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Mentioned in this Article:
Stephen G. Kliegerman

Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing

Crains

Village Condo Conversion Sells Out First Batch

By Amanda Fung

In another sign of an improving Manhattan residential market, all the units that were put on the market late last year in the Devonshire House, a condo-conversion in Greenwich Village, have now been sold, according to Stribling Marketing Associates, the exclusive marketer for the project.

Since sales began at the Emery Roth-designed, pre-war rental building seven months ago, 37 units have gone into contract. Among the buyers were tenants of 10 rent-stabilized units, who have decided to take advantage of a purchasing discount in the building to buy their respective units or new ones. The state attorney general's office recently declared the Devonshire condo plan effective, so the developers expect to begin closing on some of the units as early as next month, said Robert McCain, a broker at Stribling. Four to five more tenants are currently interested in buying, he added.

“Our sales have been faster than anticipated,” Mr. McCain said. “We came on the market right after Labor Day, and we benefited from the pent-up demand in the market.”

On the far side of the East River, sales at one new building are going even faster. The Solis, a six-story, nine-unit condominium development at 174 Clermont Ave. in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, has sold two-thirds of its units since marketing began one month ago, according to a press release from Halstead Property Development Marketing on Monday. Three units remain.

At the Devonshire in the Village, Mr. McCain attributed the brisk pace of sales to a lack of condos in the area of the property, which is at University Place and East 10th Street, as well as the building's finishes and interior designs by Victoria Hagan. Units have gone into contract for close to the asking price. In some of the more unusual units, Mr. McCain noted that prices had actually increased several times since marketing began. In other cases, buyers were able to negotiate with the developers on closing costs such as transfer taxes.

Conversions and renovations at the 103-unit building are still ongoing. There are currently six units listed for sale at the Devonshire. They range from a one-bedroom for $1.6 million to a four-bedroom penthouse with terrace and fireplace for $12.5 million.

It is unclear how many units will eventually be converted into condos since the developers are still negotiating with tenants, but ultimately it is expected that the building will be 60% condo, Mr. McCain said. Currently there are 54 rent stabilized tenants living in the building. When renovations are completed, renters and owners will have access to the new amenities, including a fitness center and a children's playroom.

“An Emory Roth building will always be a commodity in New York, but Devonshire House specifically combines a sophisticated uptown sensibility with a prime Greenwich Village location,” said Ric Swezey, a broker at the Corcoran Group. “When a condo conversion manages to pull-off the best of old-world and modern living, it will attract a wide array of buyers, and that seems to have been accomplished at Devonshire House.”

Cheshire Group and Sterling American Property, the firm controlled by New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, acquired the Devonshire from its previous owner, William Felder, for approximately $120 million in late 2007, with the intention of converting the historic building, with its blend of traditional Italian and English detailing, into a condo. At the time, the group was one of the few to complete its financing amidst the credit crisis.

Monday, April 19, 2010