It's Season 5 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: 6/23/2016.
This week's episode of Million Dollar Listing New York kicks off with our favorite Swede, Fredrik, who's meeting with an old friend and client, Marcella. Known around the real estate industry as a "serial flipper," Marcella is showing off a renovated loft that she purchased through Freddy two-and-a-half years ago. But it's not just any loft. The 130-year-old building—located at Broadway and Bleecker—is the former Manhattan Savings Institute and site of the largest bank robbery in the history of the U.S. This means it's protected by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and cannot be tampered with aesthetically.
At 2,900 square feet, the interior is a mixture of modern and classic architecture, and the restored round windows that surround the penthouse are the main attraction. Marcella wants to list it at $7.5 million, but Freddy is aiming for $6.5 million. But Marcella is hoping to take the profits of the sale and put it toward a new project at Bond Street, so they settle on $7 million in the hopes of a quick turnaround.
Next, we catch up with Luis, who storms into his office and immediately starts lashing out at Ronita. When she asks him why he's being so hostile, he starts crying and profusely apologizing, admitting to her that the last few weeks he's been super sad and stressed out and doesn't know why. (Probably the fact that New York City is a soul-sucking concrete jungle. That and a lack of Vitamin D.) Ronny—who is clearly perfect for Luis and he's too blind to see it—suggests that maybe it's time to look into finding a partner, somebody who can complement Luis and take some pressure off him. This isn't the first time these two have had this conversation and explored hiring extra employees—let's hope this time it works.
Down in Tribeca, Ryan Serhant is still working hard to get the rest of the building at 56 Walker Street sold. Although he convinced developer Jason Lee to accept an under-ask offer on the third floor last week, Lee won't be happy until the rest of the building—specifically the $9 million penthouse—is off the market. "I'm having nightmares about this building," he tells Ryan after he crashes his second open house, filled with a "select" group of brokers. But with a ton of competition in the neighborhood, no amount of high-end finishes and gadgets are going to make up for the bloated price point. Especially in a building with no amenities. I mean, c'mon, these people need their amenities.
Fredrik is at Marcella's Noho penthouse doing what he does best: throwing open houses. Oh, and selling. Potential buyers are blown away at the old architecture and originality of the space, but worry that because the listing is on the second floor it will be too noisy. (A fair concern when you're shelling out $7 million for a two bedroom.) Freddy points out that being close to the ground floor is great because you never have to wait for an elevator. Then they all have a dance party in their white booties on the Swedish beech wood floors.
After two parties and countless showings, Ryan is starting to regret all the smack he was talking about Freddy and his inability to sell out 56 Walker Street. The first-floor townhouse is still unfinished, the developers haven't given him any renderings, and the price is way too high. Ryan fears that he'll be the next broker to lose the listing, and says: "I'm an inch away from losing [the townhouse], and that is complete failure for me."
In one of the more awkward scenes of the episode, Luis meets with his coworker Michael Graves to secretly vet him for a partnership position. Luis likes him because he dresses well and has nice hair, and his reputation isn't too shabby either. After Michael basically rattles off his entire LinkedIn profile to Luis, he asks him what the deal is (as in, why are we on a date at Hudson Bar and Books at three in the afternoon). Luis gives him the scoop and offers up a partnership position. After wrestling with the decision—"I really like to be home at night to put my kids to sleep"—they agree to work on a deal together. Time for a bro handshake and cigars!
In less than 48 hours since his open house, Freddy has received an offer on Marcella's landmark Noho building. The buyer is willing to pay full ask on one condition: the windows are fixed to block more noise. Seems easy enough, except the fact that the windows are 130 years old and there are tons of them all throughout the penthouse. Freddy and Jordan (everybody's favorite quirky assistant) immediately get on the horn to find a company that can get the job done, and their first quote is for a whopping $410,000. Marcella scoffs at the price and tells them to keep looking.
A defeated Ryan returns home to his fiancé Emilia, who is soaking up some vitamin D on their amazing roof deck. He gripes to her about his troubles at 56 Walker. He's so desperate, he's actually started calling people who've made previous offers on the listing to try and convince them to come up in price. Emilia fantasizes about escaping New York and going on a Grecian holiday where they can swim in salt water and eat octopus all day. "I feel like a different person when I'm there," says Emilia. "Infinitely happier." Wait a second … maybe the two should just have their wedding in Greece! With tears in her eyes, Emilia says "I never thought that was really an option," which is strange to me because, like, they're rich. So it's been decided: they're getting married in Greece! Now, back to Ryan's regularly scheduled program of real-estate hell.
Luis heads to Noho to meet with his potential new partner Michael. They're testing out their working relationship by co-selling an apartment at The Schumacher, a first-floor unit that was purchased by Michael's client in 2014. Said client was sold the unit by Fredrik Eklund, and thus it was purchased at a record-high price of $3,100 a square foot. Now the buyer wants to flip it just two years later, at an even more ridiculous price of $3,500 a square foot. Michael suggests they put together an art show (like in Season 4 when Ryan was trying to sling those Coonch paintings), and jokes that Luis will be a good partner because he can stay for the parties while Mike goes home to his family. Uh-oh, there he goes joking about having a personal life again! The two are sniffing each other out like dogs at the park, and this tough listing will be the perfect litmus test.
Determined to find a better solution than a $410,000 window repair, Fredrik enlists the expertise of Bonnie, an acoustic scientist (apparently that's a thing). She brings over a volume analyzer and determines that the best solution would be to put a second pane of glass over each window to allow a layer of air to soak up more noise. The total damage? Fifty-six-thousand dollars, which on this show is basically pocket change. Ladies and gentlemen, we may just have a deal!
Fearful that he may be the second broker to get fired from the listing, Ryan meets with developer Jason Lee to present an offer on the 56 Walker Street penthouse (Lee has the over-the-top developer thing down so well that I'm convinced it's all just a show for the camera). But the "new" offer is actually not so new—it's the same people from last week who Jason dismissed as having "the worst offer he's ever heard." Ryan has managed to get them up from $7.5 million to $7.85, and he's pleading with Jason to take the deal: "That's 50 percent of the building, and then we'll make it back on the other two." It's either Ryan's persistence, or the bloody Mary that he chugs down throughout their conversation, but Jason agrees to the deal. Boo-yah! Man, it's going to be really awkward when they're having the same talk about the first-floor townhouse in a few months.…
Fredrik is all smiles as Marcella joins him for dinner, and he tells her that he's gotten the window estimate down to $56,000. He's ready to close on the deal, but Marcella has some bad news. The Bond Street listing is off the market, which means she has nowhere to move once she sells her current Bleecker Street pad. She's not about to live in a hotel, and so, the deal is off. (Ugh, again?! This has happened like, three times already this season.) Freddy is so upset he can hardly eat his overpriced meal. But wait, there's more! Marcella has her eyes on Fredrik's nearby listing at 1 Great Jones Alley (you know, the Andy Warhol episode) and is "very interested." The project is still 16 months away from completion, which seems like the perfect amount of time to take her current residence off the market for a bit, let its value increase, and re-list. What turned into a loss for Freddy is now potentially two commissions! Can we eat now?
That's all folks! Stay tuned for next week to see what drama unfolds as the season 5 finale of Million Dollar Listing New York draws near.