em>It's Season 4 of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three brokers, Fredrik Eklund, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Serhant, show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 6/17/2015.
[A rendering of the atrium at the Beekman condo-hotel project.]
Freddy is in FiDi at the start of this week's episode, meeting with developer Eric Bass to discuss a new project at 5 Beekman Street. What used to be a booming office building, created in 1881, with a gorgeous interior courtyard called Temple Court, is now empty and unused, with the last tenants having moved out after Sept. 11.
But the historic gem is being brought back to life, and Bass is leading the charge. The plan is for the first building to become swanky 287-room hotel, while an adjacent building will be a 51-story tower filled with condominiums toped by luxury penthouses. The price-per-square-foot will average around $2,500nearly double the average for the areabut with good reason: the condo owners get access to all of the hotel amenities, including room service and priority restaurant access. Yaassss! With a potential commission of $9 million, Eric says they are talking to all of the top brokers in the city. Fredrik assures him he has "the fire in his eyes," and will present him with a bang-up business plan by the end of the week.
[The living room in the One57 apartment.]
Ryan is in a brainstorming sesh with his cohorts to figure out the best way to sell the fancy pants apartment at 157 West 57th. He knows that with all the competition in the area, $14 million for a two-bedroom with obstructed views isn't going to appeal to "old money," but what about young money? They hatch a plan to host a new millionaires party and invite all the twentysomethings getting rich off Uber and the Facebook IPO.
[The living room of the Hamilton Heights townhouse.]
Since Luis lost his marbles last week, he's been working on his deep breathing and meditation exercises given to him by life coach Aaron Keith. And they're working. So well, in fact, that he thinks it's time to re-focus on his past goals. First on the agenda? Convince the Joneses (remember them?) to re-list their amazing Hamilton Heights townhouse. Luis Version 1.0 was unable to sell the property at its exorbitant price of $3.5 million, but Luis Version 2.0 is unstoppable!
[The Beekman, with the planned hotel in the historic building in the front and the tower in the back.]
Fredrik is meeting with Eric Bass and his team to pitch his selling plan for 5 Beekman. Because the building isn't finished yet, buyers will only have access to the sales gallery, so the real challenge is to try and show them how it will actually feel to live in the new property. (Pretty renderings only do so much.) Besides transforming the sales gallery from showroom to Beekman lobby, Freddy's big idea is to create one large-scale model of the entire apartment building, and then a second, life-size replica of a condo as the model unit. In order to show off the dazzling 360-degree views, Freddy wants the fake windows to be monitors made of iPad screens, which will allow him to change the view depending on which unit the customer is interested in. Totally genius. Totally expensive, but totally genius. Although they have budgetary concerns, the development team love his out-of-the-box ideas. Butttt, they still have other brokers to meet with before they can make a decision. Sowwy, Freddy!
After two weeks of planning, the "new millionaires" party at One57 is underway. In an effort to fit in with the hip young guests, Ryan has donned his finest plaid suit and bowtie. Lookin' good, buddy! There are bulky sweaters, beanies, and Uber employees as far as they eye can see, and they're all sucking down champagne and marveling at the sleek penthouse finishings. Ryan takes a group of guys on the first apartment tour and quickly receives an offer: $50,000 in Bitcoin, which translates to around $13 million in regular-person money. Is that even legal? Ryan isn't sure, but he'll take it!
[More from the townhouse.]
Luis is back on 147th Street in Harlem to meet with the Dr. and Mrs. Jones. They tell Luis that when they had originally enlisted his help to sell the townhouse, they could tell that he seemed distracted, unable to give the property the attention needed to sell it at the high price point of $3.5 million. Luis agrees, and tells him that he's back to his old self again and wants another crack at the listing. Dr. Jones says, "We see a change in your eye. We can tell that there's something brewing there." Or maybe it's just a cataract. Either way, they agree to give him a 30-day contract.
Unsurprisingly, Freddy has been tapped to be the exclusive broker at the Beekman, and is now working hard to bring his vision to life. It's taken a month, but the sales gallery has been transformed from a showroom into a fully staged mock-up of the hotel lobby and bar. But that's not all: inside the lobby sits a taller-than-Fredrik replica of the new-construction Beekman condo tower, complete with a ground-floor lobby and windows into each of the units. But wait, we're still not done: the model unit that features the simulated-view windows hasn't even been built yet! Freddy says it will definitely be done in time for the open house next week. Right?
Ryan's been working a lot of late nights, so to make it up to Emilia he's surprised her with a nice, home-cooked meal. Their romantic evening quickly takes a turn when Emilia reveals that she's gotten a promotion at work... which would require her to move to Geneva. Like, Geneva, Switzerland. Working in international law has long been a dream of Puffer Munkins, and she can't just turn her back on the opportunity. Ryan tells her he's built a career in New York and he can't just leave, but he also doesn't see how they'll work as a couple if she moves. *Insert the awkward sounds of utensils scraping against plates at an otherwise silent dinner table.*
After much discussion about growing their team of two, Luis and Ronita have hired Ricellys to come on board and make it a threesome. (You remember Ricellys? The beautiful Dominican woman who interviewed with them a few episodes ago?) They're tag-teaming the Hamilton Heights townhouse, and are determined to get a full-ask offer. No negotiating! We already know how gorgeous the property isfive stories, two fireplaces on each level, a Jacuzzi, a screening room (above), and original hand-carved wood throughout. Of the several private showings they have that day, one broker stands out. Robert, who says the townhouse seems to meet all of his buyers' requirements. He wants to show them the property and says he'll be back with an offer. Luis reminds him: no less then $3.5 million. "I hear you," says Robert. That's what they all say.
[The Beekman Residences to the right, the hotel conversion to the left. The wavy New York by Gehry rental building, irrelevant here, to the far left.]
Fredrik is dressed to the nines as his Beekman bash is about to get started. It cost $2.5 million to get all the elements of the staging right, but boy was it worth it. The life-sized model unit with the interactive window screens is aaahhh-mazing, and Freddy is getting offers left and right. By the end of the evening, nearly 25 percent of the building is sold out, equaling $44 million in sales so far. (Even more units have sold since the show taped.) Needless to say, developer Eric Bass is pleased.
[Ryan's One57 listing.]
A deflated Ryan is trying to focus on work, but all he can think about is Emilia and the big question mark now hanging over their relationship. But duty callsliterally. Ryan receives a phone call from Blake, the attorney representing the penthouse at West 57th Street. He's concerned about the Bitcoin offer that came in at $1 million below ask (so I guess it's not legal?), and thinks with the surplus of real estate along the south end of Central Park, the listing cost is too high. Before Ryan has time to say "I told you so," Blake explains that the client has a business associate who wants to rent the digs forget this$50,000 a month. So, $600,000 a year for a two bedroom. Not only will Ryan receive commission on the rent each month, but he also gets to keep the penthouse as a "pocket listing," which means he still has the ability to show the property to potential buyers even while it's being rented. So, he basically gets a ton of money without having to do much work. Hmmm, maybe things aren't so bad for Serhant after all?
Luis has some good news, and he wants to deliver it to Dr. and Mrs. Jones personally. He heads to their "weekend cottage" in the Grand View-on-Hudson, a town just 20 miles north of the city. (She calls it a weekend cottage; I call it a luxurious mansion. Tomato, tom-ah-to.) Turns out broker Robert came through, and his clients presented a full-ask offer on the Harlem townhouse. "We've been down this road before," Mrs. Jones reminds Luis, who then reassures her that he's triple-checked their credentials. "You agree to this offer, and I'll have the deposit wired to you tomorrow." Offer accepted! But before they can begin celebrating, they want to show Luis their next real estate project: the house that they're standing in. "It may not look like much now, but this is going to be the most magnificent house on the Hudson River," says Dr. Jones. They tell him there's only one broker for The Joneses, and that they need him. Looks like Luis finally got his mojo back!
· Million Dollar Listing New York [Bravo]
· All Million Dollar Listing coverage [Curbed]