New York, the week ending May 12, was bustling with activity. Some noteworthy sales and lawsuits making headlines. From one of our favorite agents in Connecticut selling an entire island to a town to fake sale prices in co-ops being exposed, the industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs.
One standout story comes from our friends on the Connecticut Coast, where Elliman All-Star Jennifer Leahy managed to sell an entire island to the town of Darien for a cool $85,000,000! The island, located in Connecticut, had been on and off the market for several years, through various brokers, with no interested buyers. However, Jennifer managed to convince the township to purchase the island as a public park on the Gold Coast for $15 million less than the $100 million asking price. The agent’s unique marketing approach and persistence ultimately paid off, demonstrating that creative thinking outside the box can yield successful results.
However, not all real estate sales are what they seem. The Real Deal recently reported on a scheme in which co-op sale prices are being artificially inflated to make them appear higher than they actually were. This was exposed as the market began to cool, and brokers became more creative to close deals. Some cooperatives are forcing sellers to record closing prices based on values that happened in the past rather than those supported by current conditions. The situation serves as a reminder to always be vigilant when going through the purchase process, and work with brokers who are familiar with those buildings that are known to occasionally mandate grossing up closing prices to keep up with the illusion of value. This is a practice I refer to as the building playing god for the greater good of the shareholders.
Another legal issue in the industry came to light when the owners of the iconic Flatiron Building known for its unique triangular shape attempted to sell the landmark commercial office and retail landmark at the center of the Flatiron District through auction. The winning bidder was Jacob Garlick who formed a partnership to fund the winning $190M purchase. The owners claimed that Garlick had promised to bring in high-profile buyers but failed to deliver, resulting in a disappointing outcome for the auction. The lawsuit highlights the importance of trust and honesty in the real estate industry and serves as a cautionary tale.
On a brighter note, comedian Amy Schumer has sold her Upper West Side penthouse for $13 million, a slight profit from the $12.1 million she had paid in 2016, and a sign that blue chip properties hold their value.
Finally, media mogul Rupert Murdoch made headlines last week when he paid nearly $35 million, 20% over asking for a Central Park South co-op in the storied Hampshire House. The 6,500 square foot home, once owned by investor Julian Robertson and singer Alice Tully, features a 38 foot great room and a large terrace overlooking the park. The purchase is a sign that high-end buyers are still active in the market and willing to pay top dollar for trophy properties.
Overall, the past week has been an eventful one in the real estate industry, showcasing both the potential for success and the need for caution and due diligence. The stories serve as valuable lessons for anyone looking to buy or sell property and highlight the importance of working with trusted professionals who have a strong track record of experience and knowledge in the market.