Last night was another episode of Selling New York, HGTV's reality show following Manhattan brokerages CORE and Gumley Haft Kleier as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here, writer Mike Olson's recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world...
Aptly titled “Extra Special Spaces,” this week’s Kleier-tastic episode is a tale of two New Yorks?the ultra-rich SoHo and the ultra-ultra-rich Carnegie Hill. From charity events that benefit, well, something, to townhouses with double-decker kitchens (hey, if you can think of a better way to hide the caterers we’re all ears), the CORE and GHK gangs will toss their lures into the luxury market in search of buyers with eight-figure budgets. But are the big fish biting?
Subplot #1: Brit buyer parties hard
The Player: Leggy CORE agent Maggie Kent
The Mission: Maggie’s picky client is looking for something in the $10-14 million range, but this party animal has some very specific criteria. Namely, his new digs better have the space to host a 25-person, sit-down dinner.
The Plan of Attack: On a preview run for her client, Mags teams up with Kirk Rundhaug, her CORE colleague who isn’t above seeking supernatural help to move an apartment. He shows her a $12.5 million penthouse just across Jersey Street from the Puck Building (which Kirk describes as “the famous Will & Grace office") that boasts an exercise room and vertigo-inducing great room with 30-foot ceilings. Suck it, Little Singer Building, that's three basketball hoops!
The Decision: The place is pretty sweet, but Mags thinks this pad lacks true party potential. It doesn’t help that its 3,990 square feet is a little on the small side and the exterior is being (loudly) re-bricked.
The Post-Script: Mags still needs to find a place in her mystery client’s price range. Wonder if any of her other Selling New York buddies can lend a hand?
Subplot #2: The loneliest loft in SoHo
The Player: Whiny CORE agent Stuart Sussman
The Mission: Pity poor Stu. He’s had this listing for a stunning $13.995 million SoHo loft for a while now, but interest has died down, leading CORE founder and CEO Shaun Osher to solemnly tell the camera, “If you don’t bring in buyers, the property will lose momentum and ultimately the agent is going to lose the listing. That is not a good scenario.” (Translation: maybe Stu should update that résumé.)
The Plan of Attack: Get creative! Stu’s SoHo sellers love hosting charity events, so why not invite all of his favorite bigwig brokers to the next soiree? That way he can show off the pad’s 7,000 square feet, 37 windows, heated floors, Empire State Building views and one-of-a-kind staircase dreamed up by the engineers who helped I.M Pei build that pyramid thingy outside the Louvre.
Oh, and did he casually mention that said staircase has a famous friend? You know it!
The Curveball: Why, this pad might be perfect for Maggie’s client, who we now know is some British dude named Michael Steward. As the charitable crowd sits down for an awkward piano concerto, poor Stu can’t contain himself: he must glance around the room nervously!
The Decision: Maggie’s poker-faced Brit thinks it’s a “great space for entertaining,” but still isn’t ready to sign on the dotted line. Maggie, clearly used to getting her away, seems miffed. Stu, clearly with lower standards, is elated that he got three business cards. Hey, baby steps.
Subplot #3: Mystery celeb wants to rock the UES
The Player: GHK mama bear Michele Kleier
The Mission: One of Michele’s dearest friends, interior designer to the stars (and Dylan McDermott) Thomas Callaway, is looking for a property on behalf of “a high-profile Hollywood client” with a budget of $25 million. If Michele can find the right one, Tommy’s mystery man will fly out from the left coast?and Michele will be making it rain with one monster commission.
Stop #1: Corcoran’s Loy Carlos shows Michele around a $15.9 million townhouse with some, um, interesting decorating choices.
Sure, the master bathroom has a bitchin’ fireplace, but this place needs too much work.
Stop #2: This time old friend Tommy is in tow as Michele heads to Carnegie Hill and a $24.75 million townhouse at 3 East 94th Street. Now these are amenities: an elevator, seven fireplaces (with original mantles), a rooftop terrace with Central Park views and, oh, that indoor swimming pool!
The Decision: Success! Sort of! Tommy swings by the Kleier compound to visit the whole family (including their three poodles) and, over a glass of white wine, tells them his celebrity client liked what he heard and might visit to see for himself. Just another quasi-glamorous day in the Big Apple!
Episode grade: 3.5 cackling Kleiers