Prices have skyrocketed in these NYC neighborhoods


Prices have skyrocketed in these NYC neighborhoods

Getting rich quickly in real estate may be the stuff of expensive seminars and reality TV.  A recent study, however, has shown that for patient buyers, New York City has been able to provide phenomenal wealth.

Rental listing website RentCafe analyzed US census data between the years 2000 and 2016, covering 11,000 zip codes across the country. What it discovered was that rapidly gentrifying New York neighborhoods scored big for price increases. The grit to glitz phenomenon, which has been a touchstone of controversy, has seen neighborhoods in Harlem and Brooklyn (in particular) rise dramatically in value. The displacement of older residents in favor of newer, usually more affluent ones – a consequence of gentrification – has proved contentious.

Coming in at No. 5 on the study was Northeast Harlem (zip code 10039) which is located directly across the Harlem River from Yankee Stadium. It saw its home values rise by 356 percent (from $89,572 to $408,654). Its median income also rose significantly, by 32 percent, along with its proportion of college educated residents, which increased by 168 percent.

Just north of Central Park, in East Harlem, there was a 219 percent increase in median home values, from $228,043 in 2000 to $727,542 in 2016.

In the hipster heavy Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg (zip code 11211), median prices jumped from $330,977 to $882,277. In Greenpoint (11222) they went from $345,515 to $746,373, and in Crown Heights (11216) they catapulted from $285,310 to $839,900. Other notable increases in Brooklyn occurred in Bushwick (11237), which increased from $273,563 to $576,572, and in the shared Bushwick/Bed Stuy zip code of 11221, which saw home values skyrocket from $278,115 to $638,8222.

So, what does all this mean? Well, many brokers will tell you that it’s doubtful such increases will be seen in these neighborhoods again anytime soon. However, with similar properties in Manhattan costing many times the price of those in the outer boroughs and foreign buyers still coveting a piece of the Big Apple, investing in the city and holding on for the long haul should, sixteen years from now, still prove a phenomenal investment.

Last summer real estate investment platform Sharestates crunched numbers on the neighborhoods where it still made sense to buy rather than rent. This, of course, was assuming that excess cash to buy in perennially swanky neighborhoods like Tribeca and the Flatiron District was out of reach. Return on Investment (ROI) and After Repair Value (ARV) were all thrown into the mix and the results saw Richmond Hill come out on top with an ROI of 12 percent. Bed Stuy in Brooklyn was close behind with an 11 percent ROI. Next came Ocean Hill, Brooklyn (10 percent), Longwood in the Bronx (10 percent), and Flatbush (10 percent).

“For the areas experiencing the most development, it may make sense to buy rather than rent at this time (while development is still underway),” said Sharestates CEO Allen Shayanfekr. “Once those areas experience significantly less vacancy, the price points will change dramatically.” As they always do.



Tech titan Michael Dell splashes out a record $100M on a condo.


Tech titan Michael Dell splashes out a record $100M on a condo.

He’s not the first Silicon Valley heavyweight to trade chips for NYC bricks

Although quite a few homes in New York City have been listed for $100 million and over, only one of them has sold. The buyer is tech billionaire Michael Dell of Dell Technologies and the property in question in located in One57, a 1000 foot-tall glass tower on Billionaire’s Row on West 57th St. Details have only recently emerged in the Wall St Journal, despite the property actually selling at the peak of the market in 2014.

The duplex is 11,000 square feet with six bedrooms and six bathrooms, and the deal inked in 2012 when the tower was still under construction. That didn’t stop Dell bringing in his own architect, Juan Miró, to oversee extensive renovations on the place before the paint had dried.

Tech titans regularly invest their coffers in real estate – often in New York – though Dell also owns other high end properties in Boston, Hawaii and Austin. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns homes across the US as well and for a man worth over $80 billion, you’d imagine he’d own something outrageously extravagant in Manhattan. However, in comparison to others’ Bezos NYC pads are relatively modest. But he does own three of them. What is interesting is that Bezos bought his three condos in the Century building at 25 Central Park West on the Upper West Side, way back in 1999, before Amazon became the colossus it is today. Back then, Bezos purchased his residences from former Sony Music head Tommy Mottola for $7.65 million in the 32 story art deco building. His properties have since proven to be great investments.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is another real estate investor who appreciated the long term benefits of buying and holding in NYC. In 2011 he paid $25 million for the penthouse in a building on East 66th St. Fifteen years earlier, in 1996, he purchased the 11th floor apartment in the same building for a reported $13.5 million.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to have eschewed NYC condos in favor of a townhouse. In 2015 a property in the West Village sold for $22.3 million and the buyer, according to Business Insider, was either Mark Zuckerberg or his sister Randi Zuckerberg. The deed was signed by frequent Zuckerberg real estate representative Tom van Loben Sels, a partner at San Francisco-based Apercen Partners LLC.

Though fears of a recession have been bouncing around the higher end of the NYC market for a while, it’s still considered a safe haven for high rollers to park their cash.

“I don’t see any signs of a 2008 correction at all,” David Bistricer, the managing member of Clipper Equities told last year. “I think the conditions of 2008 are not present in today’s market. There is an enormous amount of money chasing properties. What is going on in the rest of the world is scary, and people are coming to the United States to gateway cities. People are coming to New York because it’s a safe haven, and that is what is driving [prices].”

Which is why Silicon Valley’s elite continue leverage their shiny new wealth for NYC’s old school real estate every chance they get.


How downtown Manhattan became to go to place for luxury buyers


How downtown Manhattan became to go to place for luxury buyers

“The times they are a changin’” said Bob Dylan famously in the ‘60s. Where New York real estate is concerned, the times are always changin.’ Former no go areas in the outer boroughs are now becoming pricey hipster havens and the old money that once made the Upper East Side an exclusive lair to the privileged is now heading downtown to new luxury condos.

According to a recent brokerage report, the median price of a luxury condo — defined as $5-million-plus, fell 27 percent in 2017 with uptown co-ops falling 15 percent since mid 2016. Conversely, the majority of condo sales in 2017, around 57 percent were downtown.

Part of the reason is because the Upper East Side has always been an enclave of exclusive co-ops with a notoriously picky approval process. Condos, though traditionally more expensive, have done away from that inconvenience and so younger, wealthier buyers, fueled by the arts, restaurants and shopping have been flocking to areas like Tribeca, Soho and the Flatiron District turning them into some of the most expensive real estate in the city.

The rate of construction downtown has been alarming with gleaming glass towers racing skyward as cranes cloud the landscape and city blocks are covered in hoardings and work permit signs. Nowhere has the rate of change been more dramatic than in Tribeca with Leonard Street front and center. Known at the “Jenga building,: 56 Leonard currently has a Penthouse priced at the humbling $55,600,000, which rivals the exclusive properties clustered around Central Park  (One57, 15 Central Park West). The building also has several other penthouses listed from $17.75 million and up with many now sold. Nearby, 91 Leonard St by the Toll Brothers is bringing 111 condos to the market. The 19-story building features studios up to four-bedroom apartments with prices starting at $795,000 and going up to $10.49 million. Another at 108 Leonard, known at The Clocktower Building, is converting a landmark building into 151 condos. The property was once the HQ for New York Life Insurance Company and more recently The New York City Criminal Court.

Neighboring areas are also benefitting from the building boom downtown. The Noho condo with interiors by Ryan Korban at 40 Bleeker recently launched sales on its 61 apartments, ranging in price from $1.775 million for a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, going up to $6.31 million for a three-bedroom, three bathroom apartment. Amenities include a 57-foot swimming pool, gym, concierge and bike storage.

Fueled by a celebrity buying frenzy that has seen Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, and in one particular building — at 443 Greenwich St., Justin Timberlake. Jennifer Lawrence, Harry Styles and Jake Gyllenhaal, all neighbors —  prices and appeal downtown continues to soar.

“When you start reading about the recent purchases with more than a couple of household names, the attention that the building attracts accelerates,” said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, a real estate and consulting firm. Along with a slew of top notch amenities a gated paparazzi proof parking garage 443 Greenwich St is a big draw for celebs. Must be nice.


Wanna make money in NYC real estate? Plan your investments around the subway system


Wanna make money in NYC real estate? Plan your investments around the subway system

Ask any agent in New York what single factor helps to sell real estate and the subway will be near or at the top of the list. In a city where condos regularly top $2 million, the convenience of being close to transit ride can add or subtract hundreds of thousands of dollars. A Jan 29th NY Times article voiced the argument of New York’s Governor Cuomo, that the subway should benefit financially from the effect it has on property prices, adding $3.85 per square foot to the value of commercial property, according to NYU economists.

A Streeteasy survey, showing the best and worst neighborhood’s for subway access, underlined the importance of being located near to a transit hub. There was little surprise in many of their findings. Manhattan was the best connected borough and thus one of the priciest with glitzy neighborhoods downtown (Tribeca, Soho, Flatiron) and Midtown all close to transport. However, even neighborhoods with longer walking distances (0.3 miles for Battery Park City), are still up there in price compared to other boroughs because they abut areas that have plenty of underground access (Financial District).

Brooklyn, one of the fastest rising boroughs in the city, is well served downtown and around Prospect Park and the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods or BedStuy and Crown Heights. However, out in South Brooklyn, near Mill Basin, it’s a case of catching a bus to the subway, as a three mile distance separates stops.  House prices here are amongst the lowest in the borough.

Things get interesting in Queens where real estate prices have been dramatically influenced by the subway. The development and increasing prices around the overcrowded 7 Train in areas such as Long Island City, Sunnyside, Astoria, Woodside and Jackson Heights has been dramatic. The line through the heart of Midtown Manhattan and on to its most recent addition, the Hudson Yards stop at 34th St and 11th Avenue. A 2016 report from Ariel Property Advisors predicted continued growth that could replicate the L train’s dominance in hipster-fied Brooklyn, with Queens still considerably more affordable. Property owners looking to cash in on the boom and sell may do well to hold off until Hudson Yards is fully finished and up and running and a go to destination for jobs and entertainment in the city.

Elsewhere in Queens the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport with an AirTrain Transportation  from the Willets Point 7 train station will decrease travel times and further spur on the 7 Train’s gentrifying effect.

The advent of the 2nd Avenue subway station has also electrified development on the Upper East Side. With an extended Q line running through Yorkville, numerous rentals and condos are planned with existing buildings between First and Third Avenues noticing marked value hikes. With development and tertiary businesses sprouting, some sellers may want to hold off until the area is in full boom, though for buyers there only seems to be an upside to getting while the subway is still young and development is in progress. 

Coupled with this is the East Side Access project, which will bring Long Island Road Service to the East Side of Manhattan. The rail line will link Queens to Grand Central Terminal. Expect completion around 2023.

With the NY subway system in financial crisis (it owes $40 billion) as real estate values around the city continue to soar, there is some logic behind Governor Cuomo’s proposal, known as value capture, which would tax properties close to subway. The same thing has been implemented in Hong Kong. Mayor De Blasio, however, is in opposition.

A Pratt Center study in 2013, quoted in the NY Times in December laid out the conundrum of commuting in stark relief: “Skyrocketing housing costs push low- and moderate-income families farther from Manhattan and the well-connected communities that surround it,” it said. For those involved in buying and selling real estate in New York, the rule is simple. A single Metro card subway ride may only cost $2.75 but its effect on real estate is priceless.


Millennials are changing the housing market throughout the country — here’s how are they affecting New York


Millennials are changing the housing market throughout the country — here’s how are they affecting New York

Millennials and home buying in NYC seems like an oxymoron. With the average price of a Manhattan condo hovering around the $2 million mark and other boroughs such as The Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens seeing high increases over the last two years, having enough for a downpayment seems almost impossible. Sure, there are those who have parents with deep pockets or who are banking big Wall St checks but for the majority, with wages stagnating and student loans increasing, being locked in the vicious cycle of renting seems to be the norm. Rents are so high that, according to Trulia’s latest housing report, many millennials in 2018 will eschew New York on mass, in search for more affordable housing in the Mid-West and the South, in states such as Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Outside the pricey New York market, though Millennials are buying in New Jersey, Upstate NY, Westchester and even in Pennsylvania where home prices are significantly less. Some are choosing to commute into the city, others are working remotely and others are finding less high paying jobs closer to home. One thing that most Millennials appear to have in common is that they don’t want to put sweat equity into their homes to build value. They want houses that are already done. That means a boom in fix and flips in the outer boroughs and  neighboring states. According to Inc., 68 percent of Millennials plan to sell their starter home, keeping it on average for six years.

While popular thinking seems to imply that Millennials can’t wait to leave their suburban upbringing and move into the city, the hard facts contradict this. Inc states that half of Millennials live in the suburbs with only 25 percent in urban areas nationally.

For Millennials without trust funds who wish to buy properties in New York the chance finding enough cash for a downpayment seems grim. "That's the differential between the renter and the buyer: the down payment," Miller Samuel appraiser Jonathan Miller told "Millennials have been subjected to static wage growth until very recently.”

With New York’s real estate market slowing, negotiating lower down payments, such as 10 percent instead of the usual 20 percent could be an option, along with state programs such as SONYMA loans which may allow qualified buyers to put as little as 3 percent down (if you make under $98,000 are are buying a place for under $665,000).

The reality of buying a property in NYC means that many Millennials may have to consider living in areas they never would have rented in, in order get a foothold on the property ladder. Co-ops in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens may have a Millennial’s name written on them. Sure, it may not be a fashionable and funky Crown Heights brownstone but it’s a chance to build equity and one day move on to loftier climbs. And in New York, buying right could reap huge rewards particularly if home improvements are in a Millennial’s wheelhouse.

"A lot of younger buyers I talk to want to be flexible and nimble," Ace Watanasuparp of Citizens Bank told Brick Underground. "They want home ownership, but they want to be in a place where they can re-sell quickly if they need to. So they think about what other young buyers are looking for if they want to re-sell.”

But before they sell, they have to figure out a way to buy.


An Upper East Side townhouse could be be NYC’s most expensive at $80 million


An Upper East Side townhouse could be be NYC’s most expensive at $80 million

An Upper East Side townhouse could be be NYC’s most expensive at $80 million

An Upper East Side townhouse could be New York’s most expensive. The mansion is officially under contract at a price believed to be around $80 million. Considering it was purchased for $20 million twelve years earlier, it’s proven to be some investment. Numerous upgrades were made to the property by the owner, billionaire Vincent Viola. These, according to the NY Post, include a swimming pool, velvet-lined movie theater and a panic room. In addition there are 7 bedrooms, an Italian granite staircase and onyx elevator. There’s also a recording studio and library.

The property is located at 12 E. 69th St and includes a total of 20,000 square feet of luxury living. Though the asking price was $80 million, the final sales price has not been revealed.

Viola’s, rags to riches story is almost as dramatic as the appreciation of his real estate holdings. The son of a Brooklyn truck driver,  he worked his way up from stock broker to head of the New York Mercantile Exchange. In addition to real estate, he and his wife Theresa, own the Florida Panther’s hockey team. The deep pocketed buyer for the property, who hasn’t been named,  also purchased a $50.5 million penthouse — at 15 Central Park West — from Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond, which was reported in the Wall St Journal.

Nearby, a property at 19 East 64th Street made news last year when it sold for $79.5 million. That property also had just over 20,000 square feet. It was owned by billionaire art dealers, the Wildenstein family, whose gallery was housed in the property for over 80 years. Originally the Wildensteins had agreed to sell the limestone building to the consulate of Qatar. When the Qataris pulled out of deal the day before closing, the property was re-listed for $100 million. That triggered a lawsuit from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries LLC who claimed that the Wildensteins had a verbal agreement with him to sell for $79 million.

Another townhouse hovering around the $80M mark has been in the news recently. Business Insider reported that real estate developer Keith Rubenstein (he of the Bronx, “Piano District” notoriety) has had a hard time moving his restored Manhattan home, a block from Central Park, for $79.5 million. His Upper East Side mansion has 14,700 square feet and includes a rooftop terrace and basement level gym and spa.

Rubenstein originally listed the property in early 2016 for $84.5 million after a many years of renovation. Don’t call it a flip, though. The property which has six levels, 14 bathrooms and six bedrooms may have been purchased in 2007 for $35 million, but for Rubenstein, buying and selling his personal properties is par for the course. “We like to move every now and then,” he told the Wall St. Journal. “We like projects.” The developer said that he was selling up partly because his youngest child was due to leave for college.

It’s doubtful, though, that the developer needed the cash to pay for school fees.


Tribeca: still the place to be along with other downtown neighborhoods


Tribeca: still the place to be along with other downtown neighborhoods

Tribeca is still #1 in NYC and other downtown neighborhoods dominate the city’s top spots in new survey has revealed it’s price trend survey for NYC in 2017 and it’s good news for Tribeca residents. The chic downtown district retains the title as the city’s most expensive neighborhood, enjoying an annual increase of 12 percent. The median sales price is $4,683,950. A total for 417 homes sold this year, which was a little down from 2016’s 482 but up in price. Considering the general malaise that has huge over the luxury market in 2017, Tribeca’s continued robust numbers are as resplendent as some of the glamorous condos which have taken to the skies of late and contributed to its stats.

So what is it about Tribeca, once a gritty, industrial wasteland of a neighborhood, filled with artists and junkies in the 1970’s, that keeps buyers shelling out big bucks to live there? Part of it can be traced back to those industrial roots. Large, hulking buildings meant that it was somewhat divorced from the rest of Manhattan. When these warehouses became glamorous lofts, the area look on the guise of exclusivity, devoid from the infernal traffic and congestion in much of the rest of the city. With well appointed restaurants, bars and celebrity residents such as Robert DeNiro, Jay-Z & Beyonce, a famous film festival and more recently, high profile luxury developments such as 70 Vestry, with waterfront views, the neighborhood spiraled up into its own orbit.

Nearby, Soho clocked in as the second most expensive neighborhood with a median sales price of $2.997,500 which was down 13 percent to $2,997,500. Property Shark also notes that 44 of 2016’s sales took place at 10 Sullivan Street and 180 Avenue of Americas, two pricey new developments, which may skew the numbers a little.


Though Manhattan boasted 7 of the city’s 10 most expensive neighborhoods, none were as prolific as Tribeca. There was little price growth in neighboring Little Italy and Hudson Square saw marginal gains on the previous year. The only real exception was the Financial District, #4 on Property Shark’s lists. It enjoyed a  19 percent year-over-year expansion of the median sale price. Including Brooklyn and Queens, which saw some mighty price increases, the Financial District also enjoyed a staggering median price growth of 53 percent year-over-year. This is due in part to extensive retail and residential development in the area along with a new school. Another reason for TFD’s increase is because of its relative affordable prices compared to its more fashionable neighbors, Tribeca and Soho.

One more downtown Manhattan neighborhood making headlining is the Flatiron District, the 4th most expensive NYC neighborhood. It’s hot on the heels of the #3 area, Hudson Square, in fact just $5,000 behind. It registered 460 sales in 2017 with a mighty 19 percent yearly increase in sales prices to a median of $2.3 million, thanks in part to sales at Madison Square Park Tower and 55 W. 17th Street.  Always known for shopping and restaurants with close proximity to both midtown and Union Square, the new developments have helped that neighborhood add an high end residential element bolstered by the presence of Madison Square Park, which has been made over into a verdant, family friendly oasis, away the chaos of the city that surrounds it.

Though there’s little disputing the the draw for the wealthy to downtown Manhattan, a clear trend has continued this year. Buyers who feel Manhattan costs too much are flocking to upscale Brooklyn, brimming with new condos. It’s the only way to explain Boerum Hill’s 54 percent growth and Fort Green’s meteoric 95 percent increase in property prices. DUMBO, however, retains top spot in Kings County for the most expensive Brooklyn neighborhood. For all those priced out of Brooklyn, the Bronx may have a condo with your name on it.


Brownstone Brooklyn is hitting new sales records. Where’s it all heading?


Brownstone Brooklyn is hitting new sales records. Where’s it all heading?

A decade ago few would have imagined once gritty Brooklyn neighborhoods such as BedStuy and Crown Heights would be selling townhouses with prices inching towards the $3 million mark. However, as gentrification spreads like a flash flood from townier areas like Park Slope and Prospect Heights, the desire to be a part of  brownstone Brooklyn is causing brokers and buyers to throw caution to the wind.

Native New Yorker and Keller Williams agent, Reginald Ferguson, who specializes Brooklyn listings, sees the uptick in prices as a reflection from what is happening elsewhere in the city.

“The numbers reflect two main things,” he says. “People being priced out of Manhattan and the ease of the commute into the city. BedStuy and Crown Heights are relatively quick rides into Manhattan. The same can’t be said for other Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge. Yes prices have gone up but not at the same rate.”

Of course, part of the appeal is the idea of living in a brownstone or limestone on a tree lined block. It’s quintessential Brooklyn. Ornate moldings, wainscoting, Victorian fireplaces and backyard decks. They  have great appeal to buyers with families over shimmering glass condos found elsewhere. The fact that they are in a limited supply is what’s forcing the prices skyward.

“Will Crown Heights or Bedstuy compete price wise with Park Slope or Prospect Heights? It’s doubtful,” says Ferguson, “but certainly over time you’ll see an improvement in the neighborhoods and maybe a narrowing of the gap.”

Like a malignant firestorm ignited by smoldering cigarette, Brooklyn neighborhoods have caught alight due their proximity to adjoining gentrifying areas.

“There is now a neighborhood called East Williamsburg,” Ferguson chuckles. “Long time New Yorkers will tell you that neighborhood never existed. It was Bushwick, so you’re definitely seeing some neighborhoods blend into others and that’s reflected in marketing and pricing.”

The fetish for brownstone living has been seized upon by developers. The sale of 1 Verona Place,  in BedStuy for $3.3 million earlier this year, a corner brownstone which had been completely renovated by fabricating period style Victorian architecture, set the Brooklyn real estate world abuzz. It was seen as a game changer, a new sales record, raising the bar on comps and listing prices.

“I think of our homes as Modern Victorians,” said Dahill one of the designers with KGBL, behind the renovation. “Old world craftsmanship, with details that never go out of style coupled with modern day fixtures in kitchens and baths.”

It’s also caused real estate companies to flood the market, renovating and leasing entire high end town homes as single family dwellings for same rent as an apartment in Manhattan.

“There has been a lot of talk about gentrification and Brooklyn losing the neighborhood feel it had from the ’60’s and ’70’s,” says Ferguson “but let’s expand the picture. These homes were originally built for single family luxury living at the turn of the century and they were upper middle class neighborhoods. It was an easy commute from midtown. So in many ways it’s getting back to that. But it’s also advantageous for the long standing African American families who lived there during the tough years of the crack epidemic in the ’70’s and ’80’s. They are now realizing the value of their homes and being rewarded for all their years in the area when it wasn’t so desirable.”

Brand Brooklyn is on the map for global investors, awash with seemingly unlimited amounts of cash. London’s Financial Times reported, earlier this year that the appreciation seen in gentrifying neighborhoods is far outstripping other parts of the city.

“We’re not seeing just oligarchs and billionaires buying these days,” veteran appraiser Jonathan Miller, the president and chief executive of Miller Samuel said in the article, “but your garden-variety millionaires who want a house in Brooklyn rather than a luxury condo in Manhattan.”

So, if it’s a brownstone you’re after, be prepared for competition.


Hottest design trends in NYC condos that may surprise you


Hottest design trends in NYC condos that may surprise you

The world of interior design is almost as fickle as the world of fashion, no more so than in New York City. Developers who pick their wall colors, furnishings and flooring too far in advance may find themselves undergoing costly re-dos down the road. Glossy magazines, TV shows and designers have to walk a thin line. Unique and cutting edge is fine but too far to the left and buyers will walk. So, for those who want to be bang in the center of the design zeitgeist, here are the some of the biggest trends in NYC at the moment:


Tile to stay a while

When it comes to reinvention, tile could teach Madonna a thing or two. It’s been around as long as time itself but has kept abreast with the latest fashions by proving a more durable, maintenance free alternative to hardwood floors says StreetEasy. It’s also not afraid to go old school with subway tiles, hexagons and tiny penny tiles ubiquitous throughout glam NYC cribs. Let’s hope retro pink and black and avocado tiles from the ’70’s don’t make a comeback.


Wide-plank runs the show

When it comes to trousers or waistlines, wide isn’t good. Flooring, however, is a different story. Was a time when thin was in. No more. Wide-plank is currently running the show over the light colored thin strips which every NY photography studio cool condo used to have a few years back.


What’s old is new

Although many of the new condos in Manhattan are in modern, glassy towers that reach into the clouds, there’s an undeniable fondness for repurposing old buildings to make cosy exposed brick apartments. It seems that everything is game — from churches to stables, factories and warehouses. It’s not just brick that’s proving a hit with buyers. By utilizing some of the original elements from older buildings, buyers can truly own one of a kind apartments. The NY Post reports that Tribeca’s Six Cortland Alley ($6 million to $9 million), “a five-unit condo conversion of a former corset factory and furniture showroom uncovered original details like granite archways, and stone walls and timber that they’ve incorporated into the new building.”

Similarly the Woolworth Tower residences ($4.6 million to $110 million) utilizes and upgrades Frank Woolworth’s original private lap pool and as part of the amenity package for the 33 condos.


Open floor plans are here to stay

Converting factories and warehouses into condos and lofts has coincided with home owners’ preferences for open floor plans — a handy coincidence, meaning developers don’t have to worry about putting up walls. However, for those that can’t afford a Tribeca loft, the open floor plan makes more sense in suburbia than in the Big Apple where space is a premium and galley kitchens still dominant in older buildings. Plus New Yorkers are spoilt for choice when it come to the 10,000 restaurants they have to choose from. Why spend their precious time in the kitchen when quality nosh is a stone’s throw away?


Chandeliers are bringing sexy back

Recessed lighting is becoming as old school as landlines and steam radiators. Okay, not that old but in dining and living rooms chandeliers are bringing sexy back in a big way.

Recessed lighting still makes sense on upper floors (should you be so lucky) or kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms but many new condos are going outlet only. Now there’s a shock to the system.


Heavy metal

When a designer mentions heavy metal to you, don’t think they’re having an ’80’s throwback moment. Rather, they are referring to the use of brass and chrome, silver and polished nickel, antique brass and oil-rubbed bronze in modern apartments. Apparently it’s all the rage.

“The resurgence of mixed metals signals the popularity of both industrial and minimalist design, and people’s unabashed mixing of the two,” Amelia Ohm of LuxeDecor told Mansion Global.


So now you know.



5 Manhattan neighborhoods you may not have considered


5 Manhattan neighborhoods you may not have considered

Manhattan’s luxury market has been in the cross hairs of recent Q3 market reports. Data shows that it is a time where savvy buyers start to spend. Though some may be striking bargains with developers desperate to offload stagnant inventory, others have been broadening the playing field, investing in thriving Manhattan pockets not usually on their radar or others hiding in plain sight. Here are some of the neighborhoods where the action may be shifting to.


Flatiron District

The Flatiron District? It’s hardly a secret is it? Property Shark recently deemed it the most expensive neighborhood in New York, so what’s it doing on this list? The area around the bucolic Madison Square Park has added heat to the neighborhood. It has the best of both worlds — cool, downtown restaurants, bars and creative types as well as access to Midtown and beyond. Developer, Bruce Eichner  is developing Madison Square Park Tower, a 65-story, 82-apartment building, designed by Kohn Peterson, which will rise 777 feet skywards. He explained to Mansion Global why he believes it’s still great value for money:

“Recently it’s (the Flatiron District) become more popular for luxury buyers because of Madison Square Park.  A building like ours with adjacency to the park will start having value like Central Park. Tribeca and SoHo have no views, amenities or parking. I personally wouldn’t pay $10 million for a building with no amenities, no doorman and no views, like you see in some of the downtown neighborhoods.” It remains to be seen if the Flatiron keeps up the momentum (its median sales price rose an eye watering 220 percent in the last 12 months) which saw it usurp Tribeca and Soho as one of the most sought after neighborhoods in the city.


East Village

There are many longtime East Village residents and former residents who would hate the fact that this neighborhood is being mentioned here. The former bohemian, artistic and dangerous epicenter started gentrifying two decades ago with many long term residents being displaced for luxury condos with doormen. But the reason that the East Village could still appeal to buyers is the fact that it’s in such close proximity to far pricier neighborhoods such as Tribeca, Soho, Flatiron yet, according to Property Sharks’s data has a median sales price at a quarter of those neighborhoods. Studios in pre-war coops can be purchased for under $400,000 according to the NY Times with an Average sales price of under $1 million. It’s median price dropped by 3% last year, a moderate fall compared to some nearby areas.

The great thing about the East Village is that it still maintains some of the artsy, funky vibe. Boutique stores and dive bars still thrive.  And long may they continue to do so.


Lower East Side

A bedfellow of the East Village, Property Shark’s data shows this once gritty neighborhood as having very doable (by Manhattan standards) median price of $798,500. That price is likely to rise dramatically in the next few years because of the incredible amount of construction going on in the area. Specifically, Essex Crossing, a $1 billion development mainly around Essex and Delancy streets will include 9 new buildings and 1000 residential units, half at market rate. There will also be a 15,000-square-foot public park and a bowling alley amongst retail and office space. The 75 year-old Essex Street Market will bring food, arts and crafts. There are numerous luxury condos already in the area such as 100 Norfolk and 179 Ludlow. Last year saw a modest median price increase of 2 percent which could be a good thing. It means there’s still room to grow.


Theater District/Bryant Park

With all of the attention focussed on swanky Manhattan neighborhoods such as Tribeca, the Flatiron, the new Hudson Yards as well as stalwarts, the Upper East Side and West Side, it’s easy to forget that this 26-block tourist haven is also home to many residents. Okay, so it’s not a place to live if you like the quiet life but given its median price of  $985,000, which reflects a 20 percent increase in the last twelve months, the lights seem to be shining brightly on Broadway. For residents, despite the hordes of tourists which pass through everyday, it’s a safe place to live as its constantly lit, has numerous cameras and cops on every corner.

The District has numerous  pre-war buildings which are cheaper than luxury developments such as 1600 Broadway on The Square and Platinum at 247 W. 46th St

Buyers thinking about living in Midtown, may also want to consider Bryant Park, because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to live around a park? The fact that so much effort has been put into reinventing the park (once a drug haven) and there’s now a Wholefoods nearby, is only encouraging residential buyers. A slew of new buildings are cropping up such as the 57 Unit Bryant (now 60 percent sold according to the NY Times), ML House (62 apartment rental opening next summer). Developer Orin Wilf of Skyline Developers told the NY Times, “Who would have thought NoMad would ever be a hot residential area?”


Turtle Bay

Where? If you’re not familiar with NYC neighborhoods, you may be forgiven for thinking this is some coastal enclave in Brooklyn or Queens. Not so. Turtle Bay is in Manhattan, close to the United Nations and is bound by the FDR Drive, Lexington Avenue, 42nd and 53rd streets. It’s a quiet, diverse neighborhood and with a median sales price of  $770,000 is far more affordable than much of Manhattan. Architecturally, there’s something for everyone — town houses, mom and pop stores and new high rises.

The real draw for this neighborhood going forward will be the extension of the Second Avenue subway line. However, it has taken 100 years to complete the first phase so there’s no telling how long the other 3 phases will take. Turtle Bay will be part of the third phase. Plans are also afoot for rezoning which will bring in more retail to the area but is upsetting some of the local residents.


The logic behind $100 million dollar listings


The logic behind $100 million dollar listings

In the Real Deal recently, agent Bruce Ehrmann described the $110 million listing of the penthouse in the Woolworth building, downtown Manhattan, as “somewhere between aspirational and impossible.” He also said “which is not to say it won’t be sold.”

Listing luxury penthouses for numbers that are often higher than the skyscrapers in which they sit, is often a stab in the dark. It’s a punt on the belief that a billionaire may be looking for the kind of property with the kind of price that other’s, even people in their social circles, may find absurd. And it’s this “aspirational” pricing which has always driven the Manhattan market. While some agents may balk and publicly deride lofty numbers, they will be the first people to take advantage of them when they are matched with buyers.

 Billionaires didn’t get to be where they are by being dumb. Casting ego side, the buyer of a $100 million residence is also buying into its location and in the case of the Woolworth Building, its iconic status. All that should add up to healthy investment which, over time, will accrue in the millions rather than hundreds of thousands.

However, because of the limited pool of buyers, selling an expensive property can take time. The challenge for an agent is keeping the energy and interest cranked up when its been sitting on the market for several months. If a property starts to stagnate, everything about it becomes a problem. In the case of the Woolworth building, the interiors were initially considered too masculine and have been changed. But the fact that people are talking about the building, even if it is because of its price tag, can often be help keep a property in the spotlight, an often used publicity stunt, which becomes obvious when a property eventually sells for way under asking.

“Some sellers are attracted to fantasy pricing,” said Donna Olshan of Olshan Realty said in the same Real Deal article. “A huge price makes them feel good, but the truth is that nothing Downtown has ever come close to this price.”

The last time a property sold for above $100 million was in 2015 at Extell’s One57, though rumors are currently swirling of huge deals  which far supersede that number at Vornado Realty’s 220 Central Park South, dubbed “billionaire’s bunker” (billionaire Ken Griffin is said to be paying $250 million for a three floor apartment) which won’t be available until next year. New residents of that building may include rock star Sting, who along with wife, Trudie Syler, have just sold his their penthouse duplex in another iconic building, 15 Central Park West, for $50 million,  almost doubling their investment of $27 million, nine years ago.They are said to be trading up to neighboring 220 C.P.S. If the rumored numbers becomes a reality, then the $100 million price tag will no longer seem quite as aspirational as it once was.

Certain addresses keep cropping up as containing “trophy properties”. When Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev paid $88 million, then a record, to buy a penthouse in Sting’s former abode of 15 C.P.W. a snowball effect occurred which allowed properties to be priced at the $100 million and above mark. But this snowball isn’t likely to turn into an avalanche. Buyers at this price point are few and far between, despite the best amenities and views that money can offer. “Don’t expect this to reflect a trend in the market in any way,” noted Jonathan Miller, Real Estate Appraiser and President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc.,of a Griffin’s purported $250 million buy.

We’re relieved to hear it.


Skyscrapers: Why they are still a good investment


Skyscrapers: Why they are still a good investment

Gonna Take You Higher: Skyscrapers are getting taller and spreading to Brooklyn. Why they are still a good investment

To look at the number of cranes rising into the New York skyline line you would find it hard to believe the talk of a slowing market. Now they are matching Manhattan for height. The first Brooklyn building to break the 1000 ft mark is at 9 Dekalb Avenue. The building, designed by SHoP Architects, will hold 500 residential units at market value. It begs the question, what it the enduring attraction to live in New York City when a short commute via bridge or tunnel to New Jersey and beyond could save residents a small fortune?

As with all real estate it’s a question of supply and demand. Manhattan is an island that can only accommodate a certain amount of construction. With so much business being located there, real estate is at a premium and so there’s bound to be a spill over. Brooklyn has enjoyed over a decade’s worth of gentrification. It’s been the obvious next best place to live. Gorgeous brownstones, parks, culture and a short commute into the city. The fact is, despite being named the most unaffordable city in America last year Bloomberg, there are still many people who can afford to live in the borough. It takes less time to commute to Wall St from Brooklyn than much of Manhattan, and is largely still more affordable.

As prime Brooklyn, too, becomes crowded it’s inevitable that the borough would take a leaf out of Manhattan’s book and reach for the sky. It still has a way to go. There are currently over 20 super tall buildings either proposed, completed or under constructions in Manhattan. These include One World Trade Center (1776 ft), Extell’s Central Park Tower (1550 ft) on 57th St and nearby SHoP’s 111 W. 57th St (1428), which will not only be tall but like a construction supermodel, extremely skinny. Further south, 30 Hudson Yards (1287ft) will house the city’s tallest observation deck located on the building’s 75th Floor, over 1000 feet over the Gotham. As the Manhattan skyline morphs in front of our eyes, Brooklyn development will continue unabated. That is bound to anger some who reveled in the borough’s reputation for being the anti-Manhattan at one point.

“To me this project is enlightened urbanism at its best, where old and new are combined, where short and tall are combined in juxtaposition,” said Frederick Bland, a landmarks commissioner of of 9 Dekalb Avenue.

Another attraction for sky-high living is the high end amenities than come with it. They are almost a city within a city. For investors, or buyers simply wishing to park their cash somewhere safe, comps are abundant and the other well heeled residents ensures that the value of their property will never drop. Let’s not kid ourselves that owners of these apartments are calculating how much they would save by commuting or sending their kids to well performing state schools in the suburbs. A 1000ft plus luxury building with condo selling for $5 million and above appeals to a different type of buyer. There’s a price, which many are willing to pay, for the convenience of being in the center of the action with everything you could possibly wish for at your disposal. Only now that price looks set to extend across the East River.


Timeline for Buying & Selling an Apt in NYC


Timeline for Buying & Selling an Apt in NYC

Buying and selling apartments in New York City condominium and co-op buildings is a very different process than selling a house. The procedure takes longer, it entails more paperwork and more people are involved in the deal.

Traditionally, it takes approximately two-and-one half to three months to close on a co-op once the offer is accepted and approximately two months to close on a condominium. If it’s an all-cash deal, the process will take less time and require less paperwork.

Following is an approximate timeline for buying and selling a condominium and co-op apartment in Manhattan.

After the Offer Is Accepted:

Signing a Contract

Typical Time Frame: 1 week

Buyers and sellers of real estate in New York City are represented by a real estate attorney. The seller’s attorney drafts the contract for the buyer’s attorney and upon receipt, the buyer’s attorney performs a “due diligence”—reading minutes, reviewing the offering plan and financial statements of the building, etc.

Once all terms are agreed to, the buyer signs the contract and returns it to the seller’s attorney along with at 10% deposit. After the deposit is received it is deposited into an escrow account and the seller executes the contract thus making the contract binding.

It’s important to note that prior to the contract signing by both parties, the seller has the ability to accept another offer and the buyer is able to walk away from the deal.

The Co-op & Condominium Application Process

Typical Time Frame: 2 – 6 weeks (time frame is longer if the buyer is financing the purchase)

After the buyer’s real estate broker completes the purchase application with the buyer, she or he will forward the application to the seller’s broker for review. After the review, the purchase application will then be submitted to the building’s managing agent.

The managing agent will review the purchase application to ensure that it is completed properly and run a credit check. The purchase application will then be forwarded to the board of managers of the condominium if it is a condo or the co-op board if it is a co-op.

For a Condo: After the board of managers reviews the purchase application, they have the right to exercise their right of first refusal (the timeframe for this varies from building-to-building and can take anywhere from one to four weeks). The right of first refusal basically means that the condominium association has the right to purchase the apartment being sold for the same terms if they so choose or they can sign-off on the application, allowing the buyer to purchase the unit.

For a Co-op: Depending upon the co-op board, it can take approximately one to three weeks to review the purchase application. If no additional information is requested, the board will schedule a meeting with the prospective purchaser(s).

After the prospective purchaser(s) meets with the co-op board, it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to hear about an approval or rejection.


Typical Time Frame: 2 weeks from the date of approval

After the co-op board or board of managers approves the buyer(s), then the seller’s attorney works with the buyer’s attorney and all parties involved to schedule a closing date.



How a transit hub can invigorate a neighborhood - Penn Station

A strong transportation network is the cornerstone of any major city but for many years the City That Never Sleeps was asleep at the wheel when it came to upgrading its bus and rail stations. New York’s Penn Station, and Port Authority Bus Terminal werenoticeably left back in the dark ages with when it came to modernisation. Other US cities such as Denver, Dallas and Miami have stepped into the future with their slick, light and airy transit hubs as have numerous ones throughout Europe and Asia. The good news is that the Big Apple is finally ready to take a bite out of their play books. However, if they want to take pointers, both stations could do far worse than looking to see what’s happening in other parts of the city.


The Cuomo administration announced in June that it completed a $1.6 billion deal with a group of private developers which will completely transform Penn Station. As well as train halls for Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad, the Fairley Building will also house retail and commercial space. Construction giant Skanska will handling the building, investing $630 million of its own money into a partnership with the Related Cos and Vornado Realty Trust. In return they operate and collect income from the 700,000 square feet of office and retail space.

New York State will contribute $550 million and Amtrak, the MTA and Port Authority along with Federal Grants the remainder.

The new facility will connect under ground to the new western concourse and will be called Moynihan Station.

Nearby, development at Hudson Yards is continuing at breakneck speed. With additional development at Pier 57 (250,000 square feet), soon to be Google’s new NYC home and at Waterline Square, next to the Hudson, four blocks west of Central Park, with stunning new condos, a large section on the west side of Manhattan will be transformed.

Progress, alas, has been less forthcoming with the much maligned Port Authority Bus Terminal. The organization has set aside $3.5 billion for the terminal redesign. After an open call for architects to come up with new renderings, many of which suggested moving the site, the latest

noise seems to in favor of building on the terminal’s current site between 8th & 9th Avenues at 41st & 42nd Streets. It comes after feedback from the local community.

The fact that the terminal is still in the planning and deciding stages doesn’t auger well for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who use the facility everyday and complain of its dark, claustrophobic interior and dated design. By keeping the Bus Terminal instead of moving it further west as was originally touted, the proximity to Times Square and Penn Station will be maintained along with the all important A-Train accessibility.

Amid the the outdated NYC transit system, Grand Central, which operates Metro North trains as well as 4,5,6,7 and Shuttle trains, has been a beacon of light. Majestic and airy with stunning marble architecture, rezoning in Midtown East is paving the way for a slew of new development in the area which was once thought of as something of a dead zone. One of the most talked about buildings in the area is currently under construction. One Vanderbilt will rise to about the same hight as the Empire State building and be the tallest office tower in Manhattan, standing alongside the historic rail terminal. Elsewhere in the area office leasing has been robust with RXR Realty leading the way with a number of projects.

“Tenants have always sought Grand Central for its proximity,” RXR’s in-house counsel, Mitti Lierbersohn said. “High-end financial users have historically been driven to Park Avenue for its cache, but the new tenants populating 530 Fifth Avenue are those seeking an extra cool factor beyond convenience. RXR has been a step ahead of these groups, providing an organically collaborative environment.”

Indeed, with entertainment companies, food halls and restaurants now occupying the Grand Central area and the station itself a long time refuge for commuters with its historic architecture, an Apple store and restaurants, New York’s other transit locations could stand to learn a thing or two by seeing what’s happening around East 42nd St.


Top Art Deco-Designed Residential Buildings in NYC


Top Art Deco-Designed Residential Buildings in NYC

There are hundreds of Art Deco buildings of all types in New York City; the majority of them were built in the 20s and 30s.

Two major symbols infusing the Art Deco inspiration are Nature and the Machine. The architecture encapsulates the spirit of technological developments and the integration of the arts with industrial culture.

The two most prominent Art Deco-styled buildings in New York are Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.

Several Art Deco-designed residential buildings in NYC are on Central Park West, the most architecturally distinct area in all of New York City.


55 Central Park West


Designed by renowned architects, Schwartz & Gross55 Central Park West between 65th and 66th Streets is commonly known at the “Ghostbusters Building” because scenes from the 1984 film Ghostbusters were shot there.

A futurist composition is employed with applied decoration, geometric shapes, and the use of repetitive, crenellated geometric-like finials at each setback level that stimulates upward movement.

 In a blended, neopolitan-like style, the bricks on the façade of the building evolve from a maroon color at the base to light tan at the top.

A few celebrities have called 55 Central Park West home, including Ginger RogersCalvin KleinDavid Geffen and Donna Karan.


The Eldorado at 300 Central Park West

Emery Roth in collaboration with architects Margon & Holder designed the Eldorado at 300 Central Park West between 90th and 91st Streets.

Built in 1931, the Eldorado is one of the foremost Art Deco structures in the city with its notably sculptured twin towers that feature a series of setbacks, vertical pier formations, and futuristic-looking, cone-shaped finials.

This prestigious building has been home to Marilyn MonroeFaye DunawayGroucho MarxMichael J. FoxRon Howard and Moby.




The Ardsley at 320 Central Park West


Designed by renowned architect, Emery Roth and built in 1931, the Ardsley at 320 Central Park West is located between 91st and 92nd Streets.

Textural varieties were used for Deco patterns through the intricate laying of courses and brickwork
is laid out in decorative patterns. Two tripartite vertical bands thrust upward on each side of the building stimulating movement. The top portion of the building features a series of setbacks and projections providing outdoor space for some of the apartments.

Barbara Streisand used to own the penthouse in the building.



River House at 435 East 52nd Street

Designed by Bottomley, Wagner & White and imbued with Classicism and an Art Deco-style, the River House at 435 East 52nd Street by the East River, is one of the most exclusive residential buildings in Manhattan.

The U-shaped plan of the River House consists of two 15-story wings, a 27-story tower, two courtyards and a grand entrance gate facing south.

The aristocratic hauteur and buttoned-up manner in which the co-op building is run has resulted in the rejections of persons such as Gloria VanderbiltRichard Nixon and Diane Keaton.

People who have passed the rigorous standards set forth by the building’s co-op board include Henry KissingerClare Boothe LuceCharlie Chaplin and Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney.

The latest additions of Art Deco residential buildings in NYC are all designed by renowned architect, Ralph Walker, and include three former commercial buildings that were converted for residential use.


100 Barclay Street


One Hundred Barclay became the world’s first Art Deco-styled skyscraper when it was completed in 1927. Originally built for the American Telephone Company, the building was converted into condominiums in 2016.

The residences begin 170-feet above the street and feature 10-foot ceilings and high-end, custom finishes throughout. With over 40,000 square feet of amenity spaces, One Hundred Barclay offers more amenities than any other Tribeca address.

The stunning lobby and ground-level space features figural cast bronze work, limestone walls, carved marble and hand-painted ceiling murals.


Walker Tower at 212 West 18th Street

Walker Tower, by famed architect Ralph Walker at 212 West 18th Street features 47 condominium residences. More than half of the residences have private terraces and there are 11 units with wood burning fireplaces.

The apartments range in size from approximately 1,700 to 7,000 square feet. If you would like to buy an apartment at Walker Tower, expect to pay $4,500 and up per square foot.

The condominium conversion was completed in 2013; the building’s original design details were incorporated into modernized, upscale residential living.

A former office building for the New York Telephone Company, Walker Tower was built in 1929 before neighborhood height limits were enacted, As a result, Walker Tower rises above its surroundings and the majority of the residences feature open Manhattan views.


Stella Tower at 425 West 50th Street

Located in Hell’s Kitchen at 425 West 50th Street, Stella Tower was built in 1930 and converted into condominiums in 2017.  Also by architect Ralph Walker

425 50th.png

The 51 residences at Stella Tower feature ceilings heights from 10 to nearly 14-feet, 8-foot tall doors and many of the apartments include private outdoor space and open city and river views.

The building’s bold profile is topped with a striking crown that was restored during the conversion.


The next NYC residential hot spot — Midtown Manhattan


The next NYC residential hot spot — Midtown Manhattan

For many, Midtown Manhattan represents the place to leave at the end of the day. It’s where office and retail workers escape from, clamoring on buses, subways and trains, taking off their suits and uniforms the moment they get home, getting the city off the backs. So it may come as a surprise to many, especially those that work there, that Midtown Manhattan is becoming a booming hub for residential living.

There are several factors at play. Firstly, the old adage of “build it and they will come” applies. A deluge of luxury high rises have been soaring skywards adding amenities that make living in Midtown thoroughly enjoyable — gyms, spas, restaurants — along with the obvious convenience ofa walkable distance to and from work and the added attraction of being close to Broadway, Central Park and scores of other entertainment options.

It's meant that the landscape of Midtown is changing. Large swathes of office heavy areas that stretch from beneath Broadway to Central Park used to be dark and desolateat night with most of the fun happening downtown. The increased focus on creating ultra thin, super tall residential buildings is transforming chunks of city. The only thing higher that the groundbreaking skyscrapers themselves are the prices they are selling for.


The skyscraper at 432 Park Avenue was designed by the starchitect Rafael Viñoly for developers Harry Maclow and the CIM Group. The penthouse in the property has already sold for a staggering $95 million, close to $11,500 per square foot. A full-floor unit on the 96th floor will be the highest condo in the western hemisphere until the completion in 2018 of the 1550-foot tall 225 West 57th St, by developers Extell. One of the most discussed of the the new luxury towers in midtown has to be 53 West 53rd Street designed by architect Jean Nouveau which will also house the Museum of Modern Art in its striking criss-cross metal and glass facade. Clearly this is not the Midtown of your parents’ generation.

Other factors are at play as well. There will always be a certain luxury retail attraction for the ultra wealthy living in these luxury condo but for other retailers the advent of e-commerce has decimated stores that sell things which can just as easily been purchased on This has meant that their places have been taken by amazon proof stores such as restaurants and “experience” destinations where customers can get involved in activities (meet and greets from sports stars). This in turn has meant that the businesses now stay open later than if they were merely retail stores, adding a friendly, livelier after dark atmosphere.  

The existing, older towers in Manhattan have realized that in order to compete with their sleeker, amenity heavy bethren, they need to polish up their act. Moribund real estate mutton is being rejuvenated as luxurious light and airy lamb. According to the NY Post  at least 11 Manhattan office towers, ranging in age from the 1950’s to the 1990’s, are getting do overs to the tune of $2 billion. Some, such as Douglas Durst’s 4 Times Square are barely two decades old.

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From green technology (cleaning, recycling) at the Empire State Building to modern tiling, green terraces and light filled lobbies with public food courts, older buildings are being rebranded to keep in line with the tastes of their millennial workforce. Case in point is 159 E. 53rd St which is being upgraded to the tune of $150 million. Owned by Boston Properties, which also owns the neighboring 399 Park Ave, new additions will include a new facade, new private lobby and a revamp of a sunken public plaza on the corner of 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue. There will also be a new entrance along East 53rd St offering increased street accessibility to the below-grade food hall via a large stairway. A new private lobby will service the five office floors above.

Then of course there’s the 800lb gorilla in the room — Hudson Yards and all the development taking place on the west side of Manhattan. Only a five to ten minute subway ride separates much of midtown to from it and vice versa. Throw in the massive upgrades planned for the city’s transit hubs — Penn Station, Grand Central, The Port Authority Bus Terminal and its easy to see why Midtown Manhattan is becoming the place to be. At last.



The New Trend in NYC Real Estate – Vegetation on the Façade


The New Trend in NYC Real Estate – Vegetation on the Façade

Incorporating vegetation onto the façades of buildings is the new trend in NYC real estate.

Manhattan is a city compelled to expand skyward for lack of other directions in which to grow. And now, visionary architects are impelling the earth to do the same by integrating vegetation onto building façades.


In a city monopolized by concrete, stone and steel, the hybridization of organic and modernist styles gives warmth and adds an opulent dimension of distinction.

Architect Eran Chen, founder of ODA New York, recently said in an interview that he believes that private gardens will soon be an expected amenity in the city.

“There’s going to be a time in New York City where living without a substantial outdoor space is just going to be unacceptable. It’s going to be like living in the suburbs without a backyard,” said Chen.

Eran Chen is the architect for the stunning new residential condominium development that will be erected in Midtown East at 303 East 44th Street.

The slender, 600-foot-tall glass tower features floors separated by 16-foot gaps that are supported by elegantly sculpted concrete columns. The gaps between every two floors create private outdoor gardens for 11 of the residences, starting on the 23rd floor.


 Architectural firm DDG Partners has designed several striking residential structures in NYC that incorporate vegetation onto the façades including 41 Bond Street and 345 West 14th Street.

345 West 14th Street – Meatpacking District

Conceived by DDG Partners, the façade of 345 West 14th Street features hand-laid Kolumba brick and is distinguished by a striking, concrete landscaped marquee.


41 Bond Street – Noho


The entrance marquee at 41 Bond Street is rife with vegetation. Attenuated strands of green foliage ascend the structure while delicate vines asymmetrically stretch against the bluestone façade.

The biophilic design of living façades reconnects the observer to the natural world and provides ecological improvements.

A stunning example is the smog-eating tower that will soon go up in the Netherlands city of Utrecht.

The skyscraper’s façade, balconies and roof will be filled with 10,000 trees and shrubs—nearly half the amount found in Central Park in New York.

Called the Utrecht Vertical Forest, the 300-foot-tall tower, designed by Italian architecture firm Stefano Boeri Architetti, will feature approximately 30 different plant species.

The tower will produce about 41,400 tons of oxygen annually, roughly the same as what 2.5 acres of forest generates.

The building will include 200 luxury apartments, restaurants, a fitness center, and offices.


Manhattan’s Most Expensive Condo Building


Manhattan’s Most Expensive Condo Building

Manhattan’s most expensive condo building is attracting celebrities and the Wall St. elite.

Here’s why…


The ceiling on prices for prime Manhattan real estate seems to keep getting higher. If you’re willing to pay over $7000 per square foot, you might be able to move into 15 Central Park West, which, according to a CityRealty report released on Tuesday August 22nd, remains the most expensive condo in New York City. In the last twelve months eight sales with an average square foot price of $7227 were inside this building, which was completed in 2008. The penthouse in the property exchanged hands in the last year for $50.55 million which worked out to be an eye watering $9,581 per square foot — the most expensive sale of the year by unit price.

Central Park is big and there are a lot of properties around it, particularly on Billionaire’s Row near 57th St., so why this one? An important factor seems to be designer, Robert A.M. Stern and developers the Zeckendorf family’s, decision to root this building in the sprit of classic New York. They eschewed the glass and steel skyscrapers going up around them in favor of a limestone exterior, taken from the same Indiana quarry used for the Empire State Building. Before the building was complete it had A-list celebs like Sting and Denzel Washington buying apartments which only increased the buzz. Joining them were Wall Street heavy hitters like hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, and former Citycorp CEO Sandy Weill who paid $45 million and $44 million respectively for their residences. No amount of glossy magazine ads and shimmering online videos could buy that kind of publicity.

The Central Park area still seems to be the biggest lure for condo owners able to splash significant sums of cash. The second and third most expensive condos, according to the report are 432 Park Avenue (45 sales with an average of $5,930 per square foot) and Residences at the Mandarin Oriental at 80 Columbus Circle (four sales averaging $5,215 per square-foot). In fact, the most expensive sale of the year was at 432 Park Avenue — $65.7 million for an 85th-floor condo. Another condo in the same building on the 83rd floor followed closely behind selling for $65.2 million. The Rafael Viñoly designed building rises 1,396 feet above Park Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets, making it the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. The stratospheric prices received for its upper floors (a 95th floor penthouse is currently available for $82 million) will also encourage other super tall condos under construction in the area such as 53 W53rd St (1050 feet) that it could enjoy similar success despite fears about a downturn in the luxury market.

According to the property has consistently been ranked No. 1 since 2014 in the City Realty 100, a bi-annual index tracking the performances of top 100 condo buildings in New York.

Following the lead of 15 Central Park West, other Robert A.M. Stern designed new constructions are also rekindling classic New York and going all limestone instead of glass and steel. The Related Company’s 70 Vestry in Tribeca is one. It’s average price per square foot is $4,526, according to AG filings. The Four Seasons Private Residences, 30 Park Place completed last year, is another. It has a an average price per square foot of$3,587 according to City Realty.


Limestone or any stone facade doesn’t come cheap however, amajor detriment to developers, wary of building costs. Glass can be fabricated in factories and brought on-site for installation, whereas traditional buildings, such as brick, require labor by hand on site. Limestone not only cannot be manufactured in factories, it has to first be quarried. Thus the cost per square foot is handed down to the buyer. Proponents of glass and steel construction will point to the added light, thinner walls and thus greater usable square feet. Its critics will point to the detrimental effects of prolonged sunlight on furnishings and greater heating and cooling costs.


Whatever your take there is little doubt that 15 CPW was a game changer for NYC luxury buildings and proved, that despite the cost of construction, there are still some people out there willing to pay top dollar for the best best New York has to offer, especially when that harkens back to something timeless and majestic. Robert Stern told the New Yorker Magazine of 30 Park Place: “We’re transposing a 1930s language to Lower Manhattan, which has gotten overrun with glass and abstraction.”

Old New York lives on.






Modern technology is revolutionizing residential real estate in NYC


Modern technology is revolutionizing residential real estate in NYC

Not only do some of Manhattan’s newest luxury developments appear ahead of their time in their design from the outside, but on the inside, too it seems that urban living has suddenly jumped decades into the future.

Where better to start than the kitchen? Speed ovens are the current trend, replacing microwaves in many new buildings. They are way faster than conventional ovens using convection heat.  Bertazzoni speed ovens will be installed as part of theClodagh-designed kitchens at the Citizen 360 condominium building which is being developed by Anbau in Yorkville, Manhattan.

Miele speed ovens are also feature at 505W19 being developed by the HFZ Capital Group, which neighbors the High Line as well as at Fifteen Hudson Yards. Look, also, for other hi-tech gadgets in the kitchen to include app enabled ranges and ovens that will allow owners to start roasting a chicken from the grocery store and browse the web for recipes on the appliance’s doors.

The bathroom is another area where technology is moving at lightening speed. There was a time when multiple body shower heads was the cutting edge. No more. Touch screens are no longer limited to your phone. Koehler has a new touchscreen-controlled shower  and a toilet, also made by them deodorizes its contents. Useful! Temperature, lighting and music can now also be controlled by bathroom wall mounted pads. Some developers were innovators in taking technology to the next level. The Delos townhouse (66 East 11th St) have vitamin-C infused showers, an aromatherapy air supply and more.


New Yorkers know all about the importance of space and storage. With many Manhattanites relying on food deliveries or even wanting regular orders of fresh flowers, cold storage rooms are another amenity which might not be the most cutting edge technology wise but are being introduced to old and new buildings alike to ensure your Fresh Direct remains fresh.

Millennial New Yorkers or teens often crave the chance to get away from mom and dad for a while and hang out with their friends and watch a movie or play music. For parents too, hosting a cocktail party in the home can be a big hassle. Thus, the private lounge. These are have become common amenities. Fifteen Hudson Yards takes it to another level, with the 51st floor hosting lounges, private dining suites and a club room as well collaborative work space. The Kent on the Upper East Side has a music room known as The Sound Lounge which Lenny Kravtiz helped design and The Austin Nichols House in Williamsburg also has a music room for musicians and a screening room.

Waterline Square between Hudson River Park and Central Park is creating a tremendous amount buzz. The Waterline Club’s amenities are stunning. Not only are there top of the range sporting facilitiesthat would give Chelsea Piers a run for its money (an indoor soccer field and skate park along with the gym, pool, tennis etc) but there’s social hub with workstations, a party room, screening/performance space and a business center and parlor lounge. Expect technology to play a big role in these type of rooms, not only with mobile networking but screening facilities and state-of-the-art sound systems.

Many buildings now offer smart phone controlled utilities and entertainment systems as well as charging stations for electric cars such as Related’s 70 Vestry in Tribeca. Indeed, energy efficiency is tremendously important to developers. HVAC systems have come a long way in a few years. Roof top gardens, solar power, high efficiency toilets and glass and sustainable wood flooring are common phrases in countless brochures from developers aiming to points for their eco friendly design. Dozens of the new constructions in New York are LEED certified, many to their coveted silver and goldstandard.

Security is also keeping pace. Increasingly common is keyless, fingerprint technology for access. It means that the sci-fi like versions of urban living you once only saw in the movies are now a reality. Expect all of this this to give many of NYC’s newest buildings a distinct advantage over the competition in attracting buyers.


Top Residential Starchitecture Buildings in NYC


Top Residential Starchitecture Buildings in NYC

Starchitects are celebrity architects who design iconic towering divas–bold, visual gestalts, distinctly above the rest. Featuring the best residential starchitecture in Manhattan, designed by critically acclaimed architects including Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban, Frank Gehry and Norman Foster.

Herzog & de Meuron

Uniquely sculptured with asymmetrical layers, this 60-story, residential condominium tower was designed by Pritzer Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron.  The 145 residences at 56 Leonard feature private outdoor space and range from open lofts to five-bedrooms. The average price of apartments currently on the market in the building is a little over $4,000 per square foot.

Some other NYC residential buildings designed by Herzog & de Meuron are located in Downtown Manhattan and include 40 Bond Street160 Leroy Street, and 215 Chrystie Street.


Jean Nouvel

Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel in conjunction with executive architects, Beyer Blinder Belle, 100 Eleventh Avenue has been described by the New York Times as a mix of grit and glamour embodied in a glittering façade that seems to have been wrapped around the curved front of a black brick tower like a tight-fitting sequined dress. The curtain wall sheathed in approximately 1,700 various sized panes of glass display slightly differing degrees of transparency and angles creating a textured pattern and reflecting light in numerous ways with the changing of the day. The average price of apartments currently on the market in the building is a little over $2,500 per square foot.

Another residential building in NYC designed by Jean Nouvel is the Tower Verre at 53 West 53rd Street in Midtown West. Currently under construction, the 82-story tower’s unique silhouette with its many diagonal elements tapers as it rises to a spire. When completed, the building will house 160 high-end condominium residences, designed by The Office of Thierry Despont. In addition, the building’s lower floors will include 52,290 square feet of new exhibition space for MoMA distributed over three floors.



Norman Foster

The New York Observer calls the Norman Foster designed, 551 West 21st Street, “Perhaps the best combination of classic starchitect branding and contemporary trends”. The structure is distinguished by a grid of white, precast concrete inset with bronze-colored detailing in the window surrounds. A private, gated drive court surrounded by a 20-foot green wall and a dramatic, 34- foot, double-height lobby with a grand chandelier, add to the glamor of 551 West 21st Street. The 44 residences in the building are mostly three and four-bedrooms with 11-foot ceilings. The average price of apartments currently on the market is a little over $3,600 per square foot.  Foster + Partners has constructed many high-profile glass and steel buildings.

The firm’s first residential building in the United States was 50 United Nations Plaza. Foster + Partners also designed the new residential building at 100 East 53rd Street that is replacing the old YWCA building in Midtown Manhattan. The tower has a slender, minimalist geometric form with an innovative glazed skin that wraps around the building, concealing the structural elements that are masked beneath integrated shadow boxes.



Zaha Hadid

“The crown jewel of the High Line” & “a curvy, ebullient, Jetsonian wonder” — The New York Observer. A hand-rubbed metal façade articulates Zaha Hadid Architects’ sculptural design of 520 West 28th Street while an interconnected chevron separates and merges the building’s two distinct zones. Each layout of the 39 residences in the building are unique; all units feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls and ceiling heights up to 10’7″. The average price of apartments currently on the market is a little over $3,800 per square foot.


Frank Gehry

8 Spruce Street - For his first residential building in the city, architect Frank Gehry designed a master tower with over 200 unique floor plans. With a distinct aesthetic and a unique façade of undulating waves, this renal building features asymmetrical floor-to-ceiling bay windows in every residence and 10-foot ceilings. At 870-feet tall, the skyscraper at 8 Spruce Street is one of the tallest residential towers in the world. The building features three floors of amenity spaces, all designed with custom furnishings and installations.



Shigeru Ban


Metal Shutter Houses, located at 524 West 19th Street  is acclaimed architect, Shigeru Ban’s first condominium residence in the United States. The Metal Shutter Houses’ flexible façade showcases Ban’s mastery of the mobility of parts and the use of common materials in new contexts. The façade’s motorized, perforated metal shutters serve as a light-modulating privacy screen. If all the shutters are down, the building becomes a uniform minimal cube, or it can be opened up completely. The nine floor-through duplex residences in the building feature two 70-square foot balconies on each level and a double height north-facing loggia that opens to a double-height living room. A 20-foot upward pivoting glass wall in the living rooms coupled with interior sliding glass doors, can create one vast and uninterrupted loft expanse which transitions seamlessly from inside to outside.