Saturday, July 30, 2011

What does it cost to live in Noho and what do you get for the money?

In the days to come your friendly broker/blogger will provide profiles of various buildings on Bond Street and the rest of Noho.

The hottest place downtown is a street two blocks long in a neighborhood that only a few years ago nobody ever heard of.

In case you're a little foggy on the exact location, Noho is the area from Houston north to 8th Street, from Broadway east to the Bowery. 

The heart of Noho is the block of Bond Street between Lafayette and the Bowery, where the average selling price per square foot for a condo in the last twelve months is just over $2,000.  The current asking average PPSF is around $2,350.


On the block are eight condos, five co-ops, and one land-lease co-op that does not require board approval for purchase and allows unlimited subletting. 

It's fair to assume that the buildings themselves are home to a large number of boldface types, given that city records show many of them are owned by LLCs, which frequently hide celebrity owners. 

Careful searches of Page Six could probably reveal their names, but I say let’s leave the poor people alone.

40 Bond Street is new construction.  The building is an Ian Schrager project designed by Jacques Herzon and Pierre de Meuron, the starriest of starchitects, whose firm won the Pritzker Prize in 2001 and who designed the Allianz Arena in Munich and the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.


The New Yorker called the design “a shimmery, 21st century version of Soho’s cast-iron facades.....a brilliant scheme.”  

The New York Times Magazine devoted several pages to its design when it opened, and in an article on Schrager himself said the gingerbread that runs along the street level “pays nostalgic reference to the graffiti that once terrified a city.”  

To me it looks like the work of a gigantic, seriously drugged-out spider, but I guess that also references an earlier era in the neighborhood.

The condominium, with 31 units on 11 floors, began closings in 2007.   Since then, selling prices per square foot have averaged around $2,500.  There are currently two active sales listings with average asking prices per square foot of just over $3,000, and two rentals asking annual APPSF of $100. 

Service is way beyond what we normally think of as full.  In addition to the usual, they will provide flower and pet-walking services if desired.  Residents also have guest privileges at Schrager's Gramercy Park Hotel.

41 Bond Street is the newest.  It came to market this past June and six of the seven units are now under contract. The townhouse remains, but apparently  is not yet available for sale as it appears neither in the Stribling database nor on the building's website.

Curbed commented, "A few of our favorite touches: the bluestone for which the building's known is used around the balcony doors to give the apartments' indoor and outdoor spaces a continuous feel. The oak floors have to go through a five-stage process to get to their particular color. And the balconies' concrete was poured so that it looks like planks..."

The newly constructed building houses five full floor units of approximately 2600 sq ft, with three bedrooms and three and a half baths, landscaped balconies and top-of-the line appliances and finishes.  An additional single duplex is 5400 square feet with four bedrooms and four baths.

There is also apparently a townhouse (what developers call a large ground floor apartment, usually with a separate street entrance).

Average price per square foot:  $2,369. 
A full-time doorman/concierge is provided for the seven units, which kicks the common charges up considerably, but a 421A tax abatement keeps the real estate taxes down, at least for a while.   Monthlies average a little over $2 per square foot.

More to come.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Does this mean I live in JEMadSquaPa?

That is, Just East of Madison Square Park?

As reported in, in a survey by the Real Estate Board of New York (12,000 members), “40 percent of the brokers [who responded] reported finding clients more responsive to properties using neighborhood names than to those not including them.”

I have noticed that out-of-towners often think the name Tribeca refers to something mysterious and exotic, when actually it just means Triangle Below Canal Street—quite  mundane. 

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass sounds like where you could go to purchase illicit substances.  DUMBO is much nicer.

SoHa (South Harlem) has a happy connotation for me.  It’s sort of like the neighborhood is saying, “So, ha!  You thought we’d never have shiny new condos and M.A.C. stores.  Well, guess what!”

Some names are designed to gentrify the neighborhood.  It doesn’t always work.  Personally, I’d rather live in Hell’s Kitchen than in Clinton, and I thought the “Hell is Cool” tag line for one development in that neighborhood was brilliant.

Some other names are almost unknown.  I lived in Rose Hill for ten years without ever knowing that was its name. 

Would I have been happier had I thought I was living in Rose Hill rather than at 25th and Second? Naah.  There would still have been a methadone clinic across the street. 

JEMADSquaPa is too hard to spell.  "Near Madison Square Park" is too long.  "Madison Square" would be shorter, but pretentiously British.  Guess I'll stick with "East 20s."

Actually, the neighborhood name reference was a minor part of’s article.  The headline was “Brokers See Slow, Steady Progress for New York Residential Market.”

Definitely hope those brokers are right. 

Here’s the link: 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Madison Green

(The fifth and last building profile in a series on what it costs to live on Madison Square Park and what you get for the money.)

The building:

5 East 22nd Street, a modernist brick condominium building constructed in 1982-1983, was designed by the architectural firms Philip Birnbaum & Associates and David Kenneth Specter. 

Madison Green at 5 East 22nd Street in Flatiron

It offers 423 apartments spread over 31 stories above Madison Square Park.  The building occupies a 28,000 square foot lot bordered by 22nd Street on the south side, Broadway on the west, and 23rd Street on the north.

There are currently three active sales listings, one listing under contract and three active rental listings.  A permanent certificate of occupancy was issued in 1984.

About 100 of the apartments have two bedrooms, and the penthouses have three or four, but most are one bedrooms or studios.

What it costs to live there:

Average price per square foot for the last twelve months was $1,287.  Highest price ever in the building was $3,150,000, or $1,601 PSF for a 22nd floor three bedroom, three bath apartment of 1967 square feet with a balcony. 

Average monthlies are about $1.50 PSF including real estate tax, kept low by the large number of apartments in the building. A 421A tax abatement expired some years ago.

12T11610$770,000 $1,262 5/7/11NO
15T11606$730,000 $1,205 2/2/11NO
21G00611$765,000 $1,252 3/25/11NO
30L11606$995,000 $1,642 3/23/11NO
6F11625$737,000 $1,179 4/26/11BALC
8JK321,967$2,600,000 $1,322 4/11/11BALC
10G11611$715,000 $1,170 4/15/11NO
Average annual rental price is about $59 per square foot, or $4.94 per month.  For a 650 square foot one bedroom on a high floor you’d pay about $3250--$3350.

What you get:

A view.  The good news about Madison Green is that it has views in three directions.  To the north, you’re looking at Madison Square Park and beyond.  To the west, there’s the Flatiron Building.  And to the south you’ve got open views over the Gramercy area.

The bad news is that there are as many as 20 apartments on some floors.  This makes for long, echoing corridors reminiscent of a hotel.

Full service. And the amenities are plentiful.  There’s a bicycle storage room, a garage, a garden, a fitness room, a laundry room on every floor, a common lounge and a common storage room. 

There’s also a Chase ATM.  Early on, this was out in the lobby, adding to the feeling of impersonality about the building, but it has since been moved into its own little closet.

The building’s entrance is on 22nd Street, so to get to the park, you have to walk around the block and cross busy, wide 23rd Street where it meets Broadway and Fifth.  But of course, it’s worth the inconvenience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From farmhouse to penthouse: 141 Prince Street.

Curbed just published a list of the ten highest priced sales so far this year.  The third highest price was for the penthouse at 141 Prince Street, which went for $25,000,000.

I remember when that penthouse was an actual farm, with animals and hay and barn doors and god knows what else.  There was a meditation room in the empty water tower.

My notes from visiting it in 1990 say, “Charming & wonderful.  I patted the ducks & chickens.  But VERY special - it may take years to find a buyer. Also, 2000 of 8000 sq.ft are exterior. At $350/sq.ft including exterior, seems a bit steep.”  Among its later owners were Rupert Murdoch and Elie Tahari.

Other sales ranged in price from  $18,995,000 for a townhouse at 20 East 10th Street  to $48,000,000 for a 6,000 square foot combination at the Plaza.  Four of the sales were downtown, four on the upper east side and two on the upper west side.

Here’s the link to the Curbed posting:

©copyright Confidence Stimpson 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Stanford

(The fourth building profile in a series on what it costs to live on Madison Square Park and what you get for the money.)

The building:

The Stanford, at 45 East 25th Street, is not really quite on Madison Square Park, but it’s only one building away, just to the east of the beautiful and landmarked Appellate Division Courthouse, completed in 1899.

A modernist sliver building constructed in 1986, it was designed by the architectural firm of Liebman & Liebman and, with 42 stories, is the tallest residential structure in the area, not counting the beleaguered One Madison Park (see earlier posts on this).

Originally there were 122 apartments but some have since been combined.  They start on the 8th floor; the lower floors are commercial.  There are currently two active sale listings, two under contract, and one active rental.

The building has a permanent certificate of occupancy. 

What it costs to live there:

In late June, Apt. #32C, a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment of 1500 square feet with park views only from the balconies, closed for $1,797,000, or $1,198/square foot.  Two studios and a one bedroom have also closed in the last year.  Average price per square foot for these was $1,109.  None had park views from the living areas.

Average monthly charges including real estate tax are about $2/square foot.  There is no tax abatement.

Highest sale price in the building to date was $1,995,000, or $1,355/square foot, for a 1472 square foot two bedroom, three bathroom apartment with two balconies and direct park views, which closed in October of 2008 (contract signed pre-crash).  However, PHC is currently under contract with a last asking price of $2,850,000. 

12E10340$440,000 $1,294 12/29/10
16E20340$435,000 $1,279 4/28/11
10C31606$740,000 $1,221 4/26/11
32C5.521,500$1,797,000 $1,198 6/29/11

Average rent per square foot has been an annual $64, but rents vary widely based on the view.  South-facing apartments look squarely at the Metropolitan Life building across the street.  Those with east or west exposures have park and/or river views.  For a 707 square foot one bedroom on a high floor with a direct park view, you’d pay $3600--$3800.

What you get:

Privacy. The biggest advantage the Stanford has over all other buildings on the park (except 50 Madison) is that above the 23rd floor, there are only three units on a floor.  And no floors have more than five units.

Outdoor space.  All units have balconies, and two bedroom (or convertible two-bedroom) units have two balconies.

Views.  From many of the apartments, these are spectacular, and protected by the much shorter landmarked building next door.  The A and B lines have direct park views; you can see the park from the balconies in the C line. 

The B line on higher floors has views of both rivers (although with increased construction on the west side, these are being chipped away), New Jersey and Brooklyn; many of the C line apartments on higher floors have views of the East River.

A full staff.  There’s a 24-hour concierge, several doormen and a live-in super. 

Amenities.  There’s a fitness room in the basement, washers and dryers on even-numbered floors, and a large common outdoor area with fountains just to the west of the building. 

And of course, it’s only a few steps from the always glorious park itself.

©copyright Confidence Stimpson 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You can't make this stuff up.

The following is the VERBATIM (except for names and the address) transcript of an e-mail conversation I had recently with another broker.  I swear this is the actual e-mail exchange. 

OTHER BROKER: May I please show Apt. 10J at 650 East 94th Street tomorrow at 1:20pm to my customer Wilkie.  I left mess for Siim [ed. note: my then partner] as well. Thanks, Claudia J. Wickersham

ME:  Hi, Claudia--the status of that apartment is not entirely clear at the moment.  Will get back to you if it can be shown.

CLAUDIA:  Your associate Bailey just told me to call you to show it.(she told me about the interest / bidding)  Please try to fit us in. He is a very serious buyer who is a cash buyer,lives in the neighborhood and has already lost something else. Please advise asap.  Thanks, Claudia

ME:  Claudia--I'm sorry but I don't know who Bailey is, and what you describe is definitely not the situation at 650 East 94th Street, 10J  I think you have the wrong broker!

CLAUDIA:  I'm so sorry! Someone was talking when I sent that last email and I confused you with someone else! You work with Siim. I emailed you both. Any chance for tomorrow? Mr. Wilkie is a very good buyer. I'll wait to hear.  Thanks, Claudia

ME:  Claudia--I repeat, YOU HAVE THE WRONG APARTMENT.  I'm really sorry, but we are not showing 10J.  To anyone!  Who is Bailey?

CLAUDIA:  Should have been Listing # 6785940

ME:  Sorry, but I don't know what listing that is.  But it's okay.  I don't need to know.

CLAUDIA:  Do you have a two bedroom at 650 East 94th Street,  w/ Listing # 6785940 that I can show tomorrow at 1pm to my buyer?

ME:  Claudia--I have told you several times, NO. I don't mean to be rude, but I can't make it any plainer. NO. Yes, we do have a two bedroom at 650 East 94th Street.  It is 10J.  As I said in the very first e-mail I sent you, its status is unclear and it is not being shown.

CLAUDIA:  Thank you

ME:  You're welcome. 

Then I took four aspirin.

©copyright Confidence Stimpson 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Second quarter reports are in, and the news is good.

(Yes, I know brokers always say that.  This is because when the news is bad, we do as our mothers taught us and don’t say anything at all).

Note that I said “good,” not “fantastic.”

This quarter, the number of sales is up 10.7% over the previous quarter according to a report prepared by Miller Samuels, the appraisal firm.  While there were fewer sales than in the same quarter last year, the 2010 number was inflated by the expiration of the government tax credit.

Average sales price and average price per square foot each showed a 1.6% increase from the same period last year to $1,455,098 and $1,068 respectively.  Median sales price was $850,000.

There are some cautionary notes.   The unemployment rate in New York City in May was still high at 8.6%, as reported by  And loan limits will tighten under new federal guidelines that take effect in October.

“The quarter is a continuation of the stability we’ve been seeing since the middle of last year,” Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Miller Samuel, told Crain’s

Nobody’s saying prices will drop.  But nobody’s saying they’ll rise, either.

Bottom line, if you’re thinking of selling but waiting for the market to go up, you could be waiting a long time. 

©copyright Confidence Stimpson 2011