For the past decade, the number of Chinese tourists visiting NYC has been on the rise, and of the city’s record-breaking 60.3 million visitors in 2016, more than 950,000 were from China. This is a “sevenfold increase since 2007,” reports the Times, which notes how the city’s tourism department, NYC & Company, is catering to the growing demographic, as they’re spending more freely than visitors from Europe who have seen the value of the euro decrease in comparison to the dollar.
Despite chatter about the luxury market slowing down, 2016 has seen Manhattan real estate prices continue to climb and set records. The average sales price for an apartment (including both co-ops and condos) was $2.2 million, topping the $1.9 million record set last year, according to CityRealty’s newly released Year-End Manhattan Market Report. This is a whopping 91 percent increase from 2006. And things heat up even more in the new development sector, where 1,800 units sold for a projected total of $8.9 billion, a huge jump from last year’s $5.4 billion for $1,464 units.
Even after countless big ticket closings at blockbuster buildings like 432 Park Avenue and The Greenwich Lane, the long-admired Robert A.M. Stern-designed, Zeckendorf-developed 15 Central Park West (15 CPW) remains king. According to CityRealty’s latest CR100 report—an index comprised of the top 100 condominium buildings in Manhattan—units in 15 CPW sold on average for $6,735 per square foot over 12 months, a number that is impressively higher than the index average of $2,824. Tribeca’s Herzog & de Meuron-designed “Jenga tower,” 56 Leonard also made its debut on the latest CR100, clocking an average price per square foot of $2,657.
On this past January 1, the 421-a tax abatement program expired after 44 years in existence. Any new construction permitted before January will still benefit from the program, but many want to know what the expiration of this program mean for new construction? And how will the projects still under the 421-a umbrella use their reduced tax status to promote their buildings? While some experts feel that shutting down the abatement was an action long overdue, many others believe that the program’s end has prompted “a self-created recession.”
It can be a bit frustrating to start getting into a book on your commute when you just as soon have to put it down, which is part of the idea behind a new initiative called Subway Reads, a web platform that offers free e-books to subway riders that can be timed to their commute.
The program is a collaboration among the MTA, Transit Wireless (the company behind the $250 million+ project to put Wi-Fi in 278 underground stations), and Penguin Random House. According to the Times, the platform was launched as a way to promote the fact that connectivity has already reached 175 stations, but it will only last eight weeks. During that time, users can download novellas, short stories or parts of complete books to their cellphones or tablets, and they can make their selections based on how long they expect to be on the train (the formula accounts for about a page a minute).
Cary Tamarkin is the founder and president of Tamarkin Co., an architecture and real estate development company established in 1994 and based in New York City. He worked as an architect exclusively for many years before deciding to go into development. As it turned out, he was able to combine his passion for both architecture and business by designing the buildings he develops.
His notable projects include the renovation of Anderson Cooper’s Greenwich Village firehouse, 10 Sullivan Street, 456 West 19th Street, 508 West 24th Street, which is adjacent to the Highline, and 550 West 29th Street, also near the Highline. His designs use materials reminiscent of old New York, such as industrial steel windows, corbelled bricks, outdoor loggias, and oversized casement ribbon windows, however, he’s not interested in mimicking existing architecture. Nor is he looking to create a “self-contained statement.” Ahead he discusses his career path, his inspirations, and the meld of architecture and development that he balances today.
The closing of Streit’s Matzo Factory last year was difficult for many long-time Lower East Siders to stomach. The factory was a near century-old institution that represented a bygone era untouched by gentrification. Unsurprisingly as a result, the condos designed to rise on the storied site have come under the scrutiny since their debut. But those grievances reveal just one side of the story.
In two fascinating interviews ahead, Cogswell Realty developer Arthur Stern and Gluck+ architect Charlie Kaplan share with us how they approached the redevelopment of the historic building located at 150 Rivington, as well as their inspiration for the glassy new structure that will replace it. The pair also speak about their relationship with Streit family throughout the process, and why the Streit’s departure ultimately had little to do with cost or gentrification.
With CitiBike expanding deeper into NYC’s many neighborhoods and 70-plus miles of new and upgraded bike lanes added this year alone, it comes as no surprise that more and more New Yorkers are taking to the streets on two wheels. However, while things appear to be changing for the better, it may come as a surprise to many that when it comes to bike-friendliness, NYC still lags way behind other urban hubs. Ahead Michael Seth Wexler of Copenhagenize, a Copenhagen-based consulting firm that publishes the world’s bi-annual bicycle-friendly city index, gives us some insight into why New York can’t seem to catch up with other cities, as well as what can be done to foster a safer more inviting space for cyclists.
Michael Phelps took his world record to 21 gold medals last night; Usain Bolt is poised to become the first athlete to win three golds at three Olympics; and Serena Williams (tied with sister Venus) has the most gold medals of any tennis player in the games. To have a little fun with these athletes’ stats, CityRealty.com put together this infographic that shows how long it would take the Olympians to sprint, serve, and swim their way to the top of New York City’s three tallest planned and built residential buildings — the Central Park Tower, 111 West 57th Street, and 432 Park Avenue.
Since opening in 1978, FXFOWLE has grown to become one of New York’s most prolific architecture firms, transforming the skyline with new and updated additions like the slick and sloping 35XV in Flatiron, showstoppers like 4 and 11 Times Square in Midtown, and their conversion of a massive Village medical complex into a luxurious celeb-filled residence called The Greenwich Lane. While FXFOWLE’s designs are most often lauded for their originality and contextual sensitivity, what’s often overlooked is that their work is also firmly rooted in sustainable design. Ahead FXFOWLE senior partner Dan Kaplan talks about how he and his colleagues have for over three decades used green building principles and sustainable design as common practice in New York City, as well as how he feels about the role of “signature style” in architecture today.
In New York City, scoring an apartment ahead of a move usually involves a bit of insider information (eg. you have a friend of a friend of a friend) or jumping into corporate or short-term living situations for a premium. While these options are great in a pinch, they more often than not fall short of ideal. But now, thanks to smartphone apps like FaceTime and Skype, you no longer need to hazily commit to a living situation. These days, more and more brokers are embracing live video as a way to show out-of-town clients potentials digs. Ahead CityRealty.com goes over the pros and cons of using FaceTime to seal the deal on an apartment never seen in real life, as well as the story of two folks who successfully took the plunge.
The latest tower to open its doors in Downtown Brooklyn‘s BAM Cultural District is 300 Ashland, a 35-story, mixed-use tower from Two Trees Management that is offering 300 no-fee rentals. There are currently nine units available with studios starting at $2,850/month, one-bedrooms at $3,300/month and a single three-bedrooms from $5,750/month.
To coincide with the launch, the developer has published an official building website that brings a slew of new renderings, showing off TEN Arquitectos‘ perforated skin and the landscaped public plaza, as well as providing a first look inside the apartments.
There’s only one developer in New York currently tasked with building an entire city neighborhood, and that’s the Related Cos. In 2008, Related embarked on Hudson Yards, a type of project never before tackled in New York—28 acres of apartments, office space, retail, parkland (and a subway stop, to boot) on top of the West Side Railyards in Manhattan. It’s one thing to build all that on Manhattan bedrock; it’s another to build it on a platform designed to top the yards. The impressive scope of the project—considered the largest private development in U.S. history—didn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s the crowning achievement, many might say, of a development firm, and its billionaire founder Stephen Ross, after decades of building and investing in New York.
July is a big month for Deborah Berke, the founder of the New York-based architecture and design firm Deborah Berke Partners. Not only will Ms. Berke become Dean of the Yale Architecture School on July 1st (the first woman to do so in the school’s 100-year history), taking over for Robert A.M. Stern, but her new book, “House Rules: An Architect’s Guide to Modern Life,” will be released on July 12th.
In “House Rules,” Ms. Berke outlines her eight guiding principles for modern living. The principles range from “Property lines do not define a site” and “Any material can seduce”, to “Circulation does more than connect” and “Reckon with tradition.” Berke, a born and bred New Yorker, believes that those principles become even more important with city living.
Recently, CityRealty spoke to Ms. Berke about her big month ahead and her exciting plans for the future.
You’ve certainly heard of LEED and Passive House in architecture, but what about biophilia? For COOKFOX, adding nature to a building and all the elements that surround it is a no-brainer. They strongly believe that humans have a deep, innate connection and love of nature, and in an urbanscape, they only way we can live fulfilled lives is to meld it with the built environment. Ahead, CityRealty catches up with COOKFOX Partner Brandon Specketer, who delves the guiding principles of biophilic design and how his firm is using biophilia to increase satisfaction and health in everything from offices to hospitals to condo apartments.
Following the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and the 2015 ruling that upheld the decision, gay and lesbian couples across the United States have had a lot to celebrate. After years of struggle, gays and lesbians now have the right to marry and along with it, the right to claim benefits long extended to married heterosexual couples. However, as many LGBT activists have pointed out, on other fronts—including housing—the struggle for equal rights continues, even in a city as diverse as New York.
Six months ago when CityRealty released its last CR100 report — an index comprised of the top 100 condominium buildings in Manhattan — One57 surpassed long-time frontrunner 15 Central Park West as the most expensive condo, coming in at $6,010 per square foot, compared to 15 CPW’s $5,726. But this time around, 15 CPW has retaken the crown with an average sales price of $6,039 per square foot over the last 12 months. Coming in second is the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental at $5,956, and One57 falls to third at $5,175, a 13 percent drop over the last year.
CityRealty notes, however, that the Robert A.M. Stern-designed condo may have difficulty maintaining its top spot, as big-time new developments 432 Park Avenue, The Greenwich Lane, and 10 Madison Square West have now made their debut on the CR100.
Image courtesy of CetraRuddy
One architectural name dominating the new development scene is CetraRuddy. Nancy Ruddy and her husband Jon Cetra formed the firm back in 1987, and over the decades that followed the pair built an architectural powerhouse that’s erected countless buildings across the globe. But while their breadth of work touches everything from the educational to hospitality to the cultural, here in Manhattan, it’s their luxurious residential designs that stand out. Ahead, CityRealty catches up with co-founder Nancy Ruddy about a few of CetraRuddy’s more recent residential commissions, as well as what went into designing what might be their most recognizable tower, One Madison.
For good reason, hundreds if not thousands of articles and books have been published on 15 Central Park West, the “Limestone Jesus” designed by famed architect Robert A.M. Stern. This modern icon is credited with not only elevating the New York City luxury market to a level no one before dreamed it could reach, but it has also spurred a slew of copycats around the city and globe with developers hoping to emulate its unprecedented success (it is currently the most expensive building in NYC with apartments priced from $5.4M to $48M).
Ahead Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ partner Paul Whalen discusses why there will never be another building like 15 CPW, and why he still has a hard time containing his excitement for its architecture, interiors and the carefully calculated layout. He says to this day, he still receives letters from residents that read “When I first moved in, I knew it would be an amazing building but I keep discovering qualities of the building I didn’t understand or realize. It takes years to fully appreciate living here.”
The Atlantic Yards (now known as Pacific Park) in Brooklyn where eminent domain was used to take property. Image via Atlantic Yards Report
It has been called the most coercive public policy after the draft. It has also been said that without it, construction in major cities would come to a shuddering stop. What is this powerful, controversial tool? Can both statements be true?
Eminent domain is the policy by which a governmental agency can acquire or “take” property from an owner unwilling to sell in order to build something else there, and it has been around for centuries. Some say it derives from the medieval concept of the divine right of kings, empowered by God the Almighty to be sovereign over all. And by inference, that includes the land, which individual owners occupy and trade at the king’s sufferance. When he wants it back, it is his right to take it. So under eminent domain, all land theoretically belongs to the state, which can assume control at any time.