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Developer Youngwoo aims for $2,000 psf at 70 Pine

The developer of 70 Pine Street in the Financial District predicts it will be able to sell residential condominium units in the tower of the American International Group building for $2,000 per square foot following a rehabilitation of the 63-story structure.

Developer Youngwoo & Associates bought the Art Deco office tower and neighboring 72 Wall Street for $150 million, or about $105 per square foot, in August, with financial partner South Korea-based Kumho Investment Bank.

Young Woo, principal of Youngwoo & Associates, said the key to getting $2,000 per square foot was to market the building as a premium product, comparing it to a Louis Vuitton bag or an iPod.

“If we can create that perfect trend lifestyle for this building, for our targeted audience, we are not afraid to achieve $2,000 a square foot,” Woo said. He added that units in his West Village condo, the Sky Garage at 200 11th Avenue at 24th Street, a building that includes an elevator for cars, sold for more than $4,000 per square foot.

As part of a sale-leaseback deal, AIG will vacate the smaller building, 72 Wall Street, at Pearl Street, this year, and neighboring 70 Pine Street by Dec. 31, 2010.

The firm is considering residential for the tower at 70 Pine Street, with about 400,000 to 500,000 square feet above the 19th floor, Woo said, and commercial use of the space on the lower floors and in the smaller building. By Adam Pincus

Apthorp tenants’ lawyer filing for rent reduction

The attorney representing the Apthorp tenants’ association filed an application for a rent reduction last month with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, due to “ongoing degradation of services” for renters, said David Hershey-Webb, a partner with Himmelstein McConnell Gribben Donoghue & Joseph, which represents the association.

The filing came less than 24 hours after a meeting between the association and Apthorp building manager and part-owner Andrew Ratner, COO of Broadwall Consulting Services, to go over grievances that weren’t addressed in a meeting between the parties a month prior, Hershey-Webb said.

Ratner faced opposition at the Oct. 6 meeting from 15 to 20 people out of approximately 100 attendees, including rent-stabilized tenants as well as renters who have bought or are planning to buy apartments in the Upper West Side condo conversion at 2201 Broadway between 78th and 79th streets.

Tenants felt that the current reconstruction work in the Apthorp was creating an unsafe environment, according to Hershey-Webb, and that Ratner hadn’t taken the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the 101-year-old building’s approximately 70 remaining tenants.

The discord didn’t involve Apthorp owners Africa Israel Group and Mann Realty Services, Hershey-Webb said.

Of particular concern to the residents were the risers being installed in the building and the overabundance of dust that the construction was generating, said Gale Brewer, the Upper West Side City Council member whose district includes the Apthorp. By Amy Tennery

Linden 78 undergoes marketing firm shake-up

The Marketing Directors last month replaced Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group as the exclusive marketing and sales agent at Upper West Side condominium Linden 78 — the latest in a series of shake-ups for the project.

The Marketing Directors released a statement last month announcing that it would be handling sales at the 34-unit condo, which is located at 230 West 78th Street.

Corcoran Sunshine had been marketing the building since it went on sale in 2007 and sold nearly all of the building’s units by the end of 2008. But the project hit a major speed bump in April when it was required to offer all of its buyers the opportunity to back out of their contracts.

Linden 78

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The developer, Urban Residential, said at the time that buyers were given that option because construction delays caused the project to miss its “outside date,” meaning it had not begun closings within a year of the date it had originally projected for the commencement of the condo: April 1, 2009. One buyer did close on a $3 million purchase on March 31, but it reportedly was not counted by the state attorney general’s office, since the building did not yet have a temporary certificate of occupancy.

It’s unclear exactly how many buyers chose to rescind their contracts. Last month’s press release from the Marketing Directors noted that the project had “34 impressively appointed condominium residences,” though it did not say how many of them would now be for sale.
Corcoran Sunshine issued a statement of its own in response to last month’s announcement.

“Corcoran Sunshine is proud to have marketed and launched Linden 78 for sale,” the statement said. “Under our representation, the building achieved 90 percent sold, and notably reached 84 percent sold within the first year of sales. It is unfortunate that the building experienced construction delays. The outside construction date was missed and buyers had the right to rescind.” By Candace Taylor

Russian developer to list UES house for $20M

After unloading 9 East 67th Street, Russian real estate developer Janna Bullock has put another one of her townhouses on the market.

The house, at 14 East 82nd Street, hit the market last month with a price of $20 million, according to listing broker Nikki Field, a senior vice president at Sotheby’s International Realty.

Bullock — well-known for successfully renovating and flipping Manhattan townhouses — purchased the house in 2005 for $12.2 million, according to city records, and hosted the Kips Bay Decorator Show there in 2007.

Bullock first put the 21-foot-wide Beaux Arts mansion, designed in 1903 by C.P.H. Gilbert, on the market for $25 million in the fall of 2007. She had offers for $23 and $24 million, Field said, but decided instead to take it off the market in February 2008 and remove the show-house remnants.

Then, with the post-Lehman fallout raging, Bullock was reluctant to put it back on the market.

She had her hands full with another one of her townhouses, 9 East 67th Street, which had been on and off the market for several years, at one point priced as high as $35 million. In January, Bullock finally sold the 13,000-square-foot, five-story townhouse for $24.9 million after getting permission from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to re-create a stoop and grand entryway.

The six-floor house at 14 East 82nd Street boasts a rare bow-front limestone façade and some 12,300 square feet of space, including a wine cellar. With views of the Empire State Building and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it has an elevator, seven fireplaces, a garden and two terraces, as well as a serpentine staircase from the entrance gallery to the parlor floor.

As for the price, “we’re feeling quite confident that our asking price is appropriate,” Field said. “It’s a great number to get us offers.” By Candace Taylor

City sees more CMBS property-value cuts

As rating agencies have slashed the value of bonds tied to securitized commercial real estate loans nationwide, some loan servicers are taking a harder look at the value of their assets and finding they are worth a lot less.

Loan servicers reported more appraisal reductions for New York City properties in September than in the preceding eight months combined, data released last month from mortgage tracking firm Trepp LLC showed.

The firms that manage troubled loans in commercial mortgage-backed securities, known as special servicers, reported in September appraisal reductions for 11 properties, reflecting a total reduction of $150 million that month, the firm reported.

In the previous eight months, there were only three properties that showed a total reduction in value of $15 million, and there were no appraisal reductions published in the first eight months of 2008, Trepp reported.

The largest loan to see its value cut was the Riverton Houses, which was reappraised at $108 million, 68 percent below its original securitized value, as The Real Deal reported previously.

But that was just one of many, the data showed. The other properties that saw their value fall in September were the Rocket Lofts, at 98-106 South 4th Street in Brooklyn, which declined 35 percent to $25.7 million, and the Core Club retail condominium at 60 East 55th Street, which lost 56 percent, Trepp figures showed. By Adam Pincus