Real estate kerfuffles
Despite the rainy, windy weather that is set to hit New York tomorrow and a last-minute lawsuit filed to stop Extell from evacuating two co-op buildings adjacent to One57, plans to repair the crane broken during Hurricane Sandy are still moving forward Saturday morning.
Which means that the unfortunate residents of Alwyn Court, the landmarked building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 58th Street, will either vacate the building voluntarily in the next few hours or face forcible eviction. The crane repair involves swinging a boom over Alwyn and two other buildings before hoisting it up the side of the unfinished tower.
And then there were condos
With prices ranging from $2.9 million to $65 million, no one can accuse Extell’s hotel-to-condo conversion at 21 East 61st Street—which just launched sales—of courting bargain hunters. But in comparison to Gary Barnett’s crown jewel rising a half mile away on 57th Street, the Carlton House looks positively affordable.
In comparison to anything other than uber-luxury condos poised to set records when they close for more than $90 million, the Carlton House is pricey indeed. Though anyone who was really hankering for the low end of the luxury market would be well-advised to stay away from Extell projects altogether—only Extell could make $65 million look, well, kind of reasonable.
Toddlers in towers
Remember the days when a Barbie Dream House seemed like a splurge?
This week, a Chinese mother paid $6.5 million for a condo in Midtown’s One57 for her two-year old daughter to use when she goes to college, according to the Daily News.
As Kevin Brown of Sotheby’s international explained in an Read More
The Observer has spent many an afternoon trying to puzzle out the clues in mysterious LLCs. That is, the LLCs that have clues—those that were not registered in Delaware approximately a month before the real estate purchase they were created to shield, named after the building that they are buying property in, and/or in the care of a huge midtown law firm.
But as real estate chronicler Michael Gross proves in a new Newsweek article, promising clues may well be red herrings. When Novgorod LLC purchased a nine-room spread on the 40th floor of 15 Central Park West in 2009, it was assumed that the buyer was one of the many rich Russians who had been sniffing around the building. Quite possibly a rich Russian with some intense personal or professional connection to the city in whose name he’d purchased a $37 million dollar condo.
Michael Stern was walking to a meeting last summer when he saw the vacant site, barely wider than a townhouse, at 107 West 57th Street. On one side was the Steinway Building, an 87-year-old city landmark with an etched white limestone façade. On the other was a dowdy old SRO about to be gutted and transformed into the Quin Hotel, yet another boutique confection for the tourist masses.
Yet it was not the barren lot’s immediate neighbors that set Mr. Stern’s heart racing, but another edifice further down the block: Gary Barnett’s One57. The 1,005-foot, 90-story tower was only about halfway built at the time, but already it was on its way to taking the crown, on the skyline and in the record books, as the city’s tallest apartment building. Billionaires were already circling the units, which ranged from $5 million to $115 million.
Looking from Mr. Barnett’s site to the one in front of him, Mr. Stern knew he had to have it.
“Right now, there is nowhere else in the city like 57th Street, and it is only going to get better,” Mr. Stern told The Observer.
The sky may be the limit when it comes to constructing cloud-skimming Manhattan luxury condos, but when a storm strikes, it’s the sidewalks below that developers need to worry about. In the last month, our eyes and cameras were fearfully focused on One57′s dangling crane boom, but it’s not the first time that high winds have made it mortally dangerous to walk beneath an under-construction skyscraper. Back in April 2004, a freakish wind storm—gusts of 34 mph were recorded in Central Park—dislodged construction material from an upper floor of the still-under-construction Time Warner Center.
Perhaps the most remarkable difference between the two incidents was Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reaction. In the case of the Time Warner Center, he chastised the developer and ordered work stopped immediately. After the One57 incident, he defended Extell, noting that high wind gusts often cause blameless accidents (which, to be fair, may well be the case and gusts during Sandy did reach 60 mph).
It’s a time-honored tradition for men doing ballsy, ridiculous and risky things to photograph their exploits. Thankfully the steel workers over at One57 are no exception. They recently yielded to this impulse, taking a series of shots of their work securing the now- famous crane destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. The removal of which is, according to Curbed, slated to begin the week of December 3rd. It’s a difficult job. A new crane has to be built to lower the old one down to the ground and there are legal actions to be settled, of course. But in the meantime we can all look at these pictures the workers took and feel relief that’s it’s not us out there.
Remember the days when condo developers were sinking shiny new celebratory shovels into the ground every other day and the line of buyers eagerly waiting to sign their names to deeds seemed endless? Well, we may not be in in boom times quite yet, but we are definitely out of bust times and the buyers are once again lining up to sign deeds for as-yet unbuilt condos in hot neighborhoods, The New York Times reports.
We warned of a deluge of lawsuits surrounding the crane accident at One57, and it looks like the tide is already rising. A tipster sent Curbed a photo of a flyer seeking claimants for a suit against Extell, the contractors on the site and the city’s Department of Buildings. Turns out the attorney putting together the suit lives on West 58th Street and was evacuated during the accident. The sweetest revenge is judicial!
As most every New Yorker can now eerily recall, just as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the city, the crane atop One57 snapped back, nearly crashing to the street. The boom wound up holding throughout the 100-mile-per-hour winds, the incident resulted in the evacuation of hundreds of residents, businesses and hotels, most of whom could not return for more than a week.
We’ve already heard from an angry public relations executive who believes Extell should reimburse the city for the cost of monitoring the accident and evacuating the streets. Now comes the first of what may well be many lawsuits over the crane crisis at the billionaire-beloved building.