Friday, May 30, 2008
photo by Flickr/Seth Holladay via Curbed
By Andrew Fine, 5/30, 10am-
Shortly after getting out of the shower this morning around 8 30am, I noticed an overabundance of sirens from emergency vehicles. Being a New Yorker, having lived through 911, you have an innate ability to differentiate between the normal amount of fire engines and when there are way too many. Before I could even think I heard a swarm of helicopters which are always the tell tale sign that something bad has happened. Instinctively, you wonder if something tragic might have occurred on the trains, then you turn to other horrific scenarios. Before thinking all of those through, you turn to the tv and flip through the news channels. Seconds later, you find the news of a potentially fatal crane collapse. In a sad twist of irony, the reflex is some sense of relief that it wasn't something magnitudes worse. Shortly thereafter there is worry for those that might have died in the ordinary course of trying to make a living or simply walking down the street. The last in the very short course of emotions is anger and outrage that such a tragedy is preventable and should never happen in a civilized society.I went to report and document this tragedy. Crowds had gathered and word had quickly spread that there was indeed at least one, possibly 2 fatalities already reported. The scene that most sticks in my mind was the image of the 3rd and 4th floor apartments penetrated and cratered by the falling tons of street. Looking into somebody's living room or dining room that no longer has a wall or part of the floor, yet a painting on the back wall seemingly undisturbed. You can only hope that the damage to those apartments and others, like the penthouse that was decimated, was merely material and not physical. We all hope and pray that to be the case.
Neighbors who heard the crane fall initially believed that a tremendous bomb had gone off. We can only imagine the sheer terror which these thousands of people experienced this morning. Hopes and prayers will help those traumatized or directly effected by this tragic travesty, but it will not change the circumstances that lead it happen. Action, real, powerful, and politically and economically inconvenient action is needed. Something must be done. The city must get it's shit together pronto and not allow another crane to operate until they do so.
New Proposals Requested For Pier 57, Update On Hudson Park (The Real Deal)
Con Ed Sues City And Contractor Over Last Year's Midtown Explosion (NY Times)
Xanadu-Like $2 Bil. Project Proposed For Riverhead (NY Sun)
Amenity Alert: Avery To Offer Performances By Lincoln Center Artists (NY Sun)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
A crowd gathers around the auctioneer at 60 Centre Street
It was quite a scene today on the courthouse steps of 60 Centre Street as the public auction of foreclosed properties was being conducted on a brilliant day. There was a small crowd of 14 or so potential bidders, colorful characters whose make-up seemed to consist mainly of a group that was pulled out of an OTB . The group included 3 or 4 pros (I call them sharks), a few curious newbies, and a handful of people who looked like they had nothing better to do (and maybe OTB wasn't open yet). All gathered for the opportunity to get a rare deal or watch a rare deal on a Manhattan apartment happen. I spoke at length with both a couple of pros and some newbies and here are my observations:
*Out of 6 or 8 auction scheduled only 2 happened and only one was bought by a participant, the other by the bank. A good deal appeared to be had on the one apartment, 320 East 35th St. #3G. The apartment is a jr.1 bed in an elevator coop with part-time doorman was sold for $302,000.. The same line a couple of flights up just went into contract for around $420,000..
* According to the auctioneer, approximately 80% of the Manhattan coop auctions never happen.
*The apartment I reported on last week, the parlor floor at 24 east 82nd Street (the Whitney/Hearst whatever place) was pulled from the block after an order to show cause pushed it from the schedule. According to a rep of the owner, the owner managed to sell the apartment on her own for north of $2.8Mil..
*Overall, according to the pros, the number of properties that goes to auction in the 5 boroughs, is up about 50% over last year. The change in Manhattan has be negligible, but 'lots in Queens'. Quized further, it seems that Eastern Queens is the most auctioned, while they haven't heard of any in LIC.
*As for the larger market, it seems the middle of Long Island is worst hit. According to the auctioneer, Freeport is the worst. "I've auctioned off most of Freeport" he remarked.
*The deal of the week apparently happened yesterday when the 3 story townhouse at 241 West 71st Street was sold at auction for $3,291,000..
*According to a pro, about 1/2 of all coops bought at auction never close and often turn into a fight to get the deposit back.
If you buy at auction, there are numerous potential pitfalls. Deals are expected to close within 30 days or you default and forfeit the 10% deposit. While banks and lawyers will sometimes give an extension beyond the 30 days, sometimes they won't and it turns into a protracted legal fight. And, just try getting a foreclosure through a coop board in 30 days- it won't happen. Additionally, apartments are sold sight unseen and may have liens, 2nd mortgages, back maintenance payments, etc., so even with a great deal of due diligence, you can still get stung. As one pro described it, buying at foreclosure auctions is not for the faint at heart, or those adverse to extreme risk. While on occasion there are deals to be had, in many ways it's like sitting at an OTB and waiting for a long shot to come in.
City Prevents Trinity School's Exit From Real Estate Business (NY Sun)
New Governor Backs Same Sex Unions From Elsewhere (NY Times)
Scarlett Johansson Buys 53rd St. Penthouse? (Observer)
Slashing And Shooting At Chinatown Condo (WNBC)
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
"Coasting" is a technique that goes to various extremes to conserve gas and limits stops and starts. Some who have adopted the technique go to the dangerous extreme of turning off the engine, or shifting into neutral after they have achieved a sustainable speed. I'd never do that, but I have managed to resist the urge to "punch it" when maneuvering on the highway. Here is how I conserve through coasting:
1- Rather than blasting the gas pedal to speed up (hitting 7000rpm), I go for a more gradual speed up (2000-3000rpm) to get up to my desired speed.
2- I leave a fair amount of distance between my car and the car ahead of me. This allows me to lay off the gas pedal and coast when someone is braking in front of me. Usually the car ahead will pick up speed before I have to hit the brakes.
3- On downhill stretches I see how far I can go maintaining speed without hitting the gas. When I do have to hit the gas, I do it gradually.
I have found the technique to be easy on both gas and the breaks. Over 250 miles, I managed to save almost 4 gallons of gas, and at $4.29 a gallon out East, that adds up quickly.
Home Ownership In The City Continues To Climb (Observer)
Realtors, Justice Department Agree To Open MLS System (NY Times)
Residential Permits Drop By Half (421-a expiration effect)(Crain's)
Bellvue Hospital To Become Hotel? (The Real Deal)
City To Choose Developer For 1.7Mil SF Project On 125th (Crain's)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
In a separate report, US new home sales rose for the first time in 6 months by 3.3%. The rise was lead by a jump in new home sales in the Northeast, improving sales in the West and Midwest, while sales in the South were still down. Inventory slipped 2.4%.
While the Case/Shiller numbers were gruesome, many are starting to sense that we may be near a bottom. While calling a bottom is very difficult, it may be argued that our housing cycle could be shorter than those in the past. In past market slowdowns, mortgages were held by banks and the process of marking down assets was a very slow process. In today's market, most mortgages are securitized, and banks have been very fast to mark down their assets. This improved liquidity increases the velocity at which assets rise and fall, and could push the market to a bottom in a faster fashion. The jury is clearly still out, so we'll see if this theory holds true over the coming quarters. If you are a contrarian however, it would be hard to resist deeming such bad news as a possible bottom.
Inside The Case/Shiller Numbers (Fin Facts/Ireland)
New Home Sales Rise In April, 1st Time In 6 Months (CBSMarketwatch)
Macklowe Pays Debts With Sale Of GM Building (Forbes)
White Brick Buildings Get New Found Respect (Not Sure Why) (NY Times)
Pricing Resales At 15 CPW (Barbanel/NY Times)
Famous Provenance Doesn't Always Translate To Higher Price (NY Times)
The Rise Of Nolita (NY Post)
7 Shot In Shooting Spree In Harlem (NY Daily News)
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Developers Begin Scaling Back Amenities (NY Sun)
"Excessive Demand" Buoys Market For Rental Buildings (NY Sun)
Starbucks To Yank Topless Mermaid Logo (OC Register)
Bloomberg Transfers UES Home To Trust (Observer)
Anonymous $10 Mil Donation Saves East Village Church (Curbed)
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Lower East Side Put On Endangered List (NY Times)
Related's Equity Won The Deal For Hudson Yards (The Real Deal)
NYU To Name Library After Sheldon Solow (Observer)
Condos To Replace Former Danceteria On West 21st (The Real Deal)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Good Value Brings New Buyers To Sutton Place (NYDN)
$1 Billion Later Subway Elevators Still Fail (NY Times)
Kitchen Renovation Can Result In Triple Of Investment (NYDN)
City To Add 63 Building Inspectors (NY Times)
City Rents Are Dropping (NY Post)
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Story Of How Long It Takes To Sell An Overpriced Apartment (NY Times)
Living Small- Tiny Apartments (NY Daily News)
Residents Connecting Through Building Websites (NY Times)
Columbia Scoops Up 127 Unit Failed Condo Development (The Real Deal)
Development Du Jour: Star Tower LIC (Curbed)
More On The Hamptons Housing Slowdown (NY Times)
Friday, May 16, 2008
Approx. view West from Middle of Star Tower
Star Tower lot
Windows are in at "The View"
April Housing Starts Surge (CBS Marketwatch)
NYC Adds 35,000 Jobs In April (NY Times)
Manhattan Retail Rents Rise (The Real Deal)
Governor Has $1250 Rent Stabilized Pad (NY Sun)
Condo To Replace 100 Year Old Metal Shop In Soho (NY Times)
Tishman's Big Project In LIC Inches Forward (The Real Deal)
How "Sex In The City" Ruined New York (TimeOut NY)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Toll Bros. Brooklyn Sales Have "Faded" (Curbed)
Bloomberg Blames Albany For Dashed Dreams, Run For Gov. Next? (NY Sun)
Alternate Side Of Street Parking Suspended For The Summer In Slope (NY Times)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Extended NoHo Historic District Gets Green Light (Curbed)
Hudson Yards Back To Square One (Observer)
LPC Approves Nouvel's MoMa Tower (The Real Deal)
A New Way To Fight That Parking Ticket (NY Times)
No Joke: Utilities In NYC Are A Bargain (NY Daily News)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The Brompton- 92% Sold, $1750psf avg
The Lucida- 90% Sold, $1888psf avg
255 East 74th, 90% sold, $1869psf avg.
300 East 79th, 45% Sold, $1600psf avg.
The Georgica, just opened, $1450psf avg.
The Isis, coming soon, starting at $1350 psf
The Legacy, 2 duplex units left ($1300psf avg.)
The Upper East Side is officially a condo glut-free zone! Not only have prices appreciated over the past several months, sell through has been exceptional. Looking at the 3 biggest developments- The Lucida, The Brompton, and 255 East 74th, each condo is better than 90% sold and the buildings have not been completed. Additionally, the average price per square foot in these three buildings is up 11% over the past 6 months to average $1835 per square foot.
Looking forward, well located buildings like The Georgica (avg. $1450.psf) which just opened, and The Isis (starting at $1350. psf), officially open in June, look like they are priced to move. Investment wise, both buildings look very solid. Full market report and further info available by request (email: email@example.com).
Please note: all prices per square foot are approximates for units remaining and subject to error.
East Village Toy Tower To Bite The Dust (Curbed)
Foreclosure Bill Moves To State Senate (Crain's)
City Foreclosures Dip (The Real Deal)
NY's Oldest Barfly Graces Cafe Des Artistes (NY Times)
NY Condo Sales Slow? Fits And Starts, At Least (NY Sun)
Monday, May 12, 2008
Foreclosures Pick Up In The Hamptons (NY Post)
Stop Work Orders In City Soar With Crackdown (Crains)
Port Authority, Taxpayers May Pay Goldman $321 Mil. For WTC Delays (NYDN)
New York Knicks Find Respectable Coach (ESPN)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Skids: Recorded Deeds Lower Than Ever (East Hampton Star)
Saturday, May 10, 2008
LIC: Vernon Blvd Bike Lane Delayed By Inaction (Streetsblog)
Murky 7 Train Plans Cloud Hudson Yards Development (The Real Deal)
Bloomberg Calls On MTA, Tishman To Work Out Deal On Hudson Yards (Observer)
Deals Abound, If You Are Willing To Walk Up 5 Flights (NY Times)
Sellers Get Creative To Spur Sales (Barbanel/NY Times)
NY Likely To Lose Last Republican To DWI/Mistress/Love Child Scandal (NY Sun)
Friday, May 9, 2008
New PA Chief Has Ideas For Atlantic Yards (NY Mag)
Last Chance At 421-a Abatement Could Spur Development (NY Sun)
Sewer Free Willets Point Resembles Third World (NY Times)
First Nobu Hotel, 62 Stories Of Glass, Renderings Revealed (NY Post)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
NYC was tied up temporarily yesterday afternoon by 1000 or so protesters blocking access to The Triborough Bridge, Holland Tunnel, 59th Street Bridge, Midtown Tunnel, and Brooklyn Bridge. The protest, lead and encouraged by Al Sharpton was in response to the acquittal of 3 police officers in the killing of Sean Bell. The verdict, and the incident was both a tragedy and a travesty, no doubt. Our hearts go out to the family of Sean Bell. That said, anyone who thinks that the appropriate response is to inconvenience tens of thousands of New Yorkers is seriously misguided.
LIC Mystery Condo Outed...It's "L Haus" (Curbed)
State Democrats Push 1 Year Foreclosure Moratorium (Crain's)
Sean Bell Protesters Block Bridges And Tolls, 216 Arrested (NY Times)
Cantor Fitzgerald Launches Real Estate Fund (The Real Deal)
Calatrava's WTC Hub Wings Get Clipped A Little More (NY Times)
Demolition Underway At 14th And Third Ave (Curbed)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Landmark Commish Pushes Back Against Rudins, St. Vincents (Observer)
Countrywide Deal At Risk Of Collapse (NY Times)
Progress On The High Line (Curbed)
Worker Dies From Fall On Triborough (NY Times)
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
photo courtesy of Curbed
Atlantic Yards "Miss Brooklyn", Get Trimmed (Curbed)
Land Values Start To Fall In LIC, Outer Boroughs (The Real Deal)
Fast Food Joints Start Getting Citations For Lack Of Calorie Info (NY Times)
Rent Guidelines Board Suggests Big Rent Increases, Landlords Still Unhappy (NY Times)
East Village May Finally See Downzoning (Curbed)
Breaking....UBS To Sell Assets, Cut Jobs, Lost Another $11 Billion
Monday, May 5, 2008
Short On Cash, State Hastens Plan For Casino In City (NY Times)
Albany Likely To OK Video Slots At Aqueduct (NY1)
3 Groups To Bid On VLTs At Aqueduct (Thoroughbred Times)
Sunday, May 4, 2008
The Cetra/Ruddy, ultra-lux condo is suddenly green! I'd have to assume that they are going with a 2nd layer of insulation. The LIC condo, affectionately nicknamed the "Mystery Condo" is delaying it's official opening til September, although it's name will be revealed this month. I know the name, but in return for my continued secrecy, I have been promised that I can break the story later, and it will not be called the Green monster, i can promise you that. Perhaps they are playing cat and mouse- waiting to see how Rockrose's "The View" does when it opens it's sales office later this month, or maybe they want "Hunters View" to be cleaned out when they open.
Also, The Star Tower, which promises to be LIC's first ultra-lux high rise (25 stories), should open to the general public around the 3rd week of May.
The offerings in LIC keep getting more and more luxurious and more and more expensive. It should prove to be an interesting Summer/Fall season.
Update (5/14)..An abundance of details have come available for the Star Tower, call us at 212-675-1111 for the scoop.
$31 Million Mansion Sits Empty (NY Times)
All Inclusive Luxury Real Estate Wrap (Luxist)
Debate: Uptown vs. Downtown (NY Post)
Dubai Adds 5 More 100+ Story Towers (Gulf News)
Rents In Abu Dhabi Soar 17% (Gulf News)
Bike Lanes Turn To Battlegrounds (NY Times)
Friday, May 2, 2008
Bank Of England: 'The Worst Is Over' (Marketwatch)
Bloomberg Extends Property Tax Cut Another Year (NY Daily News)
08' Looks Like Lean Year For New Development (The Real Deal)
Related And Vornado Try To Lure MSG (Curbed)
2 Columbus Circle Revealed (NY Times)
Blogger Proposes Wind Turbine On Top Of 59th St. Bridge (Roosevelt Islander)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
In sum, the Fed has done a great job of stabilizing the markets and it is starting to be reflected in the spreads. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue, as the real stimulus will come from lower real rates.
Mortgage Delinquencies Soar In Outer Boroughs (Crain's)
Lower East Side Retail Rents Soar (NY Times)
Bloomingdale's Avoids Strike (Crain's)
Council Approves Harlem Rezoning 47-2 (NY Times)
International Retailers Continue New York Invasion (Observer)
What Doormen Do To Kill Time On The Overnight Shift (NY Times)