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Selling New York S4E3: Livin' (Very) Large

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HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 10/27/2011.

Just when you think the pads on Selling New York can't get anymore out of a normal person's price range, along comes...this episode! After looking at these double-digit buckets o' million dollar digs, those $2 million units SNY usually covers will seem like a downright deal. In the first stratospheric sales story, SNY takes a much needed trip to the BK (holler!) when a broker gets an exclusive on a $23.5 million monstrous DUMBO abode inside of a clocktower. What time is it? It's time for someone to drastically lower the price, amirite? Then, a broker woos a business woman to buy a tony townhouse in the West Village by allowing her to take it over for a day to see if the space suits her millions. Will these trophy homes get married to an owner, or gather cobwebs as they fall deeper and deeper into vacancy? Get the answers you deserve in this metaphorically rich recap!

Michele Kleier is going where no Kleier ever makes a habit of going. Brooklyn! She and her two cubs, strapped in the back seat, drive across the Brooklyn Bridge towards a new land that already has millions of people living there. They're like Christopher Columbus with Blackberries and chunky jewelry:

Why the trek to a foreign borough? Mama's going to check out the worth of a small country penthouse at 1 Main Street in DUMBO. Uber-developer David Walentas of Two Trees wants her to represent the 7,000 square foot clocktower powerhouse. "We're not in Kansas anymore," Sam jokes as they breeze across the bridge. These ladies really need to get a load of the 718. So much better than Kansas!

The gals are impressed with not only how quickly they got to BK (dudes, we're so close!) but also the light-filled multi-leveled 3 bed/3.5 bath sky mansion:

The Kleiers are "speechless" at how pretty the space is (3,000-square-foot great room!), and the views. The views! But did you see how frightening the stairs are? Truth: Taking an elevator in your own home all the time to avoid breaking your neck would get mighty tiresome.

If you lived here, you would constantly be backwards about time since the clocks face outward. Clocktower? More like Ican'treadthedamntimetower!:

You might also go crazy from being surrounded by the constant unwanted presence of Father Time tick-tocking off every second of your life.

You would also have this to look at when you bathe. Shower + real time traffic check all in one! Who needs 1010wins?

"How do we get it sold?" David asks. Mama tells him he needs to bring the $25 million asking price $23.5 million. David agrees to the (so minor) price reduction with a caveat: Mama's exclusive is only six months. Mama's all "that's not enough time but it's also possible" and the two old-real-estate-timers shake hands.

Mama's worried about a) selling the joint so she can b) work more with Two Trees on their zillions of projects. She and her daughters devise a battle plan to get all the right people at the open house party. Mama woos hotshot Corcoran broker to the stars Andrea Lucas at a lunch. Sam hits up PR queen Alison Brod to get fancy clients to attend the party and to do private tours.

Sam's necklace matches the table candy and Ali's dress looks bedazzled in custom colored m&ms!

Sabrina does her part by hightailing it over to her old boss at Access Hollywood, Terry Macleod. She considers doing a "peek into what the stars can afford, unless you're a poor, fading star" bit on the penthouse. With all their high-end bases covered, it's time to get into the inner workings of the clocktower party hour! Will the torrential downpour delegate the open house to a d-list affair?

No! Tons of (mostly hired) people attended because there is free stuff to eat and drink. And amazing views. A grizzled, unshaven looking David sits down with Mama at the party for a chat. There is something dark brewing inside of him. He's concerned that the party won't translate into a sale, but! Mama assures him she's doing her best. He dangles the "if you sell this, we have a 1,000 unit condo development (Mercedes House) for you to represent" carrot. Ah, the promise of more exclusives!

Post-party, Mama meets up with Two Trees VP Asher Abehsera for an update. Mama explains there's no offer, but everyone loves the place. Ash notches up the pressure by reminding Mama she has a month left on the listing:

Where are the mini-people lounging in the mini-roofdeck chairs?:

Mama reveals to Ash she has people interested in showcasing the penthouse but is vague about the deets. She'll know more in 48 hours...

Ring, ring! It's the phone call to clarify what the heck Mama was being so secretive about. Esquire Magazine wants Mama to suggest "the ultimate bachelor pad" for them to turn into a single man's dream space. Natch, she plans on recommending the clocktower. But will Esquire go for it?! The update explains that if Esquire doesn't pick it, Mama could lose the listing! Because this episode was shot a long time ago, we know that Esquire did indeed lock in the clocktower, though it remains timelessly empty.


CORE agent Vickey Barron is new to the company and already has a giant house to sell at 38 Bethune Street in the W. Vills. Ol' 38's been both on the market (shhh! don't tell anyone!) and on our radar for several years, but Vickey keeps all that a secret. Priced at an insane $14.95 million, this 5,2800-square-foot townhouse is a stunner.

As part of their spring open house series where select CORE properties get "curated" by local vendors, 38 Bethune gets designated with the "active living" theme AKA a yoga instructor is teaching downward dogs in the den and a chef is cooking up treats on the range top:

Boss Shaun Bond Osher agrees with Vickey that the townhouse is unusual and a "trophy property." It's going to take a special someone to cough up that amount of cash.

Next, Vickey's back at the townhouse because her colleague has an interested client?Kadia Khanan, an architect. Kadia's in the market for a live/work habitat where she can have her business and her home UNDER THE SAME ROOF! She wants space for her three kids, guests and a design studio.

Will this fill the bill?

Kadia loves the space and can see herself living here but isn't sure where her office would fit. Um, you only have over five thousand feet at your disposal.

I'd be more concerned about living under the threat of this giant tropical leaf:

Vickey has an idea...she invites Kadia to be "queen for a day." In other words, she can live at 38 for a day with her kids and work from there as well. Oooh, how royal! Vickey thinks that letting Kadia live in the house for a few hours is a huge risk. "The stakes are high," she says without further explanation. Because they aren't. There are basically no stakes.

It's move-in day and Kadia arrives with her three tykes in tow to her new-maybe home. Kadia's business partner, Helmut Zoegall, arrives to check out the home-office:

Vickey babysits the kids while mom works. The price of commission:

Later, Vicks and Kadia have dinner with the owner, Lenny Moreira. Vicks is amped up to get a deal from Kadia. "At the end of dinner, I'd love an offer," she says. Unfortch for her, Kadia doesn't have one.

Vick's Face Of Lost Hopes and Dreams:

Finally, Vicky heads over to Lievito Pizza to deliver Lenny good and bad news.

The bad: there's still no offer
The good: The Real Deal, a trade magazine, picked 38 to have a broker's open house event

The update reveals that Vickey got an all cash offer for $12.5 million and is negotiating the deal. (But we still see a listing.)

Episode grade: The Kleiers trekked to BK which is all I really care about. I award thee 3 out of 5 crazy Coney Island cackling Kleiers!

· Selling New York [HGTV]
· Selling New York coverage [Curbed]