The Real Deal New York

Are realty reality TV program listings for show?

Interior designer admits he's not eager to sell his TV series-featured Chelsea pad

February 23, 2012 06:30PM
By Katherine Clarke

From left: Designer Christopher Highland, his Chelsea apartment and Nestseekers' Ryan Serhant and Regis Roumila

[Updated at 9:00 p.m. with a comment from Bravo] A 4,000-square-foot apartment in Chelsea owned by Manhattan interior designer Christopher Hyland, has been relisted after 18 months off the market, but the textile guru’s not too keen on selling it, he told The Real Deal today.

The 12th-floor loft unit, which first came on the market for $22.45 million in 2010 and was featured on “Selling New York” with Core broker Michael Graves and agent Kirk Rundhaug, was listed again yesterday for the same price with “Million Dollar Listing New York” star Ryan Serhant and Regis Roumila, both of Nestseekers, but is for sale only because “everyone wants to do TV shows about it,” Hyland said.

He claimed: “I don’t really care if I sell it. I’d just as soon not sell it. Brokers pursue me ad nauseam.”

The sprawling four-bedroom unit, designed by Hyland and his partner Constantino Castellano in the style of classic Greek Revival and Pompeian, is certainly on-camera material with its elaborate design, including a Gothic kitchen of hand-carved oak.

It was showcased on the HGTV hit show in 2010 and will make an appearance on Bravo’s new TV show “Million Dollar Listing New York” later this year, Hyland said, though the appearance on Bravo could not be confirmed. “They’ve asked me to be in the show,” he said.

Even when Hyland appeared on the “Selling New York,” he seemed reluctant to give Core the listing, saying at the time he wasn’t even sure he wanted to sell.

“They approached me, called me practically every day,” Hyland said, conceding that while he loves the apartment, he was open to selling it because “life is an adventure.”

When asked if he would in fact sell the apartment if offered something close to the hefty asking price, Hyland said he wasn’t sure. “If the price is right…,” he joked.

Asked by The Real Deal if the apartment was actually on the market for the TV show, which is currently filming its first season, Serhant vehemently denied the suggestion.

“I would never list an apartment just to put it on TV,” he said. “I’m too busy doing actual business.”

The previous marketing of the apartment by Core was insufficient to reach the apartment’s prospective buyer base, Serhant said, claiming that the apartment had barely been shown in 2010. Showings will start next week this time around, and the Nestseekers broker is determined to find a buyer.

“It’s a very sellable apartment,” he explained, “and appraises very close to the asking price. There’s a premium for the décor. It took [Hyland] four years of renovations and no detail was left unturned. It just feels like a home.”

While Serhant admitted he had approached Hyland about the listing initially, he attributed that fact purely to the idea that he’s “always going after interesting properties.”

He said the pair had a connection because they’re both from the North coast of Boston. The fact that the apartment was on “Selling New York” was not a factor.

There’s no guarantee that Hyland’s apartment will make it onto “Million Dollar Listing New York,” Serhant said. No one at HGTV was immediately available for comment, but a spokesperson at Bravo said Hyland wasn’t on season one of the show.

A Core spokesperson said the listing was legitimate in 2010.

“We would never list something just for the sake of listing it,” she said. “We find that unethical.”

Another source with knowledge of the workings of “Selling New York” told The Real Deal that it was unlikely an apartment would be listed primarily for the purposes of the HGTV show.

“I can promise 100 percent that the stories are real,” said the source, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak about the program. “They all have to be fact-checked. There are five different levels of approvals.”

One homeowner, who had an apartment featured on “Selling New York,” remained skeptical that a listing would be purely for show.

“There are so many great apartments in the city and so many of them are for sale, you don’t have to go after someone,” he said.

It is possible however, that apartments could be listed at astronomical prices for short periods of time on these shows to test the market, the source said. In his case, the apartment was over-priced so as not to attract many buyers, he said, because at the end of the day, he really didn’t want to sell the place.

  • Raging Realtor

    Ive been involved with a few reality shows. There is nothing real about them, nothing. They tell you to do that again, or do this or what ever. The only thing, its unscripted for the most part. The directors do tell you to antagonize a situation. Its TV plain and simple. The Real Deal should do an article on whats been sold, changed hands, off the market etc, that was featured on these shows. Actually they should contact the owners after the show and ask their opinion.

  • SeanRollins

    Don’t you have something better to do instead of hating on actual people doing real work and making the new york city economy fruitful? Who cares about the owners opinion, when after all they agree to sell it or to list it with a broker, who cares about the fact that it is for sale or just to test the market? If it might sell or not, well that’s another problem, but the real important aspect here is if it is working or not to feature a property for sale on a reality show. As soon as you get the answer to this question, then you know what to do now.

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