New York City Real Estate Blog Archives for June 2011

Dancing To A New (Construction) Beat In West Chelsea

Construction in West Chelsea Even in a city that doesn't sleep, West 27th Street in Chelsea has long had a reputation for staying up late. That rep came courtesy of a bunch of clubs that, for a decade, set the pace for late-night revelry in a neighborhood that was, for years, Manhattan's club capital. Of course, no party lasts forever, and with those clubs closed -- and with Manhattan's club scene now doing its things behind the velvet ropes of the Lower East Side -- West Chelsea's former club capital has become something more upscale, a lot less messy and generally much more... residential. In the Wall Street Journal, Laura Kusisto notes that the stretch of West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue, formerly the site of several notably noisy nightspots, has recently been home to a different kind of boom -- this time, as the home to some new luxury condominium development. With promising new Chelsea condominiums as 200 Eleventh Avenue, 245 Tenth and 133 West 22nd leading the way -- and with the newly opened second leg of The High Line giving the neighborhood some high-gloss glamour (and some high-end green space) -- it looks like the party may not be over in West Chelsea just yet.

Toll Brothers Re-Claims NYC as Part of Its Empire

Toll Brothers moving back to New York City

For nearly 45 years, Toll Brothers has prided itself on -- and marketed itself as -- being America’s top “luxury home builder." From golf course mansions to poolside townhouses, Toll Brothers created an ever-increasing empire, if one that -- until a few years ago, at least -- was confined largely to the 'Burbs. That changed in 2008 with the arrival of Toll Brothers City Living, a branch of the company specializing in housing in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Hoboken and Philadelphia. Of course, as anyone who followed Manhattan real estate -- or the economy, or anything else -- could tell you, '08 was an especially inopportune time to be starting a real estate business. Unsurprisingly, Toll Brothers City Living got off to a rough start with Northside Piers, and later that year Robert I. Toll, chief executive of Toll Brothers, claimed that New York City had “joined the rest of the country” and was no longer a place to buy homes. Toll even pleaded with Congress to subsidize the prices of homes because of the number of clients cancelling contracts. But that was 2008, and this is 2011 and, thanks to a batch of new construction condo listings, Toll Brothers is showing all appearances of being back in force.

Rezoning North Tribeca: Will Prices Finally Come Down?

Recently, New Construction Manhattan noted that changes in zoning could have a major impact on a neighborhood. It’s no secret that, square foot by square foot and new construction Manhattan condominium for new construction Manhattan condominium, New York City is one of the nation’s most expensive cities in which to buy an apartment. But, as anyone who has searched Manhattan apartment listings recently knows, condominium prices in Manhattan -- while not exactly cheap anywhere -- are highly variable from neighborhood to neighborhood, and even between neighborhoods that share borders. In practical terms, this reveals some practical conclusions -- averaging prices for Manhattan studio apartments, one-bedroom apartments, and two-bedroom apartments reveals that Tribeca condo listings are the priciest in Manhattan, while Harlem is home to the cheapest. That may not surprise you all that much, but other revelations -- for instance, condos on the Upper East Side are less expensive per square foot than apartments in the East Village or on the Upper West Side -- may elicit a head-shake or a whaddaya-know. These numbers didn't come out of nowhere, of course -- these are established neighborhoods with established brands. But what happens when, as recently happened in North Tribeca, an old section of an established neighborhood gets a new life thanks to a new zoning designation? The answer, we think, is something very promising indeed.

Real Estate, Baby: Vanilla Ice Teaches You How to Make Money in Real Estate

We know: browsing Manhattan condo listings can be intimidating, actually buying a Manhattan condo includes a fairly daunting number of steps (luckily, there's a Buyer's Guide for that), and the world of Manhattan real estate investment can seem all too exclusive. Add it all up, and Manhattan real estate investment can start to seem like an expensive, experts-only affair, and one that only people with years of experience can hope to do successfully. Luckily, it isn't. To prove as much, please note that fact that Vanilla Ice has been doing it successfully for years.

Visitors to Vanilla Ice’s new real estate website, are greeted, naturally, with the sound of Mr. Vanilla's “Ice, Ice Baby.” It's funny, but it's not a joke. Vanilla Ice, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, has made millions of dollars purchasing and flipping homes.

Van Winkle has spent 16 years purchasing, improving and selling real estate across the country. He even has his own show on the DIY Network, “The Vanilla Ice Project.” On the show, Vanilla Ice does everything from creating a spa-like environment in a master suite to staging the home for sale. Now, Vanilla Ice believes that he can teach you something about real estate investing. This may or may not be true, but lord knows that if Vanilla Ice can invest successfully in real estate, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to find the right condominium on the Upper West Side. The truly surprising part is this: Ice might be onto something.

Street Cred Needed: SoHo Condo Residents Chafe Under Artist Rules

The neighborhood of SoHo, or South of Houston Street, is known as one of the most popular -- and one of the priciest -- neighborhoods in Manhattan, alongside the trendy high-rise condos of Chelsea, the stalwart and pre-war Upper East Side, and raucous Greenwich Village. Back in the day SoHo was a haven of artists looking for low rents in the manufacturing district’s industrial work spaces. But now this NYC neighborhood is known less for its poor artists and more as a growing district of affluent families, lush boutiques and converted condo listings. With the demand for SoHo residences at a peak and many artists fleeing to cheaper pastures, some SoHo dwellers are crying foul about an old law that requires residential lofts to be set aside strictly for certified artists. SoHo residents say the law is -- wait for it -- certifiably nuts.

High Five: High Line Phase Two Will Extend to 30th Street -- Will Real Estate Boom Follow?

NYC condos for sale near High LineIf you follow Manhattan real estate, you are familiar with The High Line. And if you don't follow Manhattan real estate, and are in town for a convention or to see the sights or check out Anything Goes on Broadway or whatever... well, welcome to the New Construction Manhattan blog, and we'll presume you're also familiar with The High Line. After just a few short years on the West Side, the winding, lushly landscaped park that runs on the former freight train tracks above 10th Avenue has become both one of Manhattan's must-visit venues and one of the greatest success stories in Manhattan real estate. While Chelsea condo listings were, truth be told, doing pretty all right before the High Line went from random-old-elevated-train-tracks to hugely popular public park, the arrival of the park gave a huge boost to apartment listings near the High Line, and helped occasion the development of such blockbuster, star-architect-designed high-end condominium listings as HL23, +Art, 456 West 19th Street and Nouvel and Chelsea Modern. And with the opening of the High Line's second stage -- which will run from 20th Street all the way up to 30th Street -- on June 8, the High Line looks likely to work its real estate magic again, this time for North Chelsea and the emerging and highly promising Hudson Yards neighborhood bearing the goofy-ish nickname The Linc.

Are Two Bedrooms Now Number One in the Manhattan Condo Market?

After the 2008 market crash the prices of one-bedrooms and studios recovered fairly quickly, but the two-bedroom has held out until now. According to The Real Deal, overall inventory of apartments has grown by 13.4 percent since March, but the inventory of two-beds has grown much slower. True to the laws of economics, the ever-present high demand of Manhattan real estate coupled with a low supply means that prices of Manhattan two-bedrooms has hit a new peak -- and the competition to secure one is getting fierce. The New York Times interviewed Tracie Hamersley, a senior vice president of Citi Habitats, whose two-bedroom listing in Murray Hill closed at the asking price after only a single week on the market. It was the buyer’s third attempt at securing a two-bedroom.