Posts Tagged ‘Tribeca’
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Posted on May 16th, 2013
Is the concept of Midtown highrise living (a-la-One57)invading Eastern Tribeca? It appears so. Joining the sky-high condominiums of the Woolworth Building and 56 Leonard Street comes word that Larry Silverstein has finally secured funding for his long-planned $950 million luxury high-rise in TriBeCa: The 82-Story Robert A. M. Stern-designed tower will house a Four Season’s Hotel as well as 157 (co-incidental?)condo units and is slated to break ground at 30 Park Place this fall.
Construction will last about three years on the 926-foot skyscraper, with its opening planned for 2016, according to the real estate legend who is responsible for the Freedom Tower and re-building of the World Trade Center site. Silverstein first announced plans for this project in 2008, but then known by its 99 Church St. address, stalled after the financial crash. The property, set to include 185 rooms for the hotel, as well as 157 private residences, will also include a public plaza.
Tower 270, located at 2 70 Broadway at Chambers Street was certainly the pioneering building of the area, and offered apartments with panoramic views for the first time in Tribeca, an area known mostly for rehabilitated low-lying commercial buildings and lofts. We have two Steven Harris-designed penthouses listed in the building, and all of a sudden they appear priced in bargain territory.
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 19th, 2013
This week the discussion arose again about electronics for AV systems and ‘smart homes’ at one of my meetings with a developer client developing a gorgeous luxury building in New York. What exactly does the consumer want delivered to-day in a brand new Manhattan luxury apartment in the way of electronics?
Above a certain price-point, the expectation now is for a minimum of pre-wiring for speakers so as to avoid the need to rip out walls after closing. Electronic power points for electronic shades are becoming more the norm too. After that the waters get muddy: do they want a fully integrated Crestron or Savant system that allows you to control lights, shades, music, TV, AC, heat, security, etc? Each consumer is different and there certainly are a few who want space-ship quality electronics. Usually these people are rocket scientists who know how to operate these systems fluidly. The other day I visited a client who had just completed the renovation of a mega-penthouse in Tribeca….they had installed ‘the works’……..but it was painful to see how at even the light switches they had little hand-written notes describing how to use the system. Something as simple as turnign a light on and off had been made difficult. Really? At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past week there was no hype about life improvement. Aside from Apple, are there any electronics companys trying to make things more consumer freindly or are they merely designing for themselves and their tech friends? Should we really be heaping attention on an event hosting companies that are actively making people dumber, aiding and abetting in the invasion of privacy, and for the most part making life more complicated than rewarding?
In a world where it is considered OK to send correspondence littered with errors, I think its time those designing electronics take a long hard look at the market to realize the majority of us are not tech geeks and when it comes to our homes we would prefer not to have to think too hard about how to turn on or dim a light. I look forward to the day when controls for home systems are as easy to use for a tech geek as they are for a child or an older adult, yes the ones who may also not be able to easily navigate the miniscule type on these contols that usually require a microscope to read!
Come on, you electronics wizards: its time to make your genius work for the people, not make them feel eternally inferior and reliant on a helpdesk to figure out the most basic of tasks in their own homes!
Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 12th, 2013
In the coming weeks and months, over 7,000 units of new construction LUXURY apartments will be coming to the market in New York……that is a VAST number of units and will significantly alter the bland inventory landscape we are currently experiencing. While one could argue that the record prices achieved by those few developers who actually had a building to sell were as a result of great product, the reality is those prices were also probably fueled by the lack of competition. How would pricing at One 57 have fared if 432 Park Avenue, the MOMA Tower, One Madison Park, the new Extell Tower and Michael Stern’s Tower on 57th Street were all on the market simultaneously?
Until recently most developers and their bankers speculated that every buyer is looking for a really large apartment with super-duper-luxury finishes and amenities. This theory will now be put to the test as we enter the chapter where the consumer will give us the ultimate reality check.
We are working on several new buildings Downtown in the West Village (150 Charles Street), Tribeca, West Chelsea, Soho and Noho: All will be thoroughly unique and special and distinctive: There is really no room in the ultra-luxury market for anything less.
Again, averages will be the curse of the market: Just because a certain AVERAGE price was achieved for the past 12 months, is that price applicable to all product? I think not. I firmly believe that the buildings in the best locations with the best balance of quality, design, structure and price such as 150 Charles Street in the West Village will win and I am afraid there will be some sore losers where a disturbing reality check will come to those developers whose pricing expectations simply are not based on reality. Excessive, overly ambitious pricing will be met with resistance I believe because no-one knows exactly the depth of demand. Yes, there certainly are a strong group of buyers who are waiting to buy these large, very expensive apartments…….but are there enough of them to absorb all this inventory that seems to be focused on the exact same profile buyer? Only time will tell. I believe the very best will win and be perfectly successful, but I think there are several rather average products coming out whose expectations of well-above-average pricing will be met with disappointment.
Moving forward, developers will have to be much more innovative: This week, I met with a mega-developer planning a rather exciting new building. It was refreshing to hear him talk about the need for innovation and beauty before dollars per square foot…..all are important, but the blind focus on pricing alone may prove to be a wake-up call to many developers and their bankers in the coming months.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on May 21st, 2012
Often buyers wince at the sight of a construction site abutting a building they are considering buying in…..they fear the noise it will produce. They are correct: there will be noise. But don’t for one moment think anyone living in Manhattan is immune to noise. It’s everywhere. Here are some instances of noise that you should consider:
1) Neighboring construction sites are noisy for sure: But if they are privately run, chances are the developers will want to complete the project in a timely manner, so these projects can at least be timed. The majority of the exterior noise happens in the first half of the project usually.
2) Neighboring apartment/house noise: many people renovate their apartments. These renovations often take up to a year, and in the instance of townhouses they can often take 2 years or more. The noise from a renovation above, below or besides your home can be the noisiest of all. The older the building, the better chance someone will be renovating soon.
3) LOCAL LAW 11 NOISE: This law commands all building to inspect their facades periodically….the inspections usually result in noisy facade work.
4) Infrastructure noise: whether its the building of a subway line, the re-paving of a street, replacing rotted pipes, or general improvements, infrastructure noise is a certainty everywhere throughout the city with aging systems and new technologies springing up daily.
5) Traffic, emergency vehicles, trash collectors: Why is it that a motorbike is allowed to make extreme noise? One person’s thrill is thousands of people’s torment, yet the law allows it? And then there are some that want to fight electric vehicles’ silent operation because they need some noise to warn of their approach…..really? Personally the thought of silent vehicles sounds dreamy to me….
These are but some of the examples of how noise is EVERYWHERE in Manhattan. No-one can escape it. So install good windows, wear ear-plugs, support laws that regulate noise and the times noise is allowable, and acknowledge that if you wanted absolute silence you would have chosen another town to live in. And don’t for one moment think that by buying an apartment NOT next to a construction site that your world will be silent bliss. The photo above was taken on the corner of Hudson and North Moore in Tribeca, an established prime location. …..not so quiet and peaceful after all: major infrastructure work, facade work to a building, and who knows how many fabulous apartments behind those windows are in the midst of a renovation…..
Saturday, April 21st, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 21st, 2012
The 7,000sf+ penthouse at 145 Hudson Street (Sky Lofts) in New York’s prized downtown neighborhood Tribeca has returned to the market for $ 48million, or $ 6,400/sf: Is this showplace worth that much more than the penthouses of Superior Ink, 200 Eleventh Ave. and 100 Eleventh Ave, not to mention the many new penthouses about to come to market? Time will tell….
Saturday, January 28th, 2012
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on January 28th, 2012
As I look out of my window in the distance I see a large U. S. Post Office facility and it reminds me of the on-going debacle that is the Post Office. I speak on this subject from a real estate perspective living in an area (West Chelsea) that has witnessed a radical transition from an entirely commercial area (that died) to a mostly residential and art gallery neighborhood. Real-estate-wise this has happened here, in Soho, Tribeca and around the world. It’s called evolution, and some keep fighting it……especially the US Post Office.
The problem with the Post Office is it acts and thinks like a big government. So the first thing it wants to turn to is protecting exactly what it does, keep doing it the same way, but apply extreme austerity measures by cutting. The employees only focus on keeping their benefits and keep working in the exact same manner as before demanding that the rest of the country support this farce. Both are wrong. And they are an incredibly accurate reflection of what is happening in our country politically as well as what happens in real estate…..until smarter people step in to change things.
In Soho, artists moved into mostly abandoned buildings where the wholesale textile industry used to thrive. When the industry died, so too did the neighborhood. Big scale developers were not interested because the land in Soho is not the best for building huge, hideous structures as it does not have the best bedrock for this type of construction. So artists moved in, upgraded the buildings to somewhat liveable….then came the restaurants and retail, and all of a sudden it was cool to live in a loft. So rich bankers bought lofts from the artists (making many of them very rich), renovated them, and within a few years Soho became a very high end residential real estate environment. But of course, government could not keep up, and still wants to enforce a program (A.I.R.) to protect the environment as an artist’s studio environment…..while collecting significantly higher real estate taxes from the new inhabitants. Another perfect example of government fighting evolution. Just like the post office.
Real estate is the most visible form of evolution in my mind…..seeing the speed of transformation of entire neighborhood uses is pretty astounding. And it works best when government and commerce work together as is witnessed now in the Hudson Yards, West Chelsea and the Financial District. Its smart government (raising real estate tax collection, encouraging transactional taxes, higher employment, etc) AND smart commerce (construction profits, rental incomes, tax breaks, etc).
Now back to the Post Office: the world has changed! We don’t mail as many letters as we used to. Federal Express ships boxes better than you and with much less attitude (lets face it: a trip to the post office used to be about being annoyed and insulted by rude, lazy, slow staff). We send e-mails. We send e-vites instead of mailed invitations. Now instead of ONLY focusing on cuts or preserving history, maybe its time for the Post office to re-invent itself. Here are some ideas:
1) Look closely at Federal Express and UPS: both have grown dramatically as the world evolved into ordering massive volumes of product on line, efficiently, cost effectively and with a friendly demeanor.
2) What other tasks could the post office perform, knowing that much of its real estate is located in PRIME locations in the hearts of most communities: how could they provide one-stop shopping for mail, stationery, coffee, tech supplies? If Duane Reade can sell sandwiches, what else can the Post Office sell?
3) Could the post office forge strategic partnerships with on-line retailers?
4) What about selling/leasing the roof real estate of all their locations for solar + wind farms? Replacing the light poles on top of their facility in West Chelsea with wind turbines could provide lighting for the roof as well as pay the electric bill.
5) What about all the post office vans becoming driving billboards advertising things besides the POST OFFICE? Or advertising all the new services they are introducing to the world?
Frankly I see ALL the opportunity for the post office in their real estate: yes, they have to trim costs and make their methods and staff more efficient. But more importantly they need to EVOLVE and re-invent their role in our society. Lets not forget: Apple was never a phone manufacturer a few years ago. Now just a few years later, it dominates the market.
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on July 30th, 2011
We have covered this subject before in LUXURYLETTER: Manhattan and New York City sidewalks are constantly covered with hideous, unsightly construction sheds and scaffolding. Always dark, somewhat sketchy, and often covered with graffiti, the sheds leave much to be desired, which is why the Department of Buildings hosted the UrbanSHED Competition, asking designers to create a more aesthetically pleasing design for these sidewalk canopies. A prototype of the winning design has just been unveiled: the arched steel structure with a transparent top is a breath of fresh air. Designed by winner Young-Hwan Choi with architect Andrés Cortés and engineer Sarrah Khan of New York-based Agencie Group, the new canopy is a huge improvement from the standard pipe and plywood shed.
It is time to really evaluate this ugly scaffolding once and for all: While I love the concept of re-designing the scaffolding and making it more attractive, personally I see permanent sidewalk covers as the solution. The cost to building owners to rent these structures is prohibitive. With the sun a lot less desirable these days, why not cover sidewalks (a la Meatpacking District and Tribeca) with permanent canopies. These (attractive) canopies could be made of solar panels to generate power and also transmit light. Something needs to change.
Friday, June 10th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on June 10, 2011
What may be good news for New York, could be bad news for Stamford Connecticut: It appears UBS will be moving a sizeable chunk of its workforce from Stamford back to Manhattan, possibly to 3 World Trade Center.
UBS says the company is considering moving its trading floor, and thousands of employees, back to Manhattan in part because it has found it more difficult to recruit talented people in their 20s to work in the suburbs. Stamford is about 35 miles out of Manhattan. For many Manhattanites who work there, an end to the 45 minute plus commute will come as a huge relief, adding about 200 hours back to their lives per year if their commute time is cut by 50% (assuming they still will have to commute from somewhere)…..that’s the equivalent of a 8 day vacation! Much more if they choose to live in Tribeca, Wall Street or Battery Park within walking distance….
UBS would maintain offices in Stamford, although they would be smaller. The number of Stamford employees had already dropped to 3,000, from 4,000 two years ago.
This move would re-emphasize trends we identified starting some time ago: people want shorter commutes as they rob them of precious time they can spend with friends, family or simply rest. Another trend we continue to see is younger people want to live in big cities: they are drawn to them, not only for employment opportunities and ‘career climbers’ but also because its easier to meet other people in a large city, and a city like New York certainly draws a diversified crowd not only from around the country, but the entire world. This trend is not exclusively confined to the young, as a vast number of empty nesters return annually to Manhattan for its excitement and cultural variety.
With Conde Nast and now UBS heading to the Wall Street area, we should expect the real estate market in the area to continue its path of gentrification. Prime beneficiaries should be larger apartments that house families used to Connecticut-sized homes and small, slick rental apartments.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 31, 2011
Residential real estate sales in Downtown New York soared in the month of March, and as the first quarter of 2011 draws to a close, it is clearly evident that the market has recovered strongly from a year ago, and even from the last quarter of 2010. This week an interesting sale occured: the signing of a contract on the top five floors at 471 Washington Street, a building situated directly on Canal Street, once considered New York poison, location-wise, with its excessive traffic and activity, mostly headed towards the Holland Tunnel. This almost $ 20 million sale (just under $ 3,000/sf) for the penthouse located at the northern end of Tribeca with a swimming pool and rather wonderful, protected views towards the Hudson River represents the third mega sale on Canal Street in recent years.
The first two were at 1 York, another building that is essentially located on Canal Street: one was a combination of several apartments with the set back terrace (not the penthouse) bought by Michael Hirtenstein a few years ago that are still being renovated into a mega-mansion style apartment also including a swimming pool. Last year the 1 York penthouse sold for around $ 23 million, the record for Canal Street…..so far.
So what else lies in the future of Canal Street? Will these apartments hold their value? Will they soar in value? Only time will tell. Canal Street certainly benefits by its proximity to Tribeca and Soho. These sales are certainly a potent message on the power of a protected, big view……something all these apartments feature…..regardless of traffic, noise or perception.
Sunday, March 20th, 2011
Posted by Leonard Steinberg on March 20, 2011
For years I said the upscale Manhattan crowd would never travel ALL THE WAY to Brooklyn to live in what are arguably neighborhoods as refined and desirable as the West Village, Tribeca and the Upper East Side: I was wrong. About 3 years ago, a friend of mine (and now fellow broker) Aimee Scher moved to DUMBO. I dreaded the thought of traveling ALL THE WAY over to visit…..until of course I did so. I was wrong. It took less time to get there from my Flatiron office than it does to get to the Upper East Side. I was shocked. I’d always loved the Brooklyn neighborhoods and thought they had huge potential, but I never thought of them as being this accessible.
Flash forward, and last Fall, the owner of a recently renovated house in Brooklyn Heights invited me over to see his property on Hicks Street. Again, I dreaded the trip ALL THE WAY to Brooklyn. I left my apartment in West Chelsea and 11 minutes later I was at the front door. Un-believeable! I had been transported in a few minutes to what has to be one of New York’s most beautiful neighborhoods. I walked on gorgeous tree lined streets reminiscent of the West Village, by charming cafe’s brimming with Saturday ‘bruncher’s’ (a good-looking bunch I may add!) taking in the beautiful Fall weather.
We chatted with the owner and my fellow broker and after a tour of this magnificent house I was convinced: Brooklyn Heights has to be one of THE neighborhoods of New York, if not Manhattan. It is an area anyone wanting a strong quality of life should seriously consider. And this house that we recently listed is a prize: 25,5 feet wide, exquisitely renovated (seriously, world-class) and pretty from inside and outside with a picturesque garden too. And minutes from Manhattan. Minutes.
With pricing of similar houses in Manhattan in the teen’s, 74 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights priced at $ 6,5million is an eye-opener. Certainly a wake-up call to me, the sometimes jaded Manhattan broker.