Joe Korff tries another way to sell out the Solaria

After the embarrassing auction of 54 condos of the Riverdale’s Solaria in the Bronx last November, Joe Korff and his ARC Development are trying a tactic they have dubbed “Spring Bid and Buy.”

Huh?  If a double meaning is meant, the grammar is elusive.  And if Korff thinks the idea will work better than simply lowering prices, he’s whistling Dixie.

More than half the building reportedly still is empty.  A total of 35 apartments in the sleek glass tower on Henry Hudson Parkway remain on the market, according to the Riverdale Press.  Only 10 of the development’s 64 units had found buyers prior to the auction.

Poor Mr. Korff seems to think that an inconveniently situated development ought to be priced competitively with other New York City projects.  Continue reading

Riverdale’s Solaria development offers news

Although I’m certainly on the Solaria’s blacklist after continually writing truthfully about the dismal auction of 54 condos last November, I nonetheless was the recipient today of an e-mail blast to real estate brokers.

With a photo of developer Joseph Korff in front of the sleek building in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, the press release proclaims: “SOLARIA IS FHA APPROVED.”  It goes on to say: Continue reading

Times ‘year-ender’ views the Solaria uncritically

Although I’ve been quoted before, I was pretty pleased when a reporter from the New York Times called the other day to ask for details about the auction of 54 units of Riverdale’s Solaria development.

Naturally, I was disappointed when I unearthed the piece, buried as it was in the “New York” section of yesterday’s newspaper, and saw no mention of me. Those are the breaks, I know, from my long experience in journalism and public education.

That said, I was amazed that the publication omitted any sign of skepticism when it reported that 21 of the condos were sold at the Nov. 22 auction. Covering the bases, the reporter quoted the auction company (as I have in previous posts) as if REDC were a reliable source (as I have not). In addition, no mention was made of the abysmally low bids that were made. Continue reading

Shocking news from the Solaria. Kidding.

Anyone who has followed the Solaria saga will hardly be surprised by the email I just received:

So, yes, Joseph Korff continues to peddle his unsold units. Says he:

“We look forward to selling and closing on our remaining homes with the next couple of months.”

I’ll bet!

The hyperbole in the release is a bit hard to take. Continue reading

Developments near the Solaria seem unaffected

Developers of nearby luxury apartments on the market contend that the Solaria situation is not representative of the Riverdale market as a whole, the Riverdale Press reports today.

“People are pointing to the auction and saying the market is in bad shape because of the results of the auction,” said Anne Shahmoon, sales associate at the Shirley Woods. Continue reading

Solaria auction leaves some loose ends and claims

The press release just arrived, two days later than promised, and here it is verbatim (don’t worry, it’s not very long):




Close to 1,800 Pre-Registered and 550 in Attendance

New York, NY – November 23, 2009 – Real Estate Disposition, LLC (REDC), the nation’s largest real estate auction firm, conducted the first successful NYC luxury high-rise auction for the Solaria condominium on November 22, 2009, with the developer receiving bids and contracts on all homes.

“This auction was an incredible success,” said Robert Friedman, Chairman of REDC. “The buyers of these luxury condominiums got some amazing deals and the developer was able to sell many homes in just a few hours. We already have more than 21 contracts, with over $17 million in proceeds from auction day, and we expect to sell the building out over the next month in our post-auction effort.  We will announce the final sold amount once the program is complete. ” Continue reading

In Long Island City, operators are standing by

View of Manhattan from LHaus in Long Island City

This is the view from the condo that my clients hope to buy.

Kicking and almost screaming, I was dragged to Long Island City the other day by clients who became discouraged in their search for an apartment in Manhattan with the space and carrying costs that they were willing to spend.

I was certain they would hate the area, and I was so wrong.

We first visited a sort of cheesy new development on a block of active light industry, and the condo there had aspects that intrigued my clients.  Then we went to one called L haus at the foot of the Polaski bridge. Continue reading

Auction of Riverdale’s Solaria ends with a whimper

Don’t miss today’s update!

Riverdale's Solaria Condominium units go on the auction block.

When the auction started at 1:22 p.m. this was the room.

When the auction ended at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Sheraton New York Hotel, the remaining hopeful bidders for one of 54 Solaria condos on the block seemed variously dispirited or stubborn despite discounts that averaged 45 percent off the listing prices.

But their mood hardly could have matched that of the condominium’s developer, Joseph Korff of ARC Development, or of the auctioneers, Real Estate Disposition (REDC).  By the anticlimactic close after nearly three and three-quarter hours, even the typically frantic hand gestures and shouts of the auctioneer’s floor personnel had waned to wan facial expressions.

Auction of Solaria condos at New York Sheraton Hotel

This was the scene when the auction ended at 5:00 p.m.


Although people connected with REDC put a happy face on the results, noting how rare it was for a building to sell as many as 54 condos in a matter of hours, rather than years, “at prices within 5-10 percent of retail,” everyone on the sell side had to be disappointed.  Here’s why: Continue reading

Solaria’s auctioneers fail to get it up very high

Please see today’s update on the auction.

Some 300 individuals showed up for the auction of 54 units at Riverdale’s troubled Solaria condominium for four hours of bidding today.

Although the results failed to impress either me or apparently the roughly 10 percent who were left by the end the auction at a mid-Manhattan hotel, people from the auction company, Real Estate Disposition Corp. (REDC), said they were pleased. Continue reading

Going once and then going one more time

If you have your heart set on buying an apartment or single-family home in Riverdale or Queens, you may well get a great deal in two separate auctions announced over the weekend.

First, Riverdale in the Bronx.  The Solaria, a 20-story condominium on W. 237th Street, towers over the surrounding low-rise neighborhood with a glass-walled facade that echoes the sleek buildings now seen all over Manhattan, the New York Times observes.

It has a rooftop observatory with a telescope, a children’s playroom, an entertainment center and lounge, balconies, on-site parking, large layouts — in short, everything except buyers.  As of last week, only 10 buyers had actually closed on apartments, the last in September 2008.

Now the developer is offering the remaining 54 units at auction on Nov. 22 in what Jim Corum, the president of REDC, the California auction company that is handling the sale, called an “accelerated marketing plan.” He said it presumably with a straight face. Continue reading