Volume 21, Number 10 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | July 18 - 24, 2008

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Down in Tribeca, B.P.C.
Downtown residential real estate saw losses in some of the area’s prime neighborhoods, with marked drops in the price of property in Tribeca and Battery Park City over the past year.

According to a second-quarter report from Halstead Properties, the median sales price of a loft in Tribeca was just under $2 million — down 25 percent from $2.65 million in the second quarter of last year. The study, which also looked at loft prices in Chelsea/Flatiron, the Village and Noho/Soho, found Tribeca to be the only neighborhood showing a decrease. However, the median price per square foot at Tribeca lofts dropped only by 5 percent year over year, from $1,222 to $1,161. Noho/Soho lofts saw an increase from $1.8 million last year to $2.4 million this year — a 33 percent spike — or an uptick of $192 for the median price per square foot.

Battery Park City was the only Downtown submarket to record a decrease in the median price of co-op and condo apartments, dropping almost 46 percent year over, from $1.4 million to $780,500. The report noted, however, that last year’s second-quarter figures factored in sales at 30 West St., inflating the overall numbers because of those units’ exceptionally high prices.

Six in at Sinvin
Downtown retail brokerage Sinvin Realty recently bolstered its staff by adding six new agents to its roster, including three on its board of directors.

The boutique brokerage, which has sealed numerous high-profile Downtown deals, including Balthazar restaurant, Dean & DeLuca and Marc Jacobs stores, announced the new hires as part of a planned expansion after co-founder Bruce Sinder’s retirement from the company and subsequent death earlier this year.

The firm mined the new staff from a host of Manhattan real estate firms, including Peter C. Oberlink, former V.P./C.O.O. of Manhattan real estate investment company The Brown Companies; Olga Ousmanova, onetime Metro Spire agent; and Christopher Johnson, Eastdil Secured and CB Richard Ellis alumnus — all new members of Sinvin’s board of directors. The company’s three new associate directors represent a younger group drawn from financial, real estate and consulting backgrounds and educations.

“By adding brokers with a breadth of skill and experience, from hands-on fashion expertise to the highest end of the investment sales market, Sinvin continues to offer an even higher level of service while preserving the culture of and sensitivity to the creative industries and Downtown climate,” said Michael Glanzberg, one of Sinvin’s acting principals, in a statement. Christopher Owles is the other principal.

Babysitters beware
Hotelier Andre Balazs’s luxe FiDi residential venture, the William Beaver House, has introduced a new, voyeuristic feature to its list of amenities: in-house surveillance.

According to its Web site, the development’s new “Beaver Butler” service allows residents to control temperature and lighting, access the building’s concierge service, and keep an eye on their units via an in-residence camera — all on their computers.

The site’s sample fast-motion footage shows a shirtless handyman, a trio of minimally dressed, pillow-fighting females, and a yellow convertible-cleaning blonde —all set to the music of the William Tell Overture, a la a scene from the film “A Clockwork Orange.”

Does Balazs think that recalling Kubrick might improve slumping sales at the upscale, 47-story building? He told the New York Observer this week, which carried a full-page for the Butler featuring the aforementioned bedroom beauties, that with only three-quarters of the development sold, he might consider renting some units out.

Start the bidding
A five-story, mixed-use loft building has hit the market in Tribeca, “one of Manhattan’s most fashionable and expensive residential neighborhoods,” according to a listing from Eastern Consolidated.

The nearly 7,000-square-foot property, located at 428 Greenwich St. near Laight St., includes a ground-floor restaurant tenant as well as 2,000 additional square feet of developable air rights.

“There is immediate residential potential for income from the second floor, and the certificate of occupancy allows for residential use on floors 3-5, which are also currently vacant,” said Eastern Consolidated senior director Marcia Rose Yawitz, who is marketing the property with director Timothy Unich and analyst Jared Toothman, in a press release.

However, an asking price for the building doesn’t appear in the listing, making Mixed Use wonder about the cost in a submarket that “commands the highest rents per square foot for residential space in Manhattan.” None of the three Eastern Consolidated reps were available for comment this week, but our own calculations using recently released price-per-square-foot data for the area would put it at a little more than $8 million. The property is now open to offers.

Mixed Use has been having fun toying with rentometer.com, a Web site that allows users to calculate the details of their New York City residences to compare their monthly rent payments against neighbors in the area.

By entering their address, zip code, current monthly rent, number of bedrooms and number of units in the building, users can see how their apartments rank based on the median price of other properties in the area.

For instance, if a tenant paid $950 a month to live in a one-bedroom in the building at 47 E. Third St. — the current site of a contentious battle between the new owners and longtime rent-stabilized tenants, who pay between about $500 and $1,000 a month — he or she would fall well below the $2,500 median price for that type of unit in the neighborhood.

The site also provides a map that locates the comparison units in the area, so residents can build even more envy from the comfort of their 200-square-foot studios.





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