TRD’s daily digest: Everything NYC real estate needs to know today

A daily round up of real estate news, deals and more for July 22, 2019

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Guo Wengui, the exiled Chinese businessman holed up at Sherry-Netherland Hotel, may be a spy. The billionaire has spent four years in the luxury apartment — which he’s listing for $67 million — posting content online meant to expose Chinese government corruption. However, the Research firm Strategic Vision US, which is in a financial dispute with Guo, claims that he is actually a spy for the Chinese. Guo’s attorney has vigorously disputed the claim. ” [WSJ]

The Bowery Hotel owners tried to stall a court case, a move that could cost them $50 million. A New York judge refused to hear the defense of the Bowery Hotel owners in a fraud case because she was too angry about their delay tactics. Bowery Partner Gerald Rosengarten sued Richard Born and Ira Drukier in 2014, claiming that they scammed him out of a deal to sell the penthouse suite and other apartments in the hotel, and then-Judge Shirley Werner Kornreich said in 2017 that the defendants showed “absolute disdain” for the court rules “time and time again.” [NYP]

Office rents in Manhattan have hit historic highs. The average asking rent in the borough for office space hit $80.25 per square foot as of 2019’s halfway point, according to a new report from CBRE. This spike was caused in part by rising costs in Downtown Manhattan and Midtown South, along with the arrival of pricy towers like 425 Park Avenue and 30 Hudson Yards to the market.  [Crain’s]

AG Letitia James is launching an investigation into construction at Queens subway station. A viral video, recently posted to the Subway Creatures Instagram account, shows a gush of water breaking through a plywood construction wall at the station, nearly sweeping a man into a moving train. The MTA has blamed the incident on construction at developer Chris Jiashu Xu’s nearby Skyline Tower project. James is now calling on the companies in charge of recent station work, Civetta Construction and New Line Structures, to submit documents related to construction work at the station. [Curbed]

Power is coming back to Brooklyn after blackouts during the weekend’s heat wave. Con Ed said it turned off power to 33,000 southeast Brooklyn customers because of high usage, and the number of customers dealing with outages had dropped to 19,919 by Monday morning. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now including Brooklyn in the investigation into the large blackout on July 13 that impacted more than 72,000 customers in Manhattan.  [WSJ]

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Contracts and dollar volume were both up in Manhattan’s luxury market last week. There were 13 contracts signed last week for a total of roughly $75.3 million, according to Olshan Realty. The deals were split between nine condos, two co-ops and two townhouses. Both numbers were up from last week, when the market saw nine contracts worth $51.25 million overall. The priciest deal was for a roughly $8.4 million condo at 90 Morton Street, followed by an $8 million condo at 1 West End Avenue. The properties spent an average of 470 days on the market and had an average discount of 10 percent from the original to the final asking price. [Olshan] 

Brooklyn’s luxury market also saw a boost. Brooklyn’s luxury market saw 15 contracts signed last week for a total of roughly $44.3 million, according to the latest report from Compass. The properties were split between 12 houses and three condos and went for an average price of about $3 million. The market was up from the prior week, when nine contracts were signed for about $24.8 million. The most expensive deal was for the townhouse at 124 DeKalb Avenue in Fort Greene, which went for $4.9 million, and the second priciest deal was for the townhouse at 598 Second Street in Park Slope, which went for $4.5 million. [Compass]


Commercial sales:

Renaissance Properties bought 62 West 45th Street in Midtown for $37.25 million. First Republic Bank provided $15 million in financing for the sale. [ACRIS 1, 2]

Renaissance Properties sold an apartment building at 150 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn for about $20.3 million and 136 Prospect Park West for $10.8 million. [ACRIS 1, 2]