The Real Deal New York

Bridge project in Providence sees daylight, Frank Lloyd Wright House in Phoenix switches hands, Aspen market slides ... & more

National market report

September 01, 2016
By Elizabeth Kim

Providence

Providence

Providence

After a decade-long delay, a highly anticipated pedestrian bridge expected to revitalize the heart of the Rhode Island capital is set to move forward this fall, according to the Providence Journal. The state Department of Transportation said it plans to award a bid in October so the bridge can be finished by November 2018. The bridge, which was originally slated for completion in 2013, will connect the city’s downtown with two affluent historic neighborhoods, College Hill and Fox Point, across the Providence River. “The delivery of these public spaces will be the singular, most transformative event in providing the environment that is required to both attract and retain the companies and millennial workers who demand a sense of place,” said Sharon Steele, president of Building Bridges Providence, a nonprofit formed to advocate for the bridge’s construction. The project is part of an ongoing effort to redevelop nearly 26 acres of land that became available after the relocation of a major interstate that bisected downtown. Financing for the bridge is still up in the air. The city’s I-195 Redevelopment Commission doesn’t have sufficient funds to undertake the project, which has received bids ranging between $17 million and $22 million.

Chattanooga

Six years after installing an ultra high-speed broadband network, Chattanooga’s effort to lure tech start-ups appears to be paying off, according to the New York Times. More than $700 million in new mixed-use development is either in construction or about to start within a recently created innovation district in the city’s central business district. “What we’re generating here is an ecosystem for business development,” said Andy Berke, Chattanooga’s mayor. The city, the fourth largest in Tennessee, boasts Internet speed as fast as 10 gigabits per second, 1,000 times faster than the national average. Housing, including apartments designed for co-living, and hotels are among the projects that have been spurred by the influx of tech professionals. Local builder DeFoor Brothers Development is planning an $88 million conversion of a landmark building into a 260-room Westin Hotel. The transformation represents three decades of investment to clean the Tennessee River and market the city to young entrepreneurs.

Phoenix

Phoenix

Phoenix

A midcentury house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that has stirred public controversy may be about to switch hands. The Arizona Republic last month reported that Zach Rawling, an attorney, has offered to donate the property to the Arizona Community Foundation, a Phoenix-based organization that doles out grants to charities and other nonprofits. The house, located in Arcadia, an upscale suburb of Phoenix and Scottsdale, was one of Wright’s last designs before his death in 1959. It was intended for his son and daughter-in-law, David and Gladys Wright, for whom the house is named. In what became a national story, Rawling bought the home in 2012 for $2.3 million after it faced the threat of demolition. But since that time, the man who saved the Wright home has been battling with neighbors over his plans to host events and expand the house. Residents also objected to free tours of the home, arguing that it was technically a private residence.

Aspen

The party is finally over in Aspen. The upscale Colorado city, which has long been a see-and-be-seen winter retreat for the wealthy, is experiencing its first sustained real estate slump, according to the Denver Post. High-end buyers have evaporated, and prices are dropping. Sales in Pitkin County, where Aspen is located, are down more than 42 percent, to $546.5 million for the first half of 2016. Almost all of the decline is from Aspen, where sales of single-family homes are down 62 percent through the first half of the year. On the high end of the market, sales of homes priced $10 million and up are down 60 percent. And last year, the average price per square foot of Aspen homes fell 22 percent to $1,095, from $1,338. The slowdown is giving builders a reality check on pricing. “I think a lot of developers thought they would push their, say, $5 million properties to $6 million this year, but no one is buying,” said longtime Aspen broker Joshua Saslove. “I don’t see that nonchalance or cavalier attitude any more.” 

Nashville

Nashville

Nashville

Conservative talk-show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck is ditching the largely liberal environs of Greater New York for Nashville. She’ll swap the stately 7,600-square -foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, that she shared with her husband, former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, and their three children for a 7,100-square-foot brick mansion in the genteel neighborhood of Belle Meade, according to Variety. While similar in grandeur to their Greenwich home, which boasted two marble fireplaces and a mahogany-trimmed library, the Nashville manse was a comparative bargain at $2.03 million — less than half the $4.2 million they dropped on their Greenwich spread in 2012. The couple made a modest profit on the Greenwich property, which sold for $4.56 million. Last year, Hasselbeck voluntarily left a prime gig as co-host of TV’s“Fox & Friends” to spend more time with her family.

North Hero, Vermont

It’s not the presidency, but a lakefront vacation home is a pretty good consolation prize. Shortly after losing the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders bought a $575,000 home on North Hero, a Lake Champlain island, according to Seven Days, a local newspaper. Though modest by Trump or Clinton standards with four bedrooms and 500 feet of beachfront, the property has raised the ire of some Sanders supporters, who object to the democratic socialist’s purchase of a third home — the U.S. senator keeps a primary residence in Burlington, Vermont, and a row house in Washington, D.C. But Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, emphasized that the purchase, a longtime wish, had finally been made possible by the sale of her family’s lakefront home in Maine. “We’ve traveled up to the islands many times over the years — almost always on day trips,” she told Seven Days.

Chicago

NBA player Dwyane Wade isn’t only moving back to his hometown after signing with the Chicago Bulls this summer, but he’s also moving into a stunning Gold Coast mansion. The former Miami Heat player is renting an 11,000-square-foot property on North State Parkway that was last listed for sale at $9.5 million, Crain’s Chicago reported. The 19th-century brick house has seven bedrooms, as well as a one-bedroom guest apartment above the garage. The basketball star’s new rental — for which he’s paying an undisclosed sum — is an upgrade from the properties he’s kept in the city while playing with the Miami Heat. In 2009, he bought a River North town house for a little more than $1.4 million, which he sold for $1.7 million in 2014.

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