The Real Deal New York

Price chops ahead at Toll Brothers’ Park Ave. condos

CEO says firm plans to get “aggressive” to spur sales at 400 Park Ave. South, 1110 Park

December 08, 2015 05:35PM
By E.B. Solomont


From left: 400 Park Avenue South, 1110 Park and Douglas Yearley

Don’t expect a fire sale, but price drops may loom for Toll Brothers’ luxury condominium projects at 400 Park Avenue South and 1110 Park Avenue.

Construction at both projects is complete, but neither is sold out, CEO Douglas Yearley said Tuesday during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Toll needs to be “a bit more aggressive in pricing” to move the remaining units at both buildings, he said.

Ideally, a project’s construction and marketing timeline coincide so that a developer can begin closings — and revenue collection — once the building has a certificate of occupancy.

At 400 Park Avenue South, a glassy Christian de Portzamparc-designed tower with 81 units, Toll has 30 condos left to sell.

“Thankfully [we have] huge margins there and huge opportunities to throw some incentives at the units,” Yearley said.

Currently, a dozen in-contract units at 400 Park Avenue South are likely to sell at a steep discount from Toll’s initial asking price, according to StreetEasy. For example, a three-bedroom unit measuring nearly 2,800 square feet went into contract in September after the price was chopped by 29 percent to $6.1 million, from the initial price of $8.6 million.

Yearley said Toll wouldn’t sit for long with the building’s remaining 30 units.

“There’s revenue out there we want to collect,” he said. “We will not fire-sale it, we don’t think that’s smart business and it’s not necessary, but we will price to the market.”

Like 400 Park Avenue South, Toll has a certificate of occupancy at its nine-unit boutique at 1110 Park, which has five remaining units for sale. “These are very expensive units, and therefore there are less buyers out there,” said Yearley, who said prices would be more “aggressive” there, as well.

For example, a 5,700-square-foot unit is currently asking $21 million, down from the original price of $25.75 million. A similarly sized unit sold in October for $18.25 million, 17 percent less than the $22 million price when it hit the market in October 2014.

Overall, the Pennsylvania-based homebuilding company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $147.2 million, up year-over-year from $131.5 million. Revenue jumped 6.4 percent year-over-year to $1.4 billion.

For the full year, Toll reported a profit of $363.2 million, up from $340 million in fiscal 2014. The company reported revenue of $4.17 billion, up from last year’s revenue of $3.91 billion.

Like Toll, Zeckendorf Development is seeing softness at its 50 United Nations Plaza, where it’s sold less than half of the building’s 88 units. Of the 40 apartments that closed, roughly two-thirds sold at an average discount of 9 percent, according to Crain’s. “We are perfectly comfortable with a slightly slower sellout,” William Zeckendorf told the publication.

Toll signaled its concern about a potentially overheated market this past fall.

In September, the developer said prices at its new condo project at 55 West 17th Street in Chelsea would start at $1.5 million. The average asking price will be $2,200 per foot. “We’re starting to see an oversupply of really large units and really expensive units, and we think those are sitting on the market,” David Von Spreckelsen, the New York division president of Toll’s City Living unit, said at the time.

On Tuesday, Yearley said Toll has inked 12 agreements at the Chelsea project since October, with an average price of $3.3 million. The building will be completed in 2017.

Meanwhile, Toll’s 108-unit Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park has sold roughly 75 units, with 30 left to sell. Yearley said the goal is to sell at least two-and-a-half units a month and sell out by the time the project is complete a year from now. He called it an achievable pace.

“There are certain units, locations within a building that are hot, and maybe other units that are in a dark, cold quarter that you have to incentivize a bit more,” he said.