The million dollar question is, is it true that there is a glut of new constructions in New York City? When the word “glut” is used, it conjures up the image of empty apartment buildings with no takers, which is pretty extreme. But is there some truth to it?
Take 15 Central Park West, for example, a building that is going up right now near the Time Warner Center. There are rumors of many famous buyers there, including Sting, Denzel Washington, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the list goes on. I know of a real estate broker who represented a buyer who bought a 3-bedroom there for $6 million pre-construction and flipped it for $8 million. A $2 million profit without even seeing the apartment to its completion, that’s pretty good. 15 CPW is a glittering success by all standards, and it has a lot going for it: a Central Park West address, proximity to another high profile recent construction (Time Warner Center), which also houses Whole Foods, the organic food mecca beloved by many affluent New Yorkers.
Well, on the East Side, there is 995 Fifth Avenue, at the former Stanhope Hotel. You can hardly get more prestigious than Fifth Ave., and it’s across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 81st Street. I had no idea that it was not doing well until I read an article in the New York Times (“A Candela with a Storied Past, but Few Takers,” November 19, 2006). The apartments are apparently not selling at all for a variety of reasons (high monthly maintenance, bad views for the middle floors, among others). But the developers, Extell, are hoping to reintroduce the building this winter. I’m curious to see how they will market and package it differently. Will they, for example, re-price the apartments?
Incidentally, Extell is also developing the property 151 East 85th Street, a convenient location we happen to like. My husband is excited about the fact that Extell has so much unsold inventory at the Stanhope, hoping that it may try to “dump” the apartments at 151 E. 85th St. at ridiculous prices. That is truly wishful thinking, but who knows? The prices there have not been made public yet, as far as I know, but I will be keeping an eye on this property.
There really are tons of new constructions in the city right now, and there are plenty of rumors of price drops and negotiations, formerly unheard of when buying into new buildings. Take the 3 BR at 170 East End Avenue priced at $5.395 million; it was $6 million a few months back. There are whispers that apartments are not selling there, and that deals can be made. I don’t know if there is a true glut, but with these rumors and news of disappointing sales, things are selling slowly, at least in some buildings. If only the prices will fall drastically, and fast.