LuxuryBlurb

New Listing!! 60 Greene Street 3rd Floor

April 24th, 2014

60 - 400

This exceptional full floor condominium loft masterpiece is perched above charming cobbled Greene Street in the heart of Soho, New York’s premiere downtown location surrounded by the best culinary, retail and cultural landmarks. Enter through the discreet lobby of this classic cast iron building: the elevator opens directly into the apartment revealing a breathtaking mix of soaring 13ft ceilings, multiple cast iron columns, maple hardwood floors and ten, grand eight-foot windows, These architectural elements are the canvas to the exquisitely designed all white furnishings: the living room is massive in scale. The dining area seats 12 comfortably at a unique white marble single slab dining table; a den area features a plasma TV and sophisticated AV systems; a white and stainless Boffi kitchen w/every chef’s consideration is expertly installed; a gorgeous bedroom area with its own 72 inch drop down TV screen is separated by floor to ceiling white translucent drapes; his and her dressing rooms with dreamy closets adjoin the sensuous bathroom. There is no other apartment quite like this anywhere, delivering a level of authenticity that is becoming virtually extinct.

Listing: www.elliman.com/1804841

NEW YORK AIR IS CHEAP!

April 24th, 2014

3Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 24th, 2014

At last something to report on in New York that is actually cheap: AIR. Yes, the cost of air rights - also known as transferable development rights – are averaging $305/sf in 2013 compared with the $207/sf average in 2012…..up 47%, yet still a bargain compared to as-of-right FAR square footage where costs seem to be approaching $ 900-1,000/sf in areas.

More importantly with air rights dedicated mostly to the higher floors of building where pricing is at its maximum, buying air rights also makes for the most profitable sales by far…..if you are paying $ 850/sf for your lower floor buildable square footage and you are selling those floors for $ 3,000/sf, the profits are far lower than for the high floors where the cost of the buildable square footage (air rights) is $ 300/sf and you can sell those for $ 5,000+/sf.

Bottom line:  We have found something in New York that is affordable……in fact, New York air is a BARGAIN!

HOT OFF THE PRESS: FIREPLACES, THE MIDDLE CLASS, TAXES

April 23rd, 2014

cdqfych8-1369726828Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 23rd, 2014

The news items of the day are not that great, or maybe they are?

1)     Mayor De Blasio is planning to abolish wood-burning fireplaces in New York. While I love a crackling fire in a living room, quite frankly they do make some horrific pollution both internally and externally. Gas fireplaces are much cleaner although not quite the same. With the evolution of the incandescent bulb to LED’s, designers are finally getting the quality of light right so it does not look like fluorescent lighting: maybe they too can improve the quality of the appearance of gas fireplaces, although I have already seen some really good-looking versions already.

2)    The front page of the New York Times reports how the middle class in the USA are no longer the wealthiest middle class in the world…..thats bad news and something I think we have all seen coming. The erosion of the middle class is bad. Worse, what is middle class in New York requires re-defining: Too many middle class New Yorkers are being treated by the government as if they were rich. In New York rich is significantly richer than 98% of the USA!

3)     New York City Council announced yesterday that they would be forming a commission to overhaul the real estate tax mess…..MIRACLE, and a huge THANK YOU Mayor De Blasio!  Now please lets get it right. A good first step would be to raise the real estate taxes for all those that have been underpaying for years(decades?) at the expense of those who are over-paying (some significantly)…..these people’s taxes should be lowered.  Preliminary figures released in January show the tax-assessment rolls are due to rise by 8% in July, far more than the city’s budget office had been projecting. And significantly more than the rate of inflation. One would think that with the dramatically increased tax base with all this new construction taxes should come down? If this commission turns into a political circus, we will make it known to all!

New Listing! 158 Mercer Street, PH

April 22nd, 2014

158 400

The most exceptional Duplex Penthouse Downtown: Nothing compares to this extraordinary condominium penthouse that hovers over all of Soho with breathtaking, panoramic, protected views, located in the full service New Museum Building on Soho’s most desirable cobbled block.

The elevator door opens into a gracious vestibule that leads to a grandly scaled Great Room with a wood-burning fireplace, a dining area and a chef’s kitchen with 11 foot tall ceilings. The west-facing, sumptuous Master Bedroom suite with its rare arched windows features an elegant bathroom and sensational walk in closet and dressing room. Another bedroom suite faces South and West and a laundry room and powder room are located close by. An additional bedroom suite makes for the perfect Nanny’s quarters. At the opposite end of this floor are two additional large bedroom suites, both with superb southern light and views.

A gracious stairway leads you to the upper level that offers a more formal living and dining experience with direct access onto three immaculately landscaped terraces: their scale and exposures have no equal. This glass encased floor celebrates the unrivaled views and light that engulf this magical property. Another wood burning fireplace and second kitchen allow for elegant entertaining. On this level which is also accessible via the elevator is a magnificent private, fully DCI compliant screening room with a projection room, an additional bedroom, a full bathroom and a powder room.

The entire apartment was recently gut renovated to the very highest standards with every imaginable convenience and luxury built in. This A-grade building boasts strong financials and is unique to SOHO in that it is not subject to the A.I.R laws.

This penthouse represents an entirely unique quality of life with the scale, views and light that are impossible to replicate, making this home of a collector quality of the very highest order.

Listing:  www.elliman.com/1773001    

HOME OF THE FREE? ASK AIRBNB…..

April 21st, 2014

airbPosted by Leonard Steinberg on April 21st, 2014

AIRBNB is under attack by New York Law that prevents the rental of any apartment for less than 30 days.  Nearly two-thirds of the New York apartments recently listed on Airbnb were being offered in violation of the law:  64% of its 19,500-plus offerings covered an entire apartment, says an affidavit from the state Attorney General’s Office. By law, a “permanent resident” must be present to sublet an apartment for fewer than 30 days.

New York Law basically does not allow you to sub-lease your home for less than 30 days at a time……is this what they call the ‘home of the free’? Why is it that in almost every other part of the world you can rent a home for a week at a time? AIRBNB is certainly posing a tough question for us when it comes to our freedoms: does the hotel industry lobby control our freedoms as to what we are allowed to do with our owned property? Naturally if you are leasing a property and your lease prevents any form of sub-leasing, the AIRBNB concept is not allowed, and rightfully so. Most condominiums have house rules that prevent sub-leasing for anything less than 12 months…..very few allow 6 month sub-leasing. But what if you own an entire townhouse without any house rules?

I am not an advocate of super-short-term rentals at all as I feel they can impact the quality of life for other owners in a building. Maybe instead of banning this concept entirely (and making New York look very un-American and un-worldly) very strict guidelines should be formulated and enforced. Maybe AIRBNB has to instigate very large security deposits so that abusers are automatically fined for bad behavior or abuses? We have all read some bad abuses of the AIRBNB concept, but I feel certain groups with ulterior motives are behind these ‘ugly revelations’. Isn’t the success of AIRBNB a direct result of many grossly inflated hotel room rates that deliver less-than-stellar quality?

THE TALLEST TOWER IN THE WORLD

April 20th, 2014

140416164143-saudi-freedom-tower-cloud-view-horizontal-galleryPosted by Leonard Steinberg on April 20th, 2014

And you thought the Freedom Tower or those buildings on the 57th Street corridor of New York were tall?  Hah! Work to build the world’s first 1km-high building…..yes, 3,280ft tall, or almost TRIPLE the height of 432 Park Avenue….. the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, is set to begin on April 27th this year. 160 of the 200 floor will be habitable: will the top 40 floors house space aliens?

The $1.2billion project has been plagued by setbacks since it was first proposed in 2011, but above-ground work on the Jeddah super skyscraper will commence next month. The centerpiece and first construction phase of the Kingdom City development, located along the Red Sea on the north side of Jeddah, Kingdom Tower is designed to encompass a total construction area of 530,000m2 (5.7 million square feet).

This building will be even taller than the Burj Khalifa in DUBAI:  Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the tower is expected to be completed in about 5 years. Foundation work began in December 2013. The complex will contain 59 elevators, including five double-deck elevators. Oh jeez…..

 

FUZZY MATHEMATICS AND REAL ESTATE

April 18th, 2014

fuzzymathPosted by Leonard Steinberg on April 17th, 2014

In this morning’s POST an article addresses the concerns of activist Reverend Dennis Dillon that Mayor De Blasio’s administration is not as diverse as the City and doesn’t reflect its composition: African-Americans account for about 23% of New York City’s population, and make up 26% of the administration’s appointees to date, yet Reverend Dillon admitted to The Post that his group’s estimate that New York City was 34% African-American (a 30% difference!)was based on its own polling, not on official Census data. Is this another perfect example of selective mathematics, something we see daily in New York Real Estate? Or is this blatant distortion of the truth? How is it possible that when people distort the truth so drastically they seem to get away with it? Of all things in the world, Mayor De Blasio cannot be accused of not being diverse!

In real estate I am confronted daily with grossly inaccurate data. It is gross. It’s worse because much of the data has been PURPOSEFULLY distorted because of an agenda. I am told of figures daily that are simply inaccurate. Often times they are assumptions or hearsay. Most times they are just distortions and manipulative. I see and hear much (in writing) about achievements and sales figures that are completely false, yet those who should be addressing this illegal activity remain silent. If you don’t believe me, take a look at five different quarterly market real estate reports: they all claim their data to be based on the same criteria…..closed, recorded sales…..yet each report has very different figures. Is this accidental? Is this purposeful? Is it inefficiency? Or is it the combination of all three, thus making it corrupt?

Certain things in life are hard fact, whether we like those facts or not. Manipulating the truth these days is easy: make a statement in the press, the web, Twitter, TV or Instagram and repeat the message often enough, and it becomes ‘fact’. Does no-one seems to have the time or resources to fact-check anymore? It seems no-one speaks out when people lie……there I said it…..it’s called LYING, just in case anyone forgot the meaning of that word or has conveniently re-defined the concept. Its time for the real estate industry to bring data to the table that is driven by fact.

 

 

IS THE CO-OP BACK?

April 17th, 2014

robby-pic-finalPosted by Leonard Steinberg on April 17th, 2014

With the recent $70 million sale of the 960 Fifth Avenue Bronfman penthouse and the $ 42million Central Park West Jon Stryker sale (by Robby Browne)that just closed, we may conclude that rumors of the CO-OP’s demise have been grossly exaggerated!

The Central Park West sale is about $ 7,500/sf, certainly Condo-territory pricing on anyone’s standards. It was certainly one of the most exquisite renovations ever (Lee Mindell at his best!), and the views and location were outstanding. But these two sales are a reminder that there still are many buyers who qualify for and don’t mind buying in a co-op even though some Boards are a bit nuts. The reality is a new generation of owners have been moving into these co-op buildings and have re-visited some of the more outlandish building policies to be more competitive with condominiums which have until recently sold for a huge premium.

Wait for next week when we announce another record breaking co-op deal that will open the eyes of all…..

IS SELLER PRICING AMBITION OUT-PACING BUYER TOLERANCE?

April 16th, 2014

Posted be Leonard Steinberg on April 16th, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the expected SPRING RUSH has not happened quite as planned throughout the US Housing market, although the Manhattan market has been rather strong, and one reason may be that asking prices have been escalating to the point where they are experiencing buyer resistance.

Any market is a direct product of supply and demand, and with supply very low until recently, the demand has far outstripped the supply causing mammoth price escalation throughout the USA over the past 24 months, especially on the very high end where construction of A-grade product had been dormant through the Great Recession. Last years sales were fueled by a large volume of ‘distressed bargain buys’……those are largely gone today. Real estate is very local, and much of the recent slowdown has been concentrated in markets through the West and Southwest that had been leading the recovery. The Northeast is actually faring very well.

At a recent event at a super-fancy Midtown high-rise, I heard broker chatter about how their buyers simply do not see the value of paying ultra-top-dollar when from the window of their potential purchase are 7 other construction sites that will deliver well over 700 units at a similar pricing level. With $45 billion+ of construction in planning or under construction in the New York area, has the time arrived for Sellers to factor in a new phase of this market?

There are certain prime locations and buildings that will not be as affected by growing supply, but clear evidence is on our doorstep that the theory of increased inventory applying pressure on excessive pricing aspirations is indeed true.

New Townhouse Listing! 376 President Street – Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

April 15th, 2014

p

20-ft wide charming townhouse thats part of a condomium. This magnificently gut renovated historic townhouse is conveniently located on a super-charming street in Carroll Gardens.With over 1,400sf interior square feet this gem offers a private landscaped garden. There is also a deck off the master suite. This gracious home has been meticulously renovated to the highest standards:The (real)chef’s kitchen contains an extra-wide Blue Star oven, the only genuine restaurant range fitted for the home, that opens with French doors. A Sub Zero refrigerator contains 2 freezer doors. Other outstanding features are Crimson vine polished stone counters with matching backsplashes, Miele dishwasher, Wolf  Convention microwave oven, Wolf warming drawer and a Wolf 5 burner cook
top.Pre-war details abound with double height ceilings and gorgeous beams. A master bedroom suite with den and custom built walk in closets is located on the upper level. The master bath is fitted with Lefroy Brooks fixtures, heated floors, and a walk in shower with custom doors. A washer with steam dryer are on the main level. All systems throughout this home have been totally upgraded including the electric, plumbing, HVAC, security plus video intercom system.
Potential for a third bedrooom.This is a rare opportunity to live in a townhouse with direct street access while enjoying the amenities of the Mill Condominiums and just a few minutes away from the new Whole Foods, a neighborhood game-changer.

Listing: www.elliman.com/1782828