Friday, July 16, 2010

☞ REVIVE: Embelesar 118 Near Completion


While covering some of the affordable East Harlem residential rental buildings currently under construction, the funky bright green paneling (lower photo) of the work-in-progress Embelesar 118 building was seen rising from a former open lot in the background this past spring. As of last week, the facade looks like its about done and there has been some recent news on this affordable co-op at 152 East 118th Street and Lexington Avenue. The SONYMA mortgage approved new construction lets buyers place 5% down to purchase a unit and the New York Post had an article today on one of the new young buyers who just bought a "710-square-foot, one-bedroom penthouse co-op (with another 326 square feet of outdoor space) at Embelesar 118...for $422,260." The block in East Harlem is definitely under the up-and-coming category but the proximity of the 6 train at 116th Street probably will help sell this development. There's apparently no flip tax which is a concern with buying into many affordable co-ops and one bedrooms are in the upper $200K range. Read more in the NY Post: LINK. Photos by Ulysses. www.Embelesar118.com

35 comments:

  1. That 710 sq ft unit in contract for $422,260 is a very strong price point for East Harlem. And this is a co-op, which typically fetches a lower price than an equivalent condo. A real sign of strength for the neighborhood's real estate market and the local area in general. I work in a high income industry in midtown and the number of co-workers asking me about East Harlem in recent days is startling.

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  2. what's the maintenance fee? also, this is clearly a planted article by the real estate industry, this is not a news article, this is not the result of some reporter's work...these are the talking points fed to the media...a classic is, "“This is going to be the lowest point in, let’s hope, the next 20 or 30 years,”
    LOL. Leave it to the real estate industry to warn you, Better buy now or forever be priced out! Blah blah blah....Believe me, it will be lower in the Winter.

    As far as the prices go, on first blush looks great. But I heard recently the Renaissance Bldg Coop on 116th and Lenox has eliminated some of the restrictions on who can buy and their income limit, etc. and they have 3 bedroom units for $400,000 with a maintenance of about $1300.

    We have to know the maintenance on this place before we can determine the value of it.

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  3. Yeah, that is almost 600 ppsf. Seems kind of high for east harlem. If its real that is great...... it would be interesting to look into the buyer and see if its an insider or if the actual closing price is that high. Unti it closes and is posted you do not know what it really sold for.

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  4. That is one ugly honking' pile.

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  5. Sanou's Mum, first laugh of the day! I agree. Just read the NY Post article and $900 sq. ft for Carroll Gardens. Blimey!! INSANE. How that place has changed.

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  6. Smoking hot latina chick for sure, wow, yes the real estate people know to post beautiful people in their releases!

    My favorite line to induce people to buy now was at the end of the article, “I think the bottom is close to being hit,” Dawn says. “The market is close to being back. The bottom is near. We are probably going to buy in the next five to six months.”

    Methinks thinks the Harlem condo glut and price slashing has not even started....

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  7. 11:33am...wow...this is starting to feel like yesterday's conversation all over again. Why the need to make such grandiose statements that offer absolutely zero, particularly on a forum about Harlem?

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  8. Chris, Why do you not want people to talk about the current most important factor in the development of harlem today. You cannot walk through central harlem and not notice the developments and the storefronts attached to them. It seems to me that it is a valid discussion on a posting that talks about the prices of a new condo development. I mean its not really anti-Harem to talk about how this condo and its pricing effects our daily lives.

    JKS

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  9. JKS...not opposed to talking about prices etc, but it just seems like the same conversations are regurgitated every day . Read over the 104 comments from yesterday. Just my opinion, but something like:

    "Methinks thinks the Harlem condo glut and price slashing has not even started.... "

    is just as bad as the mindless cheerleading. Nothing constructive to it. Guess I will back out and leave you guys to it!

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  10. Chris, I understand your point, but the status of the developments has such a trickle down effect on businesses, social behavior, and general environment in harlem its hard not to discuss it.

    With that said there does appear to be some shilling going on from time to time. Not sure if that comes from those people in harlem who have seen the value of their property decrease over the past couple years, or people who want to buy and hope to drive down prices..... in any case it is relevant to what is happening in Harlem today, especially on a posting that talks about it.

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  11. 5% down? Jesus. Have we learned nothing from the past four years?

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  12. Jake, That is a matter of debate. Most of the issues over the past 4 years have had to do with lenders giving mortgages to people at 8 or 9 times their annual salaries with the idea that the properties were going to increase in value and protect those peoples equity. 5% down is an FHA loan to help people who have decent salaries, but not a lot of cash saved for a down payment. I am afraid that is what it takes to provide incentive for people to buy in upcoming neighborhoods, generally middle class workers who cannot afford manhattan prices, but want to own their own place. It offers risk, yes, but not as irresponsible lending as pre bubble.

    JKS

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  13. good point 12:23.
    also:
    it is not of primary importance if the condo and co-op prices go up or down - what is important to the neighborhood is that they sell.

    who cares what the real estate trolls think - they aren't the brightest bulbs anyway.

    if the properties sell at any reasonable price, even low ones, they are still going to be sold to middle class people who will invest in Harlem, stabilize it, and and make it a better place to live.

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  14. Chris, someone suggesting pervasive price reductions in Harlem apartments to come is simply fair ground on topic opinion on a blog posting focused on how low cost it is to buy (5% down) and the prices. The architecture or design or finishings is not the topic here. The topic determined by the blogger is the cost of entry and price, based on the news article that also stresses that. Furthermore the news article goes through great effort to persuade now is the time to purchase a property.

    Is a countering on topic view or commentary not allowed? C'mon, 5% down is NO BIGGIE with the FHA qualifying properties in Harlem where you can get ownership of a condo, not a coop, for 3.5% down. Once you strip away the 5% as being nothing special, we can look at the actual property, price, and we are not told the maintenance, a critical and key factor in the equation. Why? I bet it's not a selling point, or else we would be told about it in the article.

    When the smoke clears this property may not be such a great deal at all. We're placing it under the lens of scrutiny, since it's being put out there as a press release by the real estate industry. The article stress and argues for people to "buy now". The article heavily drives that agenda.

    My opinion of the blogged article making the argument to buy now is nonsense! The supply is building and conditions favoring the qualified buyer are only getting sweeter. There's a very good chance we're heading into a double dip recession. Let's put it like this. Prices are not getting higher any time soon, and no one is going to argue they are.

    The on topic unit? here's a listing
    http://corcoran.com/property/listing.aspx?Region=NYC&ListingID=2008864
    with maintenance of $900/Mo for a 1 bedroom at $405,000. 5% down w/a 30 yr fixed leaves you at what (off the top of my head), prolly $2,200/mo + $900 or $3,100/mo for a 1 bedroom Coop? That does not strike with me as a great deal.

    These units have been on the market for over 3 months...and they've actually lowered the prices of some of there smaller more accessible units. I saw 1 unit for $252,184 but $537/sq'. That's not good at all for a Harlem coop.

    A Harlem coop should look like this, $199 ppsf. no cheap flimsy poor quality new build that i am sure this above is, below is what you buy when you buy a harlem coop.
    http://corcoran.com/property/listing.aspx?Region=NYC&ListingID=1952996

    and that's why it sold. you get space, location with Mt. morris park, and it's under $200/sq'. I don't know what the maintenance is on this mt morris unit but when the smoke clears, I am betting the monthly is under $1500/Mo for a lot of space, if a coop is your thing.

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  15. Good point 12:35. Obviously we cannot convince developers to lower prices, but we can do our part to brighten the community for people considering moving here. I always wonder how those of us that are enthusiastic about encouraging positive change in Harlem can do so. I think it helps to get out on the streets and walk around more. Just be present. Get out in the community, go to the farmers markets, walk a round a little more at night. Say hello to people.

    JKS

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  16. @12:44 You are all over the place man.... I am not bullish on harlem prices right now, and do expect a little more adjustment, but your argument is bunk. That coop you are highlighting is not market rate, it has income restrictions. There are at least a few great deals for people with reduced incomes on coops in Harlem. Hell I wish I could buy one! But to use that as a comparison to what the market rate in Harlem should be is silly. Yes, 600 ppsq for the apartment in the topic seems high, especially with 900 maintenance. But, any decent market rate condo in central or east harlem at this point would move at 500 ppsf, developers just arent there yet. To argue prices in harlem should be 199 ppsf is pure shill.

    JKS

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  17. Thank you @12:55. Either @12:44 is short the real estate market and talking his own book, or he has no idea what the heck is going on. You don't take a income-restricted unit's comps and gauge the health of market rate properties.

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  18. 12:44, your $199 ppsf. link is for an HDFC unit with a pretty low income limit for purchase (significantly lower than a number of other HDFCs). The buyer is also required to live in the apartment (meaning subletting is usually greatly constrained).

    I agree these are a good deal for those who can qualify and find a building that is reasonably well managed, but the market price for condo and "standard" co-op units is inevitably going to be higher than a comparable HDFC unit, just on account of the constraints imposed by the city (usually for 30 years from the time of the building conversion). That is the purpose of the program, after all -- to hold down the equity price of apartments for low to moderate income households.

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  19. Although I am a current owner in Harlem, I too wish prices would drop on the condos so people would fill them. As the people come, so will the amenities, and some of the litter, loitering, etc. will go away. I think $700 psf is expensive for Harlem - I think posters who have said $400-$500 psf for condos are about right. That would put buy/rent ratios closer to historical norms ..

    Folks who bought: if you bought in the last 5 years, hopefully you did so because you found a place you could afford, a space you liked, and a neighborhood you were comfortable with. Who cares if somebody next to you got it a little cheaper, unless you want to sell immediately.

    To me, the biggest shame is having all of these units empty .. the same goes with boarded-up townhouses. I don't care if somebody gets their townhouse cheaper than mine - I just want to see them preserved and restored.

    If you are staying put, spend less time looking at PSF and more time enjoying your beautiful neighborhood, neighbors, and home! And if you bought in the last 5 years hoping to make a quick buck - shame on you. It's a home, not an investment.

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  20. 12:44, you are making my argument for me. Income max on that property is $45,000. C'mon. I am just baffled to see the amount of time and energy people spend here and Curbed (which is tons worse though) convincing imaginary people not to spend x or not to move to y. For me the shilling (great word btw) has already devalued Curbed as a serious source of debate. Every apartment related post about Harlem or Brooklyn instantly turns into a mud slinging fight over whose neighborhood is best and how many chicken bones can be found on the floor.

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  21. Chris, I agree with all your statements, but you are the one that keeps bringing up brooklyn. Just an observation. And as a side notes, I have not seen chicken bones on curbed in quite a while.

    JKS

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  22. JKS...the chicken bone thing was in reference to a chicken bone obsessed guy on Curbed. It is a little odd and very bizarre. But yeah, no bones in my neck of the woods :)

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  23. haha chris, I know, that is what I said. His handle was chicken bones. I have not seen him or sai baba in months. Maybe they fell into the cave. I would not in good conscience comment about the actual number of chicken bones observed on the sidewalks of harlem. mostly because I dont notice.

    JKS

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  24. Choosing Harlem over Brooklyn is a big factor for many when buying condos so what's wrong with bringing up outer boroughs? Everyone who has bought in Harlem has had to make the decision to either stay in Manhattan or move to Brooklyn. Brooklyn has its fair share of social issues but people who live there love it and cheer it on. Same can be said for Harlem.

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  25. Because it quickly evolves into a brooklyn vs. harlem debate. which is better? Neither is better. Brooklyn has so many neighborhoods at so many different price points, and census informations that comparing the whole of brooklyn to the whole of Harlem is a waste of time. It depends on on what you want out of your neighborhood. And the differences between any particular neighborhood in either is obvious. Its best just not to start the comparison game, it brings no good.

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  26. interesting....

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  27. 2:27 & 2:33...spot on.

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  28. Welcome back, Green Girl. We've missed you.

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  29. But you are right 2:27.... some constructive discussion about the benefits of Harlem as a solid choice with respect to an equivalent neighborhood in brooklyn would probably be useful for a reader who is contemplating both areas. I know I was in the same position a year ago and turned to this site and the brooklyn equivalent to get information about the differences between the two. I guess its just unfortunate that the posters on this site turn it into something non constructive.

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  30. it does give the Kalahari competition as the ugliest bldg in harlem.

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  31. Can we all agree moving forward to stop the Brooklyn/Harlem comparison or at least set some ground rules.

    Harlem is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan.
    Brooklyn is a borough with many neighborhoods.
    The two are not analogous.

    If you mean Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, or Boerum Hill, then say so.
    If you mean Ft Greene,Prospect Heights, or Clinton Hill, then say so.
    If you mean Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, or Crown
    Heights,etc., then say so.
    If you mean Brownsville or East New York, etc., then say so.

    That way some of these discussions can be less inane.

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  32. Harlem, like lower manhattan has many neighborhoods and each have a different feel to them, different demographics and different pros and cons. Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, Mount Morris Park, Strivers Row, Astor Row, Manhattanville, Central Harlem, South Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem....take your pick. You ask not to lump Brooklyn but you lump the northern part of Manhattan as all one singular neighborhood?

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  33. The only standard divisions are East, Central and West Harlem. Of course a neighborhood of any size has micro-neighborhoods. It is fine with me to further refine real estate discussion to micro- neighborhoods.
    But some of your suggestions, Strivers' Row and Astor Row, for example, are not neighborhoods - they are streets, their historic district status notwithstanding.

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  34. So am I getting a bad deal? Well, as the article in the post mentioned, I've spent a considerable amount of time and energy looking for the apartment that matched my criteria. To be clear, this building has some income restricted apartments but mine isn't one of them. I have a 1 bedroom apartment with 2 terraces and with a very cool layout. All this in the neighborhood I grew up in. Costco is down the street, Target is coming (tomorrow) and Hunter College just bought about tons of buildings in the neighborhood for dorms. The neighborhood is changing. Will prices drop? Maybe, but the truth is my apartment is one of a kind in the building and in the neighborhood. The maintenance is $876 btw. Since so many are wondering. This was the only thing that made me hesitate a little but considering the size of the apartment, I think it's still a sick apartment.

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  35. If anybody's still following this thread - I'm a middle-class white woman considering buying an apartment in this building. The prices for the subsidized apartments seem good to me. I wouldn't be looking to buy, but only having to put 5% down, though I could afford more, is a way to avoid sinking too much cash into real estate during this recession.I hope I'll be welcome in the neighborhood.

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