The Real Deal Webcast: High Line as marketing tool for new condos

On a Webcast last month, The Real Deal’s Jovana Rizzo toured the High Line and talked to brokers and developers — including Dan Tubb at Chelsea Modern, Emily Beare for 520 West Chelsea and Cary Tamarkin for 456 West 19th Street — about how they are using the hype surrounding the High Line to market their buildings, which are in close proximity to the park and offer great views of the new public space. Since the first section of the well-publicized former rail line, which runs from Gansevoort to 20th streets, opened last month, prospective homebuyers have been flocking to the West Side to experience the elevated park.

Log on to www.therealdeal.com to see the full segment and to access the archives. Every week, The Real Deal posts a new edition of the Webcast, featuring exclusive interviews with industry insiders.

The Real Deal: The High Line was built as an elevated freight railroad in the 1930s, but trains stopped running on it 50 years later. In 1999, the structure was in danger of being torn down, so the non-profit group Friends of the High Line formed to work with the city and turn the old railroad into a park. The High Line runs for almost one and a half miles from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, along 10th and 11th avenues, and the first section between Gansevoort and 20th streets opened earlier this month. As the High Line began its transformation, several buildings started rising around it, including the Standard Hotel, the Caledonia, HL 23, Jean Nouvel’s tower, the IAC Building designed by Frank Gehry, Chelsea Modern and 520 West Chelsea. 520 West Chelsea recently sponsored a tour of the High Line followed by a cocktail party in its only remaining unit, which has since gone into contract. The building was designed by Annabelle Selldorf, and every unit has a view of the High Line.
Exclusive broker Emily Beare of Core Group Marketing says the new park was a major selling point for the building.

Beare: When we came here, this street was completely empty, 520 wasn’t even a hole in the ground, Jean Nouvel didn’t exist … it was just desolate. I remember clients coming into the sales office, husbands who were big art collectors who knew the neighborhood. They would bring their wives in and they would say, “Where are you taking me?” And part of the pitch was, you’re going to have the High Line and Hudson River Park. That was the pitch for so long. And now, finally, here it is!

TRD: At Chelsea Modern, many units have views of the High Line. Exclusive broker Dan Tubb of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group said there are about 12 units left in the building, and the High Line’s opening is bringing more potential buyers.

Tubb: From the beginning, our sales office was on 20th Street, perched over the High Line in progress. So we looked down 20th Street all the way down to 17th Street during our sales presentations, and it was a very dramatic effect to show this is the neighborhood you are buying at Chelsea Modern. Now that we’re in the building, our residents actually have a view of the park that we saw in progress.

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TRD: Since the High Line has opened this month, has there been an increase in activity?

Tubb: There’s no doubt about it. We have definitely seen an uptick in traffic.

TRD: One of the newer buildings in the area is 456 West 19th Street, a condo currently under construction. Before the High Line opened, developer Cary Tamarkin worked with Friends of the High Line to put on a presentation about the new park for potential buyers in the building’s sales office. And while times are tough for new condos in the city, Tamarkin said his building is seeing a healthy amount of activity.

Tamarkin: Obviously, everyone knows the market has been frozen and in a difficult position. There have been some economic realities to contend with that are going on in the world and in NYC real estate. But we’ve gotten tremendous response to the building, we’ve got 10 percent of the units sold, the building will be ready to be delivered by the end of this year, and we feel comfortable that the further along the building gets … the more attractive it gets.

TRD: Have you worked with the High Line developers at all?

Tamarkin: Yes, we are definitely friends of the High Line, both in deed and financially. We’ve been major supporters of the High Line all the way through. We’ve been part of a steering committee helping to figure out ongoing maintenance and security on the High Line and make sure the whole neighborhood rallies together. We’ve done that both for the benefit of our building, and also for the benefit of the city. It’s an amazing new amenity.

Compiled by Victoria DeCarmine