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Thread: Prewar New York Real Estate

  1. #1

    Default Prewar New York Real Estate

    I searched the forum for a similar thread but found none. Mods move or merge if needed.

    Two-page article

    Agent starts site dedicated to prewar apartments
    David Lubell has a passion for the perfect New York apartment – and a site to prove it

    By Jason Sheftell / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 1:40 PM

    Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012, 1:40 PM

    Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News

    David Lubell

    Built in 1925 by J.E.R. Carpenter, 173-175 Riverside Drive has an irregular shape, something most prewars do not share.

    A detail on a prewar building
    Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News

    He calls it a passion, and his friends call it an obsession, but rookie Prudential Douglas Elliman broker David Lubell has more than a crush on the prewar apartment. Any of them and all of them, inside and out. Lubell’s infatuation with the prewar inspired the first-year broker to start his own web site,
    Solely devoted to the architecturally stunning buildings defined as being built before 1940, “, the quest for the perfect New York apartment” has text and photographs devoted to individual buildings, floor plans and the architects who designed and built them.

    “These are the finest apartments in the world that anyone can live in,” says Lubell, walking around Park Avenue, showing off a grand stretch where these buildings dominate. “The grandeur, the scale, the proportion, the quality of the construction, the sheer solidity, elegance and beauty, nothing compares to these structures.”
    When he speaks about these buildings, Lubell has the air of a impassioned professor and person possessed by a love for property. Lubell, though, is new to real estate. The former Wall St. institutional asset management salesman gave up a big house in New Jersey and a car and driver for a life of hustling New York City
    apartments. In his first year, he won rookie of the year for Elliman and amassed over $9 million in sales.
    “Something about what I was doing was unfulfilling,” says the Columbia Business School graduate originally from Rockland County. “All my life, I loved buildings, real estate and New York City. As a 4-year old, I used to draw giant floor plans. I live in a prewar on the upper West Side. I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
    The website is organized as a blog, but because of Lubell’s perfectionist nature, it reads more like a Web magazine for the prewar building.
    He has a “Building of the Week” and an informative and easy-to-read glossary. The site is broken into sections where prewars are examined by area. In New York, most prewar apartments are on Park Ave., Riverside Drive, Central Park West, West End Ave., lower Fifth Ave., Madison Ave. and Fifth Ave.
    “I started the website as a way to differentiate myself from other brokers and because I do love these buildings,” says Lubell, who has quickly become an industry expert on the structures. “I don’t put listings on the site. It’s not a sales vehicle for me. It’s more of a way for me to enjoy myself and show people they can call on me to learn more about the prewar. If someone can’t afford a $12 million full-floor, I can maybe find them a similar apartment in a less well-known but sometime equally as grand building for $3.5 million. Someday, I would like to be the broker known for being the most knowledgeable about these structures.”

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    Last edited by mariab; March 24th, 2012 at 02:18 PM.

  2. #2


    There is another broker who has done something similar, but his blog specializes in loft apartments: or something to that affect. Good idea, I will be reading this "prewar building" website: a nice respite from all the modernist architecture going up these days.

  3. #3



    Park Ave. co-op goes for record-breaking $52.5 million
    Billionaire investor Howard Marks and wife Nancy plunk down dough for 30-room spread

    By Gina Pace / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Monday, May 14, 2012, 9:38 PM

    Interiors of 740 Park Ave.

    Forget the new glass towers. Classic limestone Park Ave. is still the granddaddy of global real estate.
    Billionaire investor Howard Marks and his wife, Nancy, have plunked down $52.5 million for a 30-room spread at 740 Park Ave., breaking the record for the city's most expensive co-op.
    The building is one of the most storied in New York. Designed by renowned architect Rosario Candela, it was built in 1929 by James T. Lee, the grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who lived there as a child.
    Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News

    <p> 740 Park Avenue.</p>

    High-profile residents include billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, who bought the apartment once occupied by John D. Rockefeller Jr.; designer Vera Wang, and John Thain, the last chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch.
    Celebrities like Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Walters have reportedly been rejected by the building. Real estate insiders say residents of the building are so rich that their staff eats takeout from Le Cirque and Daniel.

    The duplex was owned by Courtney Sale Ross, the widow of the late Time Warner CEO Steve Ross. It has been quietly available for $75 million for several years, but was formally listed for $60 million by Brown Harris Stevens last fall. The Rosses reportedly paid $8 million in the 1980s for the two apartments they combined.
    “You had a completely unmotivated seller who had no reason to sell it for anything less than a price that would make her smile,” said Michael Gross, who wrote a book about the building, “740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building.”

    Gross said Ross left the apartment empty — and fully staffed — for years. He points out that it is larger than the 15 Central Park West apartment that sold to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $88 million this winter. But the Ross duplex sold for less because it’s a co-op, where buyers have to be approved by the board.
    The 740 Park Ave. home has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, two libraries and two dining rooms — one formal, the other informal. Outside, there are six terraces and Central Park views.

    The previous record was set in 2008, when a co-op at 1060 Fifth Ave. sold for $48.8 million.
    To put the sales price in perspective, Gross points out
    that the taxes on the transaction — nearly $1.5 million — could pay for a nice two-bedroom apartment on the upper East Side. Marks, however, can afford it. Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.5 billion.

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  4. #4

  5. #5


    I'd kill for that library!

    Upper East Side Stanford White townhouse sells for $42 million

    A townhouse at 973 Fifth Avenue designed by a legendary Gilded Age architect just set a record for the highest townhouse sale of the year.

    By Gina Pace And Jason Sheftell / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Published: Friday, June 22, 2012, 6:10 PM
    Updated: Friday, June 22, 2012, 6:10 PM

    Brown Harris Stevens

    973 Fifth Avenue just sold for $42 million, setting the record for the highest townhouse sale of the year.

    It looks like we are still living in a gilded age.
    A townhouse at 973 Fifth Avenue designed by legendary Gilded Age architect Stanford White just closed for $42 million, setting a record for the highest townhouse sale of the year.
    Brown Harris Stevens

    It's the only White house to sell with all of his original details intact, including the original floor plan with an entire servants floor with its own kitchen, according to Brown Harris Stevens agent Paula Del Nunzio, who had the exclusive listing.
    The buyer was not disclosed.
    Brown Harris Stevens

    The all-time record for a townhouse sale in New York City was the Harkness Mansion on East 75th St., also sold by Del Nunzio, for $53 million in 2006, although art dealer Larry Gagosian bought it for $36.5 million last year.The sales price of 973 Fifth Avenue is even more staggering considering that Del Nunzio said it was in need of renovations. The 15,225 square-foot home, which faces Central Park, is spread over seven levels and has nearly 17-foot high ceilings on the entry floor.
    Brown Harris Stevens

    The original owner, Henry Cook, who made his fortune in railroads and banking, originally owned the entire block on Fifth Avenue from 78 to 79th streets - and put a deed restriction limiting all houses to six stores - so there will never be a large apartment building on the street.
    It was one of the last mansions that White designed.
    Brown Harris Stevens

    He was murdered in a sensational scandal while dining in public on the roof of the second Madison Square Garden - which he designed - by the husband of actress Evelyn Nesbit, with whom he had an affair.(Now it gets interesting!)

    Read more:

  6. #6


    If you can get past the decor, it's a beautiful space. Two-page article. Stunning carving on page 2.

    Is this the best living room in New York City?

    This salon with 24-foot-high ceilings is part of a $20 million upper West Side prewar apartment now on the market.

    By Jason Sheftell/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012, 6:17 PM
    Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012, 6:52 PM

    Evan Joseph

    Light, art and space fill a living room at 44 W. 77th St.

    Looking north over the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park through a movie-screen-size wall of steel-cased windows, a single living room with 24-foot-high ceilings is half as long as a basketball court. In the day, light floods in. At night, the minarets of the museum appear like tops of lit temples in Marrakesh or Istanbul. An 8-foot working stone fireplace built in the 17th-century on the Iberian Peninsula centers the room. Floor to ceiling Corinthian columns give the feeling of being in a museum, castle, or giant public library. With the exception of where kings and queens live, this might be the greatest salon of any city apartment in the world. Adored by titans, infants and strong women with hearts of gold, it could be the greatest living room in the history of New York City.

    44 W. 77th St.

    It’s for sale. For $20 million, this room can be yours, as well as the apartment of more than 4,200 square feet, three bedrooms and 2½ baths that comes with it. The home has a dining room with original paneling, wine cellar, library, another fireplace and a large kitchen built for entertaining. A Venetian plaster ceiling painted light blue, yellow and white tops the experience, drawing attention away from the outside world. It doesn't matter who lives here now. Their names, I mean. They’re a couple from Latin America. He works in art; she in philanthropy and finance. They have grand children now, and matters to attend to in other countries. It’s simply time to go.
    Jeff Bachner for New York Daily News

    Children's toys are just as at home as art.

    Parting with this home, though, is not easy. Somehow, the couple turned this giant space into a cozy family room as full of memories as it is art. Little kid’s plastic cars fill the corner of the room under works by Cuban master Emilio Sanchez. Photographs of happy moments line the low-slung shelf below the wall of windows, restored four years ago by specialists who work on historic spaces.
    Evan Joseph

    Views of the Musuem of Natural History and park are almost secondary to the room.

    “As soon as I walked in and saw this room, I said I’ll take it,” says the woman owner, who purchased the home in 1997. “I saw 130 apartments. I needed someplace for art. Here, it was the light, space and flexibility. I just thought this room could be anything. That’s what makes it so special: If you have imagination, this room can be anything you want it to be.”Over the years, it has been. To the naked eye, it’s an art and furniture gallery. A wood table and chair set by George Nakashimi, arguably the top woodworking artisan of the 20th century, anchors one side of the room. The Miro-like ceiling is by Madrid-based artist Ramon Canet, who lived and painted in the apartment while the owners did early renovations.

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  7. #7


    Adored by titans, infants and strong women with hearts of gold, it could be the greatest living room in the history of New York City.
    As soon as i read this I thought to myself "this place must be for sale"...
    The visual (while quite nice), does not come anywhere close to matching the hype- just more broker babble...

    Personally I think the pics from the previous article above this one come closer to matching the descriptive/hype

  8. #8


    Picture this place empty (because if you've been drinking it might put you over the edge) and I can see where the high price comes from. The $100 Mil price tag at, I think, City Spire, wasn't justified. I was thinking '100 mil? Where's the Grand Ballroom?'

    Woolworth Mansion on upper East Side hits rental market for $150,000 a month

    This record-breaking townhouse has a 50-seat dining room attached to a solarium. The master suite has two sitting rooms and two full baths. Almost every detail in the house is intact.

    By Jason Sheftell / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    Courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

    4 E. 80th St. is the most expensive town house rental ever at $150,000 a month.

    Call it “The Townhouse of Commerce.”
    An East 80th St. mansion built in 1916 by shopping magnate Frank Woolworth to resemble his eponymous downtown skyscraper, just went on the rental market for $150,000 per month.
    The 35-foot-wide townhouse has a 50-seat dining room attached to a solarium. The master suite has two sitting rooms and two full baths. A wood-paneled library, wet bar, and powder room make up the third floor. Almost every detail in the house is intact.
    Allison Joyce for New York Daily News

    4 E. 80th St.

    It pays to be Daddy’s little girl. Woolworth built three limestone mansions for his society daughters at 2, 4, and 6 East 80th St. The buildings to the west is a three-unit coop and the building to the east is owned by Frederick Koch, one of the Koch brothers who are infamous in Democratic circles.
    Courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

    Current owner, the estate of exercise maven Lucille Roberts, decided to rent the property rather than sell. New renters can take the home furnished or unfurnished.
    Broker Paula Del Nunzio, who never comments on owners, justified the record-breaking price.
    Courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

    “It’s a miracle this house survived with so much of the original details intact,” said Del Nunzio, the top townhouse broker in the city who represented the seller of The Stanford White Mansion on Fifth Avenue earlier this year when it sold for $42 million. “The owners … not only restored that original details they found but also renovated the mansion with all modern systems. This house is a prime example of ‘architecture as art’ and there is always a market for that.”

    Read more:

  9. #9


    What a beautiful place, and only three owners so far? Wow.

    Century-old Brooklyn mansion could shatter price record

    By Colleen Kane | – Tue, Nov 20, 2012 7:22 PM EST

    Click the photo to go to a slideshow of the $25 million Brooklyn mansion.The entryway. Click any photo to go to a slideshow with more and bigger images.This landmarked, century-old neoclassical mansion in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood has 23 rooms, 9 bathrooms and approximately 10,000 square feet of space. The home, at 105 8th Avenue in New York, recently listed with Halstead Property for a potentially record-setting $25 million. As a point of reference, the priciest home to ever sell in Brooklyn sold earlier this year for less than half that amount, $12 million. That was the Brooklyn Heights townhouse once belonging to Truman Capote, which went through numerous price cuts over nearly two years from the original $18 million asking price.

    “The price is based on offers received by unsolicited offers in the past,” said the property’s broker, Marc Wisotsky. “We’ve listed at the price [the owner] asked and the market will speak."
    The property’s other broker, Jackie Lew, added, “That is just the asking price. There is negotiability.”
    In terms of impressive factors that might contribute to that value, consider this: In 100 years the house has had just three owners, beginning as the residence of the Tracy family, which made its fortune in stevedoring. Ownership then transferred to the Knights of Columbus. Current owner Anil Kumar Sinha bought it in 1969 and converted it to a private Montessori school, which closed earlier this year amid scandal.

    Another rare attribute: It’s never been subdivided into apartments. Other than the addition of an enclosed fire escape, the layout is still the same as when the Tracys dwelled there in the twentieth century.
    Other unusual factors for a Brooklyn residence are both the building’s 50-foot width and the 112-foot depth of the property it sits on, both which exceed typical proportions of the area, according to the brokers. The mansion also comes with air rights, for a total (pending approval of any new additions) potential square footage of 16,800.
    The Tracy mansion was built in 1912 by Frank J. Helmle (an alumnus of the iconic New York architecture firm McKim, Mead and White), who also designed the Boathouse and other structures in nearby Prospect Park.
    Behind the facade’s four fluted, modified Corinthian columns is a grand entryway. The dramatic marble entrance to the home, pictured here in the vertical photo, has a curved bay shape, bronze doors, a golden-hued stained glass transom window, and a vaulted ceiling. Click either photo to go to a slideshow of the stately mansion.

    The home has three full floors and a basement (or garden level, as it's called in Brooklyn). On the parlor level (first floor) are mahogany-paneled walls and an 8-foot-tall Italian marble fireplace, and a sweeping staircase with tall stained glass windows.
    The mansion’s dining room has coffered ceilings, more dark wood paneling, inlaid floors, and built-in mirrored china cabinets. The brokers note that the Tracy mansion can be a single-family home or can be adapted again to use as a school, or a museum or offices, possibly as a rental property.
    The listing is held with Halstead, an affiliate of Luxury Portfolio International.

  10. #10


    Excellent ideas. These great old buildings can't be used just for the business equivalent of "brandy and grandmother's pearls."

    Rosen sees new future for pre-war NY buildings

    By Steve Cuozzo
    November 5, 2013 | 12:39am

    Modal Trigger

    Aby Rosen
    Photo: Patrick McMullen

    Some buildings have a bunch of office floors available.
    Some landlords (like Rudin Management) even have a whole building to fill. But Aby Rosen’s RFR is in a rare position — it has two entire vacant properties on the rental market and 75 percent of a third.
    The buildings are 285 Madison Ave. at East 40th Street, the former Y&R tower which RFR bought with partner Greek Oak Real Estate last year for $190 million; 350 Madison Ave. near East 45th, which it bought in March for $261.5 million; and 90 Fifth Ave., a building which Rosen had planned to sell until longtime tenant Forbes defaulted on its lease, giving him the chance to “re-imagine” it.

    Both 285 Madison (530,000 square feet) and 90 Fifth (137,000 square feet) are vacant, while about 75 percent of 350 Madison’s 400,000 feet are up for grabs — around 967,000 square feet.
    Rosen sees the simultaneous availabilities as a great opportunity.

    “We consider it an advantage,” Rosen said, giving him the chance to “re-imagine” the pre-war buildings with nearly $150 million in total capital improvements. They’re not only to modernize the properties with commonplace lobby and infrastructure upgrades, but to adapt floor plates to tap into the swelling market for more flexible office space.
    Rosen’s faith in the three addresses lies in the growth of tech, media, entertainment and creative firms proliferating in Midtown South and increasingly drawn to Midtown itself.

    “Areas were once so defined, and you don’t have that any more,” he said.
    “We are putting our footprint on them,” Rosen said. “The market is hot for the tech sector, but the space was tired and old.”
    Rosen likens plans for the three locations to the earlier situation at the Seagram Building and Lever House, landmarks which are part of RFR’s multimillion square-foot portfolio.

    At both, high vacancies at the time RFR bought them made possible ambitious improvements, especially at Lever House, where Rosen installed a restaurant and an outdoor sculpture garden.
    At 285 Madison — site of the tragic Y&R elevator accident two years ago — RFR hopes to establish “a community in a building” with amenities including a tenants’ restaurant, bicycle storage and flexible floor plans.
    The brick-and-limestone structure with classic setbacks ornamented with eagles and gargoyles had fallen into near-decay. Its restoration is on track to welcome tenants by the end of the first quarter.

    Although column-free floors are in demand by financial services and law firms, that isn’t necessarily the case for creative types, for whom structural pillars lend a space character the way beams and moldings do for prewar apartments.
    The sunlit 11th floor of 285 Madison, now being used to show brokers different possibilities for space use, displays a New Age-y wheat patch, a ping-pong table and Andy Warhol artworks from Rosen’s collection.

    Rosen says asking rents at 350 Madison and 90 Fifth will be “very equal, in the mid- to high $70s” a square foot.” At 285 Madison, they’ll run $65-70 on lower floors and up to $80 on the top three floors.
    A CBRE team led by Mary Ann Tighe is fielding offers for 285 Madison. At 350 Madison it’s a CBRE team led by Peter Turchin, and RFR is handling leasing for 90 Fifth Ave. in-house.

  11. #11


    Love that two-level library. Too opulent in a couple spots, and that bathroom makes me dizzy.

    New York mansion lists for $114 million

    The Upper East Side estate is the fourth home in the city to top the $100 million mark this year.

    By MSN Real Estate partner 19 hours ago

    By Neal J. Leitereg,

    Whether it's merely a play for publicity or simply a reflection of the post-recession market for trophy homes, one thing is for certain: The $100 million listing has been back with a vengeance in 2013.

    Joining billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen's duplex in New York City's nine-figure club is a lavish mansion at 12 E. 69th St. that debuted on the multiple-listing service today for the mind-blowing price of $114.07 million.

    Owned by Vincent Viola, owner of the Florida Panthers NHL team, and Teresa Viola, president of Maida Vale Designs, the Upper East Side mansion lives up to its lofty price tag. Although it's just 40 feet wide, the residence towers six stories high and spans some 20,000 square feet, with an additional 2,500 square feet of outdoor space on a three-tiered rooftop deck.

    As you might imagine, no expense was spared throughout its 19 rooms, which feature the "finest European-imported materials" and the most "state-of-the-art systems." The home has seven bedrooms, six full baths, a trio of powder rooms and massive closets that double as panic rooms.

    Huge windows feature sprawling views of Central Park and the city while bathing interior spaces in natural light.

    The lower level has a stately two-story movie theater, a balcony, a game room, a wet bar, a fitness room and a steam room. The kitchen features a brick pizza oven, and a separate floor houses a saltwater pool with a spa. Running in-between its many levels is an elevator lined in onyx.

    Originally built in 1884, the trophy mansion was purchased by Viola and his wife in 2005 for $20 million. The couple completely gutted the residence and spent more than five years transforming the home into the mecca for the mega-rich that it is today.

    With the listing, the mansion represents the fourth New York City abode to top the $100-million threshold this year.

  12. #12


    And made of wood yet! Indoor pics and article on the place's history at the bottom.

    BY Katherine Clarke

    EXCLUSIVE: Harlem townhouse, one of the oldest in New York City, sells for $3.6M to music lover

    Friday, July 24, 2015, 2:08 PM

    PropertySharkThe home has been on the market for just a few months

    It's a throwback to a time when Harlem was still a rural village and not yet legally part of the city.
    An old clapboard house, widely considered to be the oldest single-family home still occupied in Harlem, has been sold for $3.6 million to a new owner who plans to turn it into a home and practice facility for struggling young musicians, the Daily News has learned.

    The famed wooden property, at 17 E. 128th St., dates back to 1864 and is one of the few surviving frame houses in the neighborhood. It was landmarked by the city in 1982.

    The new owner, San Francisco-based e-commerce executive Jack Stephenson, told the Daily News that he plans to lease the property to his friend, famed opera singer Lauren Flanagan. Flanagan will turn the house into a new location for Music & Mentoring House, a not-for-profit organization providing upscale affordable housing and mentoring to students studying in the arts.

    "She takes music students in a gives them room and board, feeds them, makes their beds and gives them instruction in music," Stephenson said. "There are boot camps and classes on how to get by in the business and she invites many famous friends like Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the musical 'Wicked’ to come talk to them."

    It seems appropriate that the house, now one of the most expensive ever sold in Harlem, should be inhabited by musicians, Stephenson said. After all, the neighborhood has long been known for its musical history - it's considered a hotbed of jazz - and the Richard Rodgers Amphitheatre at Marcus Garvey Park is just a few blocks away.

    It's just the third time the house has traded since it was first constructed, said listing broker Juliet Silfvast of Rutenberg Realty. The former owner, Angelita Ortega, bought it in 1987.
    "She’s 73, so climbing up all the stairs to go to bed every night is one of the reasons," Silfvast said of her client's rationale for selling. "It was only her in this big house."

    The stunning French Second Empire-style home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, six working marble fireplaces and a country kitchen that leads outside into a garden.

    The house has remained the same, even as the neighborhood has grown and evolved around it and still has its original veranda, a pair of double-leaf Italianate doors, wood-framed windows and a sloping mansard roof.

    "We walked into the house and just thought, 'This is it,'" said Jane Wilson of the Corcoran Group, who represented Stephenson in the sale. "It's a clapboard house in the middle of a block of townhouses. There's nothing else like it."

    Some indoor pics in Zillow

    And an interesting history on the place


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