Manhattan To get It’s Own MLS

Please go to The Real Deal for the article-

Halstead Property announced today that it has completed the process of instituting a VOW, or “Virtual Office Web site,” making it the first major city brokerage to do so.

According to Diane Ramirez, the president of Halstead, the company has received approval from the Real Estate Board of New York for a VOW, a new type of Web site expected to have far-reaching consequences for the industry. That means that Halstead customers may now search all of the industry’s listings — provided directly by REBNY — without leaving an individual Halstead agent’s Web site. In the past, site visitors could see only Halstead exclusives.

Tenants Questions Answered in Stuyvesant Town Conference Call

While the settlement agreement between the Tenants Councel and the defendants Tishman-Speyer has not yet concluded a conference call was held today for the tenants association members.
Questions had been previously emailed by the tenants and those present on the call to illuminate the facts were Council member Dan Garodnick, Councel for the plaintiffs Alex Schmidt and Congresswoman Carol Maloney.
It is now known that the highest court in New York ruled in favor for the tenants whose apartments had been improperly deregulated by managing partners Tishman-Speyer to receive re-regulation and refunds.
The settlement is still under negotiations all of which were elucidated in today’s conference call.
1. The settlement: Until the settlement has been finalized there will be an interim agreement lasting 7 weeks, a 7 week stay, if the defendants stipulate that this is a class action suit that interim agreement may be extended until July.
2. The new billing: Tenants will begin to receive their new rent stabilized rent bills in the next few days for the January billing cycle.
3. The rates: The calculations will be based from when the apartment was last stabilized plus the allowed 20% vacancy rate increase plus the allowed capital improvement increase of 1/40th of the cost of improvement plus the rent guideline board yearly rate increase (usually 3%) this will determine the rate of your new apartment. An example may be- $1500 last stabilized rent plus $300 vacancy rate plus $1000 (example for $40,000 capital improvements) plus 3% annual increase ( we will say 3 years for this example) equals $3059. This will be your new rate. However, if you pay less than this example that could be attributed to your actual apartment then the lesser number takes precedent. In some cases the market rate you pay may be lower than the stabilized rate.
But once you’re rate is calculated that will become your new stabilized rate. No one will receive any increases.
It has been estimated that 30-40% of all market rate tenants will not receive a reduction. In part because so many have re-negotiated their rents since the economic collapse began last September 2008.
So to summarize the agreement made was that whatever number is lower will be paid for the balance of the lease.
4. Tenants ready for their lease renewal:For people who renew their leases in the interim period they may be affected and will pay a higher rent. The maximum increase will be subject to the rent guideline board (usually 3%).
5. The 1/40th rule: This is a legal provision. A landlord can make improvements and charge this number. Currently it is an indefinite law to receive the costs even after the costs have been recouped. Counsel members are looking to change this to a 1/84th rule in addition to a limitation on recouping costs. They will argue to have costs limited once they have been fully recouped. Currently there is no limitation for landlords due to the current law which enables them to charge for capital improvements indefinitely.
6. How do you validate the capital improvement costs?: How can a tenant certify the investment made by the landlord? Invoices will be subpoenaed for MCI’s. An independent expert/consultant will be part of the scrutiny efforts. As negotiations continue in the settlement more legislative evaluation is to be considered. Going forward- newly rent stabilized tenants will be subject to the MCI increases.
No MCI’s have been calculated in the current rent stabilized rates- meaning in the future there could be additional charges factored in to these rents. However there is a State 2 year rule – state law has a statute of limitations if a landlord did not factor in the MCI charges during that period.
7. Apartments with forced vacancies: Vacancy rates entitle the landlord to receive a 20% increase but artificially created vacancies may affect the estimated rate. The landlord could be forced to roll back the rate. That is vacancies forced through deregulation would have received an improper increase. Each unit will be scrutinized to determine the proper rate.
8. The 10 step formula: An independent expert/consultant will be part of the scrutiny efforts to determine what exactly is the correct number to be appropriated for each affected market rate apartment.
9. Acceptance of the new rent rate:Do tenants waive their rights if they accept the final rental rate? No was the quick answer to this. The settlement agreement will bound all parties but tenants have the right to opt out of the settlement and may pursue litigation.
10. The refunds:Monies have been placed into an escrow account and have been turned over to joint custody to Tishman/and the attorney for the tenants. The attorneys for the tenants are looking to gain full control of the funds. Once this has been negotiated the refunds will be returned. Councel for the tenants hope this will be concluded by the end of January. The distribution of the funds has not been fully determined at this time. The retroactive discussions continue but will not be litigated while the 7 week or extended stay is in effect. Councel for the tenants stipulated that the defendants must agree to retroactive payments or there will be no settlement.
11. Former tenants: How can they make sure to participate fully? They should send an email which was suggested as better than a phone call to:liskow@whafh.com or doster@whafh.com
Please give your name/ current contact info-former address at PCVST- and the dates you lived there.
You will be made automatic members of the class action suit. There is no limitation at this time. But you must be placed in the databank. You are only eligible to receive escrow funds if you had been a resident after April 1 2009.
12. Tishman and foreclosure or bankruptcy: This case will be preserved as by New York State law. Damages and claims will be preserved.
13. Tenants in restored units: This question was asked by a tenant living in a restored apartment which is not the same as a renovated apartment. Councel remarked that this was a category worth investigating. But that it was likely to be the same process as with a renovated unit, the 1/40th rule.
And so after 90 minutes the conference call had concluded. It has been a terrific victory for affordable housing and on behalf of all the tenants, for which I am in that category I would to thank our advocates and legal Councel for their tremendous diligence and hard work. I will report on the first rent bill I receive in the coming days.

Celebrity and Alpha Human Real Estate Deals

Manhattan’s most notable real estate news courtesy of Cityfile.

Real Houswives star Jill Zarin and her husband, Bobby, put their apartment on the market just six weeks ago. But they’ve already been forced to drop prices. The three-bedroom condo at 401 East 60th Street, which the Zarins put up for sale for $3.2 million in July, is now $2.995 million. [Cityfile, PDE]
• Former Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal and his wife, Barbara, have purchased an apartment at 1095 Park Avenue. The couple, who sold their former home at 550 Park Avenue to socialite Phyllis Mack in January 2008, paid $5.6 million for the two-bedroom apartment. [Cityfile]
• Fortress Investment Group co-founder Randal Nardone has dropped the price of his 4,456-square-foot condo at 240 Riverside Boulevard, six months after putting it on the market for $11.75 million. The former billionaire, who picked up a massive apartment at 101 Warren Street last November for $22 million, has listed his former pad for $10.95 million. [Cityfile, Corcoran]

What NYC Real Estate Can You Buy For $800K

NY1 - August 10th Real Estate Report

NY1 - August 10th Real Estate Report

The delightful Jill Urban reports.
Listed by Elaine Reimer of Halstead
or call 212 501 3500 for further details.

Show Me The Numbers.
303 east 57th street – (Co-op)
1970 converted to Co-op
$2302 maintenance
2 bedrooms
1.5 bathrooms
15lbs – weight of dogs allowed

Nondos: Chelsea’s Milan Revisits its Rental Roots

The Milan

The Milan

NYC Apartments:

The Real Deal Reports-The Milan Condo on 23rd Street in Chelsea is going to need a new name.

Joining the ranks of New York City’s many “nondos,” the 42-unit conversion will remain a rental building rather than going condominium as planned.

NY Living Solutions were one of the local neighborhood brokerage houses that had attempted to help sell The Milan by bringing by dozens of potential buyers. Nick Hetherington a managing director with the East 20th Street location of NY Living Solutions stated” To date we were unable to bring about even 1 purchase at The Milan while we were successful in completing many transactions in other Chelsea condos.”

One-bedrooms in the now-vacant doorman building, where each apartment has a balcony, rent for $2,700, while two-bedroom units start at $4,100.

Nick Hetherington commented “this price structure is extremly aggressive compared to other doorman buildings in the Chelsea neighborhood. And with the new condo finishes this is an excellent opportunity for renters to find something affordable with new designs in a central location.”

Let the Bernie Madoff Penthouse Sweepstakes Begin!

Aerial View Of The Madoff Penthouse

Aerial View Of The Madoff Penthouse

The Upper East Side may have gained a famous new resident in Madonna, but it’s also losing one of its most infamous—Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, who just got handed a century-and-a-half of prison time. Despite previous reports that the Madoffs’ penthouse at 133 East 64th Street is on the market, for a while it looked like Ruth Madoff would be hanging around. That’s no longer the case, as news broke over the weekend that the apartment would be among the homes given up by the couple, with sale proceeds going to pay back the fraudster’s victims. (Today the Post reported on Ruth Madoff’s rental troubles.) We can’t recall any other recent U.S. Marshals-led sales of tony pre-war Upper East Side real estate, so this might be uncharted territory. The penthouse has often been said to be worth between $7 million and $8 million, but will it sell for that much? One resident of the building sure hopes not.

Bob Weinstein Lowers The Asking Price For His Beresford Duplex

The Plaza on New York's South East Corner of Central Park

The Beresford on Central Park West

SELLER: Bob Weinstein
LOCATION: Central Park West, New York, NY
PRICE: $29,750,000
SIZE: 6,500 square feet (approximately), 6 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: …A grand stairway leads to six large bedrooms, seven and one-half bathrooms, a paneled library, huge family room, formal dining room, superb kitchen, laundry room, two terraces, three fireplaces and four exposures. The numerous custom details include three zoned air conditioning and Crestron system for sound and lighting…

Hot Hollywood Mama Jessica Alba Could Have Her Eyes Set On North TriBeCa.

Stars in Tribeca

Stars in Tribeca

Last time NY Post reported, Alba, hubby Cash Warren and adorable baby Honor Marie were house-hunting in the West Village. But they have since become enamored with some penthouses they visited at the Fairchild, a chic, 21-unit TriBeCa building with condos that could accommodate a growing brood — should the couple decide to have more children.

Williamsburg Inventory Expected To Double

2009_6_npiersfire.jpgAccording to brokerage Apts & Lofts, an estimated 2,818 new apartments will enter the Williamsburg market by the end of the year, and 2,766 apartments are slated to pop up in 2010. The prediction is that rising inventory combined with new mortgage guidelines will mean many more developments falling into foreclosure. “It used to be enjoyable, exciting to open a new building. Now it’s nerve wracking,” Apts & Lofts prez David Maundrell tells The Real Deal. Only parents can save the ‘hood now. [Real Deal]

What Is Happening On The Corner Of Washington & Albany?

Washington and Albany Looking North

Washington and Albany Looking North

I took a trip to this part of downtown on Sunday June 21st. You can stand looking North from this corner and the sheer volume of projects that seem to have come to a grinding halt has everyone wondering how long will it be before completion?

Remember the ads for 2010 from the LMDC?

It’s a stark reminder that even the super wealthy can be affected in drastic economic times.

Take for example Joe Moinian. A prestigious developer and #2,139 on Cityfile’s New York’s Most Notable List.

This was the latest report in ‘The Real Deal’ –

Moinian’s Tap Dance
May 01, 2009 01:34PM
Many of the properties Moinian purchased during the boom may now be underwater or are rumored to be in trouble, like his planned W Downtown Hotel & Residences.

The next example is the on going struggle of pulling down the Deustche Building on the opposite North Corner.

The Tribeca Trib’s report came out just this week.

Deutsche Demolition Could Cost $35 Million More

Officials of Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency overseeing the cleaning and deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank tower near the World Trade Center site announced they may need as much as $35 million more in public money to finish tearing down the doomed building.

Finally on the North West corner of Washington and Albany is 130 Cedar St. (It’s between Albany and

Who will finish first? Whoever’s last can buy drinks at the W-Hotel 5th floor lounge somewhere around 2010.

The Financial District’s Own Cool Place to Be-Front Street

2 blocks from Front St- South St Seaport

2 blocks from Front St- South St Seaport

What a difference a block makes

What a difference a block makes

Entering the promised land

Entering the promised land

I moved from The Financial District into the East Village to the infamous Stuyvesant Town 2 summers ago after being a downtown resident since 2001.  But I still spend a few evenings a week visiting my old haunts on Front Street. It was always considered that  The Financial District and The Seaport would never really take off as a neighborhood. Though according to the latest reports from the last quarter 2008 close to 20,000 new residents have embarked on it becoming their new home in the past five years. There must be something these residents are doing in their neighborhood. They can’t all be living there and choosing to eat, drink and have merry in the other surrounding neighborhoods?  Well maybe they can but that’s probably because they haven’t discovered Front St yet.

So other than the best rental prices plus amazing luxury buildings and lofts the reasons to live in and love The Financial District have to start with, yes, you guessed it, Front St.

It’s a hidden secret only 2 blocks North of the tourist heavy South Street Seaport. The best thing is the tourists have no idea that it exists either. I mean if the residents don’t know about it then come on. Front St had it’s rebirth once the Fish markets left for the Bronx.  And after years of negotiations the local community board, the landmark preservation society and progressive architects re-designed the street.  92 residential homes were built into the existing structures that date back to the mid 1800’s. And they had retail space available for those that wanted to be part of building a new neighborhood.

You can choose from a tapas joint, 3 Italian restaurants, a brazilian fusion restaurant, a New Zealand pub, Sushi, A Steakhouse, a Wine lounge and a bar with a stellar jukebox, sawdust on the floor and cheap ass beer.

Sawdust & a great Jukebox

Sawdust & a great Jukebox

In fact it all started with the place with the sawdust on the floor, Jeremy’s Ale House serving since 1974. America was only 198 years old.  For those that know and love McSorley’s, Jeremy’s is its close cousin.


Salud! came next. The Spanish Tapas Lounge-A tropical touch of Miami Beach Salud! specializes in Pan-Latino tapas and mixes a superb Caipirinha.  Come bring your Salsa moves.

White Hot Spanish Delight

White Hot Spanish Delight


For those of you that read this blog and the numbers seem to be growing when you find yourself on Front St no visit is complete without popping into Nelson Blue. New York’s first New Zealand gastro pub. People rave about this beautifully designed corner joint with outdoor seating, delicious food and super friendly service.  Ask for Paulie. A burly, ruggedly handsome Kiwi, ex-rugby player who now rides his motorbike and skydives every weekend. The perfect host. And one of Front St’s great pioneers.


Maori Glory-Kia Ora!

Maori Glory-Kia Ora!

There are other venues to discuss but I’ll add just one more both because your time and attention is precious and this newest opening is worth the visit alone.

Front Street's New Jewel

Front Street's New Jewel

Onda. – Which is a Latin word for ‘vibe’ offers contemporary Latin cuisine inspired by multiple countries of that origin.  The owner Alessandro Passante of famed ‘Naima’ on west 27th street describes his newest creation best “Our team at Onda is very dedicated and enthusiastic. We want nothing more than to share this magnificent energy with the neighborhood”.

With the rich interior setting that has the feel of a jewel box adorned by ruby’s and garnets there is much attention to detail here. Master bartenders mix cocktails with flair and if you’re a fan of bold, spicy, citrus flavors with your food you’ll find great satisfaction here. Try the appetizer Flat Bread smoked duck, manchego cheese, sherry and porcini spread  or the  Snapper Ceviche agave lime essence, tapioca pearls, aji panca & mint.


I hope you give yourself the opportunity to explore this little hidden enclave where New Yorkers wine and dine on downtown’s new restaurant row.

Nick Hetherington


Getting Inventive to Seduce Buyers


THESE are nerve-racking times for NYC Real Estate brokers. Although prices are higher this year than last, the average sales price for luxuryManhattan apartments slipped 17 percent, to $6.4 million, from the first quarter of the year to the second, according to Prudential Douglas Elliman. Though many brokers and developers insist they feel no serious qualms yet — they are counting on the weak dollar to keep attracting foreign buyers — some are unveiling new stratagems for luring higher-end clients and the brokers who know them.

Click the link to read the full article:


NYLS Commentary:

Incentives to buyers are not new to the NYC residential real estate market. With residential rental apartments we tend to see a cyclical cycle in the overall volume of rental transactions. The Summer months (April – September) tend to be very active with a large number of out of town renters coming to New York City many for the first time. Generally in the summertime Landlords have the leverage and rent prices go up. The Winter months (October – March) are notoriously slower and the volume of transactions is almost cut in half. It is during this time when Landlords offer incentives to Brokers and tenants alike. 

Right now in the Financial District, The type of incentives being offered have not been seen since after 9/11 when many residents of Lower Manhattan were offered a 2 year grant by the Government as incentive not to abandon the area. Examples of Incentives downtown include 1 – 3 Months of FREE Rent, 1 Month Paid Broker Fee, Free I-Pod, etc…

In the Sales Market we have not seen a tremendous decrease in prices, Instead Developers have chosen to increase the incentives to Brokers raising commissions from 3% in some cases all the way to 6%. Incentives are also being given to potential buyers such as increased negotiating power, Developer picking up transfer tax, Free Vacation, etc…

Experts weigh in on how to fix industry crises…

The biggest problems in New York City real estate

Following criticism, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has vowed to crack down on shoddy construction and is instituting greater scrutiny of developers who break the rules. He is also trying to speed up the new condo approval process, and has introduced reforms targeting the appraisal industry.
By Dorn Townsend

In the wake of the subprime and credit crises, problems are becoming apparent even in New York City’s usually buoyant real estate market. Although real estate in New York City has escaped some of the ravages the rest of the country has suffered, cracks in the façade are starting to show. 

For this supplement, The Real Deal has chosen to bring some plaster: First, we home in on macro difficulties, as well as some less-discussed problems. We then weigh in with the advice of experts on ways to solve these issues. 

We take a look at the problem of the liquidity crisis. In the article Crisis or Correction, financial whizzes contemplate how they think the financial markets can ultimately return to a state of normalcy. For example, experts say the only way for the broader housing market to recover is by restoring confidence in lenders’ processes to securitize their mortgages. 

At the heart of the matter is the role of independent appraisers. Without appraisers capable of standing up to pressure from mortgage brokers to price unrealistically, it will be hard to restore confidence. Insiders consider how to make this happen in Restoring credibility to appraisers

Besides impacting banks and their ability to make informed investments, the present crisis is triggering fear among homeowners that they may lose their homes. In How New Yorkers spell foreclosure relief, we probe what’s being done to control the growing number of foreclosures — and experts share their views on whether the present actions are sufficient. 

In addition to these sweeping problems, the city’s real estate industry is facing some more local conundrums. One lingering difficulty is the manner in which different real estate firms arrive at different outcomes in their market reports. In Making sense of market reports, analysts reflect on whether the city needs a comparison-providing multiple listing service. Another growing difficulty emanates from spiraling energy costs, and the responses of commercial landlords to those costs. When it comes to energy costs, landlords over a barrel shows that many are turning to alternative energy sources and long-term fixed contracts as solutions. 

Finally, no problem has had a more tragic impact and received more recent coverage than accidents at construction sites stemming from crane malfunctions. In Shoring up construction safety, we review suggestions for reforming the city’s Department of Buildings and creating a culture of safety and accountability.

Two other stories discuss the mysterious flexibility of offices’ floor area over time and the new wave of scrutiny shoddy developers could soon see from the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Buildings.










NYLS Commentary:

This countries economic crises and the  government “recovery” plan (aka. the bailout) has rocked Wall Street this month and will undoubtedly affect NYC’s residential real estate market. As banks continue to fail and confidence continues to waiver, real estate in NYC remains as good an investemnt option as any for those who deposit more than the $100,000 limit in FDIC insured banks. Real Estate remains a great way to preserve money over time.

There are some great examples of this over time. During the most severe recession post WW2 (1975 to 1981) Markets slowed dow with interest rates reaching highs of 18% and declining home values of close to 30%. The market rebounded nicely during the 1980’s with home prices rebounded by as much as 400% and interest rates declined to around 8%. The best way to preserve money over time and hedge against inflation remains Real Estate. Again after the attacks of 9/11 real estate declined slightly (10%-15%) in Lower Manhattan yet over the past 7 years those who bought in Lower Manhattan neighborhoods (FiDi, TriBeCa, Battery Park) have seen their investments triple in value.

A look at buyers and sellers

A look at buyers and sellers

A snapshot of how buyers and sellers are reacting to the bleak economy — and to each other


 By Lauren Elkies

The bleak economy and credit crunch have claimed their share of victims in the New York City real estate world, but under the surface they have also shifted the foundations that buyers and sellers became accustomed to when the market was peaking.

This month, The Real Deal offers a series of stories about how buyers and sellers in the five boroughs and in the surrounding suburbs are dealing with one another and with the new financial terrain a little over a year into the crunch.

While prices have softened in some neighborhoods, first-time buyers are having more trouble than ever securing mortgages and getting a piece of the action (see Amid mortgage woes, first-time buyers seek solutions).

As their purchasing power has decreased, the pace of sales of the smaller units they tend to buy has slowed, creating a pileup of inventory. In Manhattan, there has been a sharp drop in sales of studios and one-bedrooms this year.

Meanwhile, some buyers fear more foreclosures could result in a growing number of vacant buildings, particularly in fringe areas of the city, which could contribute to an uptick in crime (see Watching for broken windows).

Experts weigh in on whether the so-called “broken windows theory,” which suggests that crime increases in areas of neglect, will play out in places like Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick and other neighborhoods with high foreclosures rates. Crime, of course, can put a damper on the appeal of a neighborhood and depress prices, driving away potential buyers.

In more prime areas, foreign buyers, who have been capitalizing on the weak dollar and propping up sales activity in the city, are now starting to pull back. As the dollar has started to rebound (at least a little), brokers say those with primary addresses in other countries are finally starting to hesitate and wait for deeper price cuts (see Fewer foreign clients buying).

On the seller side, market conditions and anxiety about the economy are causing some to drop asking prices to increase their chances of a sale, and prompting others to take their listings off the market altogether and wait until the market swings back (see Sellers feeling the pressure).

Even buildings are being put through the wringer. Co-ops have long put potential buyers through a rigorous board approval process. But now, lenders are turning the tables on them and more closely scrutinizing their books.

And, whether at a co-op or condo, gentrification continues to cause tension between existing board members and new residents, especially when the newbies push for expensive cosmetic upgrades for the building (see New buyers clashing with the condo board).

In the Financial District, the credit crunch has translated into fewer buyers at open houses (see Open house traffic hits wall in Financial District). And in the South Bronx, it has put activity on hold. The difficulty in securing cash has made it harder for small investors to buy into the area and stymied new residential development and rehabs there (see South Bronx buzz fizzles).

Beyond New York City, in suburbs like Westchester and Nassau and Fairfield counties, foreclosures on the rise are helping depress the overall market for sellers (see New York City’s suburbs slip).

And in parts of New Jersey and Long Island, there’s a real estate domino effect taking hold for so-called “trade ups” (see Trading up slows down).

Experts told The Real Deal that some sellers looking to unload their “starter homes” are out of luck, in large part because the buyers they need are unable to secure mortgages. And, until they pull their equity out of their homes, they don’t have the money to become buyers themselves.

And the Winner is ???

A reader writes, “It would be interesting if you guys did a reader survey on which NYC apartments have the most attractive women. I know it sounds silly, but somehow my friends and I had this discussion, and consensus seems to be that 2 Gold and Rivergate have tons of eye candy. I was also impressed with the quality of women at luxury condos like the Millennium in Battery Park City, 15 Broad, and Trump World Tower.” Great idea! But no love for the fellas? Folks, your suggestions for buildings with the hottest tenants (male and/or female) in the comments, please. Perhaps we can set up some sort of pageant. [CurbedWire Inbox]

Congrats to Financial District luxury-rental megatower 2 Gold Street for being named by the Curbed readership as the Manhattan building with the best-looking tenants. Rockrose’s gift to sunbathing 20somethings (and the dudes/dude-ettes who love them) beat out strong challenges from rental buildings like Soho Court, 88 Leonard Street, and Rivergate, and condo buildings such as The Orion and 15 Broad Street. See you on the roof deck, brahs!