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‘Million Dollar Listing New York’ recap: impulsive decisions all around

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Here’s what happened on this week’s MDLNY

The duplex penthouse at 20 Greene Street, which Steve Gold is trying to sell on this week’s episode.
Town Residential

It's season six of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three brokers—Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant, and new guy Steve Gold—show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps.

A portion of this week’s episode is devoted to getting the old gang—Ryan, Fredrik, and former Elliman broker Luis Ortiz—back together before Luis runs off and moves to Paris. “It feels right, it feels romantic,” he enthuses, but there’s one tiny issue—Luis has never been to Paris. He also doesn’t have a visa, so he can’t … get a job? Hmm.

“What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense,” Fredrik tells him. “I just think that you’re impulsive,” says Ryan. But Luis is set on his decision; he thinks he’s made it in New York, so he wants to move on and make it somewhere else. “I know i’m going to figure it out,” he says. Fredrik, at least, isn’t having it: “You can’t just move there because you watched a movie! You have to have a plan!” he tells Luis. (Did we mention he was inspired to move there because he saw La La Land, and somehow that equals “pack up your life and move to Paris”? Yeah.)

So there’s your ~ broker drama ~ for the week. Now, on to the real estate!

Fredrik

Fredrik gets the least face time, at least in terms of deals, this week; after letting his ambition get the best of him with the 5 Beekman penthouse, he’s still freaking out about it. (You’ll recall that he wasn’t supposed to show it; he did anyway; the developer is now pissed at Freddy.)

Throwing another wrench into the works is the fact that the potential buyer has now disappeared. “I texted, I called, I faxed, I did everything,” he whines. Fredrik is convinced that “if I can get the offer up, I can convince Eric [the developer] this was the right thing to do,” and hopefully get out of hot water.

There is one thing he didn’t try: stalking the designer, Bernt, he met with previously. Freddy sees that the guy posted his whereabouts on instagram, so he decides to book it to the Midtown restaurant where he was eating. (And this is why you don’t geotag your social media posts, folks!) It does not, as you’d expect, go well—the designer is already gone, and Fredrik is crestfallen.

The next time we see Fredrik, he’s on his way to a meeting with Eric, the developer, and he brings his dog Minnie along for good luck. Except, oops, Eric is allergic to dogs! This is not off to a good start. (“He’s been allergic to really good offers too,” Fredrik snarks.)

There’s some good news, at least to Fredrik: He finally reached the client and got them to raise their offer to $11.2 million. Still, Eric is not into it; that penthouse is worth $12 million, he says, and he won’t accept anything less than full ask. And if Fredrik can’t do that, maybe another broker will, he tells Fredrik—uh oh. “You’re going to fire me for not getting full ask for something that’s not even listed?” Freddy whines. (Well, yeah, you sort of put the ball in play when you showed it without his permission.)

So Fredrik tries texting with his contact to see if they can negotiate a price that Eric may accept. After some tense text negotiations—not Fredrik’s preferred way to make a deal—the buyer throws out a best and final offer of $11.6 million. Fredrik takes it back to Eric, and presses him to accept it; it’s still a record-breaker for the neighborhood, and “this deal will be all over the press.” (He wasn’t wrong.) Finally, Eric accepts! We’d say maybe this will teach Fredrik not to push boundaries with developers, but we all know that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

Ryan

After the problems with Alan Wilzig last week, we begin with Ryan sitting alone at a bar, sipping what appears to be whiskey and dramatically spinning his wedding ring. He has to fire his broker, Danny, you see, since Alan is being what we’ll charitably call a demanding client, and no longer wants the ebullient broker on his listing. Danny arrives, and seems excited to be having a drink with Ryan, until the latter abruptly interrupts him: “Alan wants you off the house.”

Danny is confused, and why wouldn’t he be? He seems like a nice guy and he’s clearly working pretty hard to make this listing move. Ryan, in a decent move, decides that he’s not going to bow to his client’s wishes (uh oh); instead, he decides to keep Danny’s involvement “on the DL” and simply not tell Alan what’s going on. “I totally want to be your dirty little secret,” Danny enthuses. (Now we’re uncomfortable.)

And hey, it works: Danny finds a taker for the ridiculously garish house at 17 Hubert, though they want to rent it for a gobsmacking $600,000/year (or $50,000/month). At first, Alan is—surprise, surprise—slightly offended by the offer, but once he gets that there’s not much of a market for $25 million, totally customized, comes-with-a-panic-room townhouses, he agrees to consider it.

But he has questions: Will the sellers live there full time? Are they American? (Now we’re uncomfortable again.) And can he still show the apartment if a seller comes along? Ryan doesn’t know any of this—his “listing mistress” is the one in touch with the potential clients—but eventually, it gets sorted out and Alan agrees to the rental. He doesn’t even seem too miffed when Ryan reveals that the deal was Danny’s handiwork, and agrees to let him work on the sale listing. Thank God that’s over.

But wait! There’s more Ryan to be had this week—he’s got a new property to sell. This time, it’s a condo designed and developed by NBO4 Architecture at 559 West 23rd Street, a.k.a. Chelsea Waterside. Ryan is meeting with Matt Dockery, one of the firm’s principals, because they have a problem: sales launched seven months ago, and only one unit has sold. Ryan, for his part, can’t figure out why—the apartments are huge, light-filled, have luxurious finishes, have amazing views, and are in a hot neighborhood. (One might say too hot, but that’s just us.)

But eventually, he figures out the issue: the building overlooks a construction site, and the developer doesn’t know what will go there, or when it will be completed. Ryan, of course, is undeterred. “The problem with the previous broker is that he wasn’t me,” he says, in typical cocky Ryan fashion. His idea is to market the building without the gimmicks or wild events that the Serhant Team is known for; instead, he wants to get brokers and buyers into the building, and then let the experience—the views, the finishes, all of it—speak for itself. “The event is the building,” he says.

But the developer wanted a gimmicky Ryan event, and he’s pissed that he’s not getting it. Uh oh!

Steve

Steve gets a new listing this week, and it’s a doozy: It’s a custom-designed penthouse at 20 Greene Street in Soho—no, not the one allegedly owned by the Winklevii, but the one being sold by hotelier Ed Scheetz. It’s a duplex penthouse that has been given a staggering $5 million renovation, and it comes with a ton of fancy features: three wood-burning fireplaces, ebonized 6-inch wide hickory oak floors, black marble everywhere, and three terraces (one of which has real grass) that offer panoramic views of the city.

But! It only has two bedrooms, and it’s maybe a little too custom designed, a perpetual problem on this show. But the seller won’t budge on the asking price of $15.995 million, because apparently they want something to show for putting in $5 million toward a renovation.

Steve thinks the price is super high, but he’s willing to give it a shot—until he hears the other condition. The seller wants Steve to co-list the apartment with her friend, who works mostly in commercial real estate. He says he doesn’t co-list; “the last time I basically did all the work, and split a $600,000 commission,” he gripes. But with Steve, flattery tends to work; After the seller butters him up—and he realizes that his potential commission would still be $240,000—he agrees to the co-listing.

So Steve is meeting with Lori Shabtai, the Town broker who will be his partner on this project, and if you guessed that they were going to butt heads, give yourself a pat on the back. Lori thinks the buyer is “European, Asian, some other part of the world person” who won’t live in it every day. Steve is not convinced, because international buyers want amenities—which this building doesn’t have. He thinks the buyer will be young and hip, so they agree to focus on the markets they’d prefer to target.

Another issue: Lori wants to do a breakfast open house, which Steve thinks is silly—no one shows up to an open house at 8 a.m. “You’re overthinking this,” Lori tells him.

But he’s right, because once they agree to test Lori’s early open house idea, Lori herself doesn’t actually show up for it—or, at least, not at 8 a.m. Steve and his assistant, Jessica, are there before the event begins to make sure everything is running smoothly, and as he predicted, no one actually gets there until after 9 a.m. Lori herself doesn’t show up until 11 a.m., saying she was in a meeting that ran long. (Is that true? Is this a power play? Do we care?)

She promptly proceeds to take clients that Steve has already shown around on a tour of the apartment. “I don’t know how long this co-listing is going to last,” a frustrated Steve says. (Spoiler: the property is still for sale and they’re both still working on it, so … yeah, that’s how long.)