It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the Eighth Annual Curbed Awards! Today's topic: real estate!
Shitshows of the Year
3) Stuy Town. Things improved at Stuy Town this year, so we're bumping the troubled rental complex from first place on this list to third. But on the list it stays! Why? For everything from rising rents to dog ticketing to pot smoking in the H line at 2 Stuyvesant Oval. And then, of course, there's the question of whether the tenants or Guterman Westwood Partners has a better shot at buying the complex and converting part of it into cheap condos.
2) The Apthorp. If the flip attempts and amenity suite are any indication, things at this perennial shitshow, too, are better than they were last December. But "better" doesn't mean much at the Apthorp, where the courts only recently resolved a mortgage loan dispute, the developers were ordered to shut down the sales office and return deposits, and one of the developers gave up and bought down the street instead.
3) William Beaver House. Curbed readers voted Willy Beav the ugliest of four NYC condo buildings, but there were bigger embarrassments for the building in 2011. Namely, 209 of the 302 units went rental. You do hate to see that.
One Madison Park Shitshow Lifetime Achievement Award
This building is a repeat winner of the Shitshow Lifetime Achievement Award, so we're just going to give in and rename the prize after One Madison Park. Potential rescuers filed plans this year to take control of the property, but even when it went up for auction, there was only one bidder. The half-done decor also leaves something to be desired: "the lap pool is a dry hole; the elevator buttons are marked with handwritten numbers; slabs of marble in the lobby are protected with blue masking tape." At least the residents are happy. All 12 of them.
PriceChopper Axe of Declining Rewards
3) The saga of apartment #5H at 240 Centre Street is made all the more interesting by the fact that it features the late Charles Gwathmey, who spent (according to the brokerbabble) four years designing the apartment. If he was hoping to give the owners a hefty profit on the resale, some of his effort appears to have been wasted. Last time we checked in on the pad, it had just entered the PriceChopper Hall of Fame, reserved for listings that have cut their prices by 50 percent or more. Now it's off the market entirely.
2) The townhouse at 70 Willow Street had a brush with fame, too: Truman Capote once lived there. Unfortunately, that hook wasn't enough to get the seller the initial $18 million ask last year, and this year the house has seen a flurry of PriceChoppage. The current price is $13.995 million.
1) PH2009 at the Plaza was the subject of Andrei Vavilov's fraud lawsuit against the building's developers in 2008; Vavilov alleged the penthouses he'd promised to buy were "attic-like" and lacked the promised views and ceiling heights. The legal battle ended when Vavilov agreed to put his deposit toward the smaller of the two penthouses he'd bought, but he spurned PH2009, which returned to market in April asking $37.5 million. It has already had one encounter with the PriceChopper this year, for a current ask of $33.5 million. We wouldn't be surprised to see another next year.
Foreclosures of the Year
3) The Sloane Mansion at 18 East 68th Street. The place languished on the market for years before finally hitting the auction block with defaulted loans in excess of $28 million. The place finally sold for $40 million to fertilizer magnate Alexander Rovt, in the first of several high-profile buys by fertilizer magnates this year.
2) 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, aka the birthplace of hip-hop. This long-troubled piece of history went up for foreclosure auction in November with a lien of more than $7 million. The building sold for $6.2 million and may be saved.
1) Arrested development poster child 5 Franklin Place hit the foreclosure auction block in September. To our great despair, new owner Fishman Holdings plans to bring the building back?with a decidedly un-fun Richard DeMarco design, instead of the wacky Ben van Berkel version.
The Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Memorial Cup
Awarded to the commercial real estate deal that made us briefly care about commercial real estate.
The neighborhood might not be Curbed Cup-ready yet, but some major leasing action occurred at Hudson Yards this year. Namely, Coach signed a deal for space in Related's first Hudson Yards office tower, which exists in rendering form.
Thawed Developments of the Year
3) Tribeca condo Reade57 spent several years in time-out after destabilizing the foundation of historic neighbor 287 Broadway. But as Reade57 went up, it gradually stabilized its unbalanced neighbor. Mistake atoned for, Reade57 finally hit the market this fall.
2) High Line-hugging 245 Tenth Avenue haunted us throughout the real estate bust. It finally found some new investors late last year, and those investors brought the building back to life. The building has even?cue triumphant music?sold some units.
1) Williamsburg's Finger Building has come out on the other side of zoning battles, partner feuds, neighborhood protests, and ownership changes to finally, finally hit the market. The penthouses are all in contract, and so is a bunch more stuff.
Most Anticipated Building of 2012
We're giving this award more out of optimism than sympathy this year. The winner? A Herzog and de Meuron-designed stalled project that's allegedly relaunching in 2012 with only "minor" design changes. The one, the only?56 Leonard.
Hell's Prettiest Snowflakes
Awarded to the year's biggest shockers.
3) The Orchard Street Hell Building earns itself third-place standing on this list for another year with the news that its new owners plan to bring it back to life as a 290-room hotel in 2013.
2) Late-breaking but no less shocking for that is the news that the stalled-out starchitecture at 290 Mulberry is finally coming back to life?as a rental.
1) The powers that be at Atlantic Yards decided the megaproject's first residential building will be prefab. And the world's tallest modular building, at that.
15 CPW Memorial Development of the Year Award
The recent wave of high-profile sales at 15 Central Park West has inspired us to rename this award?for a solidly-selling, much-talked-about new project?after the Limestone Jesus. And this year's winner is another classic-looking Upper West Side newbie: The Laureate. Even the Apthorp's developer opted to live there. An honorable mention to fast-selling Noho newcomer 41 Bond.
· All Curbed Awards 2011 coverage [Curbed]