HABITAT

SOHO

Sale of ground floor space nets a $28 million windfall.

Soho Co-op Cashes In for $42 million

Written by Bill Morris on February 14, 2017

SoHo

In a Soho that has changed for the worse, shareholders agree to sell.

Facelift for a Faded Soho Beauty

Written by Sue Treiman on December 14, 2016

SoHo

Restoration of the cast-iron facade reveals a gem's luster.

 

This time, a co-op’s shareholders decided to take the money and run. Two weeks after a Brooklyn Heights co-op turned down a developer’s $130 million offer to buy their commercial space and erect a 40-story condo tower, the residents of a co-op at 61-63 Crosby Street in Soho have sold their building for $42 million to L3 Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm that plans to turn the cast-iron jewel into an office building.

“The co-op owners decided to take some chips off the table and move out,” says Adelaide Polsinelli of Eastern Consolidated, who represented the buyer in the deal.

The 20,600-square-foot Crosby Street building, located between Spring and Broome Streets, was erected in 1876 and converted to a co-op in 1981, according to the Real Deal. It contained seven loft apartments and a ground-floor retail space most recently occupied by the clothier Carson Street. The building comes with 6,500 square feet of air rights.

Cutting Down on the Cost, Danger & Disruption from a Gas Leak

Written by Bill Morris on January 13, 2016

SoHo

When an explosion in the East Village left two people dead and three buildings in ruins last year, New Yorkers got a grisly reminder just how serious - and deadly - gas leaks can be. So when a worker at the Ronald Feldman Fine Arts gallery in Soho smelled gas a few months after the East Village explosion, everyone went on high alert.

The fire department rushed to the elegant cast-iron building at 31-33 Mercer Street, a five-story, 12-unit co-op that's home to the Feldman gallery and an eclectic mix of artists, architects, writers and photographers - the kind of people who used to live in Soho before it became a sprawling shopping mall. The building's gas was immediately shut off. Crews from Con Ed and the city's Department of Buildings (DOB) arrived, beginning an ordeal that would spiral into a "nightmare," in the words of the co-op board's president.

But this nightmare inspired some creative financial thinking that got the building healthy - and safe - while saving the shareholders a pile of money.

 

Soho is getting it's own Flatiron Building. The boat-shaped structure at 10 Sullivan Street is almost complete. Curbed writes that the 16-story, 203-foot-tall structure will have 22 condos, ground floor retail, and — are you ready? — parking. Considering how many parking lots in and out of the city are vanishing to make way for condos, that's pretty neat. The Cary Tamarkin-designed project, which is being developed by Property Markets Group and Madison Equities, "has been billed as 'the highest residence in all of Soho.'" Well the highest is the $45 million 8,359-square-foot triplex penthouse, which boasts a 23-foot-tall ceiling, two wraparound balconies, a roof deck, and a private pool. It's good to be the king.

Photo of 10 Sullivan Street via New York YIMBY.

 

In a corner in Soho rises a six-story development — a boutique condominium, which is the posh way of saying, "Don't expect a whole lot of space." In the case of 52 Wooster, potential buyers should also not expect a whole lot of amenities, save for some complimentary storage in the basement. No pet spas, no gym, no playground. The developer spins it as "a move that decisively bucks a trend" and that touts more of "a private-home feeling." But as Jane Gol, the president of Continental Ventures — the condo's developer — points out to The New York Times, people can go outside to find the things they need. Pet spas and gyms are a dime a dozen in Soho, so that's the place to be if you're building isn't bursting with a load of extras. Despite having "to contend with a shoehorn-tight construction site at the corner of Broome Street," the site measures about 100 feet long and 25 feet wide. The space was a former parking lot, and to make up for the lack of amenities, "Continental is maximizing the apartment layouts, making them as sweeping as those in the older lofts found throughout the neighborhood." The units go on sale this month. How much? Around $2,500 a square foot — or $5 million for the three-bedrooms, and it will be move-in ready by next year.

Rendering from Kim Wendell Design

Fire escapes. Who needs 'em? Not 69 or 71 Green Street in SoHo, according to architect Joseph Pell Lombardi, who has been pushing to remove them. DNAinfo reports that, despite pushback from the community and the New York City Fire Department, Lombardi has gotten the green light from the Department of Buildings (DOB) to remove the fire escapes from 69 Greene Street. So why does an architect who is described as "a preservation specialist" want to remove fire escapes that the building residents say "are an integral part of the block's character"? Well, Lombardi insists that "the fire escapes are not old enough to be considered historic, and that they are unsafe." Just so we're clear, residents are not kicking up a fuss simply because the fire escapes look pretty and have been part of the architectural landscape for a long time. They are genuinely concerned that losing "them would affect their ability to evacuate in the event of a fire." Take away the fire escapes and their only exit is an internal staircase. Made of wood. Uh… Granted, the buildings are being renovated, including said wooden staircase, and perhaps this is the reason why the DOB gave the go-ahead, despite written testimony submitted by an FDNY engineer "expressing misgivings about the fire escapes' removal." According to DNAinfo, the same FDNY engineer, John Yacovone, sent an e-mail Wednesday to the building's management company, Esquire Management, 'respectfully request[ing] that [they] cease and desist' with any alterations to the building geared toward the fire escape removal, after worried tenants reported construction workers nailing the door to the second floor fire escape shut last Monday." According to one of Lombardi's employees, the architect will learn this week whether he has the green light for 71 Greene Street.

Photo by Kate Leonova for Property Shark

Bylaws can be tricky things. Most boards believe they can only be amended by, depending on the governing documents, a majority or a supermajority vote of the co-op shareholders or condo unit-owners. But depending on how your co-op propriety lease or condo articles of incorporation are written, boards may actually have the power to amend bylaws on their own, without a homeowner vote. The tricky part? Boards themselves can't remove amendments that homeowners approve — they can only remove amendments that a board approved.

Such was the tricky nature of bylaws in the case of a Manhattan cooperative trying to collect a sublet fee from a commercial tenant.

Legal Case Notes: Can Boards Charge a Commercial Tenant a Sublet Fee?

Written by Richard Siegler and Dale J. Degenshein on July 30, 2013

136 Greene Street, SoHo, Manhattan

Co-op shareholder Thomas Campaniello owned the shares of a commercial unit at the cooperative at 136 Greene Street in Manhattan. In 2006, he signed a lease with the co-op board. Four years later, when he sought to sublease the space for $60,000 a month, the board refused to give consent unless he paid what his lawsuit called an "exorbitant sublet fee" of 10 percent of the monthly rent, based on a bylaw amendment that the board — not the residents — had adopted. Campaniello asserted he was forced to sign a written agreement consenting to pay the fee as well as $3,000 for the co-op board's legal costs, and was told if he didn't sign, he would have been denied permission to sublet.

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