One is luckiest number at city estate auction

This is the best I ever can manage for a forbidden photo inside the impossibly lush Surrogate Courthouse.

Only a couple of dozen hopefuls turned out for the city’s estate auction in the Surrogate Courthouse yesterday, so two lone bidders ran away with co-ops at the minimum asking price.

Lawyer Glenn Ostrager was the sole bidder for the 825-sf apartment at 60 Sutton Place South, which he won for $580,000.  Paddle in hand, a second bidder dropped out before the auction even started after hearing the sale conditions read; among other things, the buyer is required to replace the metal-framed windows and the sliding glass door to the balcony.

Ostrager, who declined to be photographed or quoted much, said he lived in the area and planned to move into the new place.  That’s provided the board approves the sale.

Asked how he felt about succeeding with his bid, the lawyer responded by saying just this:

“I don’t have any reaction.”

Ostrager seemed like a nice enough guy, but let’s say that he wouldn’t be my first choice for a dinner companion.

No one showed up to bid on the units offered at 100-108 W. 141st St., or 134 W. 71st St., and 860 W. 181st. St. was withdrawn because the lender had held its own auction a day earlier.  An official said that the office of Manhattan Public Administrator Ethel J. Griffin had yet to learn the disposition of that property.  There’s a chance it will be offered again.

A 396-sf studio at 310 Riverside Drive also had only one bidder, whose name I didn’t trouble to catch.  He is buying the place for the minimum of $235,000.

The only spirited bidding was by income-limited buyers for an HFDC one-bedroom co-op at 29-33 Convent Ave.  The minimum was $40,000, and the final price reached $85,000.  I didn’t get the winning bidder’s name for that one either.

Below are the property descriptions for my earlier post, linked in the first paragraph:

  • 60 Sutton Place South, #3G North, co-op, 825 square feet, three and a half rooms, monthly maintenance of $1,360 (estate of Mary Serra).  Minimum bid: $580,000;
  • 100-106 W. 141st St., #44, co-op, 1,08 square feet, two bedrooms, two baths, income restricted, maintenance of $630 (estate of Dorothy Batiste).  Minimum bid: $65,000;
  • 310 Riverside Drive, #810, co-op, 396 square feet, $386 maintenance per month (estate of Cyril Adrien).  Minimum: $235,000;
  • 134 W. 71st St. #1, co-op, 286 square feet, monthly maintenance $400 (estate of Josephine Aiello).  Minimum: $210,000;
  • 134 W. 71st St., #2, co-op, 542 square feet, three rooms, maintenance $843 monthly (estate of Josephine Aiello).  Minimum: 550,000;
  • 29-33 Convent Ave., Apt. 18, co-op, 480 square feet, three rooms, income restricted, $359 monthly maintenance (estate of Bernice Byrd).  Minimum: $40,000;
  • 860 W. 181st St., #41B, co-op, 485 square feet, studio with eat-in-kitchen, $360 maintenance (estate of Robin Chlemar).  Minimum: $125,000.

Afterward, I finally met the charming Ms. Griffin, who expressed frustration at the turnout.  She and I shared surprise that some bidders at the city’s auctions arrive without having read the terms and, in some cases, even having visited the properties on the block.

I don’t blame her for her frustration, but I do know that there seems to be a prevailing sentiment that the minimum prices do not represent a bargain.  Moreover, closing must be within 30 days and payment is required to be all cash.  With financing solidly lined up, however, that’s the same as cash.

In the event a board rejects any buyer, the contract with the city becomes void without penalty.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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