THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Poor Williamsburg. It’s now suffering a terrible fate known to but a handful of pert prom queens and high school football hunks—it is not only possible to be popular, but to be too popular.
While many of the newcomers who have recently washed up on Williamsburg’s luxury condo-strewn shores are no doubt aware that the neighborhood is “changing” and that that change is part of what makes it attractive to so many new, well-heeled residents—would they have been able to buy artisanal chutney there back in 2005?—they’re apparently more than a little uncomfortable with the fact that it continues to, well, change. At least, they hate the construction, according to DNAinfo.
Back in 2007 and 2008, buying at 823 Park Avenue seemed like the gold-standard of real estate investments. The newly-converted luxury condo on Park Avenue was a rare commodity in one of the city’s most rarefied neighborhoods. How could an investment in one of its sprawling floor-throughs go wrong?
But in the years since, resales at the building have failed to fetch more than the first wave of owners paid.
It’s easy to see who’s winning the popularity contest in New York real estate circles these days. Co-ops, like many a high school queen bee, are granted grudging respect: good looking, better grades, they hang out with all the best people and wield an awesome amount of social power. But condos, well, condos seem to have it all: they’re beautiful, friends with all the cool foreign kids and they’re so nice while still playing the edgy bad boy.
Over the past year or so, belligerently wealthy out-of-towners have been snapping up New York condos like so many Jimmy Choos and boarding school seats. The Russians have invaded and we couldn’t be happier, and the rest of the world is eager to follow. Glassy condo towers are—after their brief recessionary hiatus—rising again. Indeed, the biggest residential deals of the year went down neither at co-ops nor mansions but at 15 Central Park West and newfound rivals One57 and the Ritz Carlton. Amazingly the Ritz may look like an old co-op but it is actually a 2002 condo conversion of the old St. Moritz hotel. Back then, units sold for a fraction of what they are now getting, and certainly less than its co-op rivals on Park and Fifth avenues.
The same, alas, cannot be said of co-ops. Marvelous as those bastions of old money are, they are also notorious for their rigid policies and grueling board interviews, where one’s future neighbors—if one is so lucky—pour over financial documents and probe into personal lives. Look no further than the case of godly 740 Park. While the famed building notched a co-op record this year with the $52 million sale of Courtney Sale Ross’ immense spread, that is half the price of some of the record deals now taking place. Meanwhile Goldman guy Jonathan Sobel sold a penthouse at the Verona (a very nice one, but still, ever heard of the place?) for more than he paid for a new duplex at 740 Park. He got a 45 percent discount, to boot, from what the home was first asking four years ago.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. But might they rise again by becoming condos?
Gracious living is the hallmark of life at Wellington Tower Condominium. Luxuries like a round-the-clock doorman, concierge and parking valet, a skylit swimming pool, on-site maid services, dry cleaning and spa facilities provide residents “with the very essence of living well.”
Unless, that is, a resident falls from grace.
A few years ago it became obvious to the board of the East 82nd Street building that not everyone was contributing to Wellington Tower’s luxurious lifestyle. A few occupants—not many, but a few—were more than a little bit behind on their common charges. And although they weren’t paying for the kinds of comforts that smooth out life’s rough edges, they were still enjoying them. This didn’t seem right to the board. So they cut the delinquents off.
Ah, spring! The season of warm breezes, blossoming trees and brisk home sales is upon us. And last week saw a flurry of activity, with 22 contracts signed for homes $4 million and above, according to the Olshan Luxury Market report.
The number was a luxury market record for 2012, with the biggest contract signed for the $22 million duplex co-op at 88 Central Park West (12 room duplex co-op, park views, 6,000-square feet). However, most of the action was happening downtown and most of it involved condos (10 of the 22 contracts signed were for downtown condos).
Red Carpet Real Estate
Sometimes you have to say goodbye— relationships fail, love fades, and it comes time to leave the pair of West Village condos that you thought you’d be with forever.
Our favorite Friend Jennifer Aniston has sold her pair of apartments at 299 W. 12th Street for $6.5 million, the New York Post reports. And apparently she was somewhat desperate to be rid of them, letting them go at a $500,000 loss.
Many a New York basement and unventilated bathroom is thick with the stuff; the city’s courts may be next.
A few weeks ago, Manhattan’s appellate court overturned an earlier decision blocking damage claims for health problems resulting from living in moldy buildings, The Journal reports—a decision that could result in a wave of personal injury lawsuits.
When Nina Lorez Collins and her husband moved into 212 Columbia Heights in 2005, The Times declared that “the Manhattanization of Brooklyn took a great leap past the point of no return.” One violent divorce later, Ms. Collins, a once celebrated literary agent, put the house on the market last fall. The listing bragged of “harbor views from every floor,” which helped it fetch a record $11 million, the most ever paid for a home in Brooklyn Heights.
So would Ms. Collins be returning to Manhattan after her journey in the wilderness? It turns out she could not even abandon those harbor views, as she has moved down the hill to One Brooklyn Bridge Park, the hulking Jehovah’s Witnesses printing plant turned condo complex.
Wonder why luxury real estate is so expensive and hard to find these days? Blame the foreigners!
A report from Stribling released Friday gives some hard numbers to something New Yorkers have been complaining for years: foreigners are buying up all the best apartments. According to Crain’s, the brokerage claims that about 33 percent of all condo purchasers and 15 percent of all buyers in New York City are from other countries.
Hudson Yards. Atlantic Yards. The Williamsburg waterfront. For the past decade, residential development has been defined by the creation and conversion of soaring condo towers across the city. From Extell’s Ariel twins on the Upper West Side to so many of the Financial District’s former office buildings, this was the way we built, the way we were to live. But the era of the condo project is over