7 Celebs Selling Space in NYC

7 Celebs Selling Space in NYCSomething about celebrities is utterly magical ― maybe it is their exceptional beauty or their obvious success ― and collecting bits and pieces of the greatest stars seems to come naturally. Most people only obtain signatures scrawled on posters or the odd movie prop, but if you are looking for property in New York, you have the chance to get your hands on a more substantial piece of the rich and famous: their homes.

Most big celebrities have some property in NYC, which means a handful of star-struck penthouses, co-ops, and townhomes are available every year. Here are some of the biggest names with for-sale real estate right now.

1. David Bowie

Bowie’s recent sudden death rocked the world, and many fans continue to mourn the music legend’s loss. Now more than ever, Bowie memorabilia is highly hunted, which means the most diehard fans might want to start thinking about investing in real estate.

Bowie lived in his SoHo penthouse with his wife, supermodel Iman, since 1992, but a year ago, the pair put the penthouse on the market for nearly $13 million. Recently, the four-bedroom, five-terrace apartment has dropped in price to $11.7 million, and considering the Bowie mania, many experts doubt it will stay empty long.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin

Two whole years after “consciously uncoupling” from her husband of 12 years Chris Martin (Coldplay frontman), the Oscar-winning actress and her Super Bowl halftime star ex have decided to uncouple also from two condos in lower Manhattan. Fortunately, Paltrow and Martin’s brief recoupling to sell real estate should certainly be profitable.

Located in costly and chic Tribeca, both newly available apartments are located in the luxury River Lofts complex. The larger of the two units, a double-terraced penthouse has an asking price of more than $14 million, while the smaller, lower-level apartment demands only $3.35 million.

3. Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro is noted as a born-and-bred New Yorker. In fact, he was born in Greenwich Village, and based on his real estate purchases, it seems he is reluctant to leave that cozy region of Manhattan. Yet, one of his old properties in the West Village, a penthouse nicknamed “the mansion in the sky,” is on the market.

The penthouse has been available since last April, at which time it was listed for a cool $39.8 million. Since then, the space has endured a number of price cuts, and buyers interested in a modern, minimalist space can pick one up for just over $25 million.

4. Sean Combs

Perhaps better known as Puff Daddy, P-Diddy, Diddy, or Puffy, Sean Combs identifies as a musician, an actor, a producer, and an entrepreneur. However, Combs certainly doesn’t claim to have a handle on the real estate market, as evidenced by his Midtown condo. The 66th-floor apartment in Park Imperial has been available since 2012, indicating that buyers aren’t liking something about this luxurious suite.

Containing two bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths (as well as magnificent views of Central Park) the condo was first priced at well over $8.5 million. Even without a buyer, the price has only dropped to about $7 million.

5. David Blaine

Making magic tricks cool is certainly an unbelievable feat, but for more than a decade, illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine has succeeded. This month, Blaine seeks to perform another act of daring: making his Greenwich Village apartment disappear (sort of).

Blaine’s pad, located on Fifth Avenue, is a top-floor corner with two bedrooms and one bathroom ― a living space utterly bereft of magical tools or enchanted contraptions. Currently, the listing price is $2.27 million, which nearly seems a work of trickery considering the apartment’s excellent location.

6. Bobby Flay

One of the top contenders on “Iron Chef’ is looking to best the NYC real estate market, as well. Chef Bobby Flay, who also owns a kitchenware brand, is so eager to move out from his Chelsea Duplex (following a messy divorce from “Law & Order: SVU” actress Stephanie March) that he has listed it twice: once for sale at about $8 million and once again for rent at over $22,500 per month.

The space comprises the entire eighth and ninth floors above the Chelsea Mercantile, and both apartments contain complete chef’s kitchens ― as though we could expect anything less of an Iron Chef.

7. Maya Angelou

It should come as no surprise that influential poet and activist Maya Angelou has property in one of the most culturally important and divisive boroughs: Harlem. It also is not terribly shocking that Angelou opted not for a turnkey condo, but instead, she invested in a dilapidated building, transforming it into a beautiful home at once stylish and subdued. Today, the historic Harlem Brownstone stands a testament to the power of the neighborhood when it is armed with strength and committed to hard work.

Located on 120th Street, the Brownstone is four stories tall and contains five bedrooms and five baths to match. Angelou’s family is asking just over $5 million for this gem.

If you’re interested in renting a Manhattan apartment near NYC celebrities, especially those in the East Village, contact Brookhill Properties and Raphael Toledano to see any of their 21 properties.


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Creating Value Through Property Development ― Before You Do Any Developing

Creating Value Through Property Development ― Before You Do Any DevelopingAll property has some inherent value, but few real estate investors are willing to settle for any land they can find. The real money in real estate comes from finding a diamond in the rough ― a low-cost piece of property that can produce major profits with minor effort. However, most real estate beginners find the process of locating potential property and increasing worth impenetrably (and infuriatingly) complex.

In truth, creating value through real estate development takes some skill, abundant resources, and a heaping dose of courage, but the return can be exceedingly rewarding. Here are a handful of tips to help any apprentice learn the basics of adding value to real estate.

Think Twice About Unpopular Markets

As in any industry, the profitability of real estate is heavily influenced by trends. For decades ― indeed, for centuries ― the trend has generally been toward major urban centers, as buyers and renters eagerly scoop up properties close to work places and cultural sites. Still, even within metropolitan areas like New York, different neighborhoods come in and out of fashion, and before you invest, it is important to know that your property will soon be on trend.

However, it is dangerous to follow that advice too far. Investing only in already-trendy regions is expensive and provides meager (albeit reliable) returns. For bigger (albeit riskier) profits, you might want to reinvestigate the neighborhoods few real estate investors are currently interested in. Especially when it comes to areas in and around cities, these spaces will likely become popular soon, but in the meantime their prices are pleasantly cheap. Thus, you get the opportunity to see the value in your properties increase with almost no effort on your part.

Build a Big, Strong Network

Networking is no longer just a somewhat beneficial method of getting a job; it is an essential step toward building wealth in any industry, including real estate. With a strong network of allies, you have the resources to add real value to your properties without significant costs. For example, getting to know inexperienced and seasoned agents alike provides broader opportunities to find amazing properties. Then, maintaining friendships with contractors could give you cut-rate development services that truly improve property values.

Of course, the way you build your network matters. Most novices will only start relationships with individuals who have immediately obvious worth: They look for what others can do for them. Instead, you should strive to demonstrate your value to other people, so they will want desperately to connect with you. When you have value, your properties will, too, soon.

Gather All the Data You Can

These days, before you do anything, you should consult big data. The Internet, in all its glory, has provided businesses and individuals the opportunity to amass huge amounts of information, which is of supreme importance to the real estate investor. Using big data, you can uncover a region’s recent market trends, its key demographics, its lease prices, and more. You can know everything about a property’s past, present, and future before laying down a dime.

Though it may seem useful to become a jack of all trades, area experts are actually much more valuable in real estate. Getting to know one small area’s intimate secrets provides you with unique information buyers and renters can’t find anywhere else. Whether you focus your effort on learning all there is to know about Manhattan’s Bowery neighborhood or you study the intricacies of green renovation, your knowledge itself adds value to your properties.

Consider Emerging Trends

It should be obvious that not all real estate development provides equal value. Erecting a pre-fabricated barn on your empty land will never be as profitable as constructing an aesthetically pleasing, thoroughly modern high-rise. Just as you consult industry data when you purchase property, you should investigate development trends before deciding exactly how you will develop your property to add value.

The best source of information on rewarding development comes directly from the buyers and renters who will agree to the value of your property. Recently, the most sought-after developments are walkable neighborhoods and sustainable building features, both of which are related to health and environmental awareness. Developing your properties with these considerations is smart, but you should also be on the lookout for those trends that are just beginning to take hold, which, like the unpopular markets of the first section, will be cheaper to invest in and provide larger gains.

Don’t Give Up

At first, real estate is a difficult industry to understand. However, by never relenting in your search for potentially valuable properties and being persistent in your struggles to add more value for future buyers and renters, you will come to grasp the ins and outs of the business. The truth is, no matter what you attempt, you can create value of you try long and hard enough to reach success.

To learn more about real estate development, specifically in the East Village, contact Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties.

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Thinking About Renovating Your Condo? What to Know Now to Avoid Trouble Later

Thinking About Renovating Your Condo? What to Know Now to Avoid Trouble LaterWhen you purchase a home, you’re purchasing someone else’s vision of what the place should look like. Sometimes, that vision is similar to yours. More often than not, though, there are things you want to change. Maybe you’d like a more open floor plan, a larger kitchen, some additional closet space . . . the list goes on.

Making these changes to any property can be stressful, but when you want to renovate a condominium, the number of potential pitfalls increases exponentially. While on the one hand, you do own the property, you really only own the structural components within your specific unit. Therefore, if the changes that you want to make have the potential to affect other owners within the building — in other words, they go beyond simply painting or adding some new hardware — you have to do some legwork before you start tearing down the walls to avoid trouble.

Whether you want to renovate a property you already own, or you are considering the purchase of a condo that will need some renovations, here are some important points to keep in mind to save time and money.

1. Review the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions

The Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) outlines the rules that condo owners must adhere to as members of the condo association. As the CC&Rs specifically relate to renovations, they will include expectations in terms of giving notice, getting permission, what can and cannot be done, and who can do the work and when. The document will outline which improvements do not require permission (for instance, you probably do not need to seek approval to get new appliances) and which do.

CC&Rs are usually designed to help maintain the overall look and feel of the building, but also to protect the structural integrity of the building and prevent disputes between owners. In most cases, interior projects offer the most flexibility, and it’s only when you begin changing the structure, layout, and plumbing and electrical systems that the association needs to be involved. However, even if you are only doing basic cosmetic updates, you may need to notify the association and provide details about the project and the work crew before work begins.

It’s also important to review the CC&Rs to understand the rules about how and when the work is actually done. Many associations have restrictions related to work hours, parking, materials delivery, and permitting, and failing to adhere to these rules could lead to fines or legal trouble.

2. Get Permission

The condo association CC&Rs will outline the process for getting permission to perform the work. Do not skip this step! Follow all of the rules to the letter; again, some associations are very strict about the rules, and will penalize owners who violate them, even unintentionally.

3. Work With the Right Contractor

While you may be able to complete some of your renovation projects on your own, condo owners are usually advised to work with a contractor who has experience working in condominiums and understands the unique restrictions and challenges of working in such an environment. An experienced contractor can also help you navigate the approval process by providing detailed plans, permitting assistance, and providing assurance that all of the rules and regulations will be followed to the letter.

Your condo association may be able to provide you with a list of approved or recommended contractors, but do your homework to find the right person. Try asking your neighbors who’ve done renovations for recommendations. Your real estate agent or condo maintenance provider may be able to provide some referrals as well.

4. Maintain Friendly Relations With Your Neighbors

Renovations can be messy and noisy — even when you work with the most experienced and professional crew. There may be times when your project inconveniences your neighbors, thanks to the noise, dust, debris disposal, parking issues, etc., and you want to try to minimize those annoyances as much as possible while still getting the work done. Many of the rules in your CC&Rs are designed to do just that, but strict rule-adherence doesn’t replace good old-fashioned courtesy.

Let your neighbors know about your project ahead of time, and assure them that you are following all of the proper protocols to minimize disruptions. Be sure to thank them for their patience; a nice card with a small token of your appreciation (like fresh flowers, a bottle of wine, etc.) can go a long way toward keeping your relationship with your neighbors friendly.

A renovation project isn’t always enjoyable, but in the end, you’ll have a home that is updated and better suited to your needs — not to mention, the right renovations can increase value. Be sure to work with an experienced real estate professional like Raphael Toledano for all of your condo or apartment needs, and your projects will be completed without costly and frustrating condo association battles.

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Apartment Hunting in the Sea of Manhattan Real Estate

Apartment Hunting in the Sea of Manhattan Real EstateManhattan is arguably one of the best cities in the world, rich with amazing art and culture, beautifully landscaped parks and breathtaking architecture. Perhaps this is why 1.6 million people choose to live in a radius of just 34-square miles. Living the big-city life comes with a pretty price tag, however, as real estate prices are shattering records in 2016. According to CNBC.com, the average apartment price hit $1.95 million with condo markets at $2.66 million and co-op markets at $1.28 million. Median rent is between $3,300 and $3,900 per month.

Cost, while possibly most important, is unfortunately just one of the many factors to consider when searching for an apartment in Manhattan. Neighborhood preference, proximity to public transportation, noise level, floor number, and availability of laundry facilities are just a few of the others. Raphael Toledano has access to a wide array of properties and can assist in filtering through these preferences when faced with the difficult task of apartment hunting in Manhattan.

What Are My Options?

In searching for a Manhattan apartment, learning apartment terminology is possibly one of the most important things to do to save time and effort. After all, there are dozens of different apartment types on the tiny island and having some background will help to understand the complex maze of options.

Size: Studios, One-Bedrooms, or Two-Bedrooms

Starting on a basic level, studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments are the most common types found in Manhattan real estate.

  • Studio: A studio is just one room and usually has a small, separate bath while the kitchen, living area, and bedroom are all one room. Often, studios will come equipped with only a hot plate and mini-fridge, which is usually lower in price than studios outfitted with a full kitchen.
  • Alcove studio: Another type of studio is an alcove studio, which is usually L-shaped, providing an extra space that, with a curtain or screen, could potentially be a separate “room.”
  • One-bedroom: A one-bedroom apartment has a door that separates the living area from the bedroom (for a total of two rooms) and will also provide a kitchen and bathroom.
  • Two-bedroom: Add a door to a second bedroom, and that is the layout of the two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

Location and Category

Lofts: A loft apartment is an open, airy space found in older industrial buildings and there are a plethora of them in Manhattan neighborhoods like Soho and Tribeca. Back in the 1960s, lofts were originally one large room and residents would add partitions and walls to allow for more private space. Lofts are still coveted by Manhattan residents today so many newer condos are being constructed with the loft floor plan.

Railroad apartments: Railroad apartments, found mostly in old tenement-style buildings, are set up with rooms placed side-by-side, in a straight line, like railroad tracks. These apartments are not ideal with roommates as walking to the living room or kitchen may require walking through a roommate’s bedroom each time. Privacy can be a major issue, so living solo is ideal in a railroad apartment.

Walk-ups: A walk-up apartment can be great for exercise but can also be undesirable when considering moving furniture and getting groceries. These no-elevator buildings are usually more affordable than their polar opposites with an elevator, so that can be a perk.

Co-ops: With a Co-op, residents must be approved by the board to buy a unit within the building, since technically these residents are buying shares of the corporation, rather than the actual apartment unit. It is a rigorous process when getting approved by a co-op board, but once an owner of the property, it is permissible to sublease the living space to whomever you please.

Condos: A condominium is the opposite of a co-op. With a condo, units are privately owned and shared spaces include lobbies, hallways, etc. When applying to rent a condo, potential residents will apply to the owner of the unit and will also have to be approved by the condo board.
Classic six: Classic six apartments are found in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, in prewar buildings, which are buildings constructed prior to World War II. The apartments usually have a doorman and consist of a dining room, living room, kitchen, two full bedrooms, and a “maid’s quarters” which is usually converted to a family room or nursery in the present day.

Townhouse: The closest thing to living in a house in Manhattan is living in a townhouse. Many of these three and four-story buildings can be found in the East Village and Raphael Toledano can assist buyers in searching for one of them. Manhattan townhouses, often referred to as “Brownstones” when made with brown sandstone, are also referred to as row houses. Some of the quaintest streets in Manhattan are lined with trees and beautiful rows of Brownstones, many of which come complete with an eat-in kitchen and even a private backyard, which is a rare commodity when living in other types of housing in Manhattan. In other instances, Manhattan townhouses are broken into several units with multiple residents occupying one building.

To learn more about Manhattan real estate and Manhattan apartments, specifically in the East Village, contact Raphael Toledano.

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A Short and Sweet Guide to Mixed-Use Development

A Short and Sweet Guide to Mixed-Use DevelopmentSome real estate terms are easily understood: single-family residence, down payment, property tax. However, most real estate jargon is exceedingly difficult to parse out; for example, “mixed-use development” is a phrase that continues to baffle buyers in and around big cities. If your agent throws around this term like a broken record, you will undoubtedly benefit by learning more about this unique type of real estate.

What Is Mixed-Use?

Simple enough, “mixed-use development” means a building (or neighborhood) that accommodates both commercial and residential properties. The easiest example is the prototypical New York block, with bodegas below and apartments above, but in truth, mixed-use development brings together spaces for home, work, and play to create a one-stop community destination.

Indeed, the most easily recognized style of mixed-use development is the vertical category, which comprises different uses in a single building. Typically, lower floors are for public use, like a retail store, while upper floors are for private use, like apartments or hotel rooms. In a city like New York, entire neighborhoods are made of various vertical mixed-use buildings.

However, horizontal mixed-use blocks also exist. In this case, various single-use buildings are combined on a single block, providing residents and visitors with complementary services within a walkable distance. Often, the buildings share utilities and amenities, to the benefit of everyone. Sometimes, developers with enough space will opt for the horizontal style to avoid the hassle of coding for different layers in a vertical mixed-use building.

How Has Mixed-Use Changed?

Most of the misunderstandings concerning mixed-use development are due to the changing legal landscape surrounding them. In the past, most cities required buildings to have a primary use ― say residential ― which controls the building’s configuration, disposition, and other qualities. Additional services provided in a building ― say, a retail store or commercial offices ― would be a secondary use that is highly restricted in its capacity to function due to the residential restraints. In other cities, a landowner in a mixed-use zone was able to choose a specific use for his or her land, but his or her property was merely single-use in a zone with a variety of developments.

Today, mixed-use development is much more simple, which is why most real estate developers in densely populated cities are eager to produce more mixed-use buildings. However, buyers and renters have much to gain from mixed-use living spaces, as well.

Why Is Mixed-Use Popular?

Nearly every generation, from Baby Boomers to millennials, is clamoring for more mixed-use development ― even if they don’t realize it. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the demand for walkable neighborhoods is increasing, and mixed-use development is the obvious solution to this need.

Though single-family, detached homes are convenient in many ways ― particularly when it comes to personal space and privacy ― they also must be placed farther from necessities and luxuries, like shopping malls and bars as well as grocery stores and gyms. Using a car or public transportation to get to these places takes time and resources many people would rather not spend. If your kids can safely walk to school every morning, you can wake up later and save money on gas.

Moreover, it seems that walkable neighborhoods tend to have healthier inhabitants. According to one study, adults in walkable cities are at least 31 percent less likely to be obese or overweight. The ability to walk to various destinations increases physical fitness; people who walk their cities usually get much closer to 10,000 steps per day, thereby strengthening leg muscles, improving cardiovascular function, and burning fat. Plus, the more people walk, the less they rely on automobiles, reducing emissions that destroy the environment and hurt human health.

Unfortunately, most regional governments have historic barriers against the creation of walkable cities. Originally, these restrictive laws were meant to increase public health by separating harmful industrial buildings from residential zones, which is largely an unnecessary concern nowadays. Yet, the National Resources Defense Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the U.S. Green Building Council, and others are working to overcome these outdated laws with its LEED for Neighborhood Development program, which makes zoning and regulation for mixed-use development much easier for local governments.

Some people may find some disadvantages to mixed-use development. A person who hates curry might abhor living directly over an Indian restaurant, or a mother of young chilren might want to avoid an apartment over a raucous nightclub. Additionally, as explained above, plenty of older mixed-use buildings add residential or commercial space as an afterthought, which can impact functionality. Still, mixed-use developments are only increasing in vogue, and living in a community full of opportunities to live, work, and play usually has more benefits than drawbacks.

If you’re interested in living in a mixed-used development, contact Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties about renting in any of their East Village buildings.

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The Importance of Making Apartment Buildings Eco-Friendly

The Importance of Making Apartment Buildings Eco-FriendlyMost business leaders understand the power of the green movement, which has flourished in recent years and gained supreme influence in nearly every market ― real estate included. Green buildings retrofitted with sustainable features like extra insulation and energy-efficient appliances sell for much, much more than their antiquated, wasteful counterparts. A study in 2011 found that sustainable structures earned at least 8 percent more than comparable buildings without green additions.

Experts predict that as the millennial generation ages, sustainability will only gain more dominance over the real estate market. However, experts have also noted that millennials, more than any other generation, prefer to rent rather than buy. Thus, it is not necessarily single-family homes that require green updates, but apartment buildings and multi-family complexes that demand to be made eco-friendly.

Developers and tenants have the power to make sustainable updates to their apartment spaces. Here’s why and how every apartment building should go green.

Why Green Matters

Energy efficiency, water efficiency, durability, waste reduction, walkable communities ― all of these building features may seem like fantasies for property owners and renters, but with green buildings, they are well within reach. Green multi-family housing is one of the best answers to the ecological problems plaguing the world today.

What’s more, sustainable construction tends to be less expensive, despite developer fears regarding new, expensive technologies and materials. It is actually the construction practices rather than the resources that slash costs so considerably, so retraining workers to build using green techniques will make apartment buildings much cheaper to make.

Yet, perhaps most important to developers and owners, the demand for all sorts of green buildings only continues to increase. One study found that nearly 80 percent of renters believe it is important to live in a sustainable space, and more than 60 percent are more than willing to pay extra for green features, especially resource-hogging appliances such as refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and the like. If such a high percentage of potential tenants look for green buildings, owners and developers should certainly provide.

What Developers Should Do

Building green multi-family homes from the ground up is the most effective way to secure all the benefits of sustainable living structures, and there are a number of exciting techniques and technologies developers can employ to make their apartment buildings as sustainable as possible. Here are some of the best new and old ways to build green:

  • Make a tight envelope. The more enclosed an indoor space, the better protected it is from outside elements like temperature and precipitation and the more energy-efficient it is.
  • Let sunlight in. Daylight is a completely free way to illuminate rooms while the sun is out, and low-e coated windows reduce the temperature impact of solar rays to improve energy conservation.
  • Use recycled building materials. In addition to being earth-friendly, recycled materials are often cheaper. Builders can consider using recycled steel, glass, wood, and paint.
  • Prefer natural resources. Many building materials release chemicals that deteriorate the environment (and tenant health) over time. Natural alternatives are safer and greener.
  • Consider zero-energy. The most exciting building trend is the negation of construction energy footprints using solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.
  • Rethink water usage. Rainwater collection, greywater recycling, and conservation technology (like dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets), can help a building’s water use reach net-zero, as well.

Not only do these methods and materials lower the cost of construction, when green structures are properly built, lifetime maintenance expenses are also drastically reduced. Thus, with a few tweaks to building design, a developer can spend less while earning more in the long run.

What Tenants Can Do

Though many tenants feel hamstrung in their ability to improve their leased space, the truth is renters can do quite a bit to ensure their apartments are thoroughly green. Here are just a few examples:

  • Plug into power strips. Appliances plugged directly into the wall tend to suck out more vampire energy, raising utility bills.
  • Opt for CFL or LED bulbs. Old halogen bulbs not only wash out the room, they put most of their energy into heat rather than light.
  • Install low-flow faucets. Temporary fixtures that screw into sinks and showers, low-flow faucets provide pressure without wasting water.
  • Seal the apartment. Doors, windows, and walls can leak air, so using eco-friendly caulk, paint, or sealant to trap in cold or hot air will reduce wasted energy.
  • Install a ceiling fan. Increased air circulation is often all a renter needs to feel more comfortable indoors throughout the seasons.

Before a renter makes any major changes, to include painting and installing appliances, he or she should consult the landlord or property manager for permission. Fortunately, the most impactful sustainable apartment modifications are completely reversible, so no lasting harm can come to owners’ property due to tenants’ eco-friendly fervor.

For those interested in multi-family dwellings in Manhattan neighborhoods contact Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties.

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Where, Oh Where, Should You Rent Property in Manhattan?

Where, Oh Where, Should You Rent Property in Manhattan?New York real estate is notoriously strong, and as people continue to flood into the city from all corners of the world, prices will only continue to go up in all of the boroughs. No matter if you need a three-bedroom suite or a basement studio, rent is high, especially in Manhattan, the heart of the city.

Fortunately, Brookhill Properties and Raphael Toledano have been keeping a close watch on nearly every corner of NYC, which means we can fairly confidently tell you which cosmopolitan areas are ripe for the renting. Here are eight Manhattan neighborhoods that offer the right price and keep you in the middle of it all.


A small section of the Upper East Side, Yorkville began as the German district of the city. Though a few remnants of its German past remain ― including an amazing butcher and some historic buildings ― Yorkville is now a demographic melting pot, thanks in part to the neighborhood’s proximity to Harlem.

Yorkville is more affordable than other Manhattan neighborhoods because its rental options tend to be older and feature fewer amenities. Most buildings are pre-war walk-ups, which allow for lower rents. This, coupled with the plethora of colleges nearby, makes Yorkville an attractive place for younger tenants.

West Village

One of the most popular neighborhoods in Manhattan, the West Village is packed with great amenities. This neighborhood contains beautiful parks, historic buildings, accessible transit, and amazing food. Perhaps best of all, the West Village is incredibly quirky, providing a unique taste of NYC life.

Admittedly, the West Village is not cheap. However, many experts label the region as a “starter neighborhood,” to which successful singles and families move before transitioning into even more affluent areas, like the Upper West Side.

East Village

Almost unanimously, New Yorkers agree that the East Village is the true heart of the city. The neighborhood boasts some of New York’s most iconic places, especially when it comes to music, and the culture is unequivocally cool.

In recent decades, real estate developers have replaced most of the East Village’s older tenement buildings with luxury apartment buildings. Thus, rent varies depending on where exactly you choose to live in this neighborhood.

If you’re interested in finding an upscale apartment or condo to rent in the East Village, contact Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties. They have 21 apartment buildings ready for new tenants.

The Bowery

Barely five years ago the thin strip of buildings known as the Bowery ― nestled in the center of Midtown, between Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side ― was an infamous sight of urban decay, but today, the historic neighborhood is utterly revitalized and wonderfully New York. Populated by creatives of all types, the Bowery is colorful and fun, entirely unlike its ambiance in the past.

For now, the Bowery has some of the lowest prices in its area. Unfortunately, gentrification has exploded rent prices dramatically in recent years, and as the neighborhood continues to clean up, the cost of living will only increase.

Kips Bay

Kips Bay is a quiet corner of the Lower East Side, hemmed in by Murray Hill, Rose Hill, and Gramercy Park. Tucked away from the more active regions of the city (which are still just a 10-minute walk away), Kips Bay is a peaceful place for professionals who want to have access to shops and nightlife without living directly above them.

Kips Bay remains one of the least expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan ― primarily because it lacks the trendy restaurants and shops. However, those hunting for high-quality living spaces in a peaceful setting should definitely look here.


Right in the center of Midtown, the Flatiron District claims some of New York’s most beloved landmarks, not least of which is the Flatiron Building itself. Though the buildings here are largely commercial, excellent shopping opportunities are beginning to invade, making the neighborhood much more exciting. Plus, the views from residential high-rises are outstanding.

The central location of Flatiron is perfect for professionals looking for a short commute, but apartments here aren’t necessarily cheap. Fortunately, the wealthy businesses of the area ensure the standards of living are high enough to match the costs.


Claiming the reputation abandoned by the now touristy SoHo, NoHo (North of Houston) is stylish, friendly, and bursting with activity. The neighborhood feels close and home-grown; absent are the faceless national chain stores that are taking over more popular regions of the city. In fact, designated a historic district by the Landmark Preservation Society, NoHo should keep its signature look for decades.

NoHo was among the hardest-hit NYC neighborhoods during the recession, and its real estate prices plummeted. Though apartment rents have nearly recovered, NoHo remains an excellent place to enjoy Manhattan culture without exorbitant costs.

Stuyvesant Town

Stuyvesant Town feels just like a small village in the countryside, though it is located a short walk from some of the most active regions of Manhattan. Trees line the street, making the neighborhood feel cozy and calm, and the absence of shopping and nightlife keep the noise levels down.

Stuy Town was erected after World War II as an affordable neighborhood for returning veterans, yet despite the remaining buildings (many of which are relatively unsightly for New York) rents here are continuing to rise. Still, some rents are stabilized in older buildings, making this a reasonably quaint place to settle down.

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How to Find a Property Manager You Can Trust

How to Find a Property Manager You Can TrustIt isn’t easy to own property, especially when the property you own is so far from where you live. Rental properties require constant care, from filling vacancies to making repairs, but many long-distance property owners don’t have the time or resources to make frequent visits to their buildings and land.

Enter: the property manager, the humble servant who oversees your properties to ensure satisfaction in landlord and tenant alike. Unfortunately, not all property managers are equal, and without proper examination, you might end up with the wrong one. Instead of hoping you choose the right manager for the job, you can ensure you hire a trustworthy, skilled manager by asking these questions.

How Many Years of Experience Do They Have?

Property management is not an entry-level field. Generally, property managers begin work in other positions within the real estate industry, so your candidate should have at least a decade or so under their belts. You might also inquire after their time in their current position. Stability is a crucial quality in a property manager. The best candidates are those you will be able to find easily for years to come.

Do They Own Rental Property Themselves?

Many people feel most comfortable hiring a manager who understands the trials and tribulations of renting property. You want a manager who won’t hesitate to give your properties the attention they need. Experienced property managers can use their own knowledge and relationships with the community to keep your property in top shape.

How Many Properties Do They Currently Manage?

One manager can only handle so much. Though you hope your properties aren’t going to require much service, in case a problem does arise, you want your property manager to be ready and able to address it. Most experts assume a single property manager can competently handle about 30 units, so if you interview a candidate who is already overseeing 10 properties each with five units, you probably don’t want to hand over the keys to yours. Instead work with a company like Brookhill Properties, which has the capacity to manage many properties.

Do They Employ Other Staff Who Will Supervise Your Property?

Though some small-time property managers work alone, the best usually employ a small staff. You want to make sure that you speak directly with the person who is going to look after your property to ensure you trust the whole company ― not just the person in charge of the business. Additionally, knowing the number of employees helps you understand each person’s workload; a staff of five can easily handle the above 50 units, whereas a single manager cannot.

How Large Is Their Service Area?

On one hand, having a property manager with excellent knowledge of the local area is a major boon. A local expert is better equipped at solving unique problems and has established connections with pertinent authorities.

On the other hand, in a few years’ time, you might expand your property portfolio to other neighborhoods. You should decide before you interview whether you would rather consult with several niche managers or a single business with a wide reach.

What Are Their Inspection Schedules?

Properties need constant TLC; you don’t want your property manager only showing up when things go wrong. Thus, you should only consider candidates who have a strict inspection schedule that targets crucial points around your properties. Even better, you should try to find a candidate who will accept a schedule you create.

How Do They Handle Property Showings?

Filling vacancies is one of the most labor-intensive parts of a property manager’s job. While a unit remains unleased, a manger might be working six days a week to find tenants. Your manager should always be available to tour the property with prospective renters, as handing out keys compromises property security and endangers your investment.

What Is Their Preferred Software?

The number of available property/tenant management tools on the market is absolutely staggering. The important thing is that your potential managers provide proof that they use software to track efficiency and explain example output reports during the interview. Big data is the only way to know for certain that your properties are worth the investment, and you should only rely on quality software to provide that information.

Will They Support You in Court?

No one likes to think about going to court, but the truth is renting out property can be a dangerous legal game. Managers aren’t lawyers, but they certainly can save you from hot water. A trustworthy property manager will never put you in jeopardy of a lawsuit, but just as importantly, your chosen property manager should always be willing to support you in legal battles.

If you’re in need of real estate management in NYC, particularly in the East Village, reach out to Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties to ensure your buildings are in good hands.

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Top-Notch Real Estate Developers Prosper in Manhattan

Top-Notch Real Estate Developers Prosper in ManhattanIn a city like New York, real estate is a billion-dollar industry and developers have hundreds of projects and tens of thousands of units in the works. Land prices are high and development sites are scarce, which is pushing some developers into other parts of the city. In spite of those cold hard facts, however, there are still various top-notch Manhattan developers that continue to prosper; according to therealdeal.com, Manhattan projects outrank other borough developers by a substantial amount.

Brookhill Properties

Founded by Raphael Toledano, Brookhill Properties is rapidly gaining popularity as a premiere East Village landlord and real estate developer. Last year Brookhill Properties became the largest landlord in the East Village when they purchased a property from the Tabak/Garfinkel family, and Toldeano is looking to add more properties to his portfolio.

As the youngest landlord in the city, Toledano is excited to work specifically on the East Village and partnering with the community to make the East Village a great place to live.

The Related Companies

The Related Companies was founded by Stephen M. Ross in 1972. Best known for developing the Time Warner Center, where Ross lives and works, and the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, Related is the largest owner of luxury residential rentals in NYC.

In addition, they purchased Equinox in 2006 to help the company expand and developed a partnership interest in Union Square Events in 2011 to assist in developing, leasing, selling and managing its properties. In 2014, Related made an investment in CORE. This affiliation has helped to expand the company’s capabilities for resales in the buildings it has developed.

Extell Development Company

Founded by Gary Barnett in 1989, Extell Development Company is a developer of various properties including residential, commercial, retail, and hospitality. Some high-profile developments in the works for 2016 are Bajarke Ingels’ 57th Street pyramid, the conversion of Ralph Walker’s Tribeca masterpiece, and 70 Charlton, the first new residential project in Hudson Square since the neighborhood was rezoned in 2013.

El Ad Holding, Inc.

El Ad Holding, Inc. is part of the Tshuva Group and is also another major NYC developer. Originally, Tshuva focused on areas such as Tribeca, the Upper West Side, and Chelsea with an emphasis on luxury residential buildings but they have also converted and upgraded several historically known buildings. The biggest project, perhaps, was the purchase of the landmark Plaza Hotel that was restored as part of a $400 million renovation.

HFZ Capital Group

Formed in 2005, HFZ Capital Group is one of the biggest luxury residential condominium developers in Manhattan. Founded by Ziel Feldman, the company is currently working on projects that span from Central Park to Wall Street and consisting of over 6 million-square feet.

HFZ has a reputation that stands out positively from other developers as they restore and preserve historic buildings, many of which can be found in the East Village. Raphael Toledano is familiar with the residences located in many of these historic buildings.

The Moinian Group

The Moinian Group, founded by current CEO Joseph Moinian is a unique real estate entity because they own, operate, and develop properties in a wide variety of asset categories. Their portfolio is 20 million-square feet ranging from offices and hotels to retail spaces and condos. The achievements of the Moinian Group dates back three decades to when they acquired loft buildings in the Flatiron District and Midtown South and converted them to high-end office space.

Identifying new space that has powerful growth potential has continued to be the method that the Moinian Group uses in order to stay successful. Most recently, they have been focusing on lower Manhattan, and their downtown investments have made the Moinian Group one of the area’s largest private landlords.

Sumaida + Khurana

A newer couple of developers Saif Sumaida and Amit Khurana formed Sumaida + Khurana just a few years ago. Having worked with architects like Japan’s Tadao Ando, the company focuses on projects that will create visually pleasing additions to the city, designed by leading architects from around the world.

Currently, they are working with another architect, Alvaro Siza from Portugal, on a 34-story, 80-unit Hell’s Kitchen condo on 56th Street. Construction will begin this summer and the building is slated to be complete by 2019.

JDS Development Group

JDS Development Group is a top real estate developer in Manhattan. The company is rare in that they also perform all of the construction on their own projects. JDS has over seven million square feet of property, most notably, Walker Tower on First Avenue near the East Village, where Raphael Toledano showcases properties including multi-family and mixed-use buildings, and Steinway Tower on 57th Street, the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere.

To learn more about real estate development in Manhattan, specifically in the East Village, contact Raphael Toledano.

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When a Building Becomes a Home: Transforming Unique Structures Into Residences

When a Building Becomes a Home: Transforming Unique Structures Into ResidencesIn big cities ― New York, especially ― it isn’t always easy to find a place to live. As a result, plenty of people end up crashing in unexpected places: abandoned factories, old churches, empty clubs, and the like. Surprisingly, non-residential buildings have actually become some of the most uniquely beautiful homes in the city, and many real estate owners and developers are interested in creating more.

It isn’t always easy to repurpose an old building into a residential space, but when done correctly, the effect is breathtaking. Here are some examples of successful transformations and some tips on how to make a unique home of your own.

NYC Success Stories

Most people looking for real estate in New York are happy to find an affordable apartment, but those with vision (and funds) seem to embrace the challenge of conjuring a home out of unusual spaces. Here are some of NYC’s best success stories for transforming odd buildings into residential masterpieces.

Beethoven Hall

In the early 20th century, the East Village was a comfortable hamlet of Germantown, and Beethoven Hall was the community space where neighbors enjoyed all their most important gatherings: weddings, political meetings, dances, holidays, etc. As German immigrants started dispersing, Beethoven Hall endured a brief stint as a small film studio; however, a fire destroyed half the building and ended the new owners’ silver screen dreams. It didn’t take long for artists to move in. Fortunately, one of the most successful, Gregory Colbert, bought the building and refurbished it, giving creatives a cozy and stylish place to make art.

For those looking for upscale East Village apartments, look no further than at any of the 21 properties that Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties rent out.

The Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception

Cathedral College was founded in 1914 in Brooklyn as a place for devout young men to study scripture and become Catholic priests. In fact, Vince Lombardi enrolled at 15 with high hopes for a holy life ― before leaving to follow a more football-oriented path. The school was so successful it opened a second location in Queens in the ‘60s, but for reasons unknown, the first campus closed in the ‘80s. Fortunately, the space did not go to waste; today, the college is a comfortable and chic residence. the gothic-style structure retains most of its Catholic charm with beautiful arched windows and glaring gargoyles, even though its classrooms have been remodeled into bedrooms and sitting rooms.

Feuchtwanger Stables

It wasn’t long ago that Brooklyn was a wild and untamed suburb of Manhattan. In fact, the neighborhood of Fort Greene once contained vast swaths of ranch property, on which stood barns and stables. Though most of these were razed to make way for the high-rises of the late 20th century, Feuchtwanger Stables stood strong. In the late ‘80s (nearly a century after its initial construction), the stables were renovated, creating a gorgeous one-bedroom apartment lacking any lingering smells from its former four-legged inhabitants.

Fire Patrol Building #2

New York firefighters are some of the city’s most beloved heroes, but historic firehouses are notoriously ill-kept. In fact, Brooklyn’s Fire Patrol Building #2 was one of just three remaining fire patrol houses in the city, despite being built in 1906. The structure was on the brink of collapse when it was snatched up by Anderson Cooper, who launched into a major restoration process. Today, the century-old brick façade is absolutely stunning, and the historic interior elements, including the fire poles, remain intact amongst the trimmings of a modern home.

5 Tips to Repurposing a Non-Home

Of course, not every standing structure is an appropriate place to settle down. Plenty of buildings are unsound or unstable, making renovation dangerous and expensive. Others simply don’t have a sensible layout for a living space. Before you look for any non-residential property with big, renovation dreams, you should consider these five suggestions from industry experts.

  • Consult a professional. Experts can look at a structure and know how much remodeling it can endure. Take your expert around the property to learn exactly what can and must be done to make it livable, and be willing to accept his or her advice, especially if its negative.
  • Prepare to work hard (or wait long). Fodder for such unique homes are almost always old and outdated, which means you will have to change or add quite a bit to make a workable home. It could be years before you finally obtain the unique space of your dreams.
  • Learn to love imperfection. Every building is designed with a unique purpose, and forcing a building to defy that purpose is difficult. There will always be evidence of the building’s former life, which you must accept wholeheartedly. It is best if you already have a fondness for vintage or antique style.
  • Reassess scale. Non-residential structures are usually quite large; they were made to store hay during the winter, hold water during the summer, house massive machinery or animals, and perform a number of other jobs that necessitate extra space. Thus, you might have more space to fill than you are used to, forcing you to reconsider your sense of scale.

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