Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing
Question: What can best be described as not “a wave” and “certainly not a drizzle,” but instead as more of “a swell.” Answer: The increase in construction of residential condominium in recent days, according to Halstead Property’s head of new development marketing, Stephen Kliegerman. Yes, developers are again daring to dream the impossible dream—that if they build it, buyers will come and will happily pay huge prices for a piece of the big golden apple, big enough for a bedroom or two and a slice of the good life, according to The New York Times. Call it real estate’s ultimate speculative play or simply another outgrowth of the fledgling turnaround in the national housing market, but condos are coming back albeit slowly and selectively around town. In Manhattan, below 96th Street, for example, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group’s president predicts 1,500 new condo units will hit the market annually in the next few years. That is up by two-thirds from recession-era lows, though it’s still a puny figure compared to previous market highs, but maybe that’s a good thing.
And speaking of blasts from the pre-recessionary past, how about that little retail deal at the base of 666 Fifth Ave., the tower that architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable once memorably put down as looking like “the box the Seagram Building came in.” Well, suffice to say that looks aren’t everything in Manhattan, especially from a shopper’s street-level perspective. And by shopper I don’t just mean kids from Caracas cruising the aisles at Hollister Co.’s outpost in the building, or young women from Frankfurt queuing up at the registers next door at Uniqlo. I’m talking about mighty real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust, which owns a big slice of the office building upstairs—and a whole lot of other stuff around town. Vornado has agreed to plunk down $707 million for what The Wall Street Journal totals up to be 39,000 square feet of retail space for purchase, that includes a mere 126 feet of streetfront exposure between West 52nd and West 53rd streets. True, Vornado will also get a long-term lease on 75,000 square feet but that still doesn’t exactly end up smelling like a great bargain.
Monday, July 16, 2012