Property Grunt

Sunday, April 15, 2007

An Open Letter to Whole Foods 2 and the roll call

Dear Whole Foods,

Remember this letter? I have to admit I had fond memories since it got me on Gawker.

Anyways, I was in the lower east side and I decided to check your new digs. First of all I would like to tell everyone do not walk but run to the lower east side Whole Foods. Gawker's coverage doesn't do justice to what this place offers. It is a combination of market/high end eatery and all sorts of organic goodness.

I am happy to report that when I went to the restroom, located on the top floor all the way in the back past the restaurants, I did not encounter any bladder hussies. In fact, there was no line for the women's bathroom. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I was there at around 6pm and missed the bathroom rush. But I think the designers decided to put the bathroom back there so that you would pass the delicious food, the views, then forget you had to take a leak. Maybe I am thinking too highly of myself but I would like to think I contributed to this new design.

On with the roll call.

If this pops up in Manhattan, I wonder how they will do.



New Company Represents Buyers,

Uniquely Charging a Flat Fee of $3995 for Properties in the Massachusetts Area

Boston, Massachusetts (April 10, 2007) –Territory Real Estate, (TRE), which offers buyer representation for a flat fee of $3995, announces its official launch today. The new company, owned and operated by Marla Mullen and Terry Sanford, has its offices located in Boston , MA . TRE will provide brokerages services that cover the complete range of residential buying categories including single family homes, condos, lofts, and townhouses, to homebuyers in the Massachusetts area.

“Any compensation we receive above this $3995 flat fee we rebate back to the buyer. Our average rebate is over $9,000,” comments Marla Mullen, co-founder, TRE.

Consumers interested in purchasing a home can log onto, create an account, and begin searching for properties. Once they locate properties they are interested in, TRE handles everything to create a hassle-free way to purchase a home. Consumers can visit and purchase properties by requesting tours and submitting offers directly through the TRE website. Homebuyers can also purchase properties they have found on other sites through TRE. To learn more about the real estate market in the Massachusetts area, users can also log onto the Territory Real Estate Blog which is updated daily and includes helpful information for home-buyers.

While working as traditional agents Mullen and Sanford became increasingly frustrated by the ever-present conflicts between agents and consumers. They found that agents spent most of their time trolling for new business and only a small fraction of it actually doing the real estate work. They found that the commission-based price structure had little relevance to the cost or quality of an agent’s work. And finally, they found that many agents would withhold listing information to manipulate consumers into contacting them.

“We believe these actions increase the amount of unproductive busy work for the agent and can frustrate consumers. We chose to become an exclusive buyer agency because we wanted to avoid the double dealing and conflicts of interest that occurs when a listing agent represents both parties in a transaction. We saw an opportunity to develop a professional firm that lived up to its promise of unbiased representation and Territory Real Estate was the answer,” explains Mullen.

“Our unique business model is being well received by our clients. Our goal is to use the internet to streamline the process and make purchasing a property low cost and hassle-free. We believe providing clients more tools and more information will change the way real estate is bought in this country,” expounds Terry Sanford, co-founder, TRE. “We plan to roll our concept out nationally very soon.”

Both co-owners founded TRE while living in New York City . They eventually left NY to found TRE in Boston because of REBNY's restrictions on displaying listing data. Co-owner, Marla Mullen, previously worked as a sports agent for six years in New York City , representing various male and female professional athletes in a wide variety of sports. Co-owner, Terry Sanford, previously worked as a traditional real estate agent for a firm he helped his uncle found in Nantucket , MA , Sanford Real Estate. He also has experience as a marketing consultant/sales agent for a residential team at Douglas Elliman in New York City .

This does not bode well. I will doing a future entry on how this will further reset the real estate dynamic in New York City.

Foreclosure Auctions increase substantially in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City in the First quarter of 2007; Seattle Stabilizes

New York City, April 12, 2007 –, the premier real estate data site, announces its quarterly report covering first-time residential foreclosures in New York City, Miami, Seattle, and Los Angeles for the January-March 2007 time period.

Four-City Findings (Request report for details):
· Foreclosure Auctions: recorded 2453 first-time trustee sales in Los Angeles, 554 foreclosure auctions in New York City, 987 in Miami-Dade County, and 382 in Seattle for January-March 2007.
· Foreclosures per Household: Miami had 692% more properties scheduled for foreclosure per household during the quarter than New York City, 236% more per household than Seattle, and 162% more per household than Los Angeles.

New York City:
· New Foreclosure Auctions: There were 554 new residential foreclosures in New York City (5 boroughs), a 56.5% increase from the fourth quarter of 2007 (354 foreclosures).
· Foreclosures by Borough: Of the boroughs, Queens had the highest number of foreclosures in Q1 2007 (319, a 91% quarterly increase). Sixteen of the top-20 zip codes for foreclosures were in Queens. Manhattan again had very few foreclosures (25) for the quarter.

“The number of new foreclosure auctions in New York City returned to levels seen last year at this time and follows the typical seasonal up-tick after the last quarter of a year. However, the foreclosure levels in Queens are worrisome,” stated Ryan Slack, chief executive officer,

Los Angeles County
· Trustee Sales: Los Angeles had 2453 trustee sales during the period, an increase of 24.14% from the fourth quarter of 2007. The top 3 zip codes in Los Angeles County for trustee sales were in Lancaster and Palmdale.

Seattle (King County)
· Trustee Sales: King County had 382 new foreclosures in the first quarter of 2007, an increase of 3.24% from the fourth quarter of 2007. The top zip codes were 98178 and 98042.

Miami-Dade County
· Foreclosure Auctions: There were 987 new residential foreclosures in Miami-Dade for the quarter, a 30.56% increase from Q4 2006. For a list of the top 20 Miami zip codes for foreclosure auctions, request the report.

Real estate investors can browse current foreclosure listings for the following areas:

Los Angeles Foreclosures:
Miami Foreclosures:
New Jersey Foreclosures:
NYC Foreclosures:
San Francisco Foreclosures:
Seattle Foreclosures:

Hopefully they won't be talking about West Buswick.

Remaking Bushwick

New Living Spaces combine Progressive Style with Sustainable Living

NEW YORK, NY ( April 2007 )— Visionary Manhattan design-build firm Lifeform, best known for its sensible boutique-style projects in the up and coming areas of Brooklyn, is transforming rundown apartment buildings into a vibrant lively communities with a new breed of environmentally-sensitive tenant. The firm reuses the original building elements, including structural members, flooring and architectural details, and then redistributes them throughout the newly renovated apartments.

Bushwick is now considered by many to be the new hottest neighborhood in New York and the new edge in urbanity. Lifeform is setting the standard for new communities in the area, staying true to its landscape and by incorporating modern elegance and sustainable materials into the projects.

THE PROJECT: 163 Montrose

The neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn is conveniently situated on the Montrose Ave stop of the L train. 163 Montrose transformed a run down construction into a three stories loft like apartment building. After months of intensive renovations and dedicated work, the apartments were rented within a week by a very demanding market.

The renovation included gutting out apartments and the structural reinforcing of the building, foundation, new kitchens ,bathrooms, electrical, plumbing, renovation of the backyard, and the construction of a second floor outdoor deck.

Environmental features were given to this renovation by restoring the wooden floors to it’s original condition in a recycling process. The facade was fully reformed using a natural mineral plaster and energy saving double glazed windows. Most notably, the studio has salvaged old wooden columns and beams and reused them for structural and architectural purposes. The apartments were given an outdoor space providing the inhabitants with a healthy and stress free environment.

As it happened in SoHo, West Chelsea, and Williamsburg , the first wave of artists arrived in Bushwick in the 90's. Bushwick’s population continues to grow as it becomes a key destination for the new artist and young community. The tenants of 163 Montrose are young professionals such as photographers, fashion editors, engineers, journalists and Ivy League professors who were tired of the rising prices and limited space in Manhattan .



Lifeform is a Manhattan based Studio for Architecture, Design-Build and Development .Since it was formed in 1999 by Rafi Elbaz; the Studio has created work that ranges from contemporary buildings, to private houses, interiors and humanitarian dwellings. Their projects reflect modern, personal and functional places for living. It is known for its forward thinking and its commitment to quality and architectural detail.

Creativity, sustainability, efficiency and the ability to adapt to changing needs are primary objectives. The studio continues be committed to the evolution of space and the role of choice and responsibility.

Lifeform is a winner of the First Step Housing competition; its work was featured in the Pompidou Center , Paris and the Urban Center , NYC. It was awarded a “Jury Selection” for its entry in The High Line Competition. The studio’s work was selected to be among the ‘Best of 2005’ by Archinect.

Founder Rafi Elbaz, graduated from Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1995. He has worked with Peter Eisenman, Raymond Abrahams and Joseph Paul Kleihues where he worked on distinguished and high profile commissions. Rafi Elbaz has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Urban Center, and The Center for Architecture NYC, Grand Central Station, and other venues. He has done installations at PS1/MoMA in NYC and The Tirana Biennale in Albania . He is an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute, and has been a visiting critic at various universities. Elbaz’s work have been widely covered in the US and international media including New York Times, Domus, Interni, Architects Newspaper, Architecture, H.O.M.E., Metropolis, Surface, and *Wallpaper. He was recently published in a book edited by Architecture for Humanity for his outstanding design for the homeless of New York , and was nominated as a finalist for the Sustainable Leadership Awards of 2006 by the IIDA, AIA and CoreNet Global