Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
Mere weeks after closing on a development site at 239 Tenth Avenue, newly back-on-the-scene Michael Shvo is already shaking up the status quo.
The go-go broker—now developer—whose brash branding campaigns and outsized ambition earned him a lot of friends, enemies and press in the gaga years before the housing crash, is up to his old tricks. First, Mr. Shvo announced his return with a (debatabley) price record-setting purchase of the West Chelsea lot. And now he has redecorated it, surrounding the old Getty gas station at its center with a thick wall of trees, reports Curbed.
In 1971, the State of New York passed the Urstadt Law, which took away New York City’s ability to set rent controls that were stricter than what the state—dominated by considerably more conservative upstate politicians—would allow. For 25 years the city has tried to coax developers into creating affordable housing through “inclusionary zoning” programs, which dangle density bonuses and tax abatements in exchange for building (or in some cases, maintaining) below-market apartments in their new buildings or nearby.
Some developers take the bait, but not many. Now, as Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years are up, his would-be successors running in the Democratic primary seem to have found a way around the Urstadt Law: they want to make the inclusionary zoning programs mandatory.
Never one to play it safe, Michael Shvo, that showy relic of the last cycle’s boom years, has dropped a record sum on the site of a gas station in West Chelsea. The deal, which was reported to be in the works by The Wall Street Journal in May, has closed for $23.5 million, at some $850 per buildable square foot, according to a release sent out today. Mr. Shvo’s partner on the deal is Victor Homes.
Mr. Shvo, who built his reputation as a broker on branded condo collections and a reputation for ceaseless energy (a 24-hour sales office, drinking 30 to 40 cans of diet coke a day), is now staking out his career as a luxury condo developer after mysteriously disappearing during the recession. (The Observer remembers placing unreturned calls to an answering service last year.) The West Chelsea parcel, at 239 Tenth Avenue, is currently the site of a Getty gas station.
Ladies, gird your loins—indie film star and would-be prostitute Vincent Gallo is moving to New York. (In case you’re curious, Mr. Gallo offers his services for $50,000 a night, $1 million for sperm and another half million if you want “natural insemination,” according to his website.)
Mr. Gallo, perhaps best known for being fellated by Chloë Sevigny in his 2003 art house film The Brown Bunny, just picked up a one-bedroom condo at 100 Eleventh Avenue, Jean Nouvel’s bespeckled blue West Chelsea erection. He snagged the apartment from Diane Zuckerman and Michael Hite, who were apparently desperate to sell, because they parted with the fifth-floor unit for $2 million—a hefty discount from the $2.4 million that they paid the developer for the unit back in 2010, when the city’s real estate market was still reeling from the recession.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a car elevator! Penthouse 1 at Annabelle Seldorf’s notorious “sky-garage” condo project at 200 Eleventh Avenue has had a hard time finding the right buyer. The three-bedroom, 3.5-bath first hit the market in 2007 asking $9.5 million only to decide a few months later that an apartment Read More
Both Perry Rubenstein and his wife, Sara Fitzmaurice are adept sellers. As an art dealer, Mr. Rubenstein has sold millions of dollars of artwork to collectors across the globe. Ms. Fitzmaurice, the founder of PR mega-company Fitz&Co, sells brands, ideas and campaigns for the art world. It should come as little surprise, therefore, that the two have sold their Chelsea apartment for an incredible profit.
Real estate investor Joseph Chetrit closed on his nearly $80 million Chelsea Hotel buy early last week, and now information has trickled out about how he and junior partner Clipper Equities paid for it.
They got an $85 million, 36-month loan from Paris-based banking behemoth Natixis. The loan has a 12-month repayment extension option, and was brokered for the borrowers by Meridian’s Ronnie Levine and Aaron Birnbaum. (Real Estate Weekly has more news on the loan.)
Clipper, incidentally, was the controversial would-be buyer of the massive affordable-housing complex in Brooklyn, Starrett City, offering $1.3 billion in 2007.
Here is the reassuring letter, obtained by The Observer and dated Aug. 4, that several local politicians, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Congressman Jerrold Nadler, sent to tenants at the Chelsea Hotel. A lot has been going on there.
Shortly before noon last Thursday, a woman with a German accent stepped to the front desk of the Chelsea Hotel, and demanded in clipped English her reservation.
“The hotel’s closed,” said a distracted employee behind the desk. He was holding a severance letter presented earlier by the hotel’s new owner, The Chetrit Group, led by the enigmatic real estate investor Joseph Chetrit, whose holdings include the Willis Tower in Chicago, North America’s tallest building, and over 4.9 million square feet of commercial space in New York City.
“Closed? I have a reservation, please,” the woman said.
She got no answer. Sensing something, she tried again.
“Is this the InterContinental?”
Robert Lynn, who’s managing sales for the new condos at 540 West 28th Street, has a thing for white oak floors.
“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, and I’ve never seen a developer go with floors like this,” he said. “I’ve had experienced brokers in here be blown away by these floors.”
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