Downtown Flips: Four of the Biggest Moneymakers of All Time

Posted On Fri, June 13, 2014 By

Posted On Fri, June 13, 2014 By In Features, Manhattan, real estate trends

At any given hour when you turn on a home design television channel you have about a 50% chance of landing on a realty show about flipping houses.  In real life, though, it’s not all hunky property brothers and fairy tale endings; trying to flip a house is a gamble, which is why oftentimes the most successful flippers are those on the inside, like real estate developers and seasoned brokers.

For anyone looking to make a flip, New York is ripe with opportunity thanks to low inventory and a constant race to be bigger and better.  Within the city, Downtown Manhattan is the ripest fruit on the vine.  Full of highly desirable, trendy neighborhoods, it’s a hot bed for investors.  There’s no textbook definition of a flip, but it’s generally thought of as a three-year turnover.  Downtown there have been 58 apartment swaps within the past three years.  We take a look at some of the greatest hits.


20 Greene Street, 6A

20 greene street  - winklevoss twins

No, those are not HGTV stars.  They’re the Winklevoss twins, the internet entrepreneurs best known for winning a $300 million settlement against Facebook, claiming founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea.  This past May the brothers became SoHo residents when they dropped $14.5 million on apartment 6A at 20 Greene Street, a 51% profit for previous owner Justin Ehrlich.  The developer purchased the unit in April 2013 for $9.6 million and undertook a significant renovation.

20 greene street

The 4,300-square-foot triplex apartment has a wrap-around terrace with 360-degree city views, Siberian white oak floors, a gas fireplace with onyx colored Travertine hearth, and a 57-foot gallery wall.  The Winklevosses first saw the swanky space on an episode of Million Dollar Listing, after which their agent offered $13 million, $2 million below the asking price.  Playing hard to get, broker Fredrik Eklund arranged a showing to a group of other agents.  Not to be outbid, the Winklevosses immediately offered up $14.5 million, which was quickly accepted.

The Sequoia, #10

the seqouia

Built in 1987 at 222 West 14th Street, the Sequoia was one of the first luxury buildings at the intersection of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.  A Long Island businessman bought apartment 10E in January 2012 for $1.2 million.  The 2BR/2BA, 1,105-square-foot unit has western and southern exposures, a private balcony, and new walnut hardwood floors throughout.  This year, the property was unloaded for $1.875 million to a Chicago-based buyer, raking in a 56.3% profit.

241 Fifth Avenue, 16B

241 Fifth Avenue 16B

The 20-story NoMad residence at 241 Fifth Avenue was built in 2013 and features 46 condo units.  Apartment 16B was sold to a New Jersey-based buyer in October 2013 for $2,189,238.  The corner 2BR/2BA unit with 1,228 square feet of sleek, modern space sold again just three months later to an Italian businessman for $2,650,000, a 21% profit.  Not too shabby for a 90-day turnaround.

114 Greene Street, #16

114 greene

Built in 1881, this historic cast-iron building at 114 Greene Street has 12 residential units.  Open loft-like floorplans and high ceilings give apartment 16 the quintessential SoHo feel.  The 4,500-square-foot, 4BR/3.5BA unit was purchased by a Nyack, NY-based buyer in October 2012 for $8.9 million.  The savvy investor made a 55.1% return when he sold the apartment 17 months later to a Chicago-based buyer for $13.8 million.

Price Increases Downtown

So, are you planning your new career as a Downtown flipper?  Let us know of any great turnover stories!

[Via CityRealty]

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