Barbie

Barbie Dreamhouse Experience Hits Florida: New York Could be Next

(Credit: barbie.com)

Three months after a prominent New York City appraiser suggested that Barbie’s oceanfront Malibu dollhouse should be bulldozed, a new Barbie Dreamhouse is being offered to the public — and this one actually exists, offering a chance to “show off your moves in the spotlight.”

Mattel and EMS Entertainment opened a 10,000-square-foot life-size touring Barbie Dreamhouse at the Sawgrass Mills mall in Sunrise, Florida this week to endless chatter and realized dreams after inking a summer lease agreement with real estate giant and mall owner Simon Property Group.  The best part: a similar house could be coming to New York City.

The Dreamhouse features a fashion runway, “Rockstar Stage,” Barbie café, living room, bedroom, an “endless” closet, bathroom, kitchen, balcony and entertainment room, with more than 350 Barbie dolls among other classic memorabilia. Read More

Sales Beat

Newcastle Realty’s Late Year Pickups Highlight Record Fourth Quarter for Investment Sales

759 St. Nicholas Avenue (StreetEasy)

Real estate investment firm Newcastle Realty Services purchased neighboring apartment buildings at 656 and 759 St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem for a combined $5.6 million from Colorado-based real estate firm Aimco late last year, city records posted yesterday show.

Sellers sought to unload properties before looming capital gains tax hikes as December wound down, a main reason why the fourth quarter was the strongest investment sales quarter in two and a half decades.

The firm paid $4.4 million for the six-story, 20,640-square-foot property at 656 St. Nicholas Avenue, which features 30 residential units; and $1.2 million for the building at 759 — a 5,666-square-foot, four-story building with nine units. Read More

Barbie

Barbie’s Magical Malibu Dollhouse Should be Bulldozed, One Appraiser Suggests

barbie-magic-of-pegasus-barbie-movies-12469829-1280-1024

News of Barbie’s oceanfront dollhouse hitting the market rippled out from Malibu like an earthquake last week, rekindling childhood fantasies – of flights aboard the Magic Pegasus, or perhaps romantic walks on the beach, hand-in-hand with Ken.

But one New York City appraiser suggests demolishing those dreams along with the home’s plastic walls of luxury.

“I can’t imagine someone spending the $25 million on this,” said Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc., at a loss for words as he scrambled to make sense of the listing for the pink plastic dwelling.

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Postings

Real Estate Leaders Give Thanks

The Thanksgiving Turkey float  during th

Scanning the papers and business web-sites, you’d assume the economy—and, perhaps, the real estate industry in general—was approaching a quagmire, what with employment rates still lower than expected and leasing sluggish.

Nonetheless, with Thanksgiving approaching we asked some of the commercial real estate industry’s biggest names what they were thankful for this year,and their answers were far more positive than expected.

After the jump, a brief sampling of the responses, as told to Commercial Observer staff reporters Al Barbarino and Billy Gray.
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Cover Story

Reaching for the Sun: Is It Possible to Own Too Much Real Estate?

WEB_COVER

When the credit crisis hit and the real estate market all but collapsed, news of disgraced developers became commonplace, their tales more often than not layered with intrigue.

Take Kent Swig, who, after being divorced by his wife, filed an affidavit in May responding to a lawsuit filed by his ex-father-in-law, industry luminary Harry Macklowe, arguing that Mr. Macklowe embarked on a “vendetta” aimed at “starving” him of every last penny.

But as the downfalls of real estate tycoons like Mr. Macklowe, Shaya Boymelgreen, Bruce Eichner and Larry Gluck stack up like so many new developments across Manhattan’s skyline, analysts and the city’s landlords themselves have begun to wonder aloud if there’s a limit to how much real estate can be accumulated.

“A developer’s function is to develop property, and sometimes they develop and develop until they can’t develop anymore,” said appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm based in New York City. “Where people fell short was that the market was more powerful than them … the market is brutal, and it has no compassion.” Read More

Postings

Lifestyles of the Rich and Fictitious

Television Stars Map of New York.

» When the television series 666 Park Avenue debuts this Sunday, it will mark the latest example in a long tradition of writers and directors setting fictional lives in actual New York City real estate. Be it the Ansonia at 2109 Broadway, the real-life address associated with 666 Park Avenue, or 185 East 85th Street, the home of George and Louise Jefferson, the Big Apple is rife with real estate made famous through television shows. With that in mind, The Commercial Observer reached out to Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive of Miller Samuel, for his thoughts on value using what limited information was available back in the day of Manhattan’s most recognizable television co-ops, hangouts and offices spaces. And while the numbers may be surprising, what we still haven’t figured out after all these years is how Joey Tribbiani was able to rent all that prime West Village space on a struggling actor’s salary. Read More

Jonathan Miller Appraises the Commercial Market

In 2005, Jonathan Miller made a prediction on CNBC that, due to what he saw as a growing endemic within the mortgage industry, a downturn was on the way. Three years later, after the economy nose-dived, the cable news network reran the clip–this time in a segment looking back on the experts who got it Read More