Out and About: Panache vs. pragmatism

Terrace of $4.150 million townhouse

A new development in Hell’s Kitch– er, Clinton has had a loooong history.  And therein lies a tale.

The long history, of course, has to do with the amount of time it is taking to sell out the building, where sales started two years ago and which has impressively designed and finished interiors. In fact, the development won a 2007 design award from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Combined living room, kitchen

Loaded with amenities, including garage spaces that run $130,000, the building has 51 open flats, 22 duplexes and penthouses, plus nine townhouses.

With preternaturally clean lines, sharp angles and an accent on drama, the units have expensive features such as honed white quartz countertops, marble-tiled baths with radiant heating, Corian- encased soaking tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and wide-plank solid oak floors. At the top of the windows are molding and electrical service to accommodate remote-controlled shades, which would be mandatory for any owner facing south.

Penthouse staircase

On the downside is Continue reading

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The High Road: Arrogance and sloth don’t mix

This sloth has three toes; the broker whose listing I wanted to show has 10, presumably. (Photo via National Geographic)

My buyer wanted to see several apartments in a large complex on a Saturday.

The first listing broker I reached readily agreed to the 3:45 slot I requested. When I had to make a last-minute change late that Saturday morning, she didn’t hesitate to accommodate us.

That’s the way it is supposed to work when you are representing the best interests of your clients, the possibly desperate owner of a property on the market.

I also tried to show three other apartments, studios listed in the $400s in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.  After I e-mailed the listing broker, he wrote back, misspelling my name: Continue reading

Out and About: The more things change. . .

Under the. . . High Line

When I arrived in Manhattan more decades ago than I care to remember, the word on Chelsea was that the neighborhood was on the cusp of change.

One of the more celebrated residents at the time was Anthony Perkins, if memory serves, plus short and long-term occupants of the Hotel Chelsea, including the late composer Virgil Thomson.

Decade after decade, the mantra about the neighborhood was this: It’s going to change.  Finally, like a broken clock, Chelsea did undergo its transition from seedy to select. Continue reading

Out and About: Some sellers still defy reason

Huh? (Flickr photo by SAN_DRINO)

Many sellers seem to be misreading the market.

That was my thought this past weekend as I toured open houses on the Upper West Side. I was struck by the magnitude of the chasm between what sellers were asking for their apartments, whether large and rambling or small and musty, and my take on Manhattan’s housing market today.

Perhaps the most glaring example was a condo in the very low 70s.  In a notable 1926 doorman building between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, the overstuffed duplex has some impressive features, such as a living/dining space that has a 16-foot-high ceiling, lovely wide-plank flooring said to have cost $90,000 and stylish baths.  Continue reading

Buyers seek to renege on contracts in 20 buildings

Will the last one out of 505 W. 47th St. turn off the lights?

The Real Deal has found buyers asking for their deposits back on nearly 400 units within 20 buildings. In one case, more than 50 percent of the buyers in a building, the 505 in Hell’s Kitchen, filed lawsuits in federal court asking for return of their deposits. Continue reading