Last week was so much fun I couldn’t resist coming back for another exciting episode of Million Dollar Listing New York. Will Ryan’s no-gimmick gimmick pay off? Will Steve survive his ball busting co-lister? Will Fredrik sweet talk his way out of trouble (again)? Of course they will. But dang if it won’t be a fun journey!
Fredrik drives over to his East Village project. On the way, his driver Alberto shares that he’s lived in the neighborhood for over fifty years. Fredrik is intrigued. Alberto shares so little about himself, Fredrik knows next to nothing about his life. But the floodgates are open now!. Alberto lives with his mother, who emigrated to New York in 1947. She’s greatly concerned that gentrification will push all the old timers out of their neighborhood. As well she should be. When gentrification “reinvigorates” old neighborhoods, housing prices skyrocket. The original inhabitants of the neighborhoods get priced out and people like Fredrik make a killing. Alberto is happy that his neighborhood is cleaner and safer now but misses the neighbors who’ve been forced to leave. Fredrik reflects on the impact his industry has on a city. It sounds like someone has found a new pet cause!
It’s D-Day for Ryan’s Chelsea open house. The brokers are lining around the block and he’s nervous. Everyone’s expecting something big. And they’re getting nothing. On purpose. Ryan is confident that the building is so amazing, it doesn’t require any gilding. It makes sense on paper but now he’s second guessing himself. With no time to change course, he opens the doors. The place is packed and everyone keeps looking around for the big surprise. Surprise! There’s no surprise. His announcement is greeted with crickets. Uh oh. Eventually people start checking out the units and they’re suitably impressed. The building’s developer shows up and seems pleased with the four hundred or so buyers Ryan brought in. Whew!
Steve is still bumping heads with his co-lister, Lori. She pushes him around, making him change his appointments to accommodate hers. She may be a commercial broker horning in on his territory but she’s treating him like an assistant. Stuck in traffic and given him fifteen minutes to get to a viewing with the buyer Lori assures him is “the one,” Steve has no choice but to abandon his car and jump on a citibike. The premise is ridiculous (cameras are strategically located around town to catch him zipping by) but I don’t care. I’d watch a full hour of Steve pedaling through NYC. Of course, as soon as he arrives, he gets a message that Lori rescheduled for the following day. Steve is pissed but it gives us more brooding Steve shots so I’m happy.
Fredrik’s East Village building is ten months from completion so he’s been selling from a remote sales gallery. Now he gets to tour the actual worksite. The building takes up a full city block. It’s 82 apartments come with full concierge service, an indoor pool, private parking, garden balconies and a private garden in the center (ie: garden views). The five penthouses have 19 foot ceilings. I think it’s safe to say that Alberto and his mother won’t be moving in any time soon. With 40% of the units sold, the developer wants to raise prices. Fredrik disagrees. The penthouses are already going for over $3,000/sq ft (a record for the East Village). He wants to get to 75% in pre-sales by the time the building is done. That way, the remaining 25% will create a bidding war. The developer agrees to keep prices where they are, for the next two months. Fredrik huffs and puffs but isn’t the threat of raising prices a good sales tool?
Back in the car, Fredrik asks Alberto to drop him smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood. He wants to get out and talk to people. “Real people.” The gentrification conversation shook him up and he wants to find out what the people who live there think their community needs. Maybe concierge service? Private garden balconies? Hmmm. Fredrik looks so out of place roaming the East Village, visiting pizza parlors and bumping into cabs like a giant Swedish Yeti. He ends up talking to people that have been in the neighborhood for centuries. They all seem to accept what’s happening and even support it. I’m not really buying this random sampling. It reeks of Gentrification By Bravo but I guess I should be happy they’re acknowledging it at all.
While he’s brushing his beard, Ryan gets a call from his Chelsea client. Ryan tells him about all of the viewings he has lined up but the developer has a surprise of his own. He’s accepted a $4.6 million offer on the last available penthouse. Huh? Isn’t that supposed to go through your broker? Ryan is happy to have made a sale without knowing it but, whoops, it’s not really his sale. One of his previous brokers (you know, they guys who couldn’t actually sell the place) had a legacy listing that came through. Wah wah. So Ryan’s open house sold the unit but the original broker gets the commission. Not a bad racket if you can get it. The developer sees this as good news (yeah, he still gets his money) but Ryan is understandably frustrated. As he’s recovering from the news, he finds out his sister-in-law is moving out. After all the complaining he’s done about her living with them, he’s sad. Jack and Janet don’t know how they’ll survive without Chrissy.
Steve meets his assistant for margaritas. He vents about his co-lister but she plays devil’s advocate. Then she lits into him about expanding. He has more work than he can handle. He needs to build a team. But Steve isn’t ready to commit. He talks about being a lone wolf until she reminds him he’s always been into team sports. Cue a photo of Steve playing hockey. Thank you, Bravo! Steve has concede that his bossy assistant is right.
Ryan does private showings for the remaining four Chelsea units. And who should show up? Fredrik. Now things are going to get interesting. Fredrik is impressed with the building. But he’s even more impressed with how far his relationship with Ryan has evolved. He credits all the spiritual work he’s done on himself. He’s about to turn forty and is happy with his life. He invites Ryan to his birthday celebration. They hug it out. Wow. Sometimes things do change
Steve and Lori meet with their client to discuss a $14.35 million offer ($1.645 under asking). Steve thinks she should take it. Lori doesn’t. She’s insulted that the buyer is only giving them 48 hours to decide. Steve is confused. Lori was onboard with the offer when they walked through the door. Now she thinks $13.5 is too low. Argh. She just lowered the offer almost 1 million. The owner doesn’t know what to do. Steve finally loses his cool and has to step outside to calm himself. He’s so annoyed he smokes on camera. The seller wonders if she should get rid of one of them. Uh, yeah, but then we wouldn’t have much of a storyline. Steve finally agrees to turn down the offer and work with Lori to find the right buyer. Sigh.
Fredrik hosts a Swedish dinner at his sales gallery to reward brokers who have sold units in his East Village building. Naturally, he’s hoping the appreciation will go both ways and they’ll find more buyers for him. The sales gallery is a $3 million investment. Not only does it include a scale model and miniature swimming pool, he’s recreated a full two bedroom unit for buyers to experience. He dangles the previously unavailable penthouses as bait and the other brokers salivate. Then he sits them all down for a casual discussion about gentrification. Awkward. Most high end brokers don’t want to acknowledge gentrification, and certainly not on TV. But Fredrik won’t give up. Slowly, they start talking. It’s mostly fluff but it’s a start. Fredrik wants to give back to the neighborhood. He tells the brokers about a community park near the building that is looking for money for a cooking program for kids. He manages to raise $30,000. Granted, $20k comes from his own pocket but still. See, gentrification is good for neighborhoods!
Ryan meets with the Chelsea developer to submit a $4.3 million offer. He’d be a lot happier to do it if he hadn’t just found out he lost another unit sale to the previous broker. His work is selling the units but he’s not getting the commissions. The developer refuses the offer. $700,000 under asking just won’t do. But Ryan knows the two sales the other broker made (off of his sweat) went below full price so he expects the seller to negotiate. The developer grudgingly agrees to counter $4.6 but the buyer’s best and final is $4.5. Luckily, it’s a deal! Ryan finally makes a commission on all of his work. He tells the seller that the remaining two units must go through him. The developer is uncomfortable turning down sales but he gives Ryan an one month exclusive. Win, win, win.
Next week: Steve promises asking price on a challenging apartment. Fredrik is nervous about trying for a baby again. And Ryan deals with a demanding client.