Archive for October, 2012

Forbes Tours One 57 Sales Center

Posted by ricardo on 10/31/2012 | |


All eyes have been on One57 in the last few days after its crane toppled during Hurricane Sandy yesterday.

One57, a 90-story building, centered on Central Park on 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in New York, is slated to become one of the most iconic buildings in the world, let alone Manhattan. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like any damage happened to this beautiful ultra-luxury tower. And, since One 57 is being developed by one of the very best developers in Manhattan, Extell Development Company, we are sure that once the winds die down, this dangling crane issue will be quickly resolved.

Before Sandy, Forbes took a video tour of the One 57 sales center, which is quite an experience. Take a look for yourself.


Source: Forbes


Additional reading:

“What Billionaires Don’t Want You to Know About One 57”

One 57

The Haunted Houses of New York

Posted by ricardo on 10/30/2012 | |


With Halloween just around the corner, horror movie aficionados are busy decorating, buying costumes and decking their halls with cobwebs, grinning lanterns and scattered bones. It’s one thing to have the scariest looking place on the block, but what about owning the real deal? New York has its share of true-life haunted houses. If you are the type to live out your Halloween fantasy, or if you’d just like to know where to avoid, here are some homes that host malevolent ghosts.

Of course one of the most famous New York properties known for its ghoulish history is 112 Ocean Ave, Amityville, NY. The events that transpired in this house of horrors set the stage for the notorious $80 million Amityville Horror movie franchise. Even Eminem has a song about the infamous residence. This attention is not surprising. The story behind it is spine chilling. In 1974, Butch DeFeo and his sister Dawn murdered their mother, father, and two brothers, before brother turned on sister and was jailed for the crimes. It was a grisly travesty, which is said to have summoned demonic possession of the house. Subsequent owners, the Lutz family, bought the house 13 months later for what they thought was a deal, at $80,000. Their luck soon turned when they began to experience what they claimed were otherworldly horrors, such as voices screaming out, chills, green slime on the walls, mysterious odors, swarms of flies in the rooms, and the supernatural possession of their family by evil spirits. A priest was called in to exorcise the demons. But after 28 days, they fled. The Lutz’s ghost stories sold ten million paperbacks, but haven’t helped the property value much. Even after changing house numbers, in May 2010, the house on 108 Ocean Ave, Amityville, N.Y. sat on the market for 70 days before being sold for $950,000, a fraction of its asking price. Interestingly enough, hundreds of curious onlookers came out to see the house on moving day.

For $1.3 million, you can buy yourself one of the most eerie haunted mansions in Staten Island. The property was the last remaining remnant of a tragic immigrant brick empire when developer Isaac Yomtovian bought it for $1.4 million, twelve years ago. The original Kreischer family fell victim to fires, tragic deaths, infidelity and even murder before they faded, almost, from memory. An immigrant himself, Yomtovian sought to rebuild the once storied history of the family who owned it by carrying out beautiful restorations, which cost him two years of his life and nearly $1 million. But as soon as he had salvaged the home from its former darkness, a new horror loomed. A caretaker for the mansion, Joseph “Joe Black” Young murdered a man on the property, and the place has been thought of as haunted ever since. Despite the financial damage, the home has gained some notoriety of another kind. The pilot of Boardwalk Empire was filmed there.

There is a certain fascination with haunted houses that has held the test of time. People still get spooked at the idea of ghosts in their home. The mere mention of spirits can be enough to deter buyers, just as the number 13 does not appear in most elevators. However, when buying luxury homes in Manhattan, sometimes this shroud of gloom is tucked away from the public, or more likely, the foreign investor, only to be discovered once the home has been sold.

It’s a classic case of buyer beware. Sometimes the true value of a property is more sinister than the culmination of location, square footage and number of rooms. It pays to have in-depth local knowledge when buying luxury homes in Manhattan, New York or elsewhere. Digging deeper than the unbelievable price may just unearth a few graves.

Happy Halloween!


Staten Island House Of Horrors

Appeal Of The Haunted House

Amityville Murders



Multi-Millionaires With Landlords – Renting As A Stop Gap

Posted by ricardo on 10/27/2012 | |



If you are a Miami real estate tycoon, the whole idea of renting can seem a little ridiculous at first blush. Renting is not for the high-end luxury buyer. Or is it? Playing the luxury real estate market in Miami is no different than playing the stock market in New York. Prices ebb and flow. If you can sense that there is going to be a short-term dip in the market, why not sell, and then rent as a temporary stop-gap before buying back into the market for profit?

The rental market in Miami is decreasing as property values skyrocket. It is getting more expensive to rent as fewer and fewer spaces become available. Rentals were down 3 percent in the third quarter, with a 10 percent increase in the median lease rate. There were only 625 total properties leased in the third quarter, compared to 645 in 2011 Q3.

This is a growing concern for a large section of the Miami population, but not for the multi-millionaire making a brief pause to wait out a temporary boom until prices stabilize. For the affluent renter, the few thousand extra spent on six months of rent is a drop in the bucket compared to a swing of even 10% on their Miami luxury homes. Waiting for the right moment to strike can save a smart investor millions. It is not unheard of to sell and then re-buy a piece of luxury real estate in the same building at a lower price after a dip in the market, pocketing a few million when prices re-stabilize: Just for spending a couple months in someone else’s pool.

When rents climb at the same rate as property values, it is a sign of a healthy market. When there is too great a discrepancy between a mortgage value and the monthly rent, such as in California in 2007, analysts take that as a warning of a potential crash. Miami luxury homes are currently going through a swift recovery, and prices have seen double-digit growth in the last few months. If you are the careful type, waiting for the tide to crest in a nearby luxury suite could be a good way to assess the neighborhood before committing.

Even students are getting in on the action. Wealthy university students are now renting high-end temporary accommodations, eschewing dorm life and cafeteria food for gourmet chefs and poolside studying. These new units are known as “cottage communities” and there are 35 currently in place across the United States, with nearly 19,000 beds. Amenities include yoga studios, tanning beds, stainless steel appliances, nine-foot ceilings, and no neighbors above. There are 18 more slated for construction in the coming year, with roughly 12,000 more beds.

As renting becomes a reality for even the affluent, it opens up doors for luxury homeowners, especially those with multiple dwellings, to create added capital by renting to their multi-millionaire cohorts.



For further reading:

Manhattan Rents Surge

Luxury College Rentals

Rents Rise In Miami

Renting Before You Buy





How To Meet Your Billionaire Neighbors

Posted by ricardo on 10/23/2012 | |


Manhattan living involves being surrounded by actors, industry leaders, Russian oligarchs, billionaire foreign ministers, baronesses, and influential members of the media. However, there is more to owning luxury real estate in New York than simply celebrity-spotting. Unlike Hollywood stars locked away in Malibu mansions, the billionaires of Manhattan merge, undisturbed, on the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue. They share your lobbies, parks, and schools. They are the people in your neighborhood, and you can get to know them, with time.

Who are some of the billionaires in Manhattan’s wealthiest neighborhoods?  With a massive influx of foreign capital, they are neither as rare, nor as reclusive as they once were. Many of the billionaires who bought seven of the top 11 floors of One 57 kept their identities a secret for some time. Lately, however, a few names have been revealed to the media. Two of them are known to be close friends, fashion tycoons Lawrence S. Stroll, of Quebec, and Silas K. F. Chou, a native of Hong Kong. Just around the corner, on 22 E. 71st Street, the prime minister of Qatar is moving in, along with his fifteen children. Down the street, Steve Wynn has bought his multi-million dollar penthouse. The Russian oligarch owner of the $88 million dollar penthouse enjoys the same warm breeze as the rest of Manhattan in sunny Central Park.

In social psychology there is a phenomenon called residential propinquity. It is based on theories of interpersonal attraction. According to the studies, the closer your physical proximity to someone, and the more often you see them, the more likely you are to form a bond with them. It could be a friendship. It could be a romantic relationship. For instance, those living on the same floor have a higher propinquity than those on opposite floors. Studies on propinquity have also found that those who live closer to stairways and elevators have more friends than those living further away from the common meeting places. It has to do with the mere exposure effect and the idea that the more you see someone else, the greater your chance of getting to know them, and ultimately liking each other.

When you own luxury real estate in New York, you are part of a select club of integrated high net worth individuals. These billionaires can afford private islands, and many of them do, but they live New York for the same reason as you, to experience the parks, shows, art, and most of all, the people, in the greatest city that the world has to offer. These are the industry leaders and tycoons you rub shoulders with when you set your sights on the world’s most impressive apartments. By proximity alone, there will be casual encounters with the men and women who normally grant an audience to only the most esteemed global leaders. Everywhere you turn you will find powerful business connections, and opportunity, if you take it.


For more reading:

One57 Billionaire Suites

What Billionaires Don’t Want You to Know About One 57

Two Billionaires Revealed

Tony Blair and the PM of Qatar

Definition of propinquity




What Chavez Means To Miami

Posted by ricardo on 10/23/2012 | |


Recently, the French election changed the face of real estate in London and New York, as wealthy investors fled what they considered a dangerous new time, and tax, for the French elite. In Argentina, the newly re-elected Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent investors, along with their American dollars, escaping into Miami. Now, with the Chavez winning his election in Venezuela, it is looking like there will be a greater flight of capital to Florida once again. Let’s look at some other pivotal elections coming up in the next year and see if we can use them as a crystal ball for Manhattan or Miami real estate.

Chavez will be in power for another six years. This is daunting news for the wealthy citizens of Venezuela, and impetus enough for them to leave with what American dollars they have. Wealthy foreign investors will be looking for a safe haven for that money, and with its similar climate, language, and welcoming nature, Miami makes for a likely place to invest. Miami luxury real estate has been changing hands with South Americans sight unseen. And most of the residences are being bought with cash. There are even rental initiatives in place, so they can recoup some of their mortgage while they are still in their mother country.

Venezuelans will be expected to request entry under the United States’ EB-5 visa program. However, there are many realtors that are happy to help provide immigration lawyers for this service. A part of the program grants new immigrants two-year visas provided they invest at least $500,000 in businesses in rural or high unemployment areas, creating ten jobs. With the visas comes ownership. Venezuelans are the biggest foreign investors in Miami real estate, accounting for 15 to 16% of foreign clients, with Chavez back in power, many Miami realtors believe that this number will increase even more.

Knowing a new boom is on its way, Miami realtors can brace for an influx of foreign capital, and savvy investors can buy early enough to precede the rise. Looking around the world, we are soon to see elections in the Baltic States of Europe: Slovenia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Romania. However, the big one will be the Italian election in April 2013, and the Germany elections September 2013. If the policies and discontent between the classes is as pronounced as it is in France, you can expect to see a huge influx of Euros in the coming year.



For more information:

Venezuela Flight of Capital

European Election Schedule




How Does Manhattan Influence The Imagination?

Posted by ricardo on 10/23/2012 | |


Is your spouse a blossoming artist? Perhaps your daughter is dancing on the fringes of fame? Maybe your own talents have not been fully actualized. What any gifted auteur needs is a city to inspire: an enchanting canvas with a history for grooming the greatest minds.

The prospect of moving to a foreign land is much more appealing knowing the life-changing potential of Manhattan.

Time and again, Manhattan has been the tipping point to greatness. And it could be just what your family needs to find an opportunity, an audience, or the connections to take their craft to the next level.

Salvador Dali. Andy Warhol. Jackson Pollock. Many famous creative types have made Manhattan their home after finding modest success overseas, or in other parts of the country. How did living in one of the most vibrant places on earth, and an epicenter of the arts, affect their creativity?

Dali had his first visit to New York in 1934. So enamored was he by the city that he returned to the United States in 1940 to evade the war in France. He lived in New York for eight years. He held a series of surreal exhibitions and had many famous friends. The vibrant art scene all around his Manhattan apartment inspired him to put down the brush and pick up the pen, and even try his hand at films with Alfred Hitchcock. According to Robert and Nicolas Descharnes, “he never stopped writing” during this time. His works included an autobiography, a novel about fashion for cars, and catalogs for his gallery showpieces.

Pollock exploded into international fame when he first arrived in New York. Although too volatile to live in a Manhattan apartment by himself, he was able to take his career to new heights thanks to invaluable connections within the New York art scene.

Warhol went from modest success as a commercial painter to becoming the father of Pop Art. The catalyst was New York City. He needed to surround himself with other wildly inventive minds that could only be found in New York. He soon converted his Manhattan apartment into a ‘factory’ where he had artists from all walks working around the clock to produce cutting-edge masterpieces.

When you talk to your Manhattan realtor, ask them what they know about the history of a neighborhood. What inspiration struck Warhol in this building? Are there landmarks that you can draw your own inspiration from? Are there places you can bring your family to fill them with wonder and pride that they have moved to one of the greatest, and most dynamic cities in the world?

Many famous artists, writers, actors, directors and socialites have had their life changed from living in New York. Owing real estate in Manhattan meant everything to them. Dali’s painting, Manhattan Skyline was just stolen (and returned) to a Manhattan gallery. It is appraised at $150k. Andy Warhol can attribute his acclaimed Manhattan ‘Factories’ to where he generated more than just art, but movements. One just needs to look at modern stars like Madonna and Bono, to see how living in Manhattan changed the course of their artistic direction.

The catalyst for artistic greatness is also known to Manhattan realtors, armed with this knowledge, you can inspire the heart of even the most homesick artistic teen.



Andy Warhol’s Manhattan Home

Artists’ Addresses In NYC

Dali in New York

Dali’s Spellbound




What Does That Payday Loan Store Really Mean?

Posted by ricardo on 10/20/2012 | |


The type of new business development in your area can be indicative of the future property value changes. If you are starting to see pawnshops, liquor and gun stores, massage parlors, and payday loan offices spring up, it might be time to toss in the towel and sell before the neighborhood goes south.

Conversely, if you are starting to see more parks being built, seedy buildings being torn down and replaced with cultural landmarks, movie theatres, upscale restaurants, and artistic monuments – you might be looking at an area on the rise.

Times Square in Manhattan was once one of the sketchiest neighborhoods in New York City. Littered with adult shops, peep shows, and unsavory characters, property values were depressed. Alphabet City had a violent reputation, and the cheap bars and pawnshops that peppered the streets helped to keep the price of real estate low. The same can be said for the meatpacking district, and industrial areas of the city. Smells, sounds and sordid smoke from factories kept the well-heeled neighbors away.

Now, Alphabet City is a center of cool. Imagine that Avenue D was once known as Avenue Death. Once a place of litter and gangs, today it is host to franchise extensions such as Westville, Fonda, and the Citizens Brigade Theatre. Likewise, the Lower East Side and, in particular, the Bowery, which has been referred to as skid row for much of the 20th century, has seen gentrification, making it a very desirable area with upscale boutiques and trendy restaurants.

There is a natural progression to gentrification, and a smart investor can follow the patterns. When thrift stores, antique shops and pizza parlors start getting replaced with clothing boutiques and trendy bars, expect luxury real estate to be on the heels of a neighborhood in flux. The same can be said for the opposite effect. When liquor stores, pawn shops, and payday loan stores begin creeping into a once affluent area, you can be sure that your investment may be in a tailspin. Keeping an eye on the businesses in your area is an important precursor to changes on the horizon.

New York hasn’t always been the utopian paradise that it is today. It used to be a notoriously dangerous place. Most of the crime and homelessness in Manhattan was resolved in Giuliani’s heyday with a simple theory: Repair broken windows, and paint over graffiti as soon as it happens. People act differently in an unkempt environment. They perpetuate the disorder.

When things are nice, and people seem to care, it has a snowball effect. The vandalism actually stops, and crime goes down. Property values soar. But it only takes one small slip – like a payday loan store opening its doors across the street from your apartment – to reverse the trend from your favor.


See also:

Broken Window Theory

Alphabet City Evolves

Meatpacking District | West Chelsea Real Estate For Sale




New Development Highlight: 200 East 79

Posted by ricardo on 10/20/2012 | |


New construction in the prime Upper East Side is extremely rare west of Second Avenue. 200 East 79th Street, however, is a welcome addition to this prime area of the Upper East Side in New York. Rising at the corner of East 79th Street and Third Avenue, CentraRudy architects have taken advantage if its ‘big’ corner location.

Residences will be thoroughly contemporary throughout with classic touches like panel oak flooring and white wood kitchen cabinetry. The building’s façade is covered in limestone, bronze and aluminum, reflecting the historic Upper East Side, while still being 100% contemporary.

The building’s facade is covered in limestone, bronze, and aluminum, and reflects the historic Upper East Side architecture while still being 100% contemporary. Large windows and large living spaces define the building. Three to five bedroom apartments range from 1,920 sq. ft. and 5,100 sq. ft. The building is slated to have a slew of amenities and anticipated to be completed by mid-2013.

Developed by Skyline Developers, who also brought us the award winning Peter Marino building, 170 East End Avenue, 200 East 79th Street is being exclusively marketed by Stribling Marketing Associates.



Manhattan Is For the Birds… (Dogs And Cats Too)

Posted by ricardo on 10/20/2012 | |


Being a pet owner can be a labor of love. It’s not always easy to find a building that will take you and your animal companions. Strict no pet policies in some new condos, a lack of nearby pet-friendly amenities, and hostile neighbors can make moving into a new home with Fido a tricky feat. For those who seek the best of both worlds, luxury real estate in Manhattan and the freedom to have pets, it is good to know that there is help out there. You only need to see all the dog dishes under the tables on Amsterdam Avenue to know that pets are loved dearly in Manhattan, you just need to know where.

There is nothing worse than having your poor pet pace the shiny floors of your luxury apartment, or get into your furniture, while you are away at work or running errands. To address the needs of the wealthy professional, Manhattan offers a host of day cares and activities for pets to enjoy when you’re busy.

To take a quick tour of pet friendly Manhattan, our first stop is The Spot Experience on West 72nd Street. This doggy day care is a place where dogs can spend the day sunning, running, napping and visiting other doggy friends. On staff there are trainers, handlers, walkers, groomers and even pet psychologists to ensure that your dog gets the pampering it deserves. The environment is as Zen as possible, with the goal of being completely bark-free. The Spot Experience opens at the crack of dawn and also welcomes furry friends on weekends and evenings.

Visitors from other countries will be amazed at how pet friendly Manhattan can be. There are whole websites devoted to restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with your dog. According to, there are 282 restaurants in New York where you can dine with your dog. Central Park is an amazing place to take your pet for a walk, or spend the afternoon playing fetch. There are courses you can take to learn how to make your own home cooked pet food. In Manhattan, there are even lavish weddings for pets.

Well-to-do New Yorker Wendy Diamond hosted the world’s most expensive wedding ever held for a pet. Ms. Diamond is the editor of Animal Fair magazine, and when her dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decided that a celebration of her life was in order. Lucky, the dog, will be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most expensive pet wedding, an event valued at $140,000. Everything from the music to the flowers to the dresses were donated, however, so the event didn’t actually set Ms. Diamond back at all. And Lucky is still looking for her groom.

In some cities, like Hong Kong or Beijing, it is very uncommon to see people with pets any bigger than a goldfish. Eastern cities are not quite comfortable with the idea of having pets amidst their luxury towers. However, in Manhattan, pets are welcome wholeheartedly, even in the most expensive areas, as long as you know where to look.



For more information:

High End Puppy Palaces

Wendy Diamond’s Pet Party



The Millionaires’ Secret

Posted by ricardo on 10/20/2012 | |


When you have a secret fishing spot, you don’t tell other people about it. It’s the unwritten rule. The same applies with investing. Millionaires have been keeping a secret source of wealth under their hats for years. Somehow word got out. The billionaires caught wind, and it was only a matter of time before they wanted a piece of the action too. It goes without saying that when billionaires move in, that a secret is a really good one.

Manhattan luxury real estate has been a gold mine for the millionaires who have bought in and won big. For years, they watched $5 million homes turn into $20 million palaces, all while enjoying the world’s most amazing lifestyle. There is nothing like making millions every year just by listening to ice rattle in a scotch glass while watching the sunset over Central Park.

Now, billionaires are upping the ante, and it’s boosting values across the board. According to a report by Stribling & Associates, the Manhattan real estate market is no longer focused on the $5 million price range. The greatest increase is in homes priced between $5 million and $20 million.

Investors see the New York market as a safe haven to store capital, which is perfect for foreign buyers from Europe, South America and Asia. The increase of sales has increased the feeling of safety with luxury real estate in Manhattan.

At the peak of the housing boom, the $40 million home was the new $20 million home. After the crash, interpretations flip-flopped, with some claiming $20 million was the new $40 million. Now, with billionaires from Russia, China and Canada entering the market, the $80 million home is the new $20 million home. With the addition of One 57 and the soon to be released 432 Park Avenue, there appears to be no signs of slowing down.

In the last year, the highest priced condo sold for $88 million in a market that currently has a dozen Manhattan homes priced above $50 million. The Penthouse at One 57 has been reported as selling for over $90 million. Accordingly, the super rich have found one of the most desirable cities to invest in. Their demand for suitably extravagant real estate is boosting prices while number of available properties is quite limited.

The secret may be out, but to know what billionaires do is never a bad thing. While they bid for the limited space of the super towers, there are still plenty of $5 million to $20 million fish in the sea.


For further reading:

What Billionaires Don’t Want You to Know About One 57

$80 Million Manhattan Homes

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