NYC

Lowest stabilized rent increase in decade infuriates landlords, tenants

Rent Guidelines Board Chairman Jonathan Kimmel (credit: DNAinfo)

The Rent Guidelines Board voted last night on the lowest rent increases for the city’s 1 million-plus stabilized rent units since 2002, the New York Daily News reported, and no one’s happy. Landlords claimed the increase, totaling 2 percent for one-year leases and 4 percent for two-year leases, wouldn’t cover rising costs and property taxes. But tenants advocates argued that any increase was unaffordable considering the current economic climate.

Landlord representatives wanted 5 percent and 9 percent increases as property taxes rose 7.5 percent in the last year. Joe Strasburg, president of the landlord’s Rent Stabilization Association group, said the inadequate increases would hurt small property owners, in particular, as many of those buildings are exclusively rented to stabilized renters that already pay well below market rate.

Full Article Here:

New York Restores Apparel Sales-Tax Break on Items Under $110

By Elizabeth Ody – Mar 28, 2012 2:04 PM ET

Those shoes you’ve been eyeing at DSW Inc. (DSW) will cost you less starting April 1 when New York state raises the sales-tax exemption to $110 for clothing and footwear purchases.

Shoppers will get a break from the 4 percent state sales tax as well as a 0.375 percent Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District tax. In New York City, purchases under $110 have already been exempt from the city’s own 4.5 percent sales tax which makes a total of 8.875 percent or about $8.88 in savings on a $100 item.

“You can’t split a suit in half,” to meet the exemption, said Wayne Berkowitz, a partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group with Berdon LLP in New York. “If you’re buying five items and they’re all under-$110 items, you’re good.”

The full tax exemption returns after a more than one-year hiatus when it was amended to help close a state budget shortfall. From October 2010 to March 2011 there was no relief from the state sales tax or the commuter surcharge. Those breaks returned for items of less than $55 in price from April 2011 through March.

Full Article Here:

Co-op / Condo Group Sets Rally to Support Tax-Fairness Bill

Tax Revolt 2012:  By Frank Lovece

It’s a rite of spring, but this year the composer is Stavisky, not Stravinsky. With the New York City Department of Finance issuing its annual property-tax assessments, State Senator Toby Anne Stavisky is again attempting to level the playing field for co-ops and condos. A Queens activist group has thrown its weight behind the measure — urging board members from all boroughs to join in supporting a law to treat co-ops and condos like residential property, and not, as now, higher-taxed commercial real estate.
March 30, 2012 — The value of your co-op or condo is flat compared to last year. It might even be down. In fact, unless yours is one of those multimillion-dollar apartments that always seem to flip for millions more, your place almost certainly hasn’t seen any great increase in its value.Which makes 20- to 50-percent increases, which Bob Friedrich of the Presidents Co-op & Condo Council (PCCC) says the New York City tax department is assessing several Queens co-ops / condos this year, all the more difficult to understand.Except, not really. But whether it’s fair or not is another story.

“It’s counterintuitive that a condo unit you bought for 10 percent more than you could sell it for today has gone up in value,” admits Dept. of Finance spokesman Owen Stone. “But if the rental market is moving up, you’re still going see an increase in the value of your home.”

When a Home Is Not a Home

By “home” he means “co-op or condo,” not single- and two-family homes and townhouses. That’s because under New York State’s Real Property Tax Law Section 581, co-ops and condos are assessed as if they were “comparable” income-producing commercial properties — i.e., rental buildings. And rents generally tend to go up, regardless of what the sales market does.

Full Article Here:

Whole Foods, Brooklyn – City Council voting starts soon..

Whole Foods Market Inc. faces a series of City Council votes starting next week to win final approval for construction of a 52,000-square-foot supermarket next to a 140-year-old landmark in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

COIGNET

Eric Haugesag for The Wall Street JournalThe Coignet building today next to the planned Whole Foods grocery site

The new store is planned to wrap around two sides of the vacant Coignet building, the city’s earliest known concrete building, at the corner of Third Avenue and Third Street. After expected council approvals, the grocery chain would be allowed within five feet of the old building and wants to have its first Brooklyn store open in 2013.

Built in 1872 for the New York & Long Island Coignet Stone Co., the 2½-story building is the sole survivor of a five-acre industrial park built along the Gowanus Canal in the early 1870s.

The elegant Italianite mansion provided office space for Coignet and subsequent companies, including its longest-running tenant, the Brooklyn Improvement Co., from which Coignet leased the land for its stone works.

“It’s a lonely little building,” said Jennifer Gardner, a researcher at the Gowanus Institute, a local think tank. “To some degree, the plans for that site will limit the opportunity for the [Coignet] building, but also provides a potential draw for people to see it and appreciate it in a different way.”

The building received city landmark status in 2006. Two City Council panels overseeing landmarks and planning will vote next week on whether to reduce the Coignet building’s lot size to about 1,720 square feet from 6,250 square feet, a measure that’s already been passed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. If approved, a full City Council vote on the measure is slated for April 18.

Full Article Here:

CIM, Macklowe submit plans for city’s tallest residential tower

March 29, 2012 06:30PM

Charles Garner, principal at CIM, and the proposed tower at 440 Park Avenue (center)

CIM Group and New York developer Harry Macklowe are making strides toward building the tallest residential building in New York City at the Drake Hotel site at 440 Park Avenue. They filed a plan examination request for the building, one of the first steps towards getting a development off the ground, with the Department of Buildings, according to a DOB filing dated March 26.

The California-based real estate investment trust filed its plans for an 82-story condominium tower for review to DOB, which will check if its plans are in compliance with building code, a DOB spokesperson confirmed, saying an examiner had not yet reviewed the filing. The filing cites the height of the building as 1,397 feet in total, which would make it the tallest residential building in the city; for comparison’s sake, One57, Extell Development’s planned condo tower on 57th Street will be 1,004 feet tall upon completion in 2013 and the Empire State Building, the tallest structure in the city, is 1,453 feet in height.

As previously reported, CIM, (which acquired the site for $305 million last year), and Macklowe plan to erect a slim condo and retail complex designed by Uruguayan-born architect Rafael Vinoly at the site. It is slated to have 128 units and 12-foot high ceilings. The $1 billion project will include a 5,000-square-foot driveway, golf training facilities and private dining and screening rooms, according to previous reports.

Neither CIM nor Macklowe immediately responded to requests for comment.
— Katherine Clarke

LaGuardia Terminal Update Sought

By ANDREW GROSSMAN (WSJ)

[010612laguardia] Bloomberg NewsTravelers wait to check in at the Central Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in 2010. The Port Authority is planning to begin construction on a new terminal in 2014.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is eyeing a 2014 start to construction of a replacement for the cramped, outdated Central Terminal Building at La Guardia Airport.

The authority is seeking proposals from private terminal operators, bankers and consultants to finance, design and build a replacement terminal, according to a request for information issued quietly last month.

NYLAGUARDIAmap

Plans are still tentative, and construction might not start by 2014. But the request for information is one of the most concrete steps yet toward replacing the terminal.

“I think the schedule is our best estimate to how the transaction or transactions could fall into place,” said Patrick Foye, the Port Authority’s executive director. “Obviously we’re going to be driven by the suggestions that come in from industry partners.”

The schedule calls for construction to be completed by the end of 2021 at a cost of about $3.6 billion.

Full Article Here: Via WSJ

NJ State Leads Nation in Down-Payment Size

BUYERS in New Jersey have the highest down-payment rate in the country, putting down an average 13.71 percent of the purchase price, according to a new report from LendingTree. That surpasses percentages in cities like Washington, and states like New York, Hawaii and California, though only by tenths of a point. In New York, the average down payment works out to 13.47 percent. The national average is 12.24 percent, for the year ending in November.

Of course, very few borrowers pay the average percentage, which is computed by figuring out the average down payment on conventional loans made by banks and government-insured Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs loans, which have down payment minimums of 3.5 percent.

Countrywide, about a quarter of all mortgage loans are government-backed, according to lending specialists.

Full Article Here:

New York Fracking Rules

By Jim Efstathiou Jr. 

The drinking-water supply for 9 million people in New York City won’t be protected by New York state’s proposed rules on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, residents and politicians said.

“There is no possible regulation strong enough that you could come up with to prevent that one accident,” State Senator Tony Avella, a Democrat who has introduced a bill to prohibit fracturing, or fracking, said at a hearing yesterday at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. “New York state should never consider this process.”

The state has banned high-volume fracking while the Department of Environmental Conservation weighs rules that would let companies extract gas from shale with the technique. The agency has said it plans to bar the technology within 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) of unfiltered watersheds that provide drinking water for New York City and Syracuse. Final rules may be issued next year, spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said in an interview.

Energy producers use fracking, which forces millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand underground, to break up rock and liberate trapped gas. Environmental groups have said the process has tainted drinking water in states such as Pennsylvania, where almost 4,000 wells have been drilled. While New York delays, its neighboring state has enjoyed new hiring and tax revenue, advocates of the process say.

Full Article Here

 

Maintaining Elevator Safety

By Raanan Geberer

If you’re a board member, a manager or just a unit owner of a typical New York City-area co-op or condo, chances are you use an elevator every day, except if you live in a “garden apartment” complex in one of the outer boroughs or the suburbs. We’ve all seen those elevator inspection reports, but chances are that we don’t think about the inner workings of elevators very much. And it seems like the only times that elevators make the news is when something goes wrong, like the time a Chinese-food deliveryman was stuck for three days inside an elevator in a Bronx high-rise.

But if you look at the elevator, it’s a technological marvel, something we couldn’t do without. Like the automobile, it’s a fairly recent development. There have been elevator-like hoist devices throughout history, but in 1853, American inventor Elisha Otis invented a freight elevator equipped with a safety device to prevent the elevator from falling in case a cable broke. This increased the use of elevators. And when, around 1920, New York City finally allowed the use of self-service elevators in apartment buildings, as opposed to those operated by elevator operators, the number of apartment houses built with elevators grew dramatically.

Full Article Here:

Secret Streets: A Map to New York City’s Hidden mewes

Friday, November 18, 2011

mews%20map%20header.jpg

In the 19th century, when the preferred method of transportation was the horse-drawn carriage, the city was full of mews—rows of stables, often with accompanying carriage houses. The mews also frequently had living quarters for servants built above them, and were constructed around a paved courtyard. When, in the early 20th century, automobiles began to replace carriages, the mews were demolished, put to commercial use, or converted into residences. Today, few of them remain, but the ones that do—most of which are protected landmarks—exist as little pockets of seclusion in a loud, bustling city, and, as such, are prime real estate. And, since they’ve all been around for over 150 years, many of them largely unchanged compared to the surrounding areas, they contain quite of bit of history. We put all of the remaining mews we could find into a handy map.

Link Thru Here

The Contraption That Wants to Replace Central Park Horses

By EMILY B. HAGER
A model of the faux-vintage electric car that horse advocates say could replace carriage horses in New York, with Ed Sayres, left, and Steve Nislick of NY-CLASS, the group that sponsors the cars.Marilynn K. Yee/The New York TimesA model of the faux-vintage electric car that horse advocates say could replace carriage horses in New York, with Ed Sayres, left, and Steve Nislick of NY-Class, the group that sponsors the cars.

The faux-vintage electric car that horse advocates want to replace Central Park’s carriage horses has classic white-walled tires, running boards, mahogany and an “ah-hoogah” horn.

On Thursday, in a fourth-floor conference room of Manhattan’s Hippodrome — where circus horses once performed — Jason Wenig set a model of it across the table from the car’s sponsors.

“Brass is going to be everywhere, and it’s going to be shiny and beautiful,” said Mr. Wenig, who runs a customized car design shop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

NY-Class, a nonprofit group that lobbies for the removal of the carriage horses from New York City, revealed the car for the first time on Thursday.

NY-Class, which stands for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, paid $12,500 to have the two-foot-long lime green model built. It is based on turn-of-the-20th-century cars. Lanterns perch on its sides. Tiny baskets that would carry a driver’s lunch or extra blankets hang from it. Its convertible top rolls back in sections. The car is intended to hold up to six tourists.

Full Article Here

MTA Unveils Weekend Service Map

Sunday, September 18, 2011, by Bilal Khan0

theweekender.jpg
The MTA just rolled out The Weekender, their map for any and all weekend service changes. Nothing groundbreaking, but everyone loves a new subway map to look at! According to their site, “The subway keeps New York moving 24/7, and keeping the subway moving takes maintenance. We do most of that work on weekends, necessitating service changes that can sometimes be confusing. So to help you get where you want to go, we created The Weekender. You’ll find it at mta.info every weekend, starting Friday afternoons.” So, yes, weekend subway service will still be the bane of your existence.
· The Weekender [MTA]

New York City’s Bike Share Will Be 10,000 Strong, Stretch from UWS to Crown Heights

The city has been in the thrall of a bicycle backlash for the past year, after the city’s Department of Transportation ran lanes through the East Village, Upper West Side and, most controversially, along Prospect Park West, which led to a lawsuit filed by neighbors living on the thoroughfare.

Things seem to be finally calming down—the lane lawsuit was defeated, recent polls have put bike lane support north of 60 percent—but how will the city react when the Department of Transportation and its love-her-or-hate-her Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan roll out a massive bike sharing program across Manhattan and Brooklyn next summer?

Comprising roughly 600 stations with 10,000 bikes, the scheme will, according to two people briefed on the plans, stretch from the Upper East and Upper West sides down to the tip of Manhattan and over the bridges into Brownstone Brooklyn, reaching as far as Greenpoint and Crown Heights. “The whole point is it needs to be dense,” a city official told The Observer. “It needs to serve a lot of different trips in order to be viable.”

Full Article Here:

BPCA and 11 Condos Reach Tentative Deal on Ground Rents

A year of negotiations between the Battery Park City Authority and a committee of representatives from the 11 original condominiums in the south neighborhood has yielded a tentative, 30-year agreement to roll back drastic increases in ground rent for apartment owners that would have started next year and continued for decades. The accord, brokered by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, will save condo owners some $280 million over the next three decades.

“This has been going on for more than a year,” explained Rector Place condo owner Anthony Notaro, who was a member of the negotiating committee representing the 11 buildings. “We went through two different administrations at the Authority,” he added, in a reference to the change in both the 2010 change in both the BPCA’s board chairmanship and its presidency. He noted that the Authority, “always acted in good faith. They bargained fairly, but very hard. So when we finally reached a point where we felt like we couldn’t give any more, we turned to Speaker Silver. He weighed in with the BPCA and in a matter of weeks, we had an agreement.” Mr. Notaro continued that, “the Authority will still get increases in ground rent, so this is not a windfall or a giveaway. Everybody will pay more than they did before, for every year, but the increases will be less steep than they would have been.” He also observed, “the biggest benefit comes in 2027, when we roll back what would have been a catastrophic increase for everybody.”

In a statement, Mr. Silver said, “this agreement will protect Battery Park City residents from staggering increases that would have caused crushing financial burdens during a time of economic difficulty. By restructuring this payment plan, we will be able to keep more middle-class families in their homes and maintain Battery Park City as the world-class community that it is.”

Full Article via The Broadsheet Daily

9/11 Memorial Takes Shape

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — Six months from today, the long-awaited 9/11 memorial is scheduled to open for the first time.

Enormous waterfalls will flow into pools in the Twin Towers footprints. Nearly 300 trees will shade the cobblestone-paved memorial plaza. And the names of the nearly 3,000 attack victims will be inscribed on bronze parapets, memorialized for the first time at the site of the attacks.

But about 180 days before 9/11/11, the 8-acre memorial is still very much a construction site.

On a recent afternoon, workers laid stone tiles along the plaza, covering the complex infrastructure below. They also cleared sites for new trees, which are expected to arrive this spring. So far, more than 120 swamp white oak trees have been planted at the memorial, a number that is expected to more than double by September.

At the North Tower pool, bronze panels bearing the victims’ names already stretch halfway around the perimeter. The names are large and deeply grooved, and the smooth bronze glows when it catches sunlight.

The Port Authority tested the waterfall in the North Tower footprint last fall and expects to do a similar test in the South Tower pool in April, a spokesman said.

After the 10th anniversary ceremonies, the memorial will be open to the public seven days a week through a timed ticketing system. Construction will still continue all around the memorial on the other projects, including One World Trade Center, which recently reached the 58th floor. By September, the skyscraper will be about 80 stories tall.

“Signs of progress are everywhere,” Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said in a statement. “But there is much left to do and challenges ahead so we can’t let up. We must continue to keep our heads down and zeroed in on delivering on the commitment we made to open the 9/11 memorial on the 10-year anniversary.”

View Slide-Show Here:

The End Of Amazin’

Mets’ owners made money in real estate. Now their survival hinges on baseball

When Fred Wilpon bought a stake in the Mets, New Yorkers knew little about the man beyond where he got his money: real estate.

“Mets Owner a Big-League Builder,” a New York Times headline blared in 1981.

Thirty years later, as he and his family face the likely need to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars in connection with its investments with Bernard Madoff, property is no longer where the money is for the Wilpons. While they still have major property holdings, those are tied up in investment funds that would be hard to unload quickly. Instead, the Wilpons are seeking to sell off pieces of the most liquid asset they have: the Mets.

“For the Wilpons, there are no good choices right now,” said Wayne McDonnell, a professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management.

The rush to sell off a stake in the sports franchise is symptomatic of a remarkable shift in the makeup of one of New York’s best-known but least-understood family fortunes—the Wilpons’—and their holding company, Sterling Equities, which was built on property development.

Financially, anyway, the tail now wags the dog—much as it did for George Steinbrenner. The owner of an even more storied New York sports franchise, he began as a wealthy shipbuilder and ended up as principal owner of the Yankees and the team’s lucrative YES Network. His sons have taken over the business.

Both families prospered in their new line of work. However, while Mr. Steinbrenner’s American Shipbuilding went bankrupt in 1993, the Wilpons’ real estate empire remains profitable, if illiquid. What threatens the Wilpons today is the result of what they did with some of their winnings: They invested with Mr. Madoff.

Full Article Here

LMDC Approves $20 Million for W. Thames Pedestrian Bridge

BPCA, which oversaw design process, will manage construction

Lower Manhattan residents who can’t avoid crossing West Street in the vicinity of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel got an early Christmas present at the Monday board meeting of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which approved more than $20 million in funding for the long-requested, much-delayed pedestrian bridge over West Thames Street.

“This is terrific news,” said Community Board 1 (CB1) chair Julie Menin, who also serves on the LMDC board. Ms. Menin led the fight earlier this year to have more than $200 million of federal funding, originally allocated to the LMDC to defray the cost of utility reconstruction Downtown, redirected to what she calls “critically important, worthy projects for the residents of this community.” She cites the West Thames pedestrian bridge — a design for which was unveiled in June 2009, only to have the Bloomberg administration cut funding for the project a few months later — as one example of the kind of project that will be funded by this money.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement, “after a year of leading the effort to build a pedestrian bridge at West Thames Street, I am extremely pleased that we have succeeded in getting the funding approved. Improving safety along dangerous intersections at West Street has been a top priority for me and this latest decision is one that could well save lives. With the successful opening of PS 276 this past September, children and their parents will now have a safe and reliable way to cross over West Street at an intersection that sees heavy traffic, particularly trucks and other large vehicles coming and going from the World Trade Center site.”

Full Article Here: via The Broadsheet Daily

Cinema Lobby To Move Inside

Goldman Reclaims Ground Floor Theater Entrance

The entrance lobby will be moved upstairs.

The entrance to the Battery Park City Regal Cinema is undergoing a facelift — literally. “The box office and entrance to the theater are being moved upward to the second story,” explained a Regal employee who asked not to be identified. “The space where customers currently buy tickets and then board the elevators and escalator is going to be absorbed back into the hotel,” this staffer explained.

This move is taking place against the backdrop of larger changes at the Embassy Suites, which is slated to close shortly after the Christmas holiday for a gut renovation that will transform it into a Conrad Hilton, the upscale brand operated by the same parent company.

As part of this renovation, the space that currently houses the theater box office and entrance will become part of the retail corridor that the hotel’s owner, Goldman Sachs, plans to populate with trendy food venues, such as Shake Shack and Blue Smoke.

“Movie customers will come through the same door,” explained the Regal employee, “but they will go straight up the existing escalator on the left side of the lobby, which will take them to the second floor,” where a new box office is being built. At that point, this Regal staffer said, “they can board the existing elevator or escalator to take them upstairs to the theaters.”

A second Regal insider said that the theater is expected to remain open through the renovation of the hotel, and that the reconstruction work to the box office and lobby should be finished before the end of December.

via – The Broadsheet Daily

Church Destroyed on 9/11 May Sue Port Authority

Greek Orthodox Church Destroyed on 9/11 May Sue for Right to Rebuild

Archbishop Demetrios, second from the left, led a service in honor of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero in 2006. The archbishop will return to the site for another service this Sunday. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

 

By Julie Shapiro  DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed on 9/11, may sue the Port Authority for the right to rebuild their house of worship, a church spokesman said Friday.

Negotiations over how and where to rebuild the Cedar Street church stalled nearly two years ago, and the two sides have not spoken since.

In the meantime, the Port Authority has commandeered the church’s land to build an underground parking garage and loading dock for the World Trade Center.

“The site of St. Nicholas, which is the property of the church, has been used by the Port Authority for over a year, and we never authorized them to do that,” said Mark Arey, spokesman for the church. “The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has looked at legal [action] very seriously.”

Full Article Here:

Google Buys in Chelsea $1.8B

Bigger than the Empire State Building.<br /> (Bing Maps)  

Proving yet again that it is more than just a search engine, Google has now beat out some of the city’s top developers as it heads toward the largest real estate purchase of the year. Google signed a $1.8 billion contract for the 2.9 million-square-foot 111 Eighth Avenue yesterday, according to The Times.

That is less than the $2 billion the deal was expected to fetch in late October, but it’s still great news for the city, writes Charles Bagli:

The contract not only signals a rebounding real estate market, at least for office buildings full of high-profile tenants paying good rents, but also reflects a vote of confidence by an expanding technology firm in New York City.

Some tech watchers were skeptical that Google could purchase the building where it has its New York headquarters, but never underestimate the need for more scootering space.   mchaban@obsever.com

NYC construction, Real Estate Industries see August job growth

September 17, 2010 09:00AM

The city’s construction industry added 1,700 jobs last month, making it one of the best-performing employment sectors for August, second only to retail, according to a new report from Eastern Consolidated. Year-to-date, 3,000 New York City construction jobs have been created, representing 2.6 percent of the industry, but construction employment is still 11.8 percent off its August 2008 peak. Meanwhile, 400 jobs were added in real estate, bringing the total for 2010 thus far to 4,100 new employees in the city’s industry, or 3.5 percent of the workforce. New York City real estate, which Eastern Consolidated considers to include brokerage firms, leasing agencies and management companies, has now all but entirely recovered the job losses incurred during the recession, with employment down just 0.3 percent off its peak. Architecture, meanwhile, continues to suffer, losing another 200 jobs last month, which brings the yearly total for the industry in New York City to 1,200. New York’s architecture industry has lost 4.8 percent of its workforce this year and 22.8 percent of its workforce since August 2008, Eastern Consolidated data shows.  via TRD

City Revamping Plan for Red Hook, Brooklyn Streetcar Line

By RICH CALDER

A long-shelved plan to restore trolley service in Brooklyn is back on track.

The city has hired a transportation consultant to study running a mile-long trolley or light rail line from the Red Hook waterfront to Atlantic Avenue at the southern edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The URS study could also look at extending the route another half-mile east along Atlantic Avenue to the transit hub at Borough Hall, sources said.

The city Transportation Dept. is finally tapping into a $295,000 federal grant Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) secured for the five-month study in 2005.

Full Article Here:

New York Living Solutions wins Aire contest

The Real Deal Online, NY Living Solutions wins Aire contest

July 21, 2010 01:30PM By Candace Taylor

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Bob Scaglion of Rose Associates (left), NY Living Solutions’ Gannon Forrester and the Aire at 200 West 67th Street

Aiming to gain an edge on the other new luxury rentals just hitting the market, Upper West Side tower the Aire held a contest last month, offering bonuses to the brokerage that completed the most transactions in the building.
The 80-agent sales and rental firm New York Living Solutions won the contest, helping to bring the building to roughly 25 percent leased, according to Rose Associates, the on-site leasing agent for the building.

The contest, which ran from June 1 to July 4, offered bonuses to the firm which completed the most transactions in the 43-story building, located at 200 West 67th Street, during that time period. The prize was $1,000 for each agent who completed a transaction in the building, plus $5,000 for the firm. (The developer, Kalimian Properties, is also paying a one-month broker’s fee.)

New York Living Solutions management is using its prize money to host a celebratory cruise around Manhattan for all its agents, said Gannon Forrester, a managing director at the firm. Agents will receive their $1,000 bonuses then, he said.

The company is focusing special attention on lease-ups of new rental buildings, he said, so the contest fit with that goal. “We made sure all the agents knew about it,” Forrester said.

Forrester directed inquiries about how many transactions the firm did to win the contest to Rose. Bob Scaglion, senior managing director at Rose, would not disclose that number, but said during the period of the contest, about 50 of the building’s 310 units were leased. Three other firms were hot on New York Living Solutions’ heels, he said, adding that Kalimian is running a similar contest at the building this month.

The goal of the promotion, in conjunction with a recent broker party, was to create buzz about the new building, which started leasing in May.

“A lot of the brokers weren’t familiar with the building, so having the party and the promotion was very good,” Scaglion said.

At the Aire, studios range in price from $2,500 to $3,600, one-bedrooms range from $3,600 to $5,000, two-bedrooms range from $5,600 to $12,000, and three-bedrooms are $11,500 to $15,000 (that’s not including a one-month-free concession currently being offered to tenants.) There are also a few as-of-yet unreleased “trophy” apartments that will rent in the range of $20,000 per month, Scaglion said.

The Aire faces stiff competition from other new Upper West Side rentals, including the Corner at 72nd and Broadway (both buildings were designed by Handel Architects.)

But brokers say the high-end rental market is showing surprising strength.

“You would be amazed at the number of rentals above $15,000 a month all over Manhattan,” said Nancy Packes, head of the eponymous new development marketing firm, which handles both sales and rentals.

This is due in part to a pickup in relocations that started early in 2010, she said. “Our core industries are hiring,” she said. “These people are very often coming from far away from New York.”

These new hires, many of them families with children, tend to rent rather than buy when they first move to the city, she said.

And while lavish spending has become socially unacceptable since the financial crisis, wealthy renters are still out there.

After the Lehman Brothers collapse, “everyone was concerned about buildings like the Corner and the Aire,” Scaglion said. “Actually, the depth of the high-end marketplace is good. People are just quiet about it.”

The top end of the luxury rentals marketing is now pushing $80-per-square square foot, up from the $60s during the downturn, Scaglion said.

“If you build a better product, they will pay for it,” he added.


The Housing Helix Interview w/ Chris Williams of AIM Dashboard

Posted by Jonathan J. Miller

Today I speak with Chris Williams, President and Chief Technology Officer of AIMSdashboard,

“Williams is a 15-year veteran of the IT industry, having served stints with Cisco Systems and PolyServe, a software startup acquired by HP. At one time he was co-owner of Carolina Appraisers, a real estate appraisal firm based in Raleigh.”

AIMS stands for “appraisal independence management system,” and “dashboard” is a software term meaning a control panel housing two or more applications.

His venture was enabled by introduction of the May 1, 2009 agreement between Fannie Mae and NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo known as the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.

AIMSdashboard is intended to help financial institutions take back control of the mortgage process through a software solution. Chris was very quick to point out that his company is a software company, NOT an appraisal management company, NOT an appraisal management company.

Helix Podcast Here:

Program to Combat Asthma Would Lean on Landlords

By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ

For decades, public health experts have tried — and mostly failed — to contain an asthma epidemic that afflicts many New Yorkers living in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

But now, the City Council hopes to significantly curtail the spread of the lung disease by forcing landlords at some of the most badly maintained buildings to clean up their premises.

Under legislation to be introduced on Wednesday, the Council would require owners of 175 apartment buildings to take steps to eliminate garbage, mold and vermin — all factors that have been linked to asthma.

If they do not comply, the city would file liens against the properties, effectively billing landlords for the work required.

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said swift action was needed to stop the public health crisis caused by asthma, which affects more than 400,000 New Yorkers, many of them children.

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