Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Full Name* 8 Montague Terrace (inset) (Photos via iStock; VHT Studios)Last week, Brooklyn notched its most expensive home sale ever when billionaire Vincent Viola’s Brooklyn Heights mansion sold for $25.5 million — and brokers in the borough are heralding the news as a harbinger of deals to come.“Santa Claus came down a chimney,” said Warburg Realty’s Gerard Splendore about the deal’s quiet Christmas Eve closing. “Anything that sets a record always brings in good news.”Monica Breese, a Douglas Elliman agent, said the sale of 8 Montague Terrace affirms her team’s philosophy that Brooklyn is “a choice,” not just a value play.“This sale and price point demonstrates that people choose to live here,” said Breese, who works alongside Elliman agent Jessica Peters. “It’s almost refreshing to see that the influx of buyers due to the pandemic, especially in the townhouse market, has solidified what [Peters] and I have always known Brooklyn to be.”John Walkup, the cofounder of data analytics firm UrbanDigs, said the transaction is “emblematic” of current trends in the Brooklyn market, such as the desire for more space and private outdoor areas.But he also views the deal as the byproduct of a strong market for smaller studio to three-bedroom units. The volume of transactions among those smaller homes was up 25 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the year prior, according to UrbanDigs.“That’s that rising-tide-lifts-all-boats kind of thing,” said Walkup. “You’ve got a townhouse, you’ve got a blue-chip Brooklyn area, and you’ve just got a mix of everything congealing at the same time — and you get these record prices.”Read moreVince Viola’s $25.5M mansion sale breaks Brooklyn recordBrooklyn luxury contracts dip in first week of 2021$70M in luxury contracts signed in Brooklyn last week For Ravi Kantha, a broker at Leslie J. Garfield who specializes in townhouses, the sale tracks with the activity he’s seen among high-end buyers in Brooklyn Heights throughout 2020.He pointed to the $10.55 million sale of 52 Remsen Street in November, which he and his team handled. The 8,300-square-foot home is 25 feet wide and 90 feet deep on a 180-foot lot, although it will require an extensive renovation that puts its true price — once those costs are factored in — at closer to $15 or $16 million.Then there was pharmaceutical mogul Behzad Aghazadeh’s $16 million purchase of a townhouse at 81 Pierrepont Street and an adjacent carriage house, which he plans to combine into a megamansion. That renovation could mean Aghazadeh’s total spend is at least $18 million, if not higher.And last January, actress Michelle Williams and director Tommy Kail bought a townhouse on Willow Street for $10.8 million, which the couple is now renovating.Add Viola’s $25.5 million sale to the mix, and “that’s a lot for Brooklyn in one neighborhood in a year,” Kantha said.He’s been working in Brooklyn Heights for five years, and often deals with buyers who venture to Brooklyn Heights after looking in downtown Manhattan. Now, he’s seeing more buyers coming from the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, both of which have not historically sent buyers across the East River.“There’s a lot of people spending a lot of money in Brooklyn, [and] while that was a long-term trend a long time in the making, it really feels like the pandemic has opened more eyes to what’s here,” said Kantha. “It doesn’t feel like a secret anymore … [the] cat’s out of the bag.”But a red-hot Brooklyn market is unlikely to surpass Manhattan’s in terms of pricing, thanks to the larger supply of townhouses — albeit ones that aren’t always in pristine condition — in the borough of churches, according to Walkup.“You have a larger supply of [townhouses] that are not typically renovated and ready for their highest and best use,” he explained. “The average price is going to be held down by that, but the price per square foot for the finished product is going to be accelerating.”Kantha agreed, noting that renovated townhouses ready for buyers to move into are increasingly in low supply — but command a 15 to 20 percent premium over those that need some work. He recently worked with buyers who signed a contract at 47 Sidney Place in Brooklyn Heights at just under $11 million because they didn’t want to renovate.“It’s kind of stressful to take on a renovation under normal circumstances, but with Covid and the world just kind of being a crazy place lately, people want to cut one thing off the major to-do list,” he said.But even townhouses that require extensive work are seeing strong demand.Sharon Burroughs-Clarke, a broker at the Corcoran Group who’s worked in the borough for nearly two decades, recently listed a townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant that the city deemed a teardown for $550,000, expecting the final sales price to land closer to $500,000. After two weeks on the market, the home is now in contract and she’s fielded multiple offers, several over $600,000.Whether activity in other neighborhoods and submarkets throughout the borough can be attributed to the Violas’ record-breaking sale is hard to prove, but some agents have seen major deals spur activity in the past.Warburg’s Splendore recalled a client he worked with after Matt Damon’s record-breaking condo deal at the Standish in Brooklyn Heights in 2018. He helped her find an apartment in the same neighborhood as the actor at her request.“It was a lovely apartment; it was a good price; it’s a nice neighborhood,” he said. “Matt Damon? Yeah, that’s kinda like a bonus.”Contact Erin Hudson TagsbrooklynLuxury Real EstateResidential Real Estate Email Address* Share via Shortlink Message*
The Wall Street Journal investigative reporter whose new book chronicles the spectacular collapse of the blood-testing company Theranos and its alleged fraudulent activity told a Harvard audience that the fall is a cautionary tale for other high-tech firms aspiring to disrupt the health care industry.During a panel discussion at Harvard Law School on Monday, John Carreyrou said successful Silicon Valley executives these days often voice their desire to take aim at a health care system they view as dysfunctional and in need of bold new ideas. But Carreyrou cautioned that the “fake it till you make it” approach that has served many high-tech entrepreneurs — hyping unproven products and then debugging them as they go along — may be ill-suited for medicine.“It probably will be a breath of fresh air for Silicon Valley” to enter the health care realm, he said, “but hopefully everyone now will be cognizant of this Theranos precedent and of what can happen if you ‘fake it till you make it’ with a medical product that doctors and patients rely on for life-or-death decisions.”Carreyrou’s best-seller, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” details the rise and fall of Theranos and its charismatic founder and former CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, and how he uncovered the story.Carreyrou greets Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana before the event. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerJoining Carreyrou on the panel were Glenn Cohen, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law and faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School; Rakesh Khurana, Danoff Dean of Harvard College, Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School, professor of sociology, and faculty dean of Cabot House; and Rachel Wang, J.D. ’19. Douglas Eby, senior fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center and CEO of Cambridge Science, served as moderator.Founded in 2003, Theranos became a quick Silicon Valley sensation, boasting a $9 billion valuation and a host of prominent backers impressed with its promise of a new blood-testing technology.But some media stories cast doubt on its claims, and in March Theranos and Holmes agreed to settle massive civil fraud charges. In June, Holmes and Theranos’ former president, Ramesh Balwani, were indicted on wire fraud charges, which prosecutors said stemmed from a multimillion dollar scheme to defraud investors, and a separate alleged scheme to defraud doctors and patients.Reflecting on the story, Khurana said he found it “heartbreaking to have a young, talented individual … who lives in a kind of culture in which getting an education is not an end in itself but merely a means increasingly to developing your app,” without considering social responsibilities or engaging in the “deep introspection” that a liberal arts education offers.,Carreyrou agreed the scandal highlights changing social values.“It used to be as a society and a country that getting elected president or winning the Nobel Prize was one of the greatest achievements that you could do,” he said. “But now it’s going to Silicon Valley and starting a startup and being valued, and … being a billionaire before you turn 30.”Asked by Wang what role gender played in the Theranos story, Carreyrou said it was central.“All my reporting shows that Elizabeth Holmes capitalized on the fact that she was a woman to win over the backing of these older men,” he said, citing as examples former Secretary of State George Shultz, venture capitalist Donald Lucas, and Stanford University engineering Professor Channing Robertson, all of whom became Theranos board members.“All these guys were flattered and also impressed with her,” Carreyrou said.Carreyrou added that when Holmes emerged, there was “a great yearning for a woman to break through in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is such a man’s world.”Cohen, citing the bullying behavior of Theranos lawyers depicted in the book, asked Carreyrou whether “this is a story about exceptional personalities or … about the way people use the law in corporate America, in Silicon Valley, in startup culture, to intimidate.” Carreyrou said it was both, calling it “a story about colorful people … who do outrageous things,” but who are “enabled by this legal foundation. … I didn’t come away from my year experience with a great impression of the legal profession.”Carreyrou recounted how his reporting began with a tip from a Missouri pathologist blogger and culminated in his locating the primary source, a former Theranos lab director. When the source agreed to talk, Carreyrou remembered thinking, “This is going to be a big story.”This event was hosted by Cambridge Science, Harvard College’s Cabot House, and the Petrie-Flom Center.
The BCPO’s inputs, according toGamboa, can help the city council formulate ordinances addressing peace andorder concerns. Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. authored aresolution requesting BCPO director Colonel Henry Biñas and BCPO deputydirector for operations Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido to brief the SP aboutthe string of killings and drug-related crimes. Bacolod City – Members of the city council here urged top-rankingofficials of the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) to appear before theSangguniang Panlungsod (SP) in relation to the city’s peace and ordersituation. As of this writing, the city councilwais yet to set the schedule for the appearance of the BCPO officials./PN