Tribeca home aims for Downtown record

By James Kelly | May 07, 2008 03:58PM

Months before the completion of one of Downtown’s largest townhouses, seller Steven Schnall said he has already seen interest from several potential buyers for his mansion at 2 North Moore Street in Tribeca, which hit the market with a $35 million price tag last month.

If it sells for that price – which brokers say is likely – it will break the record for highest priced single-family home sold south of 14th Street.

Schnall, founder and former CEO of New York Mortgage Company, paid just $5.57 million for the property in 2005. The property then contained two buildings that were connected internally: a landmarked, two-story structure on the north side and another two-story building on the south side. Schnall had the southern building razed, and gutted the landmarked building to its basement, leaving just its two corner walls. 

Schnall then did his best to renovate the landmarked facade, and began building a six-story building to its south, also connected internally. When completed, the 11,000-square-foot home will include a three-car garage, 50-foot lap pool, billiards, bar, media room, roof deck, balcony, and a maid’s apartment with a separate entrance. And because the lot is located on a corner, the building will have 65 feet of Frontage On North Moore Street and West Broadway.

“It’s going to look like a late 1800s brick structure juxtaposed with a modern-looking, six-story townhouse,” Schnall said.

Pricing the behemoth was a headache, Schnall said, because there was no comparable property in Tribeca. He interviewed several prominent luxury brokers to determine a good per square foot price point, and decided on $3,000 per square foot. While he finally chose Deborah Grubman of the Corcoran Group to represent the listing, Schnall said he also spoke to Douglas Elliman, Massey Knakal and Sotheby’s.

Other brokers asked by The Real Deal said that while the bottom line price is record-breaking, the price per square foot is reasonable for a luxury property in Tribeca.

“The high-end is the strongest side of the market right now, and there is not much property available in Tribeca,” said Brahna Yassky, vice president and associate broker at Brown Harris Stevens. “It is certainly not unreasonable to think it will [sell for $35 million].” 

Yassky, who is not involved in the marketing of the property, went on to say that because it is such a unique property, especially for the neighborhood, she didn’t think a record sale would “raise the standard” in the Downtown market. 

“I think it just goes to reaffirm that the Tribeca market can be on par with properties on Central Park,” Yassky said.

Schnall said he originally envisioned the home as a primary residence.

“I have embarked on some other business opportunities abroad that have been ruminating for some time now … and it just isn’t practical for us to keep an 11,000-square-foot house in New York if we’re not going to be living here,” Schnall said. 

Schnall said that in light of the “robust” high-end housing market in Manhattan, he expects to get the full asking price and has no motivation to compromise on the price.

“If the market softens significantly, then we may … keep the home, even though there is a good chance we aren’t going to occupy it in the near term,” he said.