The New York Times ran an article for this weekend’s REAL ESTATE section talking about the ‘Downtown Spring awakening’: 150 Charles Street, the Witkoff Group developed, CookFox-designed building in the West Village achieved over HALF A BILLION in sales in 4 weeks, certainly a record for New York real estate, and possibly globally. Unlike any other building, the buyer dedication to the West Village has been rather astounding with about 1 in 5 buyers opting to buy, where traditionally its 1 in 20-25 buyers/appointments who actually buy in new developments. Aside from the super-desirable location, separated from the West Side highway by a buffer zone of townhouses, buyers have resonated unlike any other time because of the beautiful, contextual design, the host of amenities including parking, a drive-through drop off, almost 40,000sf of pre-planted landscaping that is maintained by the building (a first), a 75ft swimming pool, 3,000sf gym, playroom, lounge, juice bar, service elevators…..and the list goes on. Add to this the fact that there are about 80 different floorplans (out of 91 units)so each apartment represents its own unique experience within the building, sensational views of charming Village street-scapes, the Hudson River and park and panoramic Southern and Northern skylines. The finishes are highly customized by Alan Wanzenberg and of a caliber never seen before in the West Village: they are elegant, classically contemporary in style and designed to transcend fashions and of-the-moment trends. A building of this caliber can never be reproduced ever again in a location of this stature, making the building a true collectors item.
Posts Tagged ‘west village’
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.
This month Vanity Fair termed Greenwich Village the “GILDED GHETTO”: is this the appropriate description of the neighborhood everyone, including foreigners, Uptowners and Downtowner’s, agree is the ultimate New York living environment? The area’s unique combination of (guaranteed) low lying buildings that provide the best light in the city, charming tree lined cobbled streets with their eclectic mix of apartments, chic townhouses and mega-mansions, a superb mix of retail and restaurants, and it’s proximity to the Hudson River Park and Meatpacking District make it the kind of utopian ‘bubble’ that seems to be a trend around the globe.
Other cities all have their ‘gilded ghetto’s’ I guess, from Rome to London to Beijing, Cape Town, Sidney, Moscow and Rio. With the divide between wealthy and the rest of the world growing I see a growing trend: this is where the Village is possibly a bit unique in that it probably will always have some element of ‘West Side Story’-looking real estate mixed in….A Burberry store next to a store that’s very far from that price-point. The human scale of the Village is what makes it so very desirable: where else could a mega-mansion blend in so discreetly and not be a gilded limestone wedding cake? This is all very characteristic of the new, younger discreet wealth.
This is the new luxury. The un-luxury of the new-new global wealth that appears more drawn to the brassier, flashy versions of luxury that are beginning to look all alike.
The 64 Perry Street house noted for its appearance on ‘Sex and the City’ has re-sold (after the original buyers won an intense bidding war 6 months earlier) for $ 9.85million. The house had traded above the asking price 6 months ago (and again it traded this time round above the $ 9.65m asking price. When it sold in November 2011 it was considered a record sale price: while the location, detailing, garden, etc are all truly magnificent, the house needs a complete, gut renovation. Now, 6 months later it indicates a market escalation of over 8%…..
The house measures roughly 4,100sf : so initially it sold for almost $ 2,200/sf…..now its re-sold for $2,400/sf. That is a record price for a house requiring a gut renovation: does it set the bar higher for what we should expect townhouses in the West Village to trade for in the future assuming most townhouse renovations of this caliber cost around $ 1,000/sf? Maybe in West Village townhouse valuations, $ 3,000/sf is the new $ 2,000/sf……
The penthouse at 2 Horatio just went to contract for over $ 4,000/sf: Granted it was gut renovated, has spectacular views and significant outdoor space, but 2 Horatio is not exactly considered a trophy building. It is a co-op with lovely apartments, although most are rather ordinary. Across the park (Jackson Square) the penthouse at One Jackson Square sold for significantly less at just under $ 3,000/sf, even though its a brand new condominium with a swimming pool. Around the corner, Jennifer Anniston just bought three apartments including a penthouse on West 12th Street for just under $ 9 million total…they are to be combined and require a complex renovation so at the end of the day, the price will probably be around $ 4,000/sf too. These three apartment sales clearly indicate the strength of West Village pricing in New York…..an area becoming known as RECESSION PROOF.
Its also the area where the young (or young-at-heart) wealthy want to live now. The fact that prices of this caliber are being achieved in OK buildings certainly screams for a new building that delivers more than just great apartments, but also services and amenities to rival uptown buildings such as 15 Central park West.
With the down-zoning of the entire area, views will always sell for a premium in this part of town known for its amazing year-round light and charming tree-lined streets, not to mention its proximity to the Hudson River Park, the Highline Park, Meatpacking District boutiques and nightlife, the new Whitney Museum coming to 12th Street…..and the list goes on. West Greenwich Village rules! (Yes, anything West is pretty good these days, and only getting better.)
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.
This building, located a few doors down from the 3 Richard Meier Towers, home to celebrities Calvin Klein and Hugh Jackman, somewhat emulating their glass and white steel facade, has been a building in limbo for several years. The Wall Street Journal reports it as a textbook case of the aftermath of the explosive credit years…..we beg to differ: “A building in this location, with A-grade views and significant comparable sales steps away should have been a success: it did after all come to the market at a time when everything was selling,” says Leonard Steinberg, managing director of Douglas Elliman and head of the LUXURYLOFT team. ” The reason this did not succeed was that the design, the quality of construction and the timing were all off….badly off. For this building to succeed in the market place, I believe the entire interior needs to be gutted and re-built.”
It appears that the continued buying spree in the third Richard Meier Tower in the West Village may not be the work of Alexa Stewart, the daughter of Mighty Martha…. Rumor has it Alexa is the name on the deed, but the enormous (and growing) space is indeed for the diva herself, once the owner of the penthouse at the skinniest of the Towers. (Martha sold this penthouse moments before her ridiculous moment in striped suits). The combination of units makes for one of the more spectacular apartments on the Hudson River front with sensational sunset views. Certainly a property worthy of the Queen of style?