The Real Deal on the town

Jennifer Aniston comes back for more Manhattan real estate, "Selling New York" descends on a new Tribeca rental and Brooklyn's biggest developers detail their latest projects
August 04, 2011 04:14PM

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From left: Jennifer Aniston and 50 Gramercy Park North

Just when we thought the Jennifer Aniston house hunting saga had finally come to a satisfying conclusion with the purchase of hair stylist Sally Herschberger’s former penthouse and another apartment at 299 West 12th Street, Aniston seems to be on the hunt again. The “Friends,” and more recently “Horrible Bosses,” star was spotted checking out a glitzy penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North, according to a broker who has done deals in the Ian Schrager building.

Our source couldn’t provide us with any more details but The Real Deal suspects that Aniston may have been shown a $21.4 million, 4,235-square-foot duplex penthouse unit, currently listed by the Corcoran Group’s Tim Cass. Cass would neither confirm nor deny that he showed her the apartment and Aniston’s publicist was not immediately available for comment but elsewhere denied the rumor.

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If Aniston were to buy at 50 Gramercy Park North, a 23-unit luxury co-op next to the Gramercy Park Hotel where unit owners have filed a $3.1 million suit against the developers for allegedly failing to repair a number of construction defects and mechanical problems, she would receive a key to the private Gramercy Park.

The actress certainly has the cash to spend. She recently sold her five-bedroom 10,000-square-foot Los Angeles home for $42 million after purchasing it for only $13.5 million in 2006. — Katherine Clarke

Core’s Doron Zwickel broker gauges rental market with two new Tribeca units at 83 Franklin

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From left: 83 Franklin Street, Doron Zwickel speaking with a guest, Doron Zwickel speaking with a crew member from “Selling New York” and a shot of the kitchen at 83 Franklin

Core’s Doron Zwickel held a small open house yesterday at 83 Franklin Street in Tribeca to show off one of its 11 2,000-square-foot rental units. The building’s exterior retains its original properties, while the interior has the high ceilings and open space of a classic Tribeca loft.

Zwickel, an executive vice president, limited the event to a few Core brokers, architects, friends and of course, The Real Deal “so that you can actually walk around and talk,” he said, which left more than enough room for a film crew from HGTV’s “Selling New York” to survey the scene.

Just two units are currently on the market, having been listed Aug. 1, as Zwickel tries to gauge interest and set a starting price for the building’s remaining nine units. The “least desirable” unit, Zwickel said, for example, unit 2N, is asking $8,500 per month, but has already been bid for, and above that price. The pricier unit currently on the market is asking $10,000 per month. Zwickel said some of the interested parties include a young family, a recognizable photographer (who appreciated the high ceilings for his work) and three “Wall Street hot shots” looking for a share, but he wouldn’t name names.

Considering the strength of the market, it seemed pretty convenient to bring a rare, newly developed Tribeca rental to the market now, but Zwickel insisted that was the plan all along. The developers, a family team consisting of Francis Moezinia and David Moussazadeh, have acted as a landlord for about 100 apartments throughout he city — most notably some in 230 Riverside Drive before Brack Capital converted it to condominiums — but this was their first foray into a ground-up project. Because they’ve owned the building since the 1980s, they weren’t under the same pressure to turn immediate profits. “So Francis built something he himself would have wanted to live in,” Zwickel said, pointing to the condominium-grade finishes.

Zwickel said he thinks the Manhattan rental market, which has been red hot of late, has a long way to go before it flattens, as it’s merely catching up to the massive price increases in the sales market achieved earlier this decade. “But if we return to the good old days of 2006 and 2007,” Zwickel said, “the developers can just flip a switch and put the units up for sale.” — Adam Fusfeld

At Brooklyn real estate luncheon, L+M Development says it expects first TCO at the former Navy Brig prison site by October

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From left: Marvin Schein of Salmar Properties, Lisa Gomez of L+M Development Partners and David Von Spreckelsen of Toll Brothers City Living

Some of the most active developers in Kings County gathered Tuesday at
the Brooklyn Historical Society for the organization’s latest real
estate roundtable luncheon. Here’s what this month’s panelists had to
say:

Lisa Gomez, executive vice president at L+M Development Partners,
offered an update on the company’s Navy Green nearly 500-unit
mixed-income housing project at the former Navy Brig prison site in
Wallabout. The first of four buildings planned for the site is
expected to receive its temporary certificate of occupancy in October,
Gomez said. As for the 23 townhouses announced in the city’s original
plans for the site, Gomez said those will “maybe” go up in between the
four multi-family buildings “one day… but not right now.”

Meanwhile, David Von Spreckelsen, president of Toll Brothers City
Living, was still lamenting his lost development opportunity at the
Gowanus Canal. Last summer, after the waterway was designated a
Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency, Toll Brothers
walked away from a $5.75 million down payment on three parcels of land
where it had been planning a 477-unit mixed-income housing project.
The company, which had lobbied hard against the EPA’s decision, had
said it felt the cleanup under the Superfund program would be too
unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive.

“We felt it could be 20 to 25 years,” Von Spreckelsen said Tuesday, calling the designation “very bad” for the city. He also dismissed the idea that, since Superfund
has scared developers away from Gowanus, the area might now get a
chance to grow organically. “That chance existed for the last 50 years
and things haven’t changed there, so I don’t think that change is
going to happen any time soon,” he said. “The uncertainty is going to
keep people out.”

Panelist Marvin Schein, a managing member of Salmar Properties, was
recently chosen as the developer of Sunset Park’s waterfront Federal
Building #2
. Of the mostly-vacant, 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse,
which is supposed to become the centerpiece of the city’s new
Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone, Schein said he believes
it will take two years to renovate. There’s been a lot of interest in
the space already, but no official negotiations because Congress has
not yet approved the sale, Schein told the audience. One audience
member seemed surprised at the delay. “Well, we’ve asked Congress to
put aside the debt ceiling and focus on our building, but…” Schein
quipped.

Keith Lam, managing director of the Lam Group, was relatively
tight-lipped during his turn at the podium, sharing only that his
company was on the hunt for more hotel development sites in Downtown
Brooklyn, which he feels is “underserved.” After the panel, though, he
revealed to us that the firm expects to break ground within the next
two months on the new 26-story Four Points by Sheraton hotel planned
at
6 Platt Street. As The Real Deal previously reported, the project,
to be developed through an agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts,
will contain 264 units and is slated for completion in 2013. — Sarabeth Sanders