Upper East Side Development

More developments are planned for the Upper East Side as another luxury condo community will be constructed on E. 86th Street. The deal between Stillman Development International LLC and Sol Goldman Investments paves the way for a 210,000 square-foot residential building.

The condo community on the corner of 86th street and Lexington Avenue will have about 60 apartments. Keeping families in mind, the condos will be built with larger-units. Curbed New York  recently reported that a majority of Manhattan apartments are built with one or two bedrooms. However, it’s no surprise New Yorkers are searching for spacious apartments  as larger luxury condo communities set record prices last year. Amenities have become a selling point where communities are now offering  private fitness centers, personal shoppers, game rooms, and concierge services.

The New York post recently profiled Upper East Side developments including the Azure, developed by Mattone Group and the DeMatteis Organizations, The Charles, at First Avenue and 72nd Street, developed by Bluerock Real Estate and Victor Homes. The 88-unit, 43-story, 50 UN Plaza is set to be completed in December 2014.

“First Avenue is really coming alive,” Paul Saunders told the New York Post. Saunders purchased a four-bedroom home at the Azure luxury-condo community. Saunders says he enjoys the location, as it’s close to the green Carl Schurz Park and three train stations are scheduled to open along Second Avenue.

“I do believe that when the Second Avenue line is open, values are going to go up 25 to 33 percent,” said Upper East Side resident Mark J. Benun to the New York Post. “I’m sure it won’t happen at once; it’ll trickle.”

Luxury Home Sales Rise in New York, London & Miami

London real estate

London property for sale by LondonEstate.com

In 2013, sales for luxury properties remained relatively flat, but real estate sales rose sharply in London, Miami and New York according to a report by Christie’s International Real Estate.

Luxury units in London rose 937 to 5,693 in 2013, while the units sold in New York rose 709 to 4,721 in 2013.  Asking prices are at all time highs as Manhattan’s real estate market continues to heat up as buyers compete with global buyers around the world. National home values are expecting a slowdown of appreciation.

Azure condos developed by the Mattone Group

New York’s Azure condos developed by the Mattone Group

“Many of our buyers are global buyers with homes in other markets across the world,” said Ron Shuffield, CEO of EWM Realty International, the Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate in Miami.

International buyers made up 35 percent of sales in Miami and 40 percent of sales in London. In New York, buyers from foreign markets make up about 30 percent of sales. Luxurydaily.com cites the rise in sales indicates a strong desire for buyers to preserve assets.

According to Christie’s report, luxury buyers have become more picky, expecting homes to come with amenities such as an on-site fitness center, concierge, and housekeeping. The Azure luxury residential building reached over 80-percent sales as its layouts and amenities have attracted buyers. Developed by Carl Mattone‘s real estate and development firm, they cite that combining units and custom layouts are being well received by the market.

The report cites forty-three percent of younger luxury consumers are considering  buying a home in 2014.

West Thames Street bridge enters final stages of approval (maybe)

Final plans for the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge were proposed to some controversy, though it did manage to avoid being delayed again. The primary concern was the decision to install elevators instead of a wheelchair-friendly ramp, with critics stating that nearby outdoor elevators are prone to malfunctioning.

A spokesman for the city stated that the elevators would be more “technologically advanced” than existing machines and that important components would be shielded from the elements. As of now the plans await approval from New York’s Public Design Commission.

The design phase for the project is estimated to cost roughly $2 million, with the following construction phase estimated to be roughly $27.5 million. The bill is to be divided in some fashion between the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).

According to a spokesperson, the BPCA would additionally be responsible for upkeep of the bridge and has so far set aside $7.5 million to go towards the bridge. The BPCA board includes several New York real estate veterans that should bring valuable experience to the table, including Lester Petracca of Triangle Equities and Carl Mattone of the Mattone Group.

While final designs and a detailed construction schedule have not yet been approved, the project seems to have enough momentum and confirmed funding to finally become a reality. Construction is tentatively hoped to start in fall of 2014 with the bridge opening in late 2016.

Newly revealed Liberty Park adds culture to New York Financial District

A pleasant surprise has been revealed on the roof of the World Trade Center vehicle security building. Dubbed “Liberty Park”, the roughly one-acre space sits about two stories above Liberty Street and offers a sweeping view of the World Trade Center memorial and the symbolic new One World Trade Center tower immediately beyond.

Though initial information about the park was well concealed, the Port Authority eventually began giving out details after images of Liberty Park showed up on the website of participating architect Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava is responsible for designing the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that will be located within the new park.

Liberty Park should make a fine addition to the Financial District/Battery Park, an area that is already no stranger to public art and vibrant cultural centers. Individuals who want more venues to explore after Liberty Park will find plenty of offerings in neighboring Battery Park City, another major urban project that has successfully combined commerce and residential areas seamlessly.

It is overseen by the Battery Park City Authority, run by Dennis Mehiel and a board of directors made up of local business success stories such as Hispanics Across America leader Fernando Mateo and Carl Mattone of the Mattone Group. The BPCA website is considered a successful urban experiment, and boasts 36 acres of parks and gardens and has been dubbed the “largest green neighborhood in the world.”

China’s Buyers Investing Abroad in Real Estate

New York City is a hot real estate market among Chinese home buyers according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. is top ranked among Chinese looking to buy homes outside of their country. The article shows screenshots of some New York real estate listings marketing to Chinese buyers on Juwai. The site which posts listings for 53 countries says that more and more people are investing in real estate abroad.

“There’s just a bigger appetite for the U.S., and New York in particular,” said Andrew Taylor, a founder and co-chief executive of Juwai in Hong Kong.

“And what’s changing is that they’re now looking for lower-priced properties instead of just searching for the ultra-luxury homes. People are looking for yield, and they want to diversify out of China. It’s not just the wealthy who are buying: The upper-middle-class are searching for properties under US$1.1 million and the real sweet spot is under US$750,000.”

The U.S. is noted as the overwhelming favorite followed by Australia, The U.K., Singapore and Canada.

New condo prices continue to soar in the New York City housing market as demand continues to drive up the price. Luxury condos such as 10 Madison Square West by The Witkoff Group has reached 60% sold in sales. The Azure luxury residential building by the DeMatteis Organizations and Carl Mattone/Mattone Group announced it reached 75% sold earlier this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that New York City apartments are selling for well over $5,000 a square foot including skyscrapers near Central Park such as One57 and 432 Park Ave.

New York was noted as the most-searched city for Chinese real estate buyers, followed by San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Orange County.