy buyers, the developer plans to offer several tech features, including an iPhone app that would allow residents to talk to the doorman remotely.

But not all aspects about 305 W. 16th have been universally appreciated. The building's black angular design doesn't fit with Chelsea's wood‐beamed art galleries and brick townhouses, critics say.

Mr. Berger said he has sought to help offset a masculine feel of the design by purchasing a 38‐foot daisy flowerpot weighing more than 6,000 pounds to sit in the building's rooftop garden.

While developers in many neighborhoods have turned to building rentals as condo financing has become hard to come by, Chelsea's condo market is reviving, in part thanks to the growing community of tech and other workers in the area, developers say.

Chelsea has more new condo projects in the pipeline than any other neighborhood, according to Shaun Osher, founder and chief executive of the Core Group, which specializes in new development. Indeed, the number of condo unit sales in Chelsea jumped to 121 in the third quarter, from 78 in the year‐earlier quarter, according to Miller Samuel Inc., a real‐estate appraisal firm.

Other developers are moving to meet residential demand in Chelsea. DDG Partners recently received a $26 million construction loan and has already broken ground on a condo building with roughly 40 units at 345 W. 14th St.

"For young, tech professionals, when they get married and have families, we don't see a lot of them leaving the neighborhood," said DDG Chief Executive Joe McMillan. "Living close to work is not a bad thing."

One of Chelsea's largest, and sometimes controversial, luxury condo projects also plans to launch sales near the beginning of next year. The Brodsky Organization has gradually assembled two rows of landmark buildings on 20th and 21st streets, between Ninth and 10th avenues from the General Theological Seminary over the last couple of years.

The developer is completing the interior renovation of the second of these buildings, which will be a 38‐unit condo project at 422 W. 20th St.

The first building, the Chelsea Enclave at 177 Ninth Ave., was a ground‐up development and is already almost sold out at a near top prices for Chelsea of $1,711 a square foot, according to StreetEasy.

A jigsaw of zoning laws in Chelsea and the Meatpacking District has helped protect the neighborhood's diverse commercial and residential uses. However, in some cases this has prevented developers from creating more residential projects to cater to demand.

At 837 Washington St., Taconic Investment Partners is building a new office building, where the company says it could fetch top commercial office rents of $100 a square foot on top floors. Still, Taconic Co‐chief Executive Paul Pariser conceded a residential building would have been desirable.

"It would have been unbelievable to go residential, but the district doesn't like the use," Mr. Pariser said.

Psst, Seller: Your Stove Is Showing Its Age

The New York TimesNovember 04, 2011
FOR those who wince every time they look at the cracked Formica counters in the kitchen, the decision to sell the old apartment may be especially liberating.

They can begin to dream of making a fresh start in a new kitchen, with fancy granite countertops and shiny new appliances.

But not so fast. Buyers are more selective than ever, brokers say, and even a wobbly stair rail or a squeaky floorboard can scuttle a potential sale — let alone an outdated kitchen, a funky bathroom or an awkward layout.

So before the first open house, it is often a wise idea to renovate. That can be as extensive as a full gut job, or as limited as painting cabinets and replacing appliances.

The notion that a property for sale needs to be blemish-free represents a sharp change from the real estate boom years, when buyers felt pressure to snap up apartments at first sight, harvest-gold fridges and all, or lose them.

It may also seem counterintuitive to invest in a place you’re about to leave behind for good. But buyers in today’s market are often seriously considering eight, nine, maybe even a dozen listings, so any way of separating yourself from the pack is key, brokers said.

“You don’t want the buyer to be like, ‘We kind of like that place, I don’t know,’ ” said Michael Garr of the CORE Group NYC. Instead, the reaction should be, “Wow, this is so beautiful.”

Mr. Garr said two of his six current listings had been renovated to sell, at his urging, and so had another, on West 22nd Street, that sold this fall.

In general, money spent on new dishwashers, fresh coats of paint and stone bathroom tile will come out of the seller’s pocket and can’t be tacked onto the list price. But brokers say that type of spending is preferable to chopping the list price, which can convey to buyers that something is wrong with the property.

Mr. Garr, for example, said that the offers he had received on a renovated two-bedroom condo on Seventh Avenue in Chelsea were higher after he persuaded the seller to do some work, even though the asking price didn’t change.

What also may come as a surprise is that buyers, with all due respect, often do not have a lot of imagination when it comes to decorating, no matter how many design magazines they may have flipped through.

Instead of presenting them with a blank canvas, it’s better to put forward a finished, up-to-date space with things like high-quality light fixtures, embedded computer cables and fresh bathroom vanities, said Nic Bottero, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens.

“It’s much harder to sell a raw space,” Mr. Bottero said, “because they just can’t visualize it.”

And while many listings — perhaps even the majority — include the word “renovated,” even a change made as far back as the Clinton administration can qualify an apartment as renovated. The work listed in six apartments in this interactive feature was done after the decision to sell was made.

To be fair, a costly renovation does not always make sense. While a fresh coat of paint is generally worth the cost, a $50,000 kitchen-and-bathroom replacement probably won’t be recouped in a $300,000 studio.

But for a million-dollar-plus apartment, spending the money may be a sound investment.

After buyers walk through your door for the first time, Mr. Garr said, “ you don’t want them going someplace else.”

Condo Developers Flock to Chelsea

The Real DealNovember 04, 2011
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