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Fashion exec Jürgen Friedrich relists Plaza condo for a loss



Fashion exec Jürgen Friedrich relists Plaza condo for a loss

The Astor Suite at the Plaza hotel — which has hosted various prominent figures including President John F. Kennedy and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor — is back on the market for $19.95 million, down from its original $55 million in 2008. 

The current asking price also marks a loss. Fashion billionaire Jürgen Friedrich, the former head of European operations for the apparel company Esprit, and his wife, Anke Beck-Friedrich, bought this suite for $25.49 million in 2007. 

In 2017, Friedrich slashed the price to $39.5 million.

Sources tell The Post that Friedrich stands to lose even more money on the deal, since he invested around $8 million into renovating the residence along with a one-bedroom guest apartment next door.

That latter apartment is also on the market now separately for $2.8 million. The two fifth-floor pads reportedly have some of the highest ceilings inside the Plaza, 14 feet above the floor.

Friedrich hired Steven Gambrel for the renovation. Details included hand-drawn plaster ceilings, English oak paneling and antique fireplace mantels. The smart-wired home also features temperature controls to preserve artwork. 

At one point in 2011, the Astor Suite was the city’s most expensive rental — at a mind-numbing $165,000 a month. Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker lived there for around $125,000 per month in 2013 for over a year during a downtown townhouse renovation.

The listing broker for both units, Charlie Attias, of Compass, declined to comment. 

The couple is selling more than just these Manhattan apartments. They’re also looking to part ways with the Linden Estate, in the Hamptons, for $75 million.

Friedrich and his wife reportedly bought that property for $8.5 million in 1999, and then tried to sell it for $60 million in 2008. It reportedly went into contract for $49 million in 2012, but the deal didn’t go through.

This East End residence runs more than 18,000 square feet — and has 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and other perks including indoor and outdoor pools.

Harald Grant of Sotheby’s International Realty and Tim Davis of Corcoran have that listing.

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Real Estate

7-Terrace Manhattan Penthouse With Tie To Pokémon Franchise Seeks $10 Million



45 East 30th Street manhattan apartment outdoor living space al kahn pokemon franchise

A quadruplex penthouse in Midtown Manhattan that comes with seven terraces and nearly 2,000 square feet of outdoor living space has hit the market for $9.995 million, according to a new listing with Forbes Global Properties.

The sprawling residence is owned by licensing executive Al Kahn and his wife, Jillian Crane. Khan, who has decades of credits in television distribution and promotion, is known for his work on such iconic children’s brands as Cabbage Patch Kids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Yu-Gi-Oh. He’s also the architect behind bringing the wildly successful Pokémon animated franchise to the Northern American market in the 1990s while at the helm of 4Kids Entertainment.

Located in the emerging NoMad neighborhood, the sophisticated home has more than 4,400 square feet of interior, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and three half-baths, according to Arlene Reed and Rebecca Blacker of Warburg Realty.

Reached by a custom brass stairway or private elevator, the residence features an expansive living room with Brazillian cherry wood floors and a custom-built bar with black lacquer and green marble. A massive, white marble island anchors the chef’s kitchen, which is adjacent to the dining room. The kitchen also incorporates Glassos countertops, high-end appliances and a custom wine fridge.

The primary suite, comprising the entire second floor, pairs Gournay gold-leaf wallpaper and breathtaking city views with two oversized walk-in closets and a large sitting room.

“This is a beautifully renovated townhouse in a pre-war, full-service condo building with four floors,” Reed said. “It has an elevator, a home office and room for a gym. And at $2,265 per square foot, this home is priced to sell.”

Each of the four levels has some form of terrace space, with the third story incorporating two terraces and a balcony. The top floor—equipped with an alfresco bar and fire pit—is almost entirely devoted to outdoor space and takes in sweeping city views. 

“With so much space, indoors and out, I never felt quarantined,” Khan said.

Apartments and condominiums with outdoor living space have become one of the hottest commodities in Manhattan’s housing sector, which is rapidly reawakening from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Properties that previously sat on the market for months are receiving offers in a market propelled by “incessant demand” and listing volume not seen in roughly five years.

From April 9-April 22, there were roughly 730 contracts signed in Manhattan, including about 400 deals struck between April 16-April 22, according to UrbanDigs. That was a 95% increase in contracts signed compared with the same period last year.

Warburg Realty is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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Real Estate

Luxury Hospitality Brand Four Seasons Opens Private Residences In San Francisco



Interior of the new Four Seasons Private Residences in San Francisco.

Twelve years in the making, the highly anticipated Four Seasons Private Residences at 706 Mission, San Francisco is now open and welcoming its first residents. Located in the city’s Yerba Buena District, the ambitious project includes the historic Aronson Building reimagined as luxury residences and a newly constructed tower featuring estate-style homes.

Designed by Handel Architects, the project includes the restoration, rehabilitation, and repurposing of the historic 10-story Aronson Building, which dates back to 1903 and survived the city’s Great Earthquake of 1906. Adaptive reuse of the Aronson Building was overseen by preservation architect Page & Turnbull, who partnered closely with Handel Architects. Conceptually, the team sought to blend historic authenticity and modern innovation in the form of two contrasting but complimentary buildings – the reimagined Aronson Building and an adjacent, new 510-foot tower.

“This project beautifully showcases the complex interplay between two contrasting buildings – the historic Aronson Building finished in a darker color palette adjoined by the new tower, which showcases lighter tones,” said Glenn Rescalvo, partner at Handel Architects. “Our goal was to create a legacy building that wasn’t just all glass – instead, we utilized undulating stone on the façade to create a sense of movement and make the project standout on the San Francisco skyline.”

The project’s 146 residences offer modern amenities, spacious floor plans spanning up to 5,000 square feet, and classic pre-war style design elements. Standout features include grand corner living rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, dedicated lounge areas, large central kitchens, and master bedrooms with sweeping views.


Personalized kitchens have been configured so that they can be open to the living areas or enclosed, based on the buyer’s preference. Top-of-the-line appliances, cabinetry and stone countertops are included throughout each home.

Renowned cabinetry designer Christopher Peacock created an exclusive cabinetry collection, The Penthouse Collection, for the penthouse homes, which includes kitchen, master bath, and dressing room cabinetry. Peacock’s designs for The Penthouse Collection mark his first collaboration with a luxury high-rise in San Francisco.

Four Seasons Private Residences stands out as a noteworthy example of a luxury residential project that applies adaptive reuse and historic preservation as part of the overall concept, illustrating that old and new can work together to create distinctive elegance in the context of modern living.

  • This project is the latest in an exclusive collection of Four Seasons standalone Private Residences.Four Seasons debuted its standalone Private Residences at Twenty Grosvenor Square in London, followed by projects in Los AngelesMarrakech, and now San Francisco.
  • Four Seasons Private Residences at 706 Mission, San Francisco is developed and built by 706 Mission Street Co. LLC, an affiliate of Westbrook Partners.

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Real Estate

So Far Growth On A Solid Base



Work in progress constructing roads and other infrastructure for a new residential subdivision in Alabama

An earlier post made clear this economy’s powerful near-term growth momentum. It also warned about longer-term economic risks, especially given Washington’s efforts to hype the economy. Against this background of conjoined economic optimism and worry (common enough in almost all economic analyses) the expansion in residential real estate seems so far to rest on a remarkably firm foundation, with no sign of the kinds or imbalances that in the past have led to trouble.

By every available measure the expansion in this area so far has been extraordinary. Over the six months ended this past March, the most recent period for which data are available, new home sales have expanded at an almost 12% annual rate. New construction on residences has expanded at an astronomical 30% annual rate. The difference between sales and new construction starts might raise concern were it not that new construction had lagged sales for years, making this catchup long overdue. Between 2015 and 2020, for instance, sales increased 10.4% a year while starts rose only 4.1% a year. There actually would seem to be some more catching up left to do, though things appear to be coming into balance.

To be sure, sales and starts have outpaced new family formation, which has expanded less than 1.0% a year, but new families are only part of the housing equation. Sales and especially construction also must account for the depreciation of the existing housing stock. This is a figure often debated among those who see it as their job to understand such things. A lot depends on what the observer considers unlivable, but a consensus seems to have settled on an estimate that 3% of the existing housing stock loses its appeal each year. That means new construction, in addition to meeting requirements of new families, must also replace a considerable number or obsolete structures. What is more, the population is clearly shifting where it wants to live.  The move south and west has been going on for decades and has no doubt accelerated in the pandemic.  However useful a structure in an unattractive region, it cannot be moved, and meanwhile, someone needs to buy and build in an attractive region.

Price behavior also speaks to this firm, well-balanced base in residential real estate. According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) data, the median price of a home has remained relatively stable over the last six months, not everywhere, of course, but in general, rising at only a 1% annual rate. Back when sales were outstripping starts, these prices were rising much faster — up 5% over 2018 and 9% over 2019. As the relative balance between sales and starts seems to have settled things, this slowdown in the median price rise has kept housing affordable, for the time being at least, and points to future growth.

The relatively modest rate of increase in home prices is of course a big part of affordability, but it is not the whole story. Because few people buy a house for cash, financing costs play a big role in the equation. Here, the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) determination to keep interest rates low has provided a powerful growth spur. According to the Housing Finance Agency, effective mortgage rates have dropped from 4.7% in 2018 to 3.17% on average last year to 2.73% at last measure. Financing costs, in other words have fallen some 40%. Despite past price increases, this financing relief has reduced the cost of carrying a mortgage on the median-priced home some 5% since 2018.

Income growth is the last element helping to make housing more affordable. Between 2018 and early last year, median family income in this country has increased at about a 5% annual rate. Combined with the decline in financing costs, the burden of supporting a mortgage on the median-priced home has dropped from 17% of family income in 2018 to 14.5% this past February, the most recent period for which data are available. Home purchase is more affordable than it has been for years. With the balance of sales and starts holding the line on home prices and the Fed holding the line on interest rate and still strong jobs growth as the economy responds to the re-opening from pandemic strictures, it is easy to conclude that the outlook for sales and construction looks good for the remainder of this year at least and into 2022.

Bright as this outlook is, risks increase over the longer term. Nothing here forecasts problems but two threats exist, both in the economic hype currently coming out of Washington and outlined in the above-mentioned post. The first of these is financial in nature – that lenders become overly enthusiastic and overextend themselves. The two federal housing authorities – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – are already pushing in this direction, calling on lenders, as they did in the runup to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, to make more loans at better rates to low-income homebuyers. Memories of that crisis may yet be too vivid to create another sub-prime crisis any time soon, but the risk clearly exists. More likely than this is that builders become too enthusiastic. If building outstrips sales, construction loans would become questionable and bring on a retrenchment. Then there is the question of inflation, which, if it accelerates could distort real estate pricing in all sorts if ways. None of these risks are likely any time soon. They might never develop, even over the longer term, but still neither can they be ignored.  In the meantime, sales and construction look well supported for at least another 12-18 months.

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