Downtown: The Hot New Markets

Quest invites its top agents—who are as knowledgeable in the downtown markets as they are the uptown markets—to explore the new areas that are beckoning to our readers.
Here, we present a chance to tour these listings, with a focus
on the best of the thriving downtown neighborhoods:
Gramercy, Chelsea, and FiDi.

Laurie Silverman

Halstead Real Estate / 917.580.3912 / lsilverman@halstead.com

Q: Tell me about your background in real estate.                

A: I have been selling real estate since 1998. I can’t believe it has been that long! I work out of Halstead’s SoHo office and focus on all ends of the market, doing both rentals and sales.

Q: Is there any news regarding downtown real estate you’d like to share? Have there been any recent trends to note?

A: Everybody wants to be downtown. It’s an exciting area to live in, and all the amenities you would want uptown have migrated downtown. There’s really no need to cross north of 23rd Street unless you need to go to Bergdorf’s. With the new Hudson Yards coming up and the improvements along Hudson River Park, many people are migrating west. In addition, the New Oculus and Brookfield Place downtown have really brought change to the area South of Tribecaa—from FiDi to Battery Park City.  Some great projects are happening here. It used to be a ghost town there on weekends, but now the area is bustling.

Q: What kind of people are attracted to your downtown properties and neighborhoods?

A: There is no exact prototype of a downtown buyer. West Chelsea and Tribeca tend to attract young families because they are two neighborhoods where you can get the luxury space. The Village is attractive for similar reasons, too, but it has always been hard to find a large apartment there, which might be why the Greenwich Lane was a huge success.

Q: Which neighborhoods do you think are best for couples and families?

A: Families tend to be attracted to neighborhoods where there are perceived to be great schools. Two examples are Tribeca and West Chelsea where, for instance, a school like Avenues would be a draw.

Q: Tell me about some of your exciting listings.

A: 525 West 22nd is probably the best value out there—you get 3,300 square-feet of interior space plus 1,700 square-feet of outdoor space spread across THREE terraces…and it’s a condo! The duplex has 4-bedrooms and 3-bathrooms, listed for $5,350,000. Another is at 60 Gramercy Park North, an iconic Gramercy co-op. It’s rare to find open, south-facing views looking directly on to Gramercy Park. Plus, access to the only private park in Manhattan gives neighbors a real sense of community.

Susanne Columbia

Corcoran / 212.941.2610 / susanne.columbia@corcoran.com

Q: Tell me about your background in real estate.

A: I have worked at the Corcoran Group for over 15 years with my business partner, Todd Vitolo. Together we have formed a team as talented buyers and listing agents. We are one of only a handful of resale agents who are also licensed with Corcoran Sunshine to represent and advise developers in their sales efforts. From studios to townhouses, we do it all.    

Q: Is there any news regarding downtown real estate you’d like to share? Have there been any recent trends to note? 

A: The Financial District is booming. There is no better investment over the next decade than owning a piece of real estate in FiDi. There is a lot of exciting development in that area such as the new East River Greenway. There is also something almost European about the narrow streets and historic details everywhere you look. Whole Foods is opening on Wall Street in 2018 and Nobu just relocated to Fulton Street. With company like this, the lifestyle that had been missing has now arrived. In terms of trends, buyers are so knowledgeable on the market that those properties that represent a great value or otherwise offer something extraordinary are in demand. The entire corridor along Broadway in Tribeca and around City Hall Park where J & R Music World was is soon going to be the hottest address downtown.

Q: What kind of people are attracted to your downtown properties and neighborhoods?

A: Every kind. This is New York after all and part of what continues to make this city special is the fact it attracts a worldly and diverse crowd.

Q: Which neighborhoods do you think are best for couples and families?

A: Tribeca is very kid-friendly if money is no object. For those looking for more value it is the Financial District.

Q: Tell me about some of your exciting listings.

A: We are fortunate to work on many special buildings from the Herzog and de Meuron–designed 56 Leonard Street where we have resales, to 67 Franklin Street, the Shigeru Ban–designed Cast Iron House where closings are starting very soon. But most exciting is the people we meet and represent along the way. Real estate is personal and to me it is always more than just an apartment, house, zip code, or prewar details and architecture—it is who you are as an individual, a couple or as a family. We never forget what a home represents to our clients.

John Barbato

Sribling & Associates / 917.254.7630 / jbarbato@stribling.com

Q: Tell me about your background in real estate.

A: I studied architecture for seven years and received my masters from Columbia. After working with several architecture firms in the city, I realized I was more interested in ownership than design. I left architecture and bought a three-unit apartment building in Columbia County. Over the next 10 years I rolled the profits from that initial property into 11 more. When it was time to buy in New York, I knew the best way to get to learn the market was my brokerage license, which led me to my true passion.

Q: Is there any news regarding downtown real estate you’d like to share?

A: One very practical new thing I’m seeing that will stand the test of time and add value in resale is a second kitchen for prep space that goes unseen. Overall, buyers should be looking for quality construction in unique properties. If a property has this, it will always be desirable. The Woolworth Tower fits this perfectly. If buyers haven’t seen it, they are missing out—it’s the Plaza of downtown.

Q: What kind of people are attracted to your downtown properties and neighborhoods?

A: More often than not it is buyers from uptown. I see a lot of empty-nesters moving back downtown after their kids have grown. They want to be in more lively areas to feel young again. Some want to be closer to where they go out to dinner or closer to where their children now live.

Q: Which neighborhoods do you think are best for couples and families?

A: Today that is one and the same. Couples less and less are moving to suburbs once children arrive, and buyers are no longer neighborhood centric. Three diverse and popular  examples for different lifestyles are in Lower Manhattan, West Chelsea, and the Lower East Side.

Q: Tell me about some of your exciting listings.

A: One of my most exciting listings is a penthouse duplex at West 14th Street. It’s a two-bedroom with two jaw-dropping terraces—one facing south with views of the World Trade Center and the other facing north to Midtown.

Anne Flanagan

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties / 917.363.4142 / anneflanagan@bhhsnyproperties.com

Q: Tell me about your background in real estate.

A: After coming to the United States from Ireland, I started buying and renovating properties in California and around the country. Ten years later, after a successful executive career in Silicon Valley, the lure of real estate and my fluent French and Italian landed me an exciting opportunity as a broker in Manhattan. I’ve been blessed by repeat clients from around the globe. My motto: treat clients as I would like to be treated.

Q: Have there been any recent trends to note?

A: According to our Berkshire Hathaway New York Properties Q2 Manhattan Market report, downtown condo sales increased, year over year in value, by 13%-20% compared to a 3.39% increase on the Upper West Side.

Lower Manhattan is thriving with its residential population tripling since 2000 to over 60,000. Award-winning restaurants like Nobu, together with two indoor malls (Westfield and Brookfield Place)—some calling these the next Fifth Avenue—have certainly helped. The South Street Seaport is also reinventing itself from a quaint cobble stoned slice of historic New York to home of the latest iPic theater and new celebrity chef restaurants including Jean Georges and Momofuku’s. Downtown has so many great areas—whether someone is looking for a West Village Brownstone or a discreet Tribeca industrial loft.

Q: What kind of people are attracted to your downtown properties and neighborhoods?

A: Downtown is where Manhattan was born in the early 1600s so people with an eye for historic charm and the quintessential loft or high-rise near hip galleries and boutiques will literally find it all here. It’s not surprising many New Yorkers mobilize downtown for hip restaurants and nightlife.

Q: Tell me about some of your exciting listings.

A: I have a southern exposure high-floor luxury condo with stunning water views. I also have an extra large 1-bedroom condo with soaring loft-beamed ceilings in FiDi.