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6 Starchitect Designed Buildings You Need to Know

A collection of  star architects, or "starchitects", has emerged as the leading group of designers for everything from residential buildings to public works and museums. Residential buildings  bearing their names are coming up from New York to Miami and around the globe. Starchitects have been responsible for the "branding" of buildings and real estate. We have seen consumer preference shift toward branding in other segments and product categories, and now, we see the trend in real estate with high-end consumers being attracted to a "branded" building. 

While there are myriad factors that influence a buildings value such as location, functional design, and state of the market, starchitect designed buildings have seemed to maintain their value, or increase in value compared to those that are not branded in a similar way. 

New York City residential real estate is certainly participating in the Starchitect Boom. Here are 6 projects designed by Starchitects that are influencing the NYC real estate market you need to know:

100 E 53rd - Norman Foster

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100 E 53rd Street by Foster + Partners is a new glass tower coming to Midtown East, situated next to the iconic Seagram building. The building is comprised of a nine-story base which contains luxury loft apartments and amenity spaces. A 63-story tower adjoins to the base, bringing the building to a striking 711 feet with an exterior glass curtain facade.

The 94 homes have a light and airy feel thanks to the glass curtain wall and large living spaces which include wall space optimized for art displays. Loft residences incorporate architectural elements  that are reminiscent of sleek and sophisticated downtown spaces including diamond-polished high-grade concrete flooring and architectural concrete walls. Finishes include brushed oak cabinetry and Gaggenau appliances in the kitchen, and a wire brushed  oak vanity, radiant heated floors and steam showers (select residences) in the master baths. 

Amenities will include a wellness center equipped with steam room, sauna, and spa as well as a swimming pool, lounge, and library. Acclaimed Michelin Star chef Joel Robuchon will be bringing a restaurant to the location. 

About Foster + Partners: British based firm founded in 1967 that is known for its work on a variety of projects including public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices, and private homes. They have buildings in six continents. The Pritzker Prize Jury described Norman Foster as “an architect who cares passionately about the future of this planet, an avowed optimist with a firm belief in technological progress, but who also believes that architecture is about people and the quality of life.”

520 W 28th Street- Zaha Hadid

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520 W 28th Street is the late Hadid's only project in New York, and thus, has an inherent special value to it as it brings her signature elements along the High Line. The design is based on graceful curves inspired by nature that are a constrast to the hard angles generally seen in residential architecture. The hand-rubbed metal facade is one continuous line that works its way toward the sky. The curves of the building create a distinct chevron pattern on the exterior of the building, linking residence exteriors and interiors together in one sweeping movement. 

The building is located directly on the High Line and will be comprised of 39 residences, with each loft-like home uniquely crafted and featuring a custom sculptural element in an elegant opalescent finish. Interiors integrate seamlessly into the sculptured nature of the building from the kitchen islands to the terraces. Kitchens are custom designed by Zaha Hadid in collaboration with Italian kitchen specialists, Boffi, and include wide plank oak flooring and Gaggenau appliances. Master baths are characterized by white marble contrasted against black crosscut Nero Marquinia marble with a freestanding six-foot tub by Teuco Guuzzini. 

Amenities will include a 75 ft sky lit pool, private iMax movie theater, wellness level, and lounge and entertainment suite with a High Line terrace.

About Zaha Hadid: London based firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, known for their innovative exploration of design and practice is largely recognized for their work outside of the United States. Founding partner, Zaha Hadid, received the Pritzker Prize in 2004. Her project at 520 W 28th Street is the firm’s only project in New York, and sadly, remained uncompleted at the time of her sudden death in 2016. The first has 950 projects in 44 countries.

160 Leroy- Herzog & de Meuron

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160 Leroy draws its design inspiration from the practices of famed Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Speaking of the project, Niemeyer describes the building as "curvaceous, sensual, free-flowing, seductive, and sexy."

160 Leroy will have a white concrete façade with diamond faceted floor-to-ceiling windows that reflect the light and water. The building spans a full city block and will sit atop a bed of light that gives the illusion that it is floating among the streets. 

The 49 residences feature bespoke layouts designed to maximize light and views, and which have also been designed to maximize wall space for art displays. Residences feature wide-plank Larch wood floors from Scandinavia, wood burning fireplaces, and custom designed bathrooms, each unique from the other.  Custom furniture packages and layouts available for purchase have been curated by French designer Christian Liaigre.

Amenities at 160 Leroy will include a 70 foot pool and whirlpool spa, fitness center, yoga & pilates studios, private massage room, kids’ clubhouse, and a gourmet take-out and delivery restaurant.

About Herzog & De Meuron: Founded in 1978 in Basel, Switzerland by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, whose careers closely paralleled one another. They received the Pritzker Prize in 2001 and New York Times Magazine called them “one of the most admired architecture firms in the world” in 2006. The firm is known for their transformation of materials and surfaces through exploration of new treatments and techniques. The firm is also involved in other NYC residential projects including 56 Leonard and 70 Vestry.

53 W 53- Jean Nouvel

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53 W 53 is a new tower coming to Midtown, rising 1,050 feet above The Museum of Modern Art. The design features multiple different tapered surfaces that pay homage to the classic towers that built the New York skyline but which also serve as a vision of the skyscrapers of the future.

The building is comprised of 145 residences with interiors by Thierry Despont that include bespoke kitchens and baths as well as elegantly crafted mahogany doors. Kitchens include custom back-painted glass cabinets with polished nickel detailing design by Thierry Despont, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, and polished Statuary marble countertops. Masterbaths feature luxurious finishes throughout such as Verona limestone floors, Noir St. Laurent marble feature walls, Lefroy Brooks cast iron soaking tub, radiant heated floors, and Dornbracht fittings.

Building amenities will include a 65 foot lap pool, wine vault, library, park view lounge, and wellness center.

About Jean Nouvel: The Parisian based firm is one of the most celebrated across the globe, having completed projects including museums, concert halls, opera houses, hotels, and luxury residences. Nouvel has a long standing career that goes back to the 1970s, with the establishment of Ateliers Jean Nouvel in 1994. Jean Nouvel has built museums, concert halls, conference centers, theaters, hotels, collective housing, office buildings, commercial centers, and private residences around the globe. Received the Pritzker Prize in 2008.

565 Broome Street- Renzo Piano

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565 Broome Street is Renzo Piano's first residential project in New York City. He brings his iconic design and approach to this luxurious residential project located in SoHo. The 30 story building will stand out in the SoHo landscape, set alongside its smaller scale neighbors.  Renzo Piano prides himself on his careful attention to materials, and 565 Broome is no exception with an austere material palette that accentuates the quality of those selected. The overall design and approach to the project is an expression of key materials. Design is characterized by low-iron, extra wide glass and “tube” shaped living spaces in select residences which are a character of Renzo Piano

Interiors are designed by renowned firm RDAI who take a similar approach to their work as Piano, highlighting craftsmanship and materials. At 565 Broome, they have found beauty in natural materials such as stone,  white oak, glass, and concrete. RDAI is known for its work in global Hermes and Saint Laurent stores.

Amenities include a private gated driveway, outdoor landscaped terrace, 55 foot swimming pool, fitness center, lounge, and library.

About Renzo Piano: Italian architect Renzo Piano is known for his refined approach to his work which can be seen around the world. He received the Pritzker Prize in 1998 with the Jury comparing him to the likes of Leonard Da Vinci and Michelangelo. He founded his firm, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in 1981. Piano is most celebrated for his work in designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In New York, he has also designed the NYT Building and the new Whitney Museum.

125 Greenwich Street- Raphael Viñoly

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Details are limited and aspects have changed multiple times since the original permits were filed with the Department of Building, but we do know some details about the glass tower that is rising just below the World Trade Center site. 

125 Greenwich Street is slated to rise 898 feet (70 stories) according to the Vinoly Website, and include 273 condos. Vinoly reduced the height down to 70 stories from the permitted 88 out of respect for the neighboring 4 WTC tower. At 88 stories, it would stand taller than 4 WTC.

The building will include a large floor plate which will allow for more generous apartment layouts. The exterior will be done in a glass façade which will extend more than its structural mass to the site base with two I-beam shear walls supporting the building core and eliminating the need for all but four of the interior columns The building is designed to resist the wind and will feature open-air, hexagonally shaped mechanical floors similar to the open-air concept seen at  Vinoly's 432 Park Avenue.

Amenities, situated on the upper floors, are  slated to include a fitness center, spa, squash court, library, demo kitchen, and tech bar.

About Raphael Vinoly: Uruguayan architect who founded Raphael Vinoly Architects in 1983 with offices around the globe including New York, London, and Buenos Aires. Vinoly has designed buildings and museums around the world and is most recently recognized for his design of 432 Park Avenue in New York.

 

 

Five 2 Bedroom Apartments on the Market Under $2.5M

Shopping around the Manhattan market for a 2 bedroom apartment and wondering what is out there? With real estate, the biggest saying is always "location, location, location." Of course, availability and value for your dollar strongly depends on, you guessed it, location!

We've rounded up a few different 2 bedroom Compass exclusives currently on the market in different neighborhoods around the city so you can see what a budget of $2.5M could get you at the moment. The following selection of properties are sourced from the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown East, Greenwich Village, and Tribeca. 

First, a look at the average price per square foot of active listings in these neighborhoods for 2 bedroom apartments...

2 Bedroom Manhattan price per square foot

The data reveals that, based on the median price per square foot of active 2 bedroom listings, your dollar buys you more in some neighborhoods versus others. As you can see, if you want to live in an area like Tribeca, it could cost you significantly compared to the average in the Upper East Side. It is important to note that these are medians and price per square foot can vary greatly within a neighborhood depending on the building type, condition, and location within the specific neighborhood.

The selection of listings below shows how size and PPSF can vary depending on location within the city. 

200 Chambers Street, 2D: 

$2,275,000 | 1,214 sq ft. | $1,874 per sq ft 

Common Charges: $1,562
Real Estate Taxes: $1,219

200 Chambers is a full-service luxury building with a selection of amenities including a pool, gym, and 24-hour doorman.

200 chambers street 2D

555 West 59th Street, 25C: 

$2,400,000 | 1,211 sq ft. | $1,932 per sq ft

Common Charges: $1,510
Real Estate Taxes: $1,420

The Element is a luxury condo with amenities that include a pool, gym, basketball court, and 24-hour doorman. 

555 W 59th St 25C

188 East 76th Street, 4D: 

$1,550,000 | 1,183 sq ft. | $1,310 per sq ft

Common Charges: $1,698
Real Estate Taxes: $974

Building amenities include a fitness center, sauna, and building concierge.

188 East 74th St 4D

305 East 51st Street, 3F: 

$2,475,000 | 1,596 sq ft. | $1,551 per sq ft

Common Charges: $1,623
Real Estate Taxes: $1,011

The Halcyon is a brand new, luxury condo in Midtown East with an expansive amenity offering. 52' heated pool, children, library, and sky lounge.

305 E 51st St 3F

25 5th Avenue, 8F: 

$2,499,000 | 988 sq ft. | $2,529 per sq ft

Common Charges: $1,230
Real Estate Taxes: $789

25 5th Ave 8F

Looking to explore real estate and see whats on the market that meets your criteria in real time?

Introducing Compass Collections

Compass Collections

Collections, developed by Compass, is real estate's first visual workspace that streamlines the home buying process. Tell us your criteria, and you will received a curated collection of apartments that match your interest. Furthermore, we can collaborate in real time with comments, and invite others participating in your home search to join as well!

5 Best Upper East Side New Developments

5 of the Best Upper East Side New Developments

Upper East Side New York City

Many think of Park Avenue Co-ops and beautiful townhomes when they think of the Upper East Side, however, the area is experiencing a new development boom. New development projects are bringing sophisticated, sleek residences with the best amenities available to the classic and iconic neighborhood. 

We have narrowed the list to a few of the best projects in the area- in no particular order.

Upper East Side New Development

1. 180 E. 88th Street
 

Developer & Architect: DDG Partners

Size: 2-4+ bedroom condos

Amenities: wine room, play room, game room, partial basketball court, fitness studio

Other Features: Façade features handmade bricks from Denmark. Ceiling heights up to 14’ 2” and 28’-8” in duplexes and windows up to 9’

2. Citizen 360

Developer & Architect: Anbau, SHoP Architects

Size: 1-4 bedroom condos

Amenities: Entertainment level including catering kitchen, entertainment suite, playroom, screening room, multimedia studio, Wellness level with fitness and yoga studio, private parking

Other Features: Comprised of 84 residences

3. 389 E 89th

 Developer & Architect: Magnum Real Estate Group, Ismael Leyva Architects

Size: studio-3 bed condos

Amenities: residents’ lounge, the rooftop, fitness center

Other Features: Interiors by Paris Forino, named Manhattan’s fastest selling new development

 4. 20 East End Avenue

Developer & Architect: Corigin Real Estate Group, Robert A.M. Stern

Size: 2-6 bedroom condos

Amenities: billiards & game room, wine cellar, library, fitness center and spa, junior lounge for kids

Other Features: handset limestone base, wifi enabled floor heating system in select residences, motor court

5. The Kent

Developer & Architect: Extell and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects

Size: 2-5 bedroom condos

Amenities: drawing room, indoor pool & sauna, fitness center, “Camp Kent” for children, garden salon, sound lounge designed by Lenny Kravitz

Other Features: Interiors by renowned design studio Champalimaud, tax abatement

 

We live in the neighborhood and understand property values and what makes the Upper East Side special. 

Ready to call the Upper East Side Home? Get in touch with us for the most up-to-date neighborhood insights and the best pricing!

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Note: All Images from respective building websites

Lower Manhattan Continues to Thrive

Lower Manhattan

In the Manhattan Residential Real Estate market, the buzz is all about downtown. It seems like almost everyone wants to be downtown, close to some of the best cultural, shopping, and dining options, situated in the most desired neighborhoods of the borough.

The economic expansion, and quite frankly, revitalization of lower Manhattan since 9/11 is astounding, and has had an enormous impact on the city as a whole, especially in recent years with hallmark projects finally coming to fruition. Today, lower Manhattan continues to thrive with brand new destinations for world-class shopping, dining, and, of course, living. The Financial District was one of the hardest hit by 9/11, but also has seen the greatest revival in the post 9/11 era.

Why People Are Attracted to Financial District

The Financial District attracts a mix of residents from Wall Street professionals that work close by, to students of city universities and people that love the convenience of the neighborhood. The neighborhood has virtually every subway line to connect you to any area of the city and is positioned for easy access to both the West Side Highway and FDR Drive as well as Holland and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels for those with cars.

Not only is FiDi convenient from a transportation standpoint, it is also located near some of the best and hottest neighborhoods of the city including TriBeCa, SoHo, and the Seaport District. TriBeCa is seeing new development including the popular 70 Vestry and 443 Greenwich Street while the Seaport District is seeing a revitalization spearheaded by the Howard Hughes Corporation’s development of the area, bringing the arrival of notable venues such as iPic Luxury Theaters and a Jean-Georges food hall. The area is also home to the much talked-about 1 Seaport development.

The Financial District, however, has been at the heart of the revitalized downtown and the center of what many are calling the “New Downtown.” The arrival of The Oculus, Brookfield Place, and the continued completion of the World Trade Center site are attracting people to the neighborhood. Even large corporations such as Conde Nast and Spotify are calling the neighborhood home. Additionally, this week restauranteur Danny Meyer announced that he will be launching a $30M restaurant, bar, and event space atop 28 Liberty Place.

While the area is certainly more crowded during business hours with working people, the area has a neighborhood feel. Financial District has great public schools, and is close to many parks. You will find runners out in Battery Park and Hudson River Park year-round, and people enjoying the sun and biking in warmer months. Additionally, the Seaport is only moments away which offers many spaces to relax outdoors, shop, and dine. 

Living in the Financial District

 The Financial District offers a mix of new construction as well as conversions. Additionally, the neighborhood has both rental buildings as well as condos and co-ops. Notable new development occurring in the area includes Macklowe’s conversion of 1 Wall Street which has already signed Whole Foods as a tenant, the ongoing conversion of 101 Wall Street to luxury condos, and the recently constructed 50 West.

50 West Street

50 West Street

Standing over 780 feet tall, the glass tower located at 50 West Street has changed the lower Manhattan skyline. The 64-story structure is visible in all downtown skyline photography and is visible driving into the city from New Jersey or coming in on the ferry. The tower, designed by acclaimed architect Helmut Jahn, features unique floor-to-ceiling, curved glass and offers spectacular views of the harbor and New York City skyline.

Residences range in size from 1 to 5 bedrooms and feature interiors that have been elegantly designed by Thomas Juul Hansen. Throughout the building there is a unique collection of duplex units as well as units offering stunning double-height spaces.

50 West offers residences an array of amenities spread across 4 dedicated floors. Amenities include an expansive fitness center, Water Club, unique children’s space, office space available for purchase, and an observatory located on the 64th floor. The views from the observatory are jaw dropping to say the least!

Views from the Observation Deck of 50 West Street

Views from the Observation Deck of 50 West Street

50 West is ready for immediate occupancy.

Currently Available at 50 West:

50 West Street, 20B: The Victoria Shtainer Team is pleased to offer one of the unique double-height residences available for rent. Be the first to live in the stunning new building and experience the New Downtown in luxury with residence 20B, available immediately.

50 West Street, 20B

 

Interested in living at 50 West Street or Experiencing the New Downtown?

Simply fill out the form below to get in touch!

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What Makes Townhomes Unique in New York City

NYC Town Homes

When thinking about or discussing the New York City residential real estate market, condos and co-ops are what often comes to mind. It is easy to forget that a third type of property exists in the market because condos and co-ops, or apartment-style living, is what many think of when they think of city living. However, the third type of property that exists, townhomes, are quite unique and special. 

So what attracts people to townhouse properties in New York City?

Privacy

Townhouse living offers and elevated sense of privacy for some buyers because the home is entirely yours. People will not see you in the common lobby, elevators, or any shared space that exists in a condo or co-op. Similarly, there are no doormen or concierge at a front desk that see you coming in and out of your home. 

Additional privacy comes from the fact that there are no neighbors above or below you to make noise or complain about noise that you may be making. Private outdoor space such as terraces and backyards is solely for the use of the owner, unlike common outdoor space in condos and co-ops which is an amenity for the entire building. 

Compass Listing at 357 W. 17th Street

Compass Listing at 357 W. 17th Street

Vertical Living

Most people are attracted to townhomes for the simple fact that they are houses in the middle of the city. With that being said, townhomes offer traditional vertical living. While this is not for everyone, some buyers like the feeling of a traditional home. This aspect can change one's mindset because when one enters a townhouse, one feels an escape from the bustle of the city...perhaps forgetting it is situated in one of the most bustling metropolitan areas in the world. 

Ownership

Owning a townhome is different in many facets than owning a condo or a co-op. It is similar to a condo in that the owner has a title to real property, unlike share ownership in a co-op, but it differs in that a townhouse is "free standing" with no common areas shared by other owners. Townhouse owners only pay real estate taxes- there are no monthly common or maintenance charges.

This biggest aspect of townhouse ownership is the freedom that comes along with it. Freedom takes on many forms such as no board approval for moving in, tenants, or renovations, and no financing restrictions that one might see on a co-op property. 

Compass Listing at 73 Washington Place

Compass Listing at 73 Washington Place

It must be noted that the freedom of townhouse ownership also comes with increased responsibility, namely all burdens of upkeep and daily operations fall on the owner. Things like inspections, taking out the garbage, cleaning sidewalks in the winter, and handling all repairs become solely the owner's responsibility. There are no live-in supers or porters like a condo or co-op would have. 

Value & Selection

The value of townhomes varies depending on myriad factors, most notably, however, width and location. The standard width of a townhouse in New York City is between 18-20 feet. Anything above 25 feet wide is considered a mansion, and is rare, thus making it much more valuable. 

Additional items that can increase a townhouse's value amenities such as elevators and garages. An elevator can reduce the impact of vertical living for those buyers that are accustomed to condo or co-op living. An on-premise garage is highly coveted, allowing the owner to keep their car on the property, for use at their convenience, without additional garage expenses. 

greenwich village townhouse

 

The most coveted townhomes are usually found on the Upper East and Upper West Sides as well as the Village. When shopping for townhomes, there are various choices to match different buyer taste profiles. Selection spans the gamut of gut renovation ready to triple-mint renovated homes with all the conveniences for today's modern lifestyle. It is worth noting that some homes are considered historic, and thus certain details such as the facade cannot be altered. If you are buyer looking to make renovations, it is important to obtain this information.

The Victoria Shtainer Team Previews a Greenwich Village Townhouse

The Victoria Shtainer Team Previews a Greenwich Village Townhouse

 

Intrigued by Townhouse Living in New York City?

Submit any questions about townhouses or contact us to schedule your townhouse tour in New York City.

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6 Reasons Why Condos are More Expensive Than Co-Ops

If you have been considering home ownership in New York City, you have probably stumbled across the terms condo and co-op in your various stages of research. You may be wondering what is best for you, or simply wondering what the difference between these two types of properties is?

In its most simple form, condo ownership represents true ownership in real property while co-op ownership represents ownership of shares in a corporation. Condos have become widely popular in the New York City market, with transactions on condos far exceeding those of co-ops.

So the question begs, why are condos more expensive than co-ops?

1. Supply & Demand

The story of condo and co-op pricing is one of pure economics. Many are surprised to know that co-ops make up 75% of the New York residential market because many properties that were built or converted prior to 1980 are co-ops, thus the supply of co-ops exceeds that of condos. Additionally, the demand for condos has rapidly increased compared to demand for co-ops. Thus we have an excess of co-op supply with less demand for them while we have less condo inventory and more demand for condos. 

2. Investor Interest

For investors looking to buy a property and rent out, whether these be foreign or domestic buyers, co-ops can be quite challenging. Co-ops often impose strict rules about owners renting their units outs, making it difficult for an investor to generate positive cashflow on the property. If they do allow owners to rent their units, restricting rules are still often enforced regarding length of lease, how often you can rent out the unit in a certain time period, and eligibility for renting out your unit. Based on this aspect of co-ops, it virtually eliminates foreign buyer interest in co-ops as they often purchase New York real estate as an investment. 

3. New Development

The overwhelming majority of new development projects in the city are condos. Buyers have shown that they are willing to pay a premium for these new projects that are luxurious and filled with an array of amenities. It is important to note that, yes, co-ops prices have increased, but not to the extent of condo prices.

4. Estate Planning

If you are accumulating wealth in real estate that you plan to pass along to beneficiaries, ownership type is something to consider. Condo ownership, being real property ownership, transfers to the beneficiary as any piece of real property would upon death or divorce. Co-ops, on the other hand, can be much more complicated as ownership is in shares of the cooperative corporation with a lease for your specific unit. With that being said, the board is responsible for the transfer of share ownership to a new individual as outlined in the co-op's proprietary lease.  This means that the beneficiary may be subjected to the same stringent board approval process to which any buyer in the co-op would be subjected. Remember, the co-op board is not required to disclose why it makes an approval or denial decision. When it comes to questions of estate planning, it is always important to speak with a qualified estate attorney.

5. Financing Policies

For all-cash buyers, financing policies are not a concern. However, for buyers financing their purchase, financing policies are very important, and can vary substantially from condo to co-op. Most condos in New York require 10-25% down on a purchase, with the remainder of the purchase price eligible to be financed. Co-ops can be very strict in regards to buyers financing the purchase. Some co-ops may allow no financing, while others may impose high down payment requirements in excess of 50%. As a result, these strict policies can price out buyers financing their purchase from co-op units that are priced the same as a condo unit because of the down payment (cash) requirement. This further amplifies demand for condos. 

6. Board Policies

Co-ops are renowned for having strict board policies, and for some co-ops strict is even an understatement! Condos, compared to co-ops, generally have less strict board policies from everything to board approval to rules that govern the building. These rules can be a very important part of a buyers decision, especially when it comes to things like pets. Many co-ops boards to do not allow pets, so buyers with pets will not even consider co-op properties. Additionally, some co-op boards have created a "club" in which they only accept certain individual that meets their criteria, which they are not required to disclose. Frankly, this type of atmosphere does not appeal to all buyers, and for those that find this unappealing, they are attracted to condos.

Ideas to Make Your Valentine's Day Special

Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching on February 14th- have you made plans to make the day special for your loved one? We have curated some ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day from gifts to dining. If you are single, why not grab a friend and head to a great restaurant or enjoy a good bottle of champagne? 

Chocolate

What says Happy Valentine's Day or I Love You more than a luxurious box of chocolates? We love the Belgian Chocolatier, Neuhaus. The company has an interesting past, getting its start when Jean Neuhaus opened a pharmacy in Belgium in 1857, covering his pills with a chocolate coating to make them more palatable. Over the brand's history they have crafted chocolate creations for Belgian royals, and are regarded as the leading luxury Belgian chocolatier today. They have a festive selection of chocolate gift boxes with Valentine's Day themes, including this special edition where the box itself is made of edible chocolate as well. 

Pair with a bottle of your favorite champagne!

Neuhaus: 500 Madison Avenue

Flowers

Elevate your flower giving with a luxurious box of roses from Landeau. The company has been making waves in the industry, having been featured in prominent press such as Elle and Architectural Digest, dubbing its box of 25 roses as "25 is the new dozen." From traditional red, to unique pink and orange, Landeau offers an array of color choices to ensure your gift stands out. 

A photo posted by L A N D E A U (@givelandeau) on

Shop Online at Give Landeau

Fragrance

Valentine's Day Fragrance

For Her: Back to Black by Kilian- The brand describes this fragrance as a "head-turning love potion." Notes of Honey, Tobacco and Vanilla combine for an enticing velvet-smooth scent. The bottle comes in an intricate lockable display case, making it a great gift. Available at Net-a-Porter

For Him: Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Forte- Tom Ford takes his infamous Neroli Portofino blend and kicks it up a notch with the "Forte" version. In this version, the floral core is double concentrated, giving it a rich base while the introduction of coastal Italian woods give it a bold touch. Available at Neiman Marcus 

Dinner

Perhaps the most popular Valentine's Day activity is a date night out. We could write an entire post on great restaurant choices in New York City, however, we recommend heading to Le CouCou at the sleek 11 Howard Hotel. Le CouCou is star restauranteur Stephan Starr's (Buddakan & Morimoto) latest outpost in collaboration with chef Daniel Rose. Le CouCou serves modern French fare in an intimate setting with brick walls, chandeliers, and candles on the table. In fact, it was rated one of the 100 best restaurants in America in 2016!

A photo posted by Le Coucou (@lecoucou_nyc) on

Le CouCou 138 Lafayette Street- 212.271.4252

And of course, if you are looking to fall in love with New York City, we can certainly help you do that! 

Valentine's Day New York City

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentines Day New York City

5 of the Best Kitchens On the Market Now

Everyone likes to joke that New Yorkers do not use their kitchens at all, but we beg to differ. Even if you are a Seamless fanatic, don't you want to enjoy it in a beautiful space? From the avid cooker to the complete novice, these kitchens will certainly make you want to have more meals at home!

What's trending in the best kitchens in 2017? Interior designers have weighed in and identified a few trends that they are calling the big kitchen trends of 2017, which are identifiable in our 5 best kitchen picks on the market.

  • Tuxedo Cabinets: Two-tone cabinets will be right on trend. Whether its a complimentary color on the top vs. the bottom, or contrasting stone inlays, look for cabinets that vary throughout the kitchen.
  • Mixed Hardware Finishes: Gone are the days of simple, silver finishes throughout the kitchen. Mix of the materials of your finishes to create interest. Perhaps its a gold faucet with brass hardware pulls, or pewter fixtures with a complimentary finish on the stove hood as a focal piece. 
  • Lighter Color Palettes: People are gravitating towards lighter finishes in their kitchens, trading dark wood for lighter woods and white. In fact, all-white kitchens are becoming quite popular.
  • Hidden Appliances: Where's the fridge? What about the dishwasher? Hidden appliances are right on trend as they make the kitchen appear more streamlined. Refrigerators are being covered with the same finish as the cabinets so it blends in seamlessly. 

 

5 of the Best Kitchens on the Market

 

1 Seaport:

2017 Kitchen Trends

1 Seaport's kitchen are designed around an open concept to integrate with the living space. Kitchens are outfitted with custom walnut cabinetry, upper door Calacatta Gold inlays, and illuminated Calacatta gold marble backsplashes. The appliance package is by Gaggenau. Notice the tuxedo cabinet concept with the upper marble inlays and the concealed refrigerator. 

45 East 22nd Street:

The upper residences of Madison Square Park tower have kitchens that are stunning, especially with the backdrop of incredible city views. Finishes in the kitchens include custom Molenti cabinets, marble countertops, Waterworks fixtures, and Nanz fittings. Appliances are by Sub-Zero and Miele. Imagine making dinner with those views of the World Trade Center!

180 East 88th Street:

Kitchens at this Upper East Side development are custom designed by Molteni&C Dada. They feature honed Italian Statuario marble slab countertops, integrated Gaggenau appliances, and brass details throughout. How beautiful are these custom hoods? The brass brings a warm feeling to the space.

One Manhattan Square:

2017 Kitchen Trends

Kitchens at One Manhattan Square by Extell Development come in two color schemes. Residents are able to choose from a dark or light scheme. Shown, is the light scheme in all-white...right on trend! Kitchens are outfitted with custom cabinetry, Miele appliances, Dornbracht fittings, stainless steel mosaic backsplashes, and stone bar tops. The views at One Manhattan Square don't hurt either!

200 East 59th Street:

2017 Kitchen Trends

Keeping with the overall design of the building, kitchens at the new 200 E 59th Street have a classic modernist aesthetic, many adjacent to full floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Finishes throughout the kitchens include Italian white glass and aluminum cabinets, honed Calcutta marble slab countertops, natural white oak wood islands, and integrated Miele Brilliant White appliances. 

Ready to live in the best kitchens in Manhattan? Contact us for more information and to schedule your appointment.

Why Visit and Buy in Aspen?

Visit Aspen

The storied Colorado ski resort has become synonymous with a jet-set crowd and as a destination for the world’s billionaires, but what attracts this crowd to the tiny town and keeps them coming back for years?

Today, Aspen’s success and reputation is largely due in part because of its world-class skiing, dining, shopping, and real estate. However, the former silver mining town was not always the destination for the world’s elite as it is today.

Aspen has a storied history, including the name of “richest silver mining town in the world” in the 1880s. Celebrities began being attracted to Aspen as early as the 50s, falling in love and calling the Colorado town their second home, and staying for decades to come. Aspen also saw a wave of interest from urbanites from cities across the country that became fed up with urban life and all its perils, seeking that “calling out west.” Many say that once you go to Aspen, you either stay or always come back.

This sense of allure that Aspen has on its visitors attracted key celebrities and entrepreneurs that began the transformation of the town into a world-class destination. Efforts of entrepreneurs led to the building of, what many regard as one of the best hotels in the world, The Little Nell, the Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen mountain to elevate the lift experience, and the arrival of luxury shops. Entrepreneur Harley Baldwin secured Dior as a tenant in his building which led to the arrival of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and other renowned designers. Today, you can buy almost any luxury brand you desire in Aspen.

 In addition to the arrival of prominent individuals, luxury shopping, and hotels, Aspen also saw the arrival of elite membership clubs that added to this seemingly new clientele of the town. The Caribou Club and Aspen Mountain Club remain some of the most prestigious members only clubs today.

You are probably thinking, the arrival of a few celebrities and hotels can not be the only thing that transformed Aspen into the town it is today, which is correct. Much of Aspen’s “success” is also a real estate story. Since the 70’s or so through the present, real estate prices in the Roaring Fork Valley have skyrocketed. There are countless stories of those that fell in love with Aspen decades ago, purchasing property for $200,000 that could now be worth in excess of $2 million. Increasing property values also leads to homeowners “trading up” to their next home.

Today, there is not much land left that can be built on, and restrictions have been put into place regarding the size of new homes that can be built. The real estate boom of Aspen has created the simple story of “money is attracted to money.” For those that can get into the Aspen real estate market, they do, however, a report stated that for Q3 2016 the average sale price was $3.1 million in Aspen, so its all about being able to get into this exclusive market.

Why do people love Aspen so much?  It offers a sense of allure that other U.S. ski resorts simply do not. Those that call Aspen their second, third, or fourth home come back year after year, and many residents get to know each other, creating a sense of community. Aspen offers a sense of peace and quiet- an escape from the busy corporate world of many homeowners. Of course there is the obvious, skiing. There is world-class skiing in and around Aspen. Snowmass alone is 3,300 acres of skiing terrain, and if it were stand alone, it would be the second largest ski resort in the U.S. Aspen is equally as popular in the summer as it is in the winter, offering hiking, biking, fishing, picnics, festivals, and concerts in the beautiful mountain setting.

 

Did you Know?

Compass is present in Aspen! If you are interested in viewing and purchasing property in the Aspen area, we can connect with the best agents on the ground.

Here is a taste of Aspen real estate- a selection of a few current listings offered exclusively by Compass Agents. Interested? Contact Us!

 

Getting to Aspen:

Aspen has a small airport that services both commercial airlines and a large population of private jets. It is said that on major holidays, a private jet is either taking off or landing every 6 minutes from Aspen.

Because the airport is small, and at high altitude, only certain aircraft are permitted to land. As a result, many east coast cities cannot offer a direct flight, as you need to switch to a smaller plane in a nearby city. West Coast cities as well as hubs such as Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Denver offer nonstop service to Aspen. 

Another option is flying to Denver, and driving to Aspen. The approximately 4 hour drive on Independence Pass can be quite treacherous in the winter, but offers beautiful scenery in the summer. 

Where to Stay:

The Little Nell

The Little Nell

If you are visiting Aspen on vacation, there are an array of options for accommodations in Aspen as well as neighboring Snowmass. Here are some topic picks:

  • The Limelight- 355 S Monarch Street
  • The Little Nell- 675 E Durant
  • The St. Regis- 315 E Dean Street
  • Hotel Jerome-  330 E Monarch Street
  • The Viceroy- 130 Wood Road, Snowmass Village

Skiing:

Buttermilk Mountain

Buttermilk Mountain

Aspen offers multiple different mountains, each with varying terrain. They are all interconnected with one, easy lift pass.

  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is regarded as one of the best beginner mountains in the world, and one of the best places to learn how to ski. They offer a mix of beginner terrain and a great ski and snowboard school.
  • Highlands: A favorite among locals and avid skiers, Highlands offers some beginner terrain but is more suited for advance skiers. It is also home to the famous Cloud 9 Bistro- a great ski party scene.
  • Ajax: Also referred to as Aspen Mountain, Ajax is the go-to mountain for advanced skiers. The mountain utilizes the famous Silver Queen Gondola. It does not have any beginner green runs. 
  • Snowmass: Snowmass is the furthest from Aspen town, however it is like its own little resort town with places to stay as well. Snowmass is huge, offering various terrain for beginners all the way to advanced skiers.

Shop:

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Taking a break from the mountains? Aspen offers a variety of world class shopping from fashion and jewelry to fine art.

  • Kith- 430 E Cooper Avenue
  • Gorsuch- 419 E Cooper Avenue
  • Moncler- 432 E Hyman Avenue
  • Incline Ski Shop- 555 E Durant Avenue
  • Ralph Lauren- 501 E Cooper Avenue

Where to Eat:

Casa Tua via

Casa Tua via

From Italian to American, and some of the best Japanese, Aspen appeals to foodies. It is home to the Aspen Food & Wine Festival after all!

  • Casa Tua- 403 S Galena Street
  • Wild Fig- 315 E Hyman Avenue
  • Aspen Kitchen- 515 E Hopkins Avenue
  • Matsuhisa- 303 E Main Street
  • Element 47- 675 E Durant Avenue

7 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make

7 Mistakes First-Time Buyers Make

first time home buyer mistakes

We know how stressful it can be buying a home, let alone your first home. As a first-time buyer, you feel pressured to have everything go exactly as planned, ultimately ending up in your dream palace in the sky. Throughout the purchase process, we see first-time buyers make mistakes that affect his or her ability to land the property of his or her dreams.

Below is a list of 7 mistakes frequently made by first-time buyers. Partner yourself with an educated broker, and you will soon be on the way to calling your dream house home!

1. Not Hiring a Broker:

First-time buyers, especially those that are unfamiliar with transacting in real estate, have a large misconception that if they hire a broker, they are going to have to pay. This is not the case. When it comes to buying, unlike renting, the seller’s agent splits the commission with the buyer’s (your) agent. With that being said, you only stand to gain with partnering with a reputable broker when conducting your home search.

2. Lack of Pre-Approval:

If you are planning to finance the purchase of your home, it is imperative that you get a pre-approval letter from your mortgage company. This will help you in two ways: 1) you know that you will even get approved and 2) what amount the bank is willing to lend to you. For the latter, some are pleasantly surprised that they are approved for more than they originally thought, while sometimes, the approval may come in lower than expected. This is important, however, so you know at what price point you can shop. Many first-time buyers feel that this is not urgent and say “I will get it later!” The sooner you have your pre-approval in hand, the sooner you will be a competitive buyer in the marketplace. Mortgage pre-approvals are generally valid for 3 months, so even if you don’t find an apartment immediately, you are better prepared for the search by getting the letter from the start.

3. Broker Access to Listing:

This relates to mistake #1 in that, often, first-time buyers believe that they have to go direct (without a broker) to a listing that they are interested in because it is that listing agent’s listing. All brokers have access to all listings. So no matter what broker you partner with as a buyer, they can take you to any listing throughout the city. You will not get a better deal by going alone!

4. Indecisiveness:

Buying your first home will probably be one of the most stressful purchases of your life. First-time buyers can suffer from indecisiveness, especially in the Manhattan market which offers so many options. If you find what feels to be the perfect home, bid on it and focus on that apartment. Too often, first-time buyers cannot commit to a property and miss out on a deal that meets their criteria. 

5. Education:

Hiring a reputable broker is 90% of the equation while the other 10% is on you as the buyer. Be sure to do your homework regarding all the components that go into purchasing a home. How much will insurance be? Utilities? The more you understand what expenses are involved and what the state of the market is, you will know what you can realistically afford and focus your search accordingly. 

6. Buying Direct with the Seller’s Agent:

This, too, related to mistake #1- notice a theme? Too often, first-time buyers buy direct (without a buyer’s broker), which can hurt them in the end. It is important to understand that while the seller’s agent is thrilled with a double commission, throughout the entire purchase process they are legally obligated to the seller, not you. the buyer. This means that the seller’s interests are prioritized before yours. Make sure you are represented by a broker that has your best interests at heart so you can feel confident that you received the best deal.

7. Underestimate the Complexity of the Process:

Often when dealing with something we have never done, we have expectations or assumptions of how to approach it and handle it. We see many first-time buyers that underestimate the complexity of the real estate transaction process. The steps of going from offer submission to the closing table is like navigating a minefield. There is a myriad of things that can popup between contract signing and closing that may complicate the deal or threaten it, often things you would not anticipate as a non real estate professional. Your broker will seamlessly guide you throughout the process.