Under Cover, August 14, 2013

Lofty Mansions
They’re no $45 million “loft mansions” like the one recently sold at 144 Duane St., but two new Tribeca buildings have opened sales for spacious condos that are set to be finished by about this time next year. Douglas Elliman Development and Marketing has recently been seen flashing shiny sales pitches around the neighborhood for the first units of these swanky new buildings at 101 Leonard St. and 71 Laight St.

Bizzi and Partners Development, founded by Italian real estate mogul Davide Bizzi, announced that the first units of the “The Leonard” are on the market. According to the developers, the neoclassical architecture has been “re-envisioned with state of the art design” into 66 units, which start at 835 square-foot one bedrooms to four-bedroom penthouses with private terraces.

Their main selling point seems to be its location in Tribeca, which Bizzi & Partners call “the quintessential, authentic New York neighborhood” on the building’s website alongside a bevy of cute, kitschy photos, though not too many of the building itself.

The renderings show a light, open floor plan and modern, stainless steel fixtures that make it look rather like an upscale Swedish hotel, which is fitting as Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come onboard as a big investor in the project. The interior design does boast elevated 10.5-foot ceilings though.

The building’s most expensive unit currently on the market is listed for an asking price of $5.5 million for a 2,666-square-foot penthouse — and this one does not even have a terrace (the other two penthouse suites will). While the developer lists Penthouse B as a three-bedroom and four-bath, the sales office seems to have listed it as four bedrooms. A press representative said the three bedroom floor plan on the building’s website is correct.

But if you think that size does matter, opening a few months later is The Sterling Mason, with twice the square footage and half the units.

The developer, Taconic Investment Partners, wanted to expand the space without tearing down the original warehouse building to create a full-block project that offers condos with up to five bedrooms. So they brought in noted architect Morris Adjmi to build a mirror image of the original brick structure. This one, however, has a metallic finish on its exterior — hence the “Sterling” to the original building’s “Mason”.

Only 33 units will be going into this turn-of-the-century brick warehouse turned “boutique” condominium. The largest of the seven units currently listed is the two-level Penthouse C — with a gargantuan 4,986 square feet of interior space, not to mention the 1,065 feet of private rooftop access, and a staggering $20 million price tag.

The Sterling Mason is set to open in fall of 2014, but according to a July update by real estate blog Curbed NY, they’ve got a ways to go and a lot of bare dirt. The Leonard is expected to be complete in summer 2014.

A real and (below) a parody flier featuring Margaret Chin

A real and (below) a parody flier featuring Margaret Chin

Going postal
Spurred by a slew of recent mailings by the real estate industry endorsing Margaret Chin for re-election, a local political club went postal — as in, firing back with a spoof mailing.

Sean Sweeney of the Downtown Independent Democrats recently created the anti-Chin piece while on vacation in Wisconsin, with the help of Penelope Grill, a friend from Soho. D.I.D. has endorsed Jenifer Rajkumar, Chin’s opponent.

He said last week he would send the mailing to 15,000 people in Lower Manhattan’s First Council District, and it reached many people’s homes on Monday. The design piece cost the group $6,500.

But that doesn’t come close to the nearly $80,000 that the new Jobs for New York PAC has spent on pro-Chin mailings in the past month and a half.

In late June and early July, the new PAC sent out at least eight mailings backing Chin’s re-election, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

The mass mailings cost about $12,500 per batch to send out.

One of the Jobs for New York pieces touts her record on creating new schools and reducing class size.

In a surprise, Chin told us it overstates her role — making it seem like she singlehandedly got new schools built, when it fact it was a unified effort Downtown.

The mailings highlight her endorsements from the likes of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Congressmember Nydia Velazquez.

However, many Downtown residents including Rajkumar are outraged that Chin has not rejected the support — and prolific mailings — of Jobs for New York, since one of the PAC’s leading members, the Real Estate Board of New York, has consistently fought to weaken rent-regulation protections.


Chin said, “Probably, I have already said that this kind of expenditure is not good. We can send them a stronger message, but it’s an independent expenditure.”

She quipped that she wished the mailings had better photos of her.

Chin, in turn, lashed back at Rajkumar, taking exception with the district leader’s support, saying, “You should ask my opponent — why are a lot of her constituents from out of state? And what about her contributions from wealthy South-Asian friends?”

Rajkumar pulled no punches when asked about Chin and the Jobs for New York mailings.

“This is an attempt to buy the Council seat — just as the Council seat has been up for sale the last four years,” she charged. “She couldn’t stop N.Y.U., she couldn’t stop the Seaport plan, she couldn’t stop the [Jobs for New York] PAC…”

A spokesperson for the PAC said the city “needs to create jobs, strengthen the local housing market and create more affordable housing options in order to make the local economy grow. Margaret Chin’s time in public service makes it clear that she shares this view.”

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