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It Happened One Weekend: I.M. Pei Returns to New York City

1) I.M. Pei. buys a ticket on the starchitect condo train with the Centurion, a17-story high-rise at 33 West 56th Street. The 48 condo apartments have units stretching from 1 to 4 bedrooms, with 3 penthouses thrown in for good measure. Pei, who hasn't done anything residential in New York since the mid 60's (NYU's Silver Towers complex) shows his skills with a building that gradually tapers up and away from the property line to meet zoning requirements, abandoning the more traditional 'wedding cake' box style, explaining, "the face will have more distinction with a cascade of stone, rather than steps. You don't have to be big to be beautiful." Amen to that. [Posting/C.J. Hughes]

2) After spending a few years renting in the Financial District, newlyweds Elana and James Nanscawen head across the river to Hoboken, picking up a a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium in the Adams Square building for $615,000. The couple couldn't be happier with the move, with Elana explaining, "You walk up and down Washington Street and it's all strollers, a fun atmosphere." [Joyce Cohen/The Hunt]

3) Bartholomew Voorsanger, Martin Stigsgaard and Peter Miller of Voorsanger Architects bust out their virtual Sketch Pad on a 4,000 SF home in the Kensington section of Brooklyn and come up with a David Lynch take of a design, meaning that we don't really get it. Voorsanger et al decided that in order to create a great virtual design, they had to first understand their virtual client, coming to find someone who is extremely difficult to work for and seems very depressed. The redesign is not too drastic on the outside so as not to upset the neighbors, and features 'a landscape of no hope' garden in what was once a driveway. [Sketch Pad/Tracie Rozhon]

4) With the national housing market in the crapper, mortgage bankers are now increasingly willing to offer large mortgages to New York City buyers. Especially to the wealthy ones. One mortgage broker has seen more $10 million mortgages in the past 6 months than the previous 10 years, and another says the average NYC mortgage their company underwrites is now a whopping $4 million. These wealthy buyers see a heavy debt load as no big deal, believing that they will be better served by using the cash on other investments. [The 3.6 Million Dollar Mortgage/Christine Haughney]

5) Thor Equities and the City are still involved in intense and well documented negotiations over the future of Coney Island. The main sticking points are the future of amusements in the area and Thor's need for residential units and hotels to help their investment pay off. [The Call of the Wild Ride/Mark Caldwell]