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: 6/30/2016.
With only one episode left until the MDLNY Season 5 finale, things are heating up and the pressure is on for our beloved brokers. First up is Fredrik, who—after months of badgering—is finally meeting with developer Jonathan to discuss plans for his groundbreaking skyscraper at 1 Seaport. Although construction hasn't even begun on the new building, with private terraces in every unit and 24-foot ceilings in the top floor penthouses, the waterfront property is sure to be a hot ticket. And, with a $350 million sellout, it also promises to be a hefty payday for Fredrik. After basically groveling to Jonathan that he would go wherever and do whatever it takes to sell the building, Jonathan agrees to bring Fredrik on board on one condition: he must first pre-sell 25 percent (20 units) internationally before he can return home to a completed sales gallery and sell the rest. Time to bust out the ol' passport!
Up next is Ryan, who has just arrived in the heart of Hell's Kitchen to check out a potential new property to add to his arsenal. Developer Victor greets him and tours him around the giant building, which sold out 70 percent of its units since it was first released to the public. The development's since gone stale. The building is comprised of one and two-bedroom apartments, none of which are particularly large or impressive. But as Ryan points out—after viewing a one-bedroom that costs over $1 million and has less then 700 square feet of space—people pay to be in New York City. Ryan comments that part of the reason the sales have gone stagnant is because the staging is too vanilla, and agrees to foot the bill for new furniture as part of their deal (which is OK considering he's looking at a $690,000 commission.) The other part of their deal? He needs to sell 16 units in 60 days. Toootally doable.
Time to catch up with Luis, who is still testing the waters with a partnership between he and Michael Graves. They're teaming up to sell Michael's overpriced listing at Bleecker Street and their art show/open house hybrid is underway. Attending the soiree is a bunch of hand-selected, veteran brokers, all of whom are speaking to Luis as if he is a rookie in the game. After comments like "I've been doing this over 25 years" and "I remember when I was just eight years in the business," Luis starts to have a bit of a meltdown. "I really love my job, but I've never been the person to want to be stuck doing the same thing forever...In 20 years, I'll be almost 50," he says. After Michael corners him at the party to discuss all the future business they could have if they sell this unit, Luis gets so freaked out he needs to go outside. It seems he's in the throes of a midlife crisis, and no amount of sales can fix that. (But having a bunch of money to retire on sure can!)
Fredrik heads to his office to celebrate the 1 Seaport deal with his team. But it's not all celebrations and smiles—first they have to come up with a strategy. Fredrik tells them that one of the reasons they got the deal is because of their international presence, so they must brainstorm the best place to visit in order to get the building 25-percent sold. After a few duds get tossed out—Venezuela, Monaco, Cape Town—they decide on the obvious choice: London. Weee! (Said in Fredrik "wee" voice.)
Ryan is ready to breathe new life into his Hell's Kitchen listing, and has come up with a clever staging concept for the open house. He's decided to turn four of the 16 units into different "hubs" of the neighborhood, i.e. one apartment will represent music, one will be food, one will be dance, and one will be theater. Of the concept, Ryan says: "A lot of people who lives in Hell's Kitchen are artists, and they're going to see themselves in these units." Huh, strange. Aren't all of NYC's artists moving to studio apartments in Bed-Stuy—with a roommate? As Ryan prances through the first apartment in a skin-tight tutu, it becomes clear that this is just a thinly veiled excuse to show off his self-proclaimed man muscles. Let's hope it works.
Fredrik and Derek have arrived in London, and Fredrik is already buzzing about all the work he has to do. "Well babe, you know we've got the family here. Kai's here as well," says Derek. Wait a second—who the hell is Kai? Turns out years ago Derek played sperm daddy to a lesbian couple, and now has a young son that's been in his life since before Fredrik came along. Derek tells Fredrik that Kai is really excited to see him, but Fredrik just responds by tapping around on his iPad, pretending not to hear him. You can tell Derek is hurt by Fredrik's disinterest, but it seems obvious what's happening here: he's sad they don't had a kid of their own!
Luis and Ronita are back at the office discussing the open house. So far Luis has had some interest, but no offers have been made on the ambitiously-priced apartment. But something else is still bothering Luis. He confides in Ronita that he's not sure if this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life, and that all of the veteran brokers from the party got in his head. Luis tells us he used to be a pro-skateboarder and a filmmaker before he fell into a career in real estate. Talk about ambition! Ronita tells him that it's normal for people to feel like this sometimes (welcome to America), and maybe he was just having an off-day. But Luis wonders if it's fair to keep stringing Michael along when he's feeling so unsure about his own future.
Fredrik is making his debut at Knight Frank, one of the biggest real estate agencies in the world, and ally of Douglas Elliman. He shakes hands with upwards of 150 brokers, and then pitches them on the 1 Seaport property. Although the room is a bit stiff at first, after a killer sales pitch he has everybody doing high-kicks in no time.
Ryan is meeting with Victor to present to him seven offers on the 16 units in the Hell's Kitchen development. Unfortunately all of them are at least slightly under-ask, which is normal for a stagnant, over-priced building. But we've learned from this show that developers are all insanely demanding, thus Victor is underwhelmed. He tells Ryan he expected more from him, and begrudgingly accepts four of the offers. The rest of the units? He's going to rent them. Nooo—not rentals! Anything but rentals!
Back in London, Fredrik has received a lot of interest after his pitch at Knight Frank, and has booked some private, back-to-back negotiations at a quiet English pub. (Because we all know how quiet English pubs are.) Over rowdy drunk guys singing, Fredrik meets with several brokers, all of whom try to get a discount on the Seaport units. An appalled Fredrik keeps yelping, "I'm from New York, we don't give discounts!" He manages to sell four units—with no discount—and then proceeds to chug one of darkest, creamiest stouts imaginable. When in Rome, right? Err, London.
Luis meets with Michael to end their potential partnership and remove himself from the listing at Bleecker Street. Although he tries to be as nice as possible: "It's not you, it's me," (and in this case it really is), Michael lashes out like a scorned ex-boyfriend: "I want to be the best, and I realize that's not as important to you." Then he goes on about all the records he's broken and deals he's closed. Whatever, Graves. By the end of the conversation, Luis realizes that no, he actually doesn't care about being the "best real estate agent ever," and would rather be remembered for doing something that actually matters.
Back at Nest Seekers, Ryan is lamenting over the loss of his Hell's Kitchen units. He says "we need to save Victor from himself," and brainstorms with his assistant Jordan to come up with a plan (actually Jordan just kind of stands there and Ryan does all the thinking.) What if they sold the rentals as a packaged unit to people looking to make commercial real estate deals? They'd be getting a bargain, and would also already have renters living there producing an income. To help explain the concept, he compares it to buying bulk boxes of tissues at Costco for a slightly cheaper price than if you were to just buy one box of tissues not as Costco. Hm, if the real estate thing ever falls though, Ryan should become a teacher!
After calling over 100 people from his "bulk buyer" list, Ryan has received an offer from somebody who wants to purchase 10 units at the Hell's Kitchen development. He presents the offer to Victor, which is a few million dollars under ask at a 15 percent discount. Apparently the whole Costco tissue boxes concept is lost on him, because he says there's no way he is going to sell the apartments for that low. After some back and forth between the two parties, Ryan gets the offer up to $12.4 million, best and final. Victor may be stubborn, but he's not stupid, and even he can't say no to an all-cash offer (how can you even take that much cash out of the bank at once?) The deal is done! Ryan let's out a huge bro grunt and they aggressively high-five.
Back in London, things are getting really awkward during Kai and the family's trip to see Derek and Fredrik. Kai wants to show Fredrik his magic tricks, but Fredrik is acting super weird and can hardly even look him in the eye. When Kai tries to arm wrestle Fredrik, and he quickly gets up to make coffee in the other room, it's the final straw. Derek follows him and asks him why he's being so rude, and he's embarrassing him. Tears stream down Fredrik's face as thunder claps across a cloudy English sky, and the episode comes to a close.
What's going to happen during next week's dramatic season finale of MDLNY? You'll have to stay tuned to find out!