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 Tenth Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: real estate!
Shitshows of the Year
3) Pier 17: Howard Hughes moved forward with plans to redevelop the South Street Seaport's Pier 17, but the developer was met with resistance by tenants, who were pissed off that they would be kicked out after losing months of business because of damage from Hurricane Sandy. The developer hosted an over-the-top "groundbreaking" rolled out blue carpet, branded cupcakes, lots of speecheswhere they ceremoniously scooped a pile of dirt, while one holdout tenant was still operating inside. The tenant sued in an attempt to stay, but Howard Hughes won. Promptly after that, Howard Hughes announced plans for a 50-story tower, throwing all the neighbhorhood NIMBYs into a fresh tizzy.
2) AirBnB: When the city started cracking down (again) on illegal short-term rentals earlier this year, AirBnB decided to fight back. The website has launched a full campaign to change New York's short term housing laws, and they started legally supporting users who were sued for renting out apartments on AirBnB. Short term rentals are still very much illegal, so the site is now concentrating its ass-kissing efforts on the next Mayor.
1) Hudson River Park: The financially floundering park looked at dozens of plans to save Pier 40 from literally sinking into the Hudson River, and when they finally came up with a plan to make some money by selling air rights, it was not without controversy. Preservationists worry about how it will affect surrounding neighborhoods, and there's already one lawsuit filed against the plan. Plus there's the tiny issue of two park board members being involved with companies that could financially benefit from selling air rights. Did someone say "conflict of interest?"
Distinguished Award For Continually Being A Shitshow
You'd think that the end of a six-year legal battle would be enough to remove Stuy Town from the shitshow list, but alas. The complex finally ended its long fight over rent overcharges, but that was followed by CWCapital Management's announcement that they plan to raise rents mid-lease and news the rent refunds will be late.
Most Improved Shitshow
The Hotel Chelsea rid itself of Joseph Chetrit and Gene Kaufman in 2013, but things still aren't stellar for the remaining tenants. King and Grove bought out Chetrit over the summer, and they brought on Marvel Architects in November to finish the renovation. Is it too soon to say that 2014 will be a good year for the Hotel Chelsea?
PriceChopper Axe of Declining Rewards
4) Sparkly Brighton Beach penthouse: Shocker! No one is interested in living in a gilded, super sparkly penthouse on Ocean Parkway. The asking price is now just $2.39 million, 52 percent of the original $4.6 million.
3) The Mark unit #1401: Since 2008, this 26-windowed unit at the Mark has been on and off the market, and it's now down to 75 percent of its original asking price. But $17.5 million, or $3,654 per square foot, still seems too high.
2) Susan Weber Soros' 5BR/6.5BA in the Majestic: It must be hard being the ex-wife of a billionaire, especially when no one wants to buy your furnished five-bedroom. Originally listed for $50 million, the latest asking price was $39 million.
1) Leroy Schecter's 15 Central Park West combo: Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Schecter listed his combo in the Limestone Jesus for $95 million in August 2012, and now it's asking a paltry $70 million.
For The Love Of God, Someone Buy This Award
1) 16 Warren Street Penthouse: We named it the City's Saddest Penthouse for a reason; this unit has been trying to find a buyer since early 2008, and it has seen eight price cuts. It's now asking $5.495 million, 60 percent of the original price.
2) This Dakota apartment: Bad decor, black walls, and floral wallpaper are not helping this many-fireplaced Dakota home, which has sat on the market for seven years. Stingy price cuts aren't attracting any buyers either. In its long stint on the market, the price has only been dropped by $5M to $14.5M.
The Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Memorial Cup
Awarded to the commercial real estate deal that made us briefly care about commercial real estate
Once again, Hudson Yards takes this award. The west side megaproject began construction, nabbed several more tenants, and expanded its footprint with Related' purchase of two neighboring sites. There was also a cake made in the shape of the first tower. This year's runner up was the World Trade Center. The downtown megaproject opened its first tower, and One World Trade Center officially became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Thawed Developments of the Year
There are a lot!
5) 421 Kent Avenue: A Chinese development firm breathed new life into this long-stalled North Williamsburg site, and they are now building 216 units here.
4) 250 East 57th Street: 250 West 57th Street could be considered the original tower of 57th Street, but the project stalled many moons ago. It came back to life earlier this year, but sadly, its tapering shape has been swapped for a boring box.
3) 50 West Street: Developer Francis Greenburger finally received financing for his tower at 50 West Street, a site he has owned since 1983. Architect Helmut Jahn designed the 65-story hotel/condo, and it should be complete in 2016.
2) 30 Park Place: Downtown also saw the rebirth of Larry Silverstein's long-awaited tower at 30 Park Place. The financials are finally in order for the A.M. Stern-designed building, and construction is underway.
1) MoMA Tower: By far, the greatest unarraested development is Jean Nouvel's Tower Verre. Thanks to $1 billion from a few sources in Asia, the tower now has the green light.
Top Comeback Sellers of the Year
2) One Madison: The building formerly known as One Madison Park finally returned to market this September, and it's reached 60 percent sold. It has also attracted at least one celebrity couple.
1) 56 Leonard: The condos in Herzog & de Meruon's Jenga-like 56 Leonard hit the market in February, and the building quickly stomped all over the downtown real estate market, setting records and selling at a crazy fast pace. And let's not forget that a storage unit in the building sold for $300,000.
Adventures in Marketing
1) Drawings, no matter how pretty, will never replace real photos.
2) Don't you want to sell your house to the unidentified buyer who slipped this note under your door?
3) Man needs roommate. Man writes song. Man creates best roommate ad ever.
Most Anticipated Building of 2014
For the second year running, we're giving this award to Atlantic Yards' B2. The tower finally started stacking this year, so by the end of 2014, Brooklyn will officially be home to the world's tallest modular building.
Best Building Name
Kane 1.1.3, for its
overuse creative use of punctuation.
Listings We'll Miss
1) The Upper East Side's best pool sold for $26 million after more than a year on the market.
2) On the other side of the park, the turreted castle-like mansion at 249 Central Park West found a buyer for $17.5 million. The seller originally hoped for $30 million.
3) The city's narrowest house was on the market for less than a year before finding a buyer, but we'll still miss the skinny little thing.
Best $100M+ Listing
If 2012 was the year of the $95 million listing, 2013 was the year of the more-than-$100-million listing. Steven Cohen started the trend by listing his One Beacon Court penthouse for $115 million, then 24 hours later, the triplex penthouse that belonged to Martin Zweig hit the market for $125 million. The River House topped them all with plans for a $130M penthouse, but by far the most impressive of these ridiculous listings is the newestand, surprisingly, the cheapestthe renovated mansion at 12 East 69th Street, asking $114 million.
15 CPW Development of the Year
Awarded annually to one solidly-selling, much-talked-about new project
The condos in JDS Development Group's Walker Tower not only sold very quickly, but they sold for record-breaking prices and to a few famous names. One of the penthouses went into contract for record-setting amount somewhere north of $50 million, and Cameron Diaz dropped $9 million to live in the converted building. It's safe to say that the much-hyped building lived up to its hype.
Hell's Prettiest Snowflakes
Awarded to the year's biggest shockers.
3) One57's two-year-old buyer: A Chinese couple bought a $6.5 million apartment in Gary Barnett's original supertall tower for their daughterwho is currently a two-year-old.
2) The New New Domino: We knew that Two Trees was going to revamp the plans for Domino, but did anyone expect the tower-tastic designs put forth by firm-of-the-moment SHoP Architects?
1) 5 Pointz: The Wolkoff's revealed plans for two apartment towers to replace the graffiti mecca 5 Pointz, but they really shocked the city when they whitewashed the art-covered warehouse overnight. That one still hurts.
Street Of the Year
Midtown's 57th Street is now home to (or will be home to) four supertall towersOne57, 432 Park Avenue, 217 West 57th Street, 107 West 57th Streetplus a regular tower, a pyramid, and the city's biggest apartment building.
· Curbed Awards 2013 [Curbed]