Daily Archives: July 23, 2009

Porky Manero’s II update

I forgot  to mention in my previous post on the Oneida condos on Steamboat Avenue this quote that caught my eye:

Fareri said one prospective Oneida home buyer wants to be able to keep his new 100-foot yacht outside his window.

I worried at first that the buyer was going to have difficulties with the police if he did that because they go nuts when you block a roadway but I drove down there and discovered that Fareri came up with an ingeniuos solution, shown here.

View from Oneida roof top

View from Oneida roof top




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Criminals escape Belgium jail via helicopter

At least one of them was a mussleman, no word on identity of the others. I realize not all musslemen are terrorists – this one was doing time for bank robbery and described as Belgium’s “most wanted criminal” – but I’d feel better if all three of these guys were back in jail,

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Rooms without a view

Susan Nova, Greenwich Times hard hitting real estate reporter has a full expose today on the Steamboat Road  “Oneida” condos, known affectionately to locals as Porky Manero’s II. Frankly I’m surprised that Greenwich Time, so thoroughly dependent on real estate advertising for what’s left of its revenue, would permit this kind of scandalous information to be printed but I guess journalistic integrity won out, and good for them.

Nova reveals that Oneida is named after three different previous incarnations. The Oneida Indian Tribe, the rather hapless branch of Iroquois who, aside from specializing in torturing captives, accomplished little during their time in this country. They foolishly sided with the Colonists during the Revolution when their brethren went with the British and, ironically enough, had to flee to Canada after the war. Hardly inspirational.

Most exciting, perhaps, is the second Oneida, the communist community in Upstate New York that practiced free love, no marriage and promoted sexual intercourse between all members (so to speak).  Again, an odd sort of choice to name a condominium project after, unless it is designed to attract swingers.

Odder still, perhaps, is the third Oneida, which Nova points out was ” the 200-foot Oneida that President Grover Cleveland had surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his jaw.” What that really entailed was knocking out teeth and digging out the roof of the mouth up to the poor guy’s eyeballs and I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t like the idea of staring put to sea from my $8 million unit and thinking about surgeons, scalpels and blood. I prefer to reflect on those frisky commie lasses, thank you very much. Of course, because the view is blocked by the now-vacant Greenwich Capital building, the issue is moot, but still.

Is there anywhere one can see the water from these units? Nova says there is; or I think she does: 

Beyond the all-glass atrium ceiling on the topmost level is the roof deck vaunting direct harbor views and an elaborate outdoor kitchen, with natural stone counters, ice maker, beverage center and Viking professional grill and rotisserie. There are two outdoor flat-screen TVs, a hot tub and space to wine and dine an extensive guest list.

I’m just guessing here, but I believe Nova employs the word “vaunting” to mean “boasting” and I suppose that’s okay, maybe. But for all that money, do I really want to have to climb up to my roof to see the Grass Island Sewer Plant? Perhaps not.


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Cutting the make-believe

Absolutely no activity today. No particularly interesting open houses (well, two, perhaps, but until I show them to my clients I’m not mentioning them here) and a bunch of meaningless price cuts. At this rate, we’ll never catch up to red hot New Canaan with its 80 contracts! One cut that did catch my eye is for an imaginary house on 7 Fox Run Lane, down from $8.2 million to $6.9. Heck, so long as it isn’t built yet, why not mark it down to a buck-fifty and then add change orders as dictated by the buyer – you know, if he wants a toilet, say, or a kitchen sink?

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Scusie the Dish joins For What It’s Worth

From Scusie: What penniless developer, under indictment and soon to be living under a bridge while he begs money for his defense team, was seen at Valbella’s having lunch with Frank Gifford and Cathy Lee? We’re not telling!


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Hey – no rule says the NoKos have to be wrong about everything

North Korea: Hillary looks like a bag lady and is stupid, too.  No word on whether they mentioned her mother’s army boots.


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A cure worse than the disease?

The new home appraisal rules, pushed on Fannie Mae by Andrew Cuomo, seem to be causing problems. Appraisals are now farmed out to third party firms who pays as little as $200 for an appraisal, thereby ensuring slap-dash work by inexperienced appraisers, often with no knowledge of the neighborhood. This isn’t a great idea if you’re a home buyer trying to get a loan or a seller trying to move your house.


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Shocker of the day (well, of the morning – day’s still young)

FBI arrests dozens of politicians in New Jersey on money laundering charges. The mayors of Hoboken? Secaucus? Who’d have thought?


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Running against the wind

A new listing (#73948) on Lockwood Lane has appeared today, priced at $1.379 million. I’m impressed by the seller’s confidence in this market – he paid $1.075 for it in 2004 (just $25,000 off asking price and just a few days after it came on – weren’t those the days?). No mention is made of any improvements since then so I assume none were made – perhaps the lawn’s been maintained and gutters cleaned, perhaps not. So far as I know Interstate 95, the bane of all houses on this street, is exactly where it was five years ago with no significant decrease in traffic. So why is it worth $304,000 more now, than then? Beats me. Assessed value is $837,000.

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Troubled houses

A reader using foreclosure.com reports that it shows 100 houses in the process of foreclosure in town, with “none in Old Greenwich”. Hmm. While it may be true that banks have yet to file on many bad loans, I believe there are far more than 100 out there. In Old Greenwich, for instance, I’m aware of one builder with three unsold spec houses, none of which has a chance of selling for what is owed. The loan may be in forbearance but that has more to do with the bank’s desire to keep its balance sheet looking pretty than any confidence that it will be getting its money back. And also in Old Greenwich, there is a house on the market for less than 80% of its purchase price of four years ago – the buyers put just 20% down, their loan is in default and they’re going down. Interestingly enough, you won’t learn that from the listing. And then there’s everyone’s favorite, 23 West End Avenue, that is supposed to be a short sale but the lender can’t seem to get its act together so the house sits there, empty and rotting, while nothing happens.

Those are just four OG houses off the top of my head and there are plenty more. So don’t be too confident in RealtyTrac and Foreclosure.com’s numbers – by the time a house comes to their attention, it has been troubled for a long, long time.


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Hamptons – Greenwich south?

Sales in the Hamptons are moribund, with inventory swelling and prices dropping and buyers staying on the sidelines. I recognize the difference between Greenwich which is mostly a residential community and the Hamptons, a weekend/vacation retreat, but the demographics of the buyers are just about identical and if Wall Streeters aren’t feeling courageous, it hits both markets. From the Bloomberg article linked to, there’s this:

Prospective Hamptons buyers who own Manhattan property are being hit with falling values there, too. Manhattan apartment prices dropped last quarter for the first time since 2002, declining 18.5 percent from a year earlier, according to a July 2 report by Miller Samuel and Prudential.

“Manhattan could very well be a leading indicator” for the Hamptons, Miller said.


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