100 Barclay / Photo: Ty Cole

100 Barclay / Photo: Ty Cole

“Lower Manhattan is the fastest-growing residential area in the city right now,” said outgoing Economic Development Corporation president Andrew Alper in a New York Magazine interview. “It will go from 23,000 residents to 46,000 — double — by 2008. By 2030, the number we are using is roughly 80,000 people. That’s a pretty good-sized city in most parts of the world.”

So with this steady expansion it seems downtown investment properties are the next big trend in real estate. However, in the mysterious world of downtown investment properties there are more unknowns than knowns. To dive into the fire without guidance, may result in losing one’s pants — or at the very least, leaving the hapless worrier with his pockets fleeced, removed and emptied. “Finding the gems from the rhinestones is not an easy feat. Unschooled buyers don’t know value from gloss, good from bad, even if a deal looks good on paper.” So said downtown broker specialist Richard Nassimi, President and CEO of The Nassimi Group.

According to Nassimi, investment property deals depend on variables and intangibles and may start, but not end with personality clashes among the players. There must be enough motivation to outbid offers if the buyer believe it’s a worthwhile venture.

Ben Shaoul is a renowned New York City-based real estate owner/developer, as President of the Magnum Real Estate Group, a residential real estate development/management company. In just under two decades, Shaoul has acquired and sold over 100 properties. He has diversified his portfolio from renovating thousands of apartments to developing new high-end condominium properties, commercial buildings and educational facilities.

One of Shaoul’s well-known projects includes the conversion of 140 West Street, Verizon’s landmarked Global Headquarters into luxury condominiums. Michael Stern, the CEO of JDS Development, who also tried to buy 140 West Street rebranded as 100. Said Stern in a Real Deal interview: “He’s got a lot going on but he can handle it. We loved that building and Ben outbid us fair and square. We weren’t far off from where Ben was.”

Chanel Korby

Chanel Korby

And what about a building like 30 Park Place? According to its website, 30 Park Place is the tallest residential tower in downtown Manhattan. It is also the 10th tallest building in New York City. 30 Park Place is the site of the Four Seasons Hotel, boasting sweeping city views with 157 luxury residential units. Consider those properties from New York City skyscrapers, where the tallest buildings will change New York City’s skyline.

Then there’s the property itself…Where is it located? What’s its condition? Does it need a gut renovation or just a new bathroom or paint job? Does Madonna live next door?

There are obvious pros and cons to every deal beyond from market conditions, costs for renovation and location. These are just a few of many factors that drive every real estate decision. How do you predict which investment properties will bring in more money and rewards?

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