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professional: real estate development & brokerage—how we do business, how it's changing, and why.

November 2, 2013

New York's streets? Not so mean any more

This TED talk highlights some of the many changes in traffic flow and transportation we've seen about town in recent years. Making New York City a better place to live.

As commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan is responsible for the smooth running of a New York that hides in plain sight... the streets, highways, bridges, signs and lights that make up the bustling metropolis.

Janette Sadik-Khan was appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation in 2007. For six years, she managed nearly 5,000 employees and was responsible for the operation and management of some 6,300 miles of streets throughout the city's 5 boroughs. Despite her access to a budget of some $2 billion, Sadik-Khan adopted a designer's approach to urban innovation: rapid testing and regular iteration. In other words, try an idea to see if it would work; if it didn't, try something else, no harm done. In Times Square, an iconic New York City location visited by 350,000 people every day, this involved the creation of pedestrian zones by painting the asphalt and putting up some lawn chairs. The success of the approach allowed her to create 50 pedestrian zones throughout the city, in the process repurposing 26 acres of space previously allocated to cars. In 2013, she helped to introduce the instantly-popular Citi Bike bicycle-sharing program to the city, making New York one of the cycling capitals in the United States.

June 18, 2012

Time Lapse Video: 30-Story Building Built In 15 Days

What can you accomplish in 360 hours? The Chinese sustainable building company, Broad Group, has achieved another impossible feat - building a 30-story tall hotel in 360 hours.

March 6, 2012

Building Sold! 12 West 104th Street at Central Park West

facade_orig-300x452.jpg headroomI'm pleased to announce that I've closed a deal for a 16 unit apartment house on West 104th Street right off Central Park West.The seller had his choice of eight offers on the property. Selling close to asking price, with an all cash buyer. My office at Corcoran specializes in the marketing of small buildings, including multi-family and mixed-use properties. Starting with owner's advisory services and local market intelligence; then driving that into a real marketing strategy with true global reach.

I achieve these kinds of results for my sellers by pricing correctly, co-brokering openly, and negotiating with discipline. But I provide them with a unique edge on their business with my office's unique design and marketing capabilities. It's where real estate agency meets advertising agency. Delivering essential information to decision makers, putting it in context, and using the language of design to speak about quality, in ways that words and numbers alone cannot. It helps my clients' properties stand out from the crowd, attracting attention and bidders. Dedication to my client's success has consistently ranked me in the top 1% of our agents nationally. If you are considering selling a property, please contact me to find out how much I can achieve for you.

See this listing: 12 West 104th Street

February 17, 2012

Home staging tips from Open House NYC

architecture and designIn this Tips of the Trade segment from Open House NYC, stager Cathy Hobbs gives us a common sense walk-through on the importance of properly presenting a property for sale. Staging on my exclusives can range from working with me to make recommendations on painting, and tweaking the placement of your furniture— to more industrial strength work with professionals, who are able to create the aura of a complete home, with furniture, linens, and tooth brushes, in an otherwise vacant apartment; and all points in between. Turning it into an attractive product for sale, by neutralizing the owner's imprint on their home, into a place that your buyer can imagine themselves living in. There are some tips worth watching in here.

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October 17, 2010

Catching my breath in the New York Times

The New York Times headroombreathing roomI was thrilled to find myself quoted in today's New York Times Real Estate cover story by Jake Mooney, on a subject that I've been contemplating a bit since representing and selling my recent exclusive at 171 Duane Street on Duane Park in Tribeca; which is a tiny vestige of an old Dutch farm, and the city's second oldest park. The Times was interested in finding out more about living on these tiny public spaces and New York’s Tiny Squares Offer Breathing Room, or simply "Breathing Room" in the print edition is the result. My quotes seemed to help set the tone of the article:

Peter Comitini, a vice president of the Corcoran Group, said the appeal of places like Duane Park in TriBeCa, where he recently sold a three-bedroom co-op unit, was largely visual.

“It creates a little more room to breathe between you and the next closest building,” Mr. Comitini said, “and I think that has value right there.”

Besides interesting locations — squares tend to be in places where the urban grid breaks down, like Greenwich Village, the Upper West Side near Broadway and Lower Manhattan — Mr. Comitini said units near squares had built-in advantages.

“They offer greater light and views, and those are things that are at a premium in the city,” he said. “The stuff that doesn’t sell is the stuff that faces a dark shaftway in the back, and this is the polar opposite of that.”

In the course of the interview I spoke to them about the value and sense of ownership that locals take in these smaller, neighborhood parks. Duane Park's land was bought from Trinity Church for $5 in 1797, an investment that is beloved by the neighborhood to this very day. I like my colleague Lee Zimmerman's quote on people's relationship to these spaces, that becomes an eloquent final word on the story, “It’s not Central Park; it’s not Prospect Park; it’s not Battery Park,” he said. “You kind of lose yourself in those kinds of parks. In the smaller parks, you find yourself.”

read the full story on The New York Times: Breathing Room

read more about the history of Duane Park in Tribeca: Friends of Duane Park

January 30, 2010

Coop application foiled by Facebook page

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes pictures lie. But the secret to passing a Board's scrutiny is to appear completely uncontroversial. It's a simple lesson, in today's wired world of social networks, potential buyers and their agents, need to review the online presence of the applicants, and edit where needed.

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January 17, 2010

manhattan market equilibrium?

Has the Manhattan residential real estate market found its footing again? Corcoran's entire Manhattan market report is available for download here now. It has in-depth metrics on sales activity in the fourth quarter of 2009 and compares them to a year earlier.

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June 4, 2009

I'm ranked in the top 2% nationally!

I learned this week that I have been once again ranked in the top 2% of my company's real estate agents nationally! NRT is the parent company of The Corcoran Group, CitiHabitats, Sothbey's Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, and Century 21— with over 54,000 agents.

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March 9, 2009

Making the best of the Manhattan real estate market

It is painful to see some sellers making decisions which will hurt them in the short run. Pricing their homes too high, in a declining market, and not closing the deal, means that you are going to be chasing the market down and quite possibly selling even lower in a few months.

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January 21, 2009

podcast: Economists to Obama; Get the Government out of the Banking Business

From our friends at Wharton comes this interview with professor Richard Herring who serves as a co-chair on the Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee, a group of economists, former regulators and lawyers. It contains astute observations about the problems with transparency among the financial institutions that have failed, had shotgun marriages, or are teetering on the brink.

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December 31, 2008

That resilient New York City

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser focuses on the historic resiliency of New York City in hard economic times, which he attributes to its ability to attract talented people, and the density in which we live. He puts his faith into the free exchange of ideas and the process of reinvention through innovation.

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December 11, 2008

The Son Also Rises: Donald Trump, Jr., on Real Estate Opportunities in Emerging Markets

Back in the heady days of the real estate boom, property prices in New York City soared along with those in the rest of the U.S. When the subprime mortgage crisis hit and prices collapsed, the city's market held out longer than others -- for two reasons. First, it is a major financial center with strong demand; and second, the weak dollar made it possible for international buyers and investors to find deals at discounts as high as 40%. Where will the New York market be in 2009? Where are the most attractive deals to be found in emerging markets? In a podcast recorded at the Knowledge@Wharton Real Estate Forum on Emerging Markets on December 2, Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization, speaks about those questions and more. He also discusses how he views his unique contribution to expanding the Trump brand overseas, building on the foundation laid by his famous father.

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November 28, 2008

The Fairness Issue: Coping with the Flood of Foreclosures

Is the cavalry coming to rescue troubled homeowners? Despite soaring foreclosure rates, President Bush and other Republicans have not made this a top priority. But this could soon change: President-elect Barak Obama and fellow Democrats say reducing foreclosures is crucial to attacking the financial crisis. As one expert notes: "The financial sector weaknesses all originate in the housing market. If we don't solve the housing problem, then the weaknesses in the financial sector are going to continue to multiply."

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September 21, 2008

20/20's astigmatism

ABC's 20/20 was quick to run with a story last week, "The Fall of the Gilded Age". No doubt that Manhattan real estate, which has been largely spared from the real estate downturn, and fueled by Wall Street salaries, would be looked at in this segment. A well known NYC agent was on camera saying, "Because a month from now, that same $5 million apartment may be lucky to achieve $3.5 million" and that the average $5 million apartment has already lost 20 percent of its value. But no matter where you stand, buyer, seller, broker, or even bubble blogger, the claim simply doesn't hold up.

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July 3, 2008

Manhattan real estate market trends report

The Corcoran Group has just released the second quarter 2008 sales figures on the Manhattan real estate market. Today I'm posting a market wide snapshot and you can download the full Q2 2008 Corcoran Report [1.3mb pdf] here too. The big picture is that the market did have strong gains with the overall median price increasing 13%. Co-op sales posted across the board gains too. In my opinion co-ops are the leading indicator of the overall health of the Manhattan real estate market, as they represents about 80% of the city's housing inventory being traded by individual owners, at arms-length. By that standard the housing market here seems to be holding its own, even as the nation experiences an unprecedented correction in values.

continued »

June 30, 2008

Podcast: the risks of ignoring risk

Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel says in this interview that the subprime crisis was both predictable, and grossly underestimated at first, in its impact on the economy. He also says that bubbles are something which cannot be easily avoided from time to time in a free market economy; and that we are nowhere in the kind of free fall which produced the Great Depression. With commentary from Peter Comitini on the Manhattan marketplace and why it has remained largely insulated so far.

continued »

June 27, 2008

How risky mortgages and exotic securities, brought us to brink of recession, while no one looked too closely

The drive to securitize mortgages combined with deregulation were key triggers of the credit crisis, says Wharton finance professor Susan Wachter. he explains how complex securities products with a lack of standardization, and where the profits were based on fees rather than trading on the inherent risk in the products themselves, has put the health of the economy at risk.

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June 23, 2008

video: Todd Sinai on Home Values

In our second installment of "Inside the Credit Crisis" from the Wharton School, professor Todd Sinai talks about changing consumer attitudes. he says "Don't think of your house as an investment comparable to savings or a stock portfolio".

continued »

June 20, 2008

video: Inside the credit crisis

We'll be featuring selections from a special report "Inside the Credit Crisis: How Wall Street alchemists, ambitious lenders, overreaching consumers, and enabling lawmakers pushed the economy to brink of recession and how to avoid a repeat"; produced by our friends at the Wharton School and writer Jeff Brown. This is the introduction and overview.

continued »

June 11, 2008

Manhattan Green Buildings List

Brokers may eventually describe the city's buildings as "pre-green" or "post-green". Rising awareness of factors such as global warming, rising fuel costs, and conservation, are reshaping the marketplace. In New York City we are seeing development of the first wave of LEED certified apartment houses.

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January 29, 2008

Four Seasons condo tower adds to the downtown skyline

The tallest residential tower to be built downtown, will be at 99 Church Street at the crossroads of Tribeca and the Financial District. Developer Larry Silverstein announced that the property would be operated by luxury hotelier The Four Seasons as their second New York City location, just at the edge of the World Trade center site. Built on the site of the 11 story former home of Moody's (now tenants at Silverstein's 7 World Trade Tower) the lower half of the building will house a 175 room Four Seasons Hotel with the remainder dedicated to 143 private condominium residences of up to 6500 square feet, with hotel services.

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January 25, 2008

The Corcoran Report 2007 Year End Wrap-up

Now available for download is the 2007 Year End Corcoran Report. It's a snapshot of the past year's tends in residential Manhattan real estate. It shows that sales continued to demonstrate strength last year, especially in luxury properties.

continued »

January 24, 2008

Corcoran and Curbed at Inman Connect

This talk about the marketplace, technology and brokerage practice was one of the many highlights at the InmanConnect Conference held earlier this month in New York City was this segment, with three of the most informed people working in the world of real estate, Lockhart Steele, founder & publisher of, Pam Liebman, president & CEO of my affiliated brokerage The Corcoran Group; and moderated by InmanNews founder Brad Inman, who helped keep the discussion lively. Enjoy!

continued »

January 15, 2008

Why build green properties?

I get to sit in the editor's chair today as we welcome Lexington Blood posting his debut entry here on Lex gives us some insight into why real estate development is going green. I had a customer ask to see only green buildings for the first time this week, a sign to me that consumer sentiment may be transforming right now. A better understanding of green buildings will lead to greater consumer demand, and change that can be sustained in the marketplace too. The benefits of green development are something that we'll be looking at on even more so in the future. There is a lot to gain for everyone.

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January 9, 2008

80-20 is out. What will co-ops gain from the new rules?

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 contains a provision which specifically affects co-operative housing by changing the criteria to qualify for co-op status known as the "80/20 rule". The rule used to mean that co-operative buildings were required to get 80% of their income from tenant-shareholders, and could not show revenue of more than 20% from other sources, like collecting commercial rents on retail or office space in the same building. Under the new law almost all NYC co-ops look like they will qualify under one of these new criteria.

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