September 18th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on September 18th, 2014
The world’s (known) billionaire population has grown by over 7% in the past year to 2,325. Of that, 103 of them live in New York and 571 in the USA. 8 of the TOP 20 Cities are now in Asia. 81% of billionaires are self-made and the bulk of them are still actively working. Their total net worth is over $7 trillion, larger than the world third largest GDP (Japan).
September 14th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on September 14th 2014 As you peer out of the window of 146 Waverly Place, the remarkable townhouse being renovated to perfection, designed by architect Wayne Turett, you catch a glimpse of the property at 27 Christopher Street a few doors away that just traded hands for $45 million…..and its slated to be converted into a single family mansion. The 19,00sf property on a rare 60 foot x 70 foot lot owned by The Foundling, a charitable organization, solidifies the desirability of the CENTRAL part of Greenwich Village nestled between Sixth And Seventh Avenues. Traditionally, the Central ‘Gold Coast’ Village and Far West Village were considered most desirable, but recently this central core close to all transportation, parks, restaurants, etc, has grown in popularity. It houses some of the most attractive townhouses and apartment buildings, the most unique and eclectic mix of stores and restaurants, and its quaint character has not been butchered. Its a few moments away from Washington Square Park, The Hudson River Park, the Meatpacking District and not too far from Soho. Soon this setting will be in close proximity to the magnificent Whitney Museum slated to open in 2015 (its looking magnificent!) and the Highline Park which starts in the Meatpacking District and extends all the way up to Hudson Yards which just announced the inclusion of a massive Neiman Marcus store. 27 Christopher Street traded for roughly $ 2,368/sf which means once the renovation is completed we should expect the final cost to be roughly $3,500/sf knowing what high end renovations cost these days. A mansion of this scale has a limited audience of course, even for those who can afford it. The mage-mansion trend in the Village started with the spectacular combination townhouse on 10th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues……the Gottesman House on Jane Street followed as did the combination on Downing Street. Then along came the Selldorf-designed Greenwich Street mansion across from Annie Liebowitz. Some find them a little too large, although finding a property this large is a tough feat, especially one with such exquisite architecture and bones. These mega-mansions boost the value of surrounding property. I find that the bulk of townhouse buyers have a sweet-spot for houses under 8,000sf which is more affordable and more manageable. This scale accommodates generous living and entertaining space, at least 5 bedrooms, the quintessential gym, and a sizable kitchen experience. Then of course if you need more bedrooms, offices , a pool, etc, 12,000sf+ becomes necessary. From a real estate perspective 27 Christopher is an important value data point: it indicates significant confidence in a part of the Village that has till recently been a bit under-valued.
September 12th, 2014
Hovering high above the HIGHLINE PARK, New York’s iconic elevated park that connects West Greenwich Village to West Chelsea and Hudson Yards, this inspiring full floor apartment represents the finest of contemporary Manhattan Living. Located in HL23, esteemed architect Neil Denari’s LEED certified Green masterpiece that cantilevers over the park commands unparalleled, unique views South, North and East.
The elevator door opens into a gracious entry vestibule that immediately reveals the distinctive design touches of Thomas Juul-Hansen, the force behind the interiors of One 57, One York and Jean Georges: super-wide rift cut solid oak floors feature throughout the column-free spaces that also boast motorized shades and ducted zoned central air-conditioning and heating. Heading south into the living room reveals the spandrel-free north and south glass curtain walls consisting of some of the largest single-pane windows ever used in residential high-rise construction, over eleven feet high and six feet wide each, creating soaring floor to ceiling visual spans. A superbly appointed Poliform kitchen is immaculately fitted with the best of custom cabinetry and A-grade Miele appliances. The expansive Master Bedroom with a wall of well engineered, fully fitted closets by Rimadesio has a breathtaking en-suite bathroom with a deep soaking tub, NU-heat heated floors and a large counter with two sinks and Valcucine glass vanity . Grandly scaled magnificent slabs of marble feature here and in both additional bathrooms. A second bedroom suite affords Eastern views across the way to London Terrace, a neighborhood landmark. A third bedroom has been opened up to create an alcove study with dramatic views to the East and North looking down onto the park.
The building is nestled in the very heart of West Chelsea, two blocks from Avenue’s School, amongst the world’s leading contemporary art galleries. By 2018, a brief walk on the Highline will allow you to access Neiman Marcus, one of numerous retail venues coming to the Hudson Yards just to the North. Building amenities include a 900sf gym outfitted with all Techno-Gym equipment, a full time Doorman and bike storage. This is a rare opportunity to live in a contemporary architectural masterpiece in a Downtown location that provides a quality of life unlike any other.
Full Listing: 515 West 23rd St #10
September 10th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on September 2014
Is the world becoming desperate for a headline? It appears so. Joan Rivers always joked that launching a big career required some sort of porno tape…..she was insistent that her daughter Melissa was just being difficult by not doing so and could have had as big a career as Kim Kardashian had she done so. A lady became super-famous for notoriously suing McDonalds for serving coffee that was too hot for MILLIONS!
In real estate land along came the $100 million listing: while most in the industry viewed this as a painful attempt to grab headlines, the reality was it DID grab headlines and the press took the bait hook, line and sinker. This became a HUGE headline amongst the media, including the esteemed New York Times. This was soon followed by the MILLION DOLLAR MAIDS ROOM……and now we hear of the MILLION DOLLAR PARKING SPACE that you don’t own but simply lease for 99 years….thats roughly $ 10,101/year which is I guess a bit cheaper than some very expensive parking spaces in Manhattan.
I watched the NATIONAL news the other day, and the only stories that were run were those that had some gimmicky imagery attached to it. Some ‘headlines’ were simply stupid. I guess stupid is winning? Our times will be remembered for these gross displays of desperation. Some sensational headlines and prices are truly legitimate and justifiable, but others should be called out for what they are: stupid.
September 8th, 2014
The perfectly scaled light-filled corner four bedroom apartment in prime Tribeca in an A-grade building with superb views: Located in the heart of Tribeca, moments from all transportation, amenities, retail and restaurants, in an elegant full service 24-hour doorman condominium building, this exceptional apartment has it all. Enter into a graciously proportioned foyer that leads to the corner living room boasting inspiring park views to the North with an abundance of windows on the North and West sides as well as a charming wood burning fireplace. Ducted, central air-conditioning and gleaming hardwood floors feature throughout. The large kitchen is expertly equipped with classic Poggenpohl wood cabinetry and stone countertops with Sub Zero and Thermador appliances. The large Master Bedroom features a gracious en-suite limestone 5-fixture bathroom with an abundance of closet space including a walk in closet. At the opposite end of the apartment is the separated additional bedroom wing featuring three full sized bedrooms (each with great closets space), two full bathrooms and a half bathroom with a laundry closet. The building, just moments from the Hudson River Park, Bubby’s, Nobu, The Greenwich Hotel and so much more, features a beautiful lobby with a landscaped courtyard garden and a full time superintendent. Apartments of this caliber are virtually impossible to find in this caliber of building and location. Please note the unit has been virtually staged.
Listing: 124 Hudson St #4C
August 27th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on August 27th, 2014
I am currently comfortably settled in my hotel room at the tip of a peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the famous Faraglioni rocks of Capri. Looking around this room I am reminded why so many buyers of luxury real estate around the world use the quality of hotel finishes as the baseline for the finish out of their homes. Once you have lived with ducted central air conditioning, heated bathroom floors and towel racks, beautifully appointed bathrooms, useful technology, not to mention services on call, it is easy to see how the consumer compares life in a high end hotel to life in a home. A great hotel room can spoil you quickly. Terraces with views. Super-comortable bed linens. Outstanding closets. The list goes on and should serve as a reminder to all that quality hotels around the world are forever changing the expectations of the consumer. Anything less than this level of finish out is considered a step down. Aside from finishes, the ease and convenience of a full array of services on call can spoil the consumer too and already we are seeing the effects on this with buildings such as One 57, 215 Chrystie, 50 Gramercy, Trump Soho, etc offering full hotel services to a consumer spoiled by hotel life.
The challenge for all developers and designers alike is how to make a home feel like a home and not a hotel, although we hear of many high end buyers who really WANT their home to feel like a super-luxe hotel. I am beginning to understand why….
August 21st, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on August 21st, 2014
I am happy to hear that Giselle, the ultimate super-model, earns $47 million per year…..she buys lots of real estate, pays lots of taxes and fuels lots of jobs. What I am not happy to hear is the automatic outrage one hears when a corporate titan earns half this…..maybe someone responsible for the livelihoods of thousands of employees, who studied for years to learn specific skills, who has worked spectacular hours to get into their position. If we are going to be outraged by those who earn lots of money, shouldn’t we keep it consistent?
To those who believe that corporate titans steal from the poor to pay their salaries, do you really believe the cost of a Giselle is not picked up by all of us in the cost of the goods she helps sell?
August 21st, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on August 21st, 2014
I sit on the Board of my building, and sometimes (very seldom) a building can come into a windfall of money, a surprise revenue source that boosts its reserves unexpectedly and outside all budgetary expectations. New York State is experiencing this exact phenomena right now: It will realize a larger-than-previously-expected cash windfall of more than $5 billion in 2014 from settlements and fines squeezed from banks by regulators. The total includes the $4.4 billion in bank settlements already signed, plus more than $600 million coming from the mortgage-related settlement with Bank of America that could be signed today. The largest part comes from a $3 billion settlement with BNP Paribas, fined to end a money-laundering probe. Earlier this month it was estimated the Wall Street windfall at $4.2 billion — but that didn’t include the expected BofA settlement with the Justice Department, the largest-ever settlement between a bank and Washington, possibly more than the $613 million.
The Wall Street settlements and fines are about 18x the budgeted $275 million leaving New York with the largest budget surplus ever, according to Morris Peters with the state budget office: now comes the question, what to do with this money? It is always tempting for governments (and buildings) to SPEND that money on STUFF. Most times it is wasted, and at the end of the day there is very little to show for it. It is critical that this New York State windfall is used for the purpose it was intended: to benefit the people whose lives were impacted by the bad behavior. So this money should not be wasted on useless ‘projects’, ongoing budgetary needs or the like. It should be used for MONUMENTAL items, things that could actually have a permanent positive impact on the lives of the citizens of this state. So what could the State spend this money on? Infrastructure improvements? Better public transportation? A Solar farm to power Manhattan? Protection mechanisms for future storms and global warming related issues?
Building budgetary windfalls should be used for the same purpose: applying these funds to things that actually boost the value and well being of the entire building. A new gym? A bike room? Hallways that compete with brand new buildings? New windows? Solar panels on the roof to generate electricity and offset building costs for the future? Pay down debt? Buy out an apartment for a live-in Super? Renovate the street level so the first impression of the building is improved? Replace all light bulbs in the building with energy efficient ones and replace all stairwell lights with sensor lights that only come on once they detect movement? Band-aids that disguise mis-managed budgets are a disgrace and need to be avoided. Lets not forget most lottery winners go bankrupt.