Curbed New York (03/06/2017) - Sunny, gut-renovated Clinton Hill co-op seeks $675K
Brick Underground (12/05/2016) - A junior-four in Clinton Hill that feels like a two-bedroom
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Sweeten (06/20/2016) - Top Five Fixer-Uppers On The Market In NYC
The Real Deal (09/01/2014) - Brokers Say Buyers Are Less Frantic As Inventory Ticks Up
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BOND Magazine (08/14/2014) - Meet the Broker: Tom Stuart
When Tom Stuart isn’t closing deals, he’s writing musicals. We sat down with him to find out what it’s like to balance both careers and how one can often help the other.
BOND NEW YORK: Tell us a little bit about your life outside of real estate.
TOM STUART: I live in Brooklyn with a partner, a dog, and a pet parrot. I’m into food – I love to eat out, and recently started baking bread! I don’t see as much theatre as I would like, but my best friend and I go often. Also, I’m an advanced member of the BMI Musical Theatre Writers Workshop which I like to tell everyone is a big deal!
BNY: The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop is very impressive and has nurtured shows such as A Chorus Line and Book of Mormon. Speaking of impressive, is it true you were back up for Donny Osmond on Broadway?
TS: Not Broadway, but I was his understudy on the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was what is called an “onstage cover”, which means I was in the show as an ensemble member, but when Donny was out I would perform his role and someone else would do my part. I played for him for two weeks solid in Boston and also in Chicago and Detroit.
*cast of Joseph
BNY: How long have you been acting/writing?
TS: I started acting at age eight – My parents put me in a summer play program and I loved it. I wrote my first show about 10 years ago. It was a very fun 80s “Mix-Tape Musical” called KIDS IN AMERICA – It was performed at the Triad Theatre in NYC and produced regionally.
BNY: How does real estate compare to performing?
TS: It’s fast-paced, stressful, a good challenge, fun when you’re making money, different every day, you interact with lots of different people, and you are your own business.
BNY: How do you think real estate compares to preparing for a show?
TS: I think one reason real estate is a good fit for me is that I learned dedication, focus and perseverance as a performer and writer. Don’t be discouraged by no. If you work hard enough you can accomplish a lot. Then again, sometimes you just get lucky.
BNY: What can you take from your experiences acting and apply to this career?
TS: One of the greatest gifts of having a performer background is that it takes a lot to freak me out – rejection, disappointment, highs and lows are part of the deal. I’m better at taking things in stride as a salesperson than I was as an actor.
BNY: Do you ever draw from your experiences with clients? Has there ever been an experience that sent you home to start writing or anything you were able to draw from for a part?
TS: Absolutely. I wrote a musical called FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS – it’s basically a humorous musical revue about how hard it is to have it so good. I had plenty of material to work with!
BNY: We are heading into the fall theater season. What can you recommend?
TS: I loved this production of PIPPIN, and ONCE is one of my favorite things out there. I think Jason Robert Brown is bringing BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY to B’way next year – What?? I can’t wait.
BNY: The theater district has changed a lot over the years. What have you found has changed the most?
TS: I started renting in Hell’s Kitchen in 1991 and lived in that neighborhood on and off for years – Everyone I knew lived somewhere from 8th Avenue to 11th Avene in midtown, but I didn’t know anyone that lived east of 8th. The last rental I had there was on 43rd Street- beautiful with great views – but I’ve been living in my Brooklyn Co-op for the past few years.
BNY: Do you think the changes have been for better or worse?
TS: We used to complain that there wasn’t a single decent bar or restaurant anywhere west of 8th for years. That’s clearly changed, but now I miss how nice and quiet it was when the tourists were afraid to cross 8th Avenue.
BNY: It’s not usually considered a largely residential neighborhood. Is that changing?
TS: The true “theatre district” does have a lot more condos than it used to and also there are the old coops like the Whitby, etc. Those buildings have a lot of old Broadway Charm. I think it has become more acceptable as a residential neighborhood. It’s also the perfect place for a pied a terre if you love the theatre, dining and the park!
BNY: Say someone was coming in from out of town and wanted to experience theater and a night out in NYC. First scenario would be the typical Broadway show and dinner. What would you recommend they see and where should they eat?
TS: That’s easy – Classic B’way eve out would include drinks at Bar Centrale, Orchestra seats to Book of Mormon and dinner after the show at Joe Allen, surrounded by people you’re pretty sure are famous.
BNY: What if they wanted something a little more off the beaten path? What should they do and what neighborhood should they visit?
TS: If you’re going high-brow – Dinner at Lincoln and see anything at Lincoln Center. Two options for Downtown – Dinner at Hearth in the East Village and a play or a play or musical at the Public Theatre OR for a more casual time Japanese Ramen at Ippudo in the East Village and a show and drinks at Joe’s Pub – one of the best venues for an intimate performance.
BNY: Do you have a favorite neighborhood? What makes it your favorite?
TS: Right now it’s my neighborhood- Clinton Hill/Ft. Greene, Brooklyn because it suits my lifestyle. More relaxed than Manhattan but with enough action, restaurants, etc., for me.
Brick Underground (04/10/2014) - I Want A Building That Will Pampler Me. Should I Splurge On A Condo/Hotel Hybrid?
If 24/7 room service and a concierge at your beck and call appeals to your inner Eloise, then living in a hotel/condo hybrid could be the ideal situation for you. Tom Stuart and Adam Kinsinger of Bond New York outline the positives and potential pitfalls of hotel habitation in this week’s Buy Curious.
THE WISH LIST:
I live outside New York, but I love spending time in the city. I've heard that a good solution for a pied-à-terre is a hotel/condo combination. What are the pros and cons? What can I expect to pay?
You've got two main options: a “condotel,” which comes with some restrictions on how you use it, but is great if you want a part-time pad that will bring in rental income; or a condo in a hotel, which is the way to go if you want more freedom and don't mind paying extra for a slew of services. Here's the rundown:
In a condotel, each unit functions as both an apartment and a hotel room (although not all require you to rent it out when you’re not there). Prices for one-bedrooms typically range from $1 to $2 million, and some notable examples are the Trump Soho and the Trump International Hotel & Towers.
- You’ll have access to maid service, restaurants, room service, a concierge and many more extras that hotels typically offer without having to pay extra monthly fees.
- To make it easy on the pied-à-terre buyer, the hotel will coordinate renting out your property when you’re not there, allowing you to enjoy some financial rewards. Just let the hotel know when the room will be available and they will place it in the regular hotel pool. Rooms at the Trump Soho typically go for $500 to $700 a night, and you should expect to get 35 to 50 percent of that revenue for yourself.
- Because of zoning restrictions, you can only spend a limited number of nights--typically 90 to 120 days a year--living in the unit.
- Those restrictions also limit the number of potential buyers, so when it comes time to sell, you could have a harder time finding a buyer.
- Getting a mortgage probably won’t be an option, as banks are wary of doing these deals since they can't sell the loans to Fannie Mae (which means they assume all the risk).
- There's not a lot of variety in unit type, since anything other than a one-bedroom doesn't make a great hotel room.
- Some folks might worry about the ick factor of someone using their place as a hotel room (although you may be comforted by the fact that it's not your primary residence).
- Condotels are rare, so it might be somewhat difficult to find one.
Condos in hotels
If you're not keen on the aforementioned restrictions, a condo unit in a building shared with a hotel might be your best bet.
- You can buy, sell and live in one of these units just like you would any other apartment.
- You'll have access to the hotel's amenities, such as turn-down service, but the residences are considered separate from the hotel. That means you'll get a dedicated entrance and, sometimes, amenities exclusive to condo dwellers. For example, the Residences at the W Hotel in the Financial District has a private rooftop terrace for owners only.
- You’ll pay through the nose for all those amenities. You should expect to pay at least $2 million for a one-bedroom; two-bedrooms start at $3 million. No extra monthly fees are required, but your common charges will be higher than your average condo.
- Financing these can also be a challenge. The hotel’s portion of the building ownership adds a level of risk that makes many banks nervous. What if the hotel goes out of business? Where does that put the building financially? That said, financing is often possible if you’re a strong buyer with good credit.
- Unlike a condotel, the hotel staff won’t rent out the property for you when you’re away.
If a condotel sounds perfect:
- Soho one-bedroom/one-bathroom condo, $2.896 million: This one-bedroom in the Trump Soho Hotel Condominium—a condotel located at 246 Spring Street between Varick Street and Sixth Avenue—features floor-to-ceiling windows, custom furnishings by Fendi Casa and bathrooms equipped with Turkish marble tubs and glass-enclosed walk-in showers. The Trump Soho has a 24-hour concierge and an 11,000-square-foot spa complete with Turkish hammams, but also limits how often you can stay. Common charges are $5,787 a month and taxes are $1,330 a month.
- Lincoln Square one-bedroom/two-bathroom condo, $2.05 million: The Trump International Hotel & Tower at 1 Central Park West between 60th and 61st Streets has surprisingly few restrictions on usage for a condotel. You can use it up to 365 days a year, but when you aren’t using it, it will be rented out for you. This east-facing sixth-floor unit has two bathrooms and Central Park views. Hotel amenities include 24-hour room service, a 6,000-square-foot fitness and spa center, a swimming pool and a business center with private conference rooms. Common charges are $5,125 a month, while taxes are $1,529 a month.
If a condo in a hotel is more up your alley:
- Midtown West two-bedroom/two-bathroom condo, $6.375 million: This condo building at 20 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is attached to the luxurious Baccarat Hotel, anticipated occupancy is third quarter of 2014. Owners enjoy amenities that include a 24-hour concierge and sweeping views of Midtown. This two-bedroom unit offers 10-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, a kitchen equipped with Miele and Sub-Zero appliances, and an in-unit washer/dryer. Common charges are $3,549 a month and taxes are $2,598 a month.
- Central Park South two-bedroom/two-bathroom condo, $4.75 million: The residences at the iconic Plaza Hotel—1 Central Park South at Fifth Avenue, just steps from Central Park—feature high-end appliances and services ranging from nannies and private butlers to a gym, spa and concierge. This unit has two windowed bathrooms, a washer/dryer and a modern, custom kitchen. Common charges are $1,732 a month and taxes are $1,824 a month.
- Financial District two-bedroom/two-bathroom condo, $3 million: The W Downtown Hotel & Residences at 123 Washington Street between Albany and Carlisle Streets is one of the more affordable condo hotels currently on the market in Manhattan. With a median price of about $2 million and seven years left on a tax abatement, monthlies will be in line with most New York City condos (at least for the next seven years). Common charges for this two-bedroom unit are $1,729 a month, while taxes are $386 a month. Residents can also enjoy the hotel’s fitness center, media screening room, and a private residents-only rooftop terrace with Hudson River views.
The Real Deal (03/24/2014) - Home Sales in Brooklyn Plunge: PropertyShark
Home sales in Brooklyn plunge: PropertyShark
$3.58M Bay Ridge house most expensive sale recorded in borough last month: PHOTOS
March 24, 2014 04:12PM
By Adam Pincus
Scene Magazine (12/04/2013) - Midtown West: You're Not in Hell's Kitchen Anymore
Gotham West (photo by Melissa Ham)
Bound by 34th Street and 59th Streets, and running west from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River, Midtown West has attracted developers and visionaries set on transforming its real estate and cultural landscape. Otherwise known as the grittier-sounding Hell’s Kitchen, the area historically offered little more than warehouses and parking lots, and limited its real estate capacity to buildings of six stories or less. Immigrants, mainly of Irish descent, populated the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and were later displaced in the 1950s and 1960s by actors and artists who were drawn to the area for its proximity to Broadway shows and dance theaters. Recent endeavors are set on building upon the area’s historic and cultural past to add a new dimension to the Manhattan real estate market.
Several notable public and private ventures have taken shape over the recent years and laid the foundation for future development. “[The] neighborhood is anchored to the south by the redevelopment of the Hudson Yards and the extension of the 7 subway line along 42nd Street,” notes Stephen McArdle, an associate broker at Halstead Property Development Marketing and project manager of 540West at 540 West 49th Street.
“The Highline is slowly making its way toward the Javits Center from the south,” adds Tom Stuart, an associate broker at BOND. Some high-end retailers and eateries have started to open in the area. “There has been a resurgence of upscale restaurants in the area such as Quality Meats and Quality Italian,” adds Michele Portnof of Charles Rutenberg Realty. Italian fashion house Prada has also been drawn to the area.
“I feel that Hell’s Kitchen is the soul of New York, a place where mom-and-pop shops still exist and artistic flair can be felt,” adds Vickey Barron, a broker at Douglas Elliman and director of sales for 425 West 50th Street. “This is attracting some of the buyers from the West Village and Chelsea, as well as other parts of New York.”
Although there have been considerable changes to the landscape, much of the character of Hell’s Kitchen will remain in place by way of zoning limitations and rules.
“The Clinton Special Zoning District, which limits development heights and scale, will keep the neighborhood’s historic character intact,” explains McArdle. “The charm of the old New York feel, blended with a modern, vibrant movement in food, fashion and performing arts, makes Hell’s Kitchen the dynamic community it is today.”
Bringing All to Hudson Yards
“The development of Hudson Yards brought much more than residential development to the area,” notes Ariel Tavivian, co-founder of the Tavivian Sporn Team at Douglas Elliman. “There are [now] tons of office and retail space, as well as parks and schools, which were very much needed.”
In 2005, the New York City Department of City Planning and the MTA laid down the guidelines for the Hudson Yards development, rezoning nearly 60 blocks to Class A office space, housing units, hotels and retail space. The air rights were leased to Related Companies and Oxford Properties, two developers that are heading the development.
Set to span over a dozen skyscrapers, the project is broken down into two phases: the Eastern Rail Yard and the Western Rail Yard. The eastern space spans from 10th to 11th Avenue between West 30th and West 33rd Streets, and the western space moves further out, stretching from 11th to 12th Avenue. In total, there will be over 13,000,000 square feet split between 6,750,000 square feet of office space, 5,000,000 square feet of residential, 1,150,000 square feet of retail, 220,000 square feet of hotel, 120,000 square feet for school and a 100,000-square-foot cultural center. The first tower is set to be completed in 2015, in which retailer Coach will anchor a few hundred thousand square feet for its corporate headquarters.
Luxury Along 11th Avenue
“Gotham built the New Gotham in 1998, when the neighborhood was very different,” notes Melissa Pianko, executive vice president of development at Gotham Organization. “There were almost no luxury doorman buildings and there were limited restaurants. Today, it is a totally different story—10th Avenue is lined with great places to eat and drink [and] there have been more than 15,000 luxury residential units developed.”
Pianko notes that opening Gotham West, a 550-unit development at 550 West 45th Street, transformed the entire city block between 44th and 45th Streets east of 11th Avenue. The building offers apartments that range from studios to three-bedrooms with prices starting at $2,750 for an alcove studio. One-bedrooms start around $3,375, two-bedrooms upward of $5,400 and three-bedrooms from $8,600.
“With the opening of Gotham West Market this fall, we are going [to create] a day and night market featuring eight artisanal restaurants,” she adds. Restaurants that have signed include El Colmado, The Cannibal, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, and The Brooklyn Kitchen. The restaurant group behind downtown’s Saxon + Parole, AvroKO, will anchor the space with Genuine Roadside, its latest restaurant serving classic American roadside fare.
“[Gotham West] is a prime example of a smart amenities package combined with ground-floor retail that serves residents,” says Sid Whelan of the Whelan Grayson Group at CORE.
Never Enough Luxury
“The area is often seen as the ‘pulse’ of New York,” says Jackie Urgo, president at The Marketing Directors, noting recent developments including Strata at Mercedes House. Strata at Mercedes House, located at 550 West 54th Street, is led by Two Trees Management, who pulled in Enrique Norten to design a spiraling 32-story development. The upper 11 floors, known as the Strata, has little availability with rentals upward of $4,000 for a one-bedroom and nearly $8,000 for a three-bedroom.
JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group are also entering the market with the renovation of a former Verizon tower at 435 West 50th Street to create about 55 units across 100,000 square feet of space from the 10th to 17th floor, slated to open in 2014.
Fortis Property Group and Wonder Works Construction Corp. are marketing 540West at 540 West 49th Street. Each of the two towers is set to span seven stories and offer loft-like and multi-level residences, culminating into 114 units in total.
Unlike the other developments in the area, 540West is not a rental. Prices start in the upper $700,000 and lower $800,000 range for studios, with one-bedrooms pushing over $1 million and 1,150-square-foot penthouses breaking $2 million.
“The list of developers who are actively developing or are in development planning stages in Hell’s Kitchen is a Who’s Who in the development world,” says McArdle. “Fortis Property Group and Wonder Works Construction are bringing 540West to life. Industry leaders have targeted this area for development.”
The New York Times (10/11/2013) - Residential Sales Around the Region
The New York Times - Residential Sales Around the Region - October 11, 2013
Brownstoner (10/07/2013) - House of the Day: 289 Cumberland Street
The Real Deal (02/01/2013) - For Brokers, An Early Spring
For brokers, an early spring
January felt more like March for busy agents, who expect the increased activity to carry through the normally slow winter
February 01, 2013
By Hayley Kaplan
Brick Underground (01/28/2013) - 9 Curve Ball Coop Board Interview Questions
9 curveball co-op board interview questions (and how to answer them)
by Joann Jovinelly | 1/29/13 - 8:58 AM
The vast majority of co-op rejections are based on application packages, with the bad news delivered before a co-op board interview is even scheduled.
So once you've proceeded to the in-person inquistion conducted by a duly elected body of your potential neighbors, your chances of approval are actually excellent....provided you don't screw it up.
We've already walked you through some questions that co-op boards should ask, as well as what they should not. BrickUnderground's Big Fat Board Interview series--a collection of firsthand accounts of real-life board interviews--provides an even fuller sense of the predictably unpredicable terrain you may encounter.
For our latest foray behind closed doors, BrickUnderground asked a handful of real estate brokers for some recent stumpers and their suggestions for hitting your answers out of the park:
1. Why are you downsizing?
This question is a common one, though not one that applicants necessarily expect. While the typical reason may be due to a change in family size—or to trim expenses—you should keep the latter to yourself, says real estate broker Michael Signet of Bond New York Properties.
Put the focus on space -- not money.
“Co-op [board members] don’t want to hear you say that you want to move to save money. It's better to say that you’re empty nesters," says Signet.
2. How do you like your job?
While this may just be an innocuous part of your conversation, board members may be trying to get a sense of your overall job security.
“This is not the time to have a candid discussion about any existential crisis you might be experiencing at work,” says Therese Bateman of Town Residential, “so no need to cause unnecessary alarm with throwaway lines.”
Instead she recommends being upbeat and not disclosing any details.
3. Are you interested in serving on the board?
“I recommend neutrality in your response, should you be asked if you’re interested in serving,” says real estate agent Mindy Diane Feldman of Halstead Property.
Lately, she says, some applicaiton ackages even ask applicants directly if they have any background or skills that may be useful to the board, which is new.
"It’s best to be neutral," she says. "For example, say, ‘If the board or the building thought that I could make an important contribution, I would certainly be open to discussing it.’:
But it's a bit of a balancing act. "You never want the board to think that you are aiming for a position," she warns.
4. Are you planning a renovation?
Revealing the details of any renovation plans can be potentially concerning to board members. For one thing, you never know who may live adjacent to your apartment and dread the disturbance of a renovation.
“It is best to omit details of your proposed renovation until after closing,” says Bateman
While you want to be truthful—obviously an estate purchase will require upgrading—it is best to instead say, "We are taking one step at a time and have no immediate renovation plans."
5. What are your political beliefs or with which political party are you affiliated?
While this question is completely legal, it might be unexpected and throw you off your game.
According to Neil Binder of the Bellmarc Group, it’s best to remain neutral whenever possible, especially if you’re asked about a specific issue. “I suggest that buyers attempt to take a very neutral position on political matters by saying that it’s an important issue and you’re still considering the facts," he says.
“I actually guide my clients when I am [instructing them about] getting their reference letters not to get anything that has a political bent to it,” says Feldman.
6. Do you have parties or entertain often?
This question is quite common--and it's not a popularity test. It's a disturbance of the peace predictor.
Tom Stuart of Bond New York suggests saying, “We enjoy having occasional dinners with close friends” and leaving it at that.
7. What do you do in your spare time?
While it seems innocent enough, this question can literally hang you if you give yourself enough rope.
Bateman has three easy suggestions when fielding this one: “Keep it clean, keep it simple, and keep it quiet,” meaning now is not the time to tell the board about your plans for learning the clarinet.
8. Why did you choose this apartment/neighborhood?
“This is an opportunity to be complimentary,” offers Bateman. “Don’t bog down your response with a blow-by-blow description of the 30 apartments that you saw before this one, or that it is the only one you could afford.”
Generally speaking, Feldman agrees. "Don’t let this one encourage you to overshare. In fact, there are times when boards don’t phrase a question as a question, and that can take people off guard. That’s why we always advise clients to be cordial and not chatty,” she explains.
9. Do you have any questions?
While in other forums it is often useful to have questions at the ready as a demonstration of your interest, you really shouldn’t raise them during a co-op interview.
“Boring is good,” says Feldman. “A co-op interview is not a job interview—people do not have to fall in love with you. For instance, when the board asks you if you have any questions, say, ‘None that I can think of right now, but I’ll be sure to get back to you if any should occur.’ It is never about keeping the conversation going, as it often is at a job interview.”
Finally, never ask about the board’s decision at the time of your interview. Instead say something like "We look forward to hearing from you."
The New York Post (12/26/2012) - Just Sold!
The latest info about recent sales - in your backyard and beyond
- Last Updated: 1:31 AM, December 27, 2012
- Posted: 11:38 PM, December 26, 2012
71 Nassau St.
One-bedroom, one-bath condo, 685 square feet, with eat-in kitchen, marble bath and washer/dryer; building features doorman, roof deck, gym and storage. Common charges $835, taxes $280. Asking price $699,000, on market 40 weeks. Brokers: Tom Stewart and Jesse Buckler, Bond New York
UPPER EAST SIDE $2,750,000
435 E. 76th St.
Four-bedroom, three-bath penthouse condo, 2,532 square feet, with keyed elevator, living room with fireplace, kitchen with Viking, Sub-Zero and Bosch appliances, dining room, library, laundry room and landscaped terrace with irrigation system; building features doorman. Common charges $1,834, taxes $2,406. Asking price $2,850,000, on market seven weeks.
Brokers: Kristina Ojdanic, Greg Kammerer and Adrienne Berman, The Corcoran Group
3235 Cambridge Ave.
Two-bedroom, two-bath co-op, 1,250 square feet, with windowed eat-in kitchen, dining area, renovated baths and parquet floors; building features laundry and live-in super. Maintenance $943, 50 percent tax-deductible. Asking price $299,000, on market five weeks. Brokers: Daniel Wright, Halstead Property and Sanjya Tidke, Sotheby’s International Realty
The New York Times (08/25/2012) - On the Market in New York City
On The Market in NYC - The New York Times - August 25, 2012
The New York Times (08/05/2012) - On the Market in New York City
New York Times - On the Market in New York City - August 5, 2012