First Phase of Montclair’s Valley and Bloom Tops Out

By Caitlin Flynn

LCOR, a fully-integrated real estate company specializing in property development, investment and management, along with co-developer The Pinnacle Companies, have announced that the first building within the development Valley & Bloom, in Montclair’s central business district, has topped out. The first phase of the mixed-use project is on track to be completed by the end of May 2015, with the second building following shortly after.

Located at 638 Bloomfield Avenue, Valley & Bloom is comprised of two buildings that will include a total of 258 rental apartments ranging from studio to two-bedroom layouts. The mixed-use community will also offer 20,000,sq. ft. of office space, 22,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 571 parking spaces.

“Construction at Valley & Bloom is continuing to move along steadily, and anticipation is building as the site takes shape,” said James Driscoll, Senior Vice President of LCOR.

“It is gratifying to see Valley & Bloom steadily come to fruition as the entire Montclair Center Gateway Redevelopment Project takes shape,” said Brian Stolar, President and CEO, The Pinnacle Companies.

Valley & Bloom will offer residents and office tenants an array of top-of the-line amenities that complement the lifestyle at this mixed-use development. Select amenities include a fitness center with a separate room for dance or yoga, gaming area, children’s playroom and a total of four landscaped outdoor spaces, including two roof deck spaces and two interior courtyards. Other amenities include bike storage and a parking garage with a state-of-the-art automated parking system and solar panel awnings on the roof.

Another added perk for both office and retail tenants is the close proximity to the neighborhood’s restaurants, shops and public transportation, all within walking distance; and easily accessible through the community’s planned shuttle, bike share and car share programs.


Fundrise New Investors Brings Total Raise to $38 Million

By Caitlin Flynn

Fundrise, the leading real estate crowdfunding platform, announced a number of new investors have joined the company’s first-round Series A, including Guggenheim Partners, Rockrose President Justin Elghanayan and James Ratner, Chairman and CEO of Forest City Commercial Group, bringing its total raise to $38 million.

“These investments from top players in the real estate and financial industries provide further confirmation of real estate crowdfunding as a viable and effective investment tool,” stated Ben Miller, co-founder of Fundrise.

Fundrise has raised more capital in a first-round Series A than any other equity crowdfunding company.

“The continued high-level investment in the company enables us to further expand our platform throughout the United States, and reach everyone from retail to high net worth and institutional investors,” noted Fundrise co-founder Dan Miller.

The first company to successfully crowdfund equity investment for real estate online, Fundrise can help anyone build a real estate portfolio and access diverse, high-yield real estate opportunities through a streamlined online experience.  The site has allowed lenders to invest in specific properties for as little as $100 per share, and as much as $10 million, and earn favorable returns (historically 12 to 14 percent).

Fundrise also gives residents the tools to build the cities they want to live in through investment in local real estate projects, opening up new possibilities for economic growth and urban development.  Since its founding, Fundrise has given more than 30,000 investors an opportunity to own real estate.


Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference Brings the Best to Boston

By Caitlin Flynn

Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate’s Annual Fall Conference took place from Sunday, October 5th to Wednesday, October 8th in Boston, Massachusetts at The Fairmont Copley Plaza.

Saul Cohen, president and co-founder of Hammond Residential Real Estate, was honored with the Luxury Real Estate Lifetime Achievement Award during the event’s Gala Dinner & Awards Presentation.
Keynote speakers included Kipp Bodnar of HubSpot, who discussed inbound marketing principles and tactics, and Kermit Baker from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, who shared insight on current housing trends.

Members of the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network participated in expert panel discussions on a diverse range of topics including working with international buyers, the latest technologies to win and market a listing and cultivating your network by leveraging your connections to grow your business.

More targeted discussions led by Luxury Real Estate members and partners included negotiating from a number of different perspectives, technology tips to sell more real estate, current findings on Chinese real estate investment, marketing a lifestyle for resort destinations, how to find and activate the top 1%ers and tips on growing your business to the next level while keeping a healthy work/life balance.

The Luxury Real Estate Board of Regents was honored at this year’s Fall Conference, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the brand, and met preceding the event for further networking opportunities and a presentation from Jim Gardner of The Wall Street Journal on luxury real estate insights.


“Shakespeare Ranch” To Be Listed at $98 Million

By Caitlin Flynn

The 134-acre ranch on Lake Tahoe known as the “Shakespeare Ranch” is going up for sale after decades of ownership by the Larry and Camille Ruvo.

Listed at $98 million, this property includes 17 England-style guesthouses, horse stables, a 5000 square foot barn, greenhouses, a wine tasting room and indoor pool house.

The ranch is named after the neighboring Shakespeare Rock, which is said to resemble the Elizabethan poet and playwright. Keeping with the theme the guesthouses don names like “To Be” and “Not to Be” as well as “King Lear” for the four-bedroom building on the property.


Including all of the properties and guest accommodations the Ranch boasts 22 bedrooms and 13 kitchens, as well as 420 feet of shoreline.

The property is also home to an annual charity rodeo event that includes bull riding, ribbon roping, barrel racing, and dinners prepared by famed chef Emeril Lagasse.


Kobe Bryant’s Newport Coast Mansion Lists New Price

By Caitlin Flynn

The LA Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant recently dropped the asking price of his 8,741 square foot Newport Coast home. Originally listed on the market in August 2013 at $8,599 million, the Mediterranean-style mansion is now listed at $7.6 million.

The property was bought by Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, for $1.7 million in 1997. Built in 1977, this home resides in a guard-gated community and features unobstructed ocean and city views. Along with the geographic perks, it also boasts four bedrooms, four full baths, three half baths, a 850-square-foot-gym, home office (complete with a shark tank), hair salon and home theater equipped with stadium seats and wet bar.

On the outside of the property it’s hard to distinguish the home’s atmosphere from that of a luxury resort. Covering almost half of an acre, the meticulously, manicured lawns frame the custom pool, spa, fire-pit and outdoor kitchen. Perfect for entertaining and relaxing in the off-season.


Average Manhattan Apartment Sales Prices Up From Last Year

By Caitlin Flynn

According to the 2014 third quarter Manhattan residential market report released today by Brown Harris Stevens, the average Manhattan apartment sale price of $1,675,021 was essentially unchanged from the second quarter of 2014 but up 18 percent from the third quarter of 2013.

At $898,500 the median price, which measures the middle of the market and is less impacted by high-end sales, was just three percent higher than a year ago. At 2,712, the number of closings was up slightly from last quarter but down 15 percent from the third quarter of 2013.

At $1,299,874, the average price of cooperative apartments was up 15 percent from the third quarter of 2013. This was due in part to the $70 million sale of a Brown Harris Stevens listing at 740 Fifth Avenue that helped bring the average price for three bedroom and larger co-ops up 42 percent. The average price for a condominium sold in the third quarter was $2,187,658, 20 percent more than the same period last year.

As with co-ops, three bedroom and larger condos saw the highest gain. The average price for new developments, which are usually condominiums, was $2,672,066 and their average price per square foot was $1,646, which was down from the previous two quarters but up 23 percent over the third quarter of 2013.

“We’ve had low inventory for some time and it’s just now inching up. Our current absorption rate is just 4.2 months when historically a rate of 6-9 months indicates a balanced market. The sales of larger apartments has pushed the average sales price higher over last year, however, it’s important to note that the median price for resales is unchanged from a year ago and virtually the same as last quarter.  As always, homes that are properly priced for the current market sell,” said Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales.


Dranoff Properties Starts New Project in Philadelphia

By Caitlin Flynn

Earlier this month, Carl Dranoff, CEO and founder of Dranoff Properties, made a pivotal announcement in regards to the company’s newest property, One Riverside, and the future of the Philadelphia real estate industry.

Dranoff revealed that One Riverside would shift from a high-end rental concept to a luxury condominium concept – ultimately making the property Philadelphia’s first ground-up condominium high-rise in over 5 years. Carl Dranoff advised that the crucial decision to develop 88 for-sale luxury condominiums was driven by the dramatic increase in inquiries after the successful sell-out of 10 Rittenhouse by Dranoff Properties in mid-2014.

In recent years, Philadelphia has seen an influx of new apartment buildings take shape in its skyline, yet no new luxury condominium buildings have been built since the construction of 10 Rittenhouse in 2007. Developers ceased building new condominium high-rises primarily due to the 2008 crash of the American housing market, which left builders stuck with unsold units and, in some cases, staring down foreclosure suits.

Today, the Philadelphia condo market is well on its way to recovery and Dranoff Properties, a premier developer and owner of luxury apartments and condominiums headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, is poised to change that narrative.


Ian Schrager Company Unveils 215 Chrystie Project In NYC

By Caitlin Flynn

Ian Schrager has unveiled the design of 215 Chrystie, a new hotel and residential building scheduled to open in downtown Manhattan in 2016.  Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, the 28-story building will house a 370-room hotel topped by eleven customized, one-of-a-kind residences with interiors by the acclaimed British designer John Pawson.

Located in the rapidly evolving cultural and artistic district of the Bowery at the crossroads of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods and across the road from Roosevelt Park, 215 Chrystie reflects the history, context, culture and spirit of the neighborhood.

“215 Chrystie is the ultimate expression of Uptown meets Downtown.  It is both tough and refined at the same time.  This inherent contradiction, in a symbiotic relationship, is what makes it so unique and different.  The presence of one attribute serves to showcase the other. I’d like to think of it as ‘refined gritty’ or ‘tough luxe’,” Ian Schrager says. “This is a truly international collaboration, bringing together leading architects and designers from around the world to create a building and residences for the next generation–a revolutionary new genre of urban living.”

Herzog & de Meuron’s design responds to the existing mid-block site in the Bowery, using everyday raw concrete in an entirely new way, both inside and out. Floor-to-ceiling windows feature mullion-less corners and extra-wide panes of glass custom-designed by the architects to provide rare, unobstructed 270- and 360-degree views of New York City.


William Yeoward Announces Collection With Jonathan Charles

By Caitlin Flynn

Occasional furniture manufacturer Jonathan Charles collaborates with renowned decorator and designer William Yeoward for his third collection to debut at the Fall 2014 High Point Market.

Yeoward, whose last decorating job was for Lady Margaret Thatcher, created this collection to share the one-of-a-kind antiques discovered throughout his travels as a decorator, translated for today. Rich oak in varying shades of gray and washed finishes lends a vintage, lived-in look, while exquisite hand carvings — a testament to Jonathan Charles’ multi-dimensional craftsmanship — elevate each piece to a museum-worthy work of art.

With the year of the ram in tow, Yeoward incorporated the zodiac animal in many of his designs for a whimsical touch. “The ram represents spirited creativity and passion, which resonates with my approach to design,” says Yeoward. Comprised of occasional tables, bedroom, dining, and upholstered furniture, William Yeoward’s new collection will be available for purchase in retail stores and designer showrooms nationwide starting April 2015.

In addition, Jonathan Charles presents their Fall 2014 collection at High Point Market with the introduction of two new collections, Icarus and Camden. Inspired by the famous Greek myth, the Icarus Collection features a dramatic brass and wood overlay supplemented with gilded feather details, whereas the Camden Collection lends quiet elegance with its simplified interpretations of mid 20th century European designs.


Voda Bauer Has Closed 54 Deals Fives Months After Launch

By Caitlin Flynn

Voda Bauer Real Estate, a full-service residential and commercial firm, announced that it has closed 54 deals and has reached $100 million in exclusives since launching less than five months ago.

“From the start, we believe our firm has been transforming the way the real estate industry operates,” said Jason Bauer, CEO and Co-Founder of Voda Bauer Real Estate. “Our collaborative approach, with a focus on developing our agents, has helped garner these early successes which we look to continue through the rest of 2014.”

The firm also signed close to 30 new agents, coming from some of the top firms in New York City. Additionally, Voda Bauer hired a director of its investment sales division, which works closely with building owners and developers to identify opportunities for new construction and conversions. And in a distinct move, the firm encourages its agents to invest along with the co-founders.