The Real Deal on the town

Views were on display at TF Cornerstone's View condo party
By Adam Fusfeld | September 16, 2011 05:59PM

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Clockwise from top left: The View condominium, Modern Spaces CEO Eric Benaim, Scott Walsh, director of market research for TF Cornerstone and the view from Penthouse 9 at sunset

Brokers and potential buyers gathered last night at TF Cornerstone’s Long Island
City condominium the View to check out the staged penthouses, and, quite
frankly, the views.

The Real Deal arrived just in time to see the sun set over the Manhattan skyline
directly across the river from the condo. The sight was breathtaking, even for
Scott Walsh, TF Cornerstone’s director of market research, who sees it every
day from his ground-floor apartment in the building.

Walsh said he eschewed the penthouses — which have been on the market since 2009 and range from $1.485 million
for a 1,495-square-foot two-bedroom unit to $1.785 for a 1,763-square-foot
three-bedroom after recent price cuts — for his unit because of his private large outdoor
garden. For Walsh, living in Long Island City was an easy choice thanks to his
familiarity with the neighborhood. But at times, convincing buyers to look across
the East River at a still-emerging neighborhood is a challenge, he said, no matter
how nice the condo may be.

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That’s part of the reason TF Cornerstone switched to Long Island City-based Modern
Spaces
from Nest Seekers International for the project’s marketing in April, nearly two years after launching. Since making the change five months ago, the 184-unit building, at 4630 Center Boulevard, has gone from 57 percent sold to
about 75 percent sold, Modern Spaces CEO Eric Benaim said.

“The big firms are great, but no one has the local connection to Long Island City
that Modern Spaces has,” Walsh said. Once people get to the building, he said,
it’s easy to sell them on the quality and value. “But you need a neighborhood tour
guide… that can show buyers it’s worth checking out the area.”

Eric Benaim, who co-founded Modern Spaces three years ago, has built his firm
on that LIC focus. Most of the firm’s agents live in the new developments
in the neighborhood — whether they market the particular building or not — and have
watched the seeds of gentrification planted in the neighborhood earlier this
decade blossom into restaurants, bars, museums and galleries.

Since Benaim moved to LIC in 2006, he said his favorite new establishment to
come to the area was the much-beloved, but short-lived diner, M. Wells. Though
the recent closure was saddening, it also gave birth to opportunity. Benaim
said he’s helping the foodie favorite find a new location in the neighborhood as a side project.