Should We Feel Sorry For Novo Contract Holders?

novo-park-06-2008.jpg
Say what you will about the Novo’s architecture or finishes, or about its developer, or about the fact that it won’t have the most exciting commercial tenant in the world. All of a sudden, we’re starting to feel kinda bad for the 4th Avenue condo’s contract holders, some of whom have been waiting a looong time to move into the building. While everyone knows that new-construction delays are possible, or even likely, we’re hearing some desperate stuff from contract holders these days. One person posting on the Novo Yahoo group last week had this to say: “I heard a somewhat worse scenario from my mortgage broker who called the sales office today. They said the TCO is now expected in July with closings 30 days later – that potentially pushes closings to August. What does that mean for move ins? I’m assuming September. Sorry if you think I’m being too pessimistic, I’m just reacting on what I’ve been told. Trust me, I just want to get into the place, I’m in a studio with a year old child! Mucho fun. Been in contract since early April last year so I’ve heard it all by now. Wish I’d have seen through the BS back then. This is business to them, a potential home to us…” Meanwhile, the contract holder who sent us the tip a couple weeks ago saying he and 11 other buyers were about to be released from their contracts because Novo developer Shaya Boymelgreen hadn’t finished work on the adjacent public park by late June wrote to say he hasn’t seen Boymelgreen’s workers making any significant progress on the park. (Neither have we). With all the delays, he’s ready to throw in the towel. “Finding an affordable 3br apartment in Park Slope is a Herculean task,” he writes.” We are so disappointed with what has happened with the Novo as it had affordable 3br units. I believe now at this point we will start looking for a new rental and perhaps look at options outside of Park Slope or perhaps the city altogether.”
C-of-O Woes for the Novo? [Brownstoner]
Novo Takes a Nosedive [Brownstoner] GMAP

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  • wasn’t Boymelgreen meant to be fixing the park on Dean Street and 6th Ave next to the Newswalk building? or has he flunked on that too?

  • well, yeah, reading about how others who buy condos in the construction phase get delayed and jerked around should clue one in. I’d never sign up for one. Sure, the apartments may be cheaper, but they don’t give you that discount for nothing – they have your deposit and you committed and waiting.

  • Should We Feel Sorry For Novo Contract Holders?

    No

  • I’m sure the baleful comments will ensue, but I feel bad for these people; it’s the worst kind of screwing and a huge amount of stress.

    I don’t understand the developer though – can’t be that hard to throw up a park, and why would you tear up year old contrcts which i don’t think you can re-write in today’s market. What’s the POV of the developer?

  • Looking for options outside the city is the smartest thing they could do.

  • You’re going to see a lot more people breaking their contracts as more condos come on-line and prices drop.

  • Prices have PLUNGED in N.J. and Westchester. While a significant number of people are reluctant to leave the city, I think that when the price disparity is considered, and the better schools and already built parks, many more people are going to be “looking for options outside the city.”

  • I dont see how this can be. We looked at Novo months earlier than we ended up at One Brooklyn Bridge Park — at least 9 months earlier. We ended up at 1bbp and move in in three weekends (we could close now, but we have to finish up here first)

  • You get what you pay for.

    Of course I feel bad for the new owners, but anyone who walked up to one of those open houses and signed on the dotted line needs to have their heads examined.

    This country has lost ALL sight of quality. This age of people buying crap from Walmart, crappy homes built with twigs and 3 course meals out of a can, disgust me.

    Doesn’t ANYONE have the feeling that less is more in this day and age? Quality over quantity??

  • Prices in New Jersey are not expected to regain to their 2006 value until 2030. So if you move out there, better prepared to stay A WHILE!!! Oh, and NJ is bankrupt, so not sure how 20K a year taxes and $7 a gallon gas in 3 years is going to be a win win. Some people value human interaction a little more than they do 3000 sf.

  • 11.20 AM;

    Were you interested in discussing the matter at hand, or did you merely want to pontificate in general?

    After you finish your call with Al Gore, we await your further pearls of wisdom.

    Benson

  • Benson,

    At least I added SOMETHING to this thread.

    Unlike yours, which neither has to do with this article, not anything else for that matter.

    11:20

  • Less of you would be more 11:20/49.

  • How is the Argyle doing down the block? Units are still selling according to StreetEasy.

  • How much were they charging for 3 BR that made them such a deal in the first place?

  • Did a touch a nerve, 11:58?

    Feel bad for the closet full of payless shoes and boxes full of ticky tacky chinese tchotchkas you have filling your home?

  • Don’t worry, In a year you will be able to RENT that three bedroom at the NoGo.

  • here’s something they don’t want you to know: the argyle is actually in gowanus. shocker, i know…

  • The problem is Boylemgreen is an amateur – he doesnt have the organization to effectively manage the projects he got involved in (which is why his Israeli backer split from him).

    Yet how could you NOT feel sorry for contract holders – what did they do wrong?

    If Boylemgreen had any brains instead of tearing up contracts, he’d hire a reputable company to finish the park and get his C/O asap. Whatever it would cost, will be cheaper then holding onto a vacant building for even longer.

  • “here’s something they don’t want you to know: the argyle is actually in gowanus. shocker, i know…”

    They don’t want WHO to know?

    Don’t you think most people who have bought in the Argyle have at least gone to the location to see for themselves where it is located…?

    Your comment is asinine.

  • I feel bad for contract holders. Whatever your personal feelings are about the Novo- people who bought had their reasons. You don’t like their reasons? Tough. You can’t control why people do things which is why I think its crazy when people say so publicly. The people who bought had a reasonable expectation of when to move in. Sure they will be let out of their contracts- I think it was mentioned here that June 30 was the date they can be released- but I’m sure there’s going to be major disappointment because people have been strung out this long. Is it a blessing in disguise? Maybe- but I’m sure people held on to hope about moving out of whatever current situation they’re in. A year lost waiting for something that still may not come for months.

    As for Argyle- I hear its doing well (at least thats what the propaganda machine is saying) and the crest has move ins already (I thought crest is same developer?). Novo is moving really slowly.

  • Boylemgreen probably has such a bad reputation with contractors after so many bad episodes he simply can’t find someone to do the work for him.

  • Argyle is 70% sold.

    It’s also a far superior design to anything else on 4th Avenue.

    Goes to show that quality sells.

  • (Prices have PLUNGED in N.J. and Westchester. While a significant number of people are reluctant to leave the city, I think that when the price disparity is considered, and the better schools and already built parks, many more people are going to be “looking for options outside the city.”)

    Exactly. At some point the price different matters. So you can’t walk the the subway and the store. Ride a bike the commuter rail and the store instead.

    When they passed a retirement at age 55 instead of 62 for teachers, sucking all the money out of the classroom, that was the cue to run away.

  • It must really suck to watch the apartment you spent too much money on, that is across the street from a yellowcab depot, that’s not in park slope(even though you ate the bullshit they served you), go down in valueand become of the laughing stock of brooklyn over-development and you can’t even move in…good job shitheads!

  • Does anybody believe Argyle will look as nice as the rendering?

  • I believe Argyle is just about 60% sold, if not a little less. The building has 59 units total, and according to streeteasy, 32 units are in contract. Streeteasy does not reflect to the total units to date, it’s likely that the developer has not released them all.

  • “Does anybody believe Argyle will look as nice as the rendering?”

    Does it matter?

  • I heard a that the yellowcab depot was in discussions with a developer, we’ll see who will be the sh*theads in the next few years.

  • Sorry, but I have to laugh at the concept that a bunch of drywall on 4th ave is considered park slope. There is always someone willing to take everyone’s money and give as little as possible in return, and it is a shame.

  • 1:03 is a renter for life.

    he would have probably said the same thing about park slope in the 70′s when you could buy a brownstone for 100K.

  • 12:33 is proof that argyle sales are not going well. only a struggling broker for that project would have nerves that raw. if they don’t want you to know it’s in gowanus, why do they say park slope?

  • If we had to pay NJ or Westchester property taxes we’d have no way to also pay for private schools if we ever needed it; we’d have to keep a child in public school even if say, we didn’t like his teacher or he started having problems in school or hated the kids there. It’s not even having that option that would bug me. Also once he graduates from high school we’d still be paying huge property taxes PLUS college tuition at the same time! GULP. Just try to tell me how that’s such a big bargain, NJ people. For real. 18 years from now with the massive inflation on college tuition we’ve been seeing and which will continue, it will cost half a million bucks to send a child to an ivy league college. Nobody wants to pay huge property taxes their entire lives on top of that debt well beyond the time their kids are in the local public schools.

  • Sorry haters – I am all for honest disclosure etc… but the east side of 4th Ave at 4th Street has been Park Slope forever (maybe not the most desirable part – part PS none the less)

  • It’s not Gowanus. It’s Slope Gardens.

  • “in contract since april” – it’s barely june. i bought new construction in cobble hill 3 yrs ago and was delayed over a year. but it was worth it. this is nothing.

  • Does it matter if Argyle looks as good in real life as it does in the rendering?

    Yes. Of course it does.

    You don’t get to live in the computer model.

  • 32 units sold out of 59 means sales aren’t going well, 1:49?

    uh…sounds like the other commenter was right. you really are an idiot.

  • 2:03 – what you didn’t mention is that most of the 32 sold in 07. now who’s the idiot?

  • Good point about the taxes in NJ. I wouldn’t pay them no matter what, but hell if I’m going to be paying 20K, 25K a year once the kids are gone off to college.

    And by that point, we’ll want to be living back in the city, but prices would be so outrageous 15 years from now, that we’ll never get back. I’d prefer to hunker down now, buy a place (we just did!) and enjoy the fruits of this wonderful city.

  • (If we had to pay NJ or Westchester property taxes)

    How much to you earn? I’ve read the breakeven for NYC income taxes and suburban property taxes is $250 K. Above that, your local taxes are lower in the ‘burbs.

  • 1:54 – lots of people sell their houses when the kids go off to college. And beautiful coops in Westchester sell for $300 to $350/SF. If you have two or more kids who you are sending to public schools, the suburbs, if you like them, are a better deal than the $25,000 (and rising) private-school tuitions.

  • 2:16 – We’re far from rich, but by the time our kids go to college our mortgage will be paid off, and we will be able to pay tuition (well, it would be tough if both kids went to private colleges). The taxes on my house in five years will be about $15,000, and figure another $5,000 for heat. That’s $1,700 per month. Not bad for a whole house.

  • It’s not about being able to afford the tuition, 2:31, it’s about having to pay tens of thousands a year for taxes to support schools that you no longer use.

    New Jersey is in a real state of financial stress right now with things only getting worse. I know quite a few couples who moved to the NJ burbs in and around 2000…2001…2002. ALL they talk about is how they wish they never left Brooklyn….

    Just anecdotal, of course, but that’s what I’ve got…

    I’d be nervous about living in a place where I can’t live without a car. Gas prices in the mid term (5-7 years) will most definitely hit $7-10 a gallon. That’s a guarantee. In most of Europe, that is the reality right now in 2008. It’s headed our way…

    So you trade off spending more for a city dwelling now for paying 25K in taxes and 10K in gas a year in the burbs. It’s a trade-off for sure. Over the life of a mortgage, that’s 300K extra (just in gas) that you could have spent on a home in the city….

  • Can’t relate — I am only going to get MORE into gardening and home renovation and design when the kids are off to college! I’d never give up my house and garden, so we’re staying in Brooklyn. If we had to move back into an apartment in the suburbs to save on property taxes there after the kids go off to college, ugh, no thanks. Plus we’d want the kids to be able to have plenty space to comfortably live at home during the Summer so they can do NYC Summer internships in college.

  • If I ever left the city it would only be to go somewhere very rural. A total lifestyle change. I couldn’t do that halfway, not one or the other thing, where you’re in the burbs where it’s still really congested with people everywhere, but nothing around so you’re still having to drive everywhere. So you’re not connecting with those people. Weirdness and limbo.

  • 2:47 – 10K in gas? Give me a break. 15,000 miles/25 MPG = 600 gallons x $5/gallon = $3,000.

    Also, has everyone forgotten the NYC 5%(?) income tax.

  • “So you trade off spending more for a city dwelling now for paying 25K in taxes and 10K in gas a year in the burbs. It’s a trade-off for sure.”

    Gee, 10K in gas a year? Where do you get that? I just asked my coworkers who live in the burbs and drive about 10 miles every day what they spend on gas now and they said $1,500 to $2,000 a year. So you think gas will go to over $20 a gallon?

    I know lots of people who moved to the burbs in the last few years and loved it, so I never buy the comments about people regretting it. I’ve never met one. But I suppose they’re out there.

    Financially, however, if you buy the 800K house in Westchester I just saw with taxes of 15K a year, that seems a lot cheaper than a million plus on a condo at NOVO with, what, $1500 in monthly charges (18K a year), plus private school tuition, plus city income tax. Even if you spend 5K a year on gas in 5 years, it is still cheaper. Not to mention that you can invest all that cash you saved on the purchase price.

  • 3.11 PM;

    Your math is not complete. Being in the suburbs requires an extra car, and that car will easily go through 15K miles per year. Right now the IRS estimates that the total cost per mile (including gas, maintenance and depreciation of the car) is $0.505/year. That works out to $7.5K/year for that extra car.

    Another factor not considered in much of the analysis above is maintenance of the home. Things do break down. A larger lot/home means more money spent on things like lawn care, termite control, cleaning of gutters, etc.

    Finally, and this is just from my observation of my family who has moved to NJ: you spend alot more time there being a chaffeur to your kids. I don’t think it is particularly healthy for the kids either. My nieces and nephews are enrolled in “programs”, be it soccer, music lessons, whatever, to which they are chaffeured. They have no concept of getting together with their friends on their own.

    To each his own. Folks should be able to live where they want. I will say, however, that the economic realities are definitely tilting more in the city’s favor. Since the price of gas has gone up, I’ve used public transit more, such that my mileage is down to 200/month, without impacting my life style much. Can you really do the same thing in NJ? Indeed, one of my theories as to why gas prices keep going up is that there is little elasticity in demand. Once you are in the suburbs, your consumption pattern is locked in.

    Benson

  • 3.11 PM;

    Your math is not complete. Being in the suburbs requires an extra car, and that car will easily go through 15K miles per year. Right now the IRS estimates that the total cost per mile (including gas, maintenance and depreciation of the car) is $0.505/year. That works out to $7.5K/year for that extra car, PLUS the cost of insurance. Put it all together, and you are talking about $10K/year for that extra car.

    Another factor not considered in much of the analysis above is maintenance of the home. Things do break down. A larger lot/home means more money spent on things like lawn care, termite control, cleaning of gutters, etc.

    Finally, and this is just from my observation of my family who has moved to NJ: you spend alot more time there being a chaffeur to your kids. I don’t think it is particularly healthy for the kids. My nieces and nephews are enrolled in “programs”, be it soccer, music lessons, whatever, to which they are chaffeured. They have no concept of getting together with their friends and amusing themselves.

    To each his own. Folks should be able to live where they want. I will say, however, that the economic realities are definitely tilting more in the city’s favor. Since the price of gas has gone up, I’ve used public transit more, such that my mileage is down to 200/month, without impacting my life style much. Can you really do the same thing in NJ? Indeed, one of my theories as to why gas prices keep going up is that there is little elasticity in demand. Once you are in the suburbs, your consumption pattern is locked in.

    Benson

  • For everyone that has not locked in rates for closing beyond 2 months should really consider doing a long term lock. The summer is infamous for high rates and with hurricane season and oil prices going up, dont expect rates to be dropping. Of course no one knows for sure. We still have the best long term lock options with free float down option 60 days prior to closing. The rate you lock in at is the highest it can be. If rates do drop prior to closing, simply float down at no cost. sunny_hong@countrywide.com

  • 2:47 – 10K in gas? Give me a break. 15,000 miles/25 MPG = 600 gallons x $5/gallon = $3,000.

    ****
    I don’t know any family in the suburbs who has only one car. Usually 2…sometimes 3.

    And we are talking about $7-9 gas in 5 years. Not $5. It will be 5 bucks by next year or the year after…

    So yes…in 5 years, some families will be paying a HUGE chunk of change for gasoline.

    I find that ridiculous. Especially since most of that money is not even going to our country.

    I’d rather pay 5% city tax here to go towards building a more self sustaining city than to the Prince of Saudi Arabia.

    That’s just me, though.

  • The 1,500 to 2,000K a year on gas I quoted was for 2 car families. Even if prices triple, you are talking a max of 6K a year down the road for 2 cars.

  • “My nieces and nephews are enrolled in “programs”, be it soccer, music lessons, whatever, to which they are chaffeured. They have no concept of getting together with their friends and amusing themselves.”

    You don’t have kids, do you? My kids here in Brooklyn have after school programs 4 days a week. And guess what? I or the nanny take them there (sometimes by subway, but often car is easiest). I don’t think what you’re talking about is a suburb thing.

  • 2:01 and 3:47: The quote said “April last year” that is ~14 months ago, not 2.

  • 3:47–but you’re OK with giving 18K a year to NOVO??

  • Ridiculous is your belief that we will be paying $7-9 a gallon for gas in 5yrs.
    Unless the Govt starts to tax gasoline like cigarettes (not likely), I promise you (not that its worth anything here but….) that gasoline will revert to more historical norms relatively soon and we will be back to less than $3 a gallon soon enough.

    Oil has gone through these cycles from the days when Pennsylvania was the “Saudi Arabia” of the world (smoothing out the boom and bust was how Rockefeller got control of the industry and made billions) and on every price spike people always believed that ‘this time is different’ – but it isnt – demand (and to a lesser extent supply) is elastic and adjusts – thereby bringing down prices.

    I know people have short memories but Oil was at approximately $11 a barrel as recently as 1999 – China and India have not raised demand that much in 9 years to justify 1000x price increase – no matter what journalists like to write.

  • 3:47, as you must know, here in lower Westchester County many people take the train to Manhattan or have a short drive to White Plains or 287. The second car hardly gets used. And going forward there will be lots of cars that get 30 to 35 MPG. The price of gasoline will not have much of an impact on the inner suburbs.

  • regardless of the condo – if your are buying pre-construction – try to get a 1 year lock in rate. we did. also, really really shop and track how fast your building is going up and how many units are sold.

    there are buildings that still seriously aren’t finished that were kicking around when we bought our condo summer of 2006 and we’ve been in here for 1 year and 1/2.

    for the PS obsessed, the NOVO is a good deal – regardless of the naysayers here. personally, i’m not a fan of PS and especially not 4th ave, but i can understand that this was the only way for many who wanted in the hood, so lighten up on them.

  • 4.12 PM;

    I think your analysis is off. You must surely have seen the reports in the paper that the oil industry itself (not the tree huggers) are concerned that supply has peaked,and is now on a downward slope.

    I completely disagree with your statement that demand is elastic. The vast majority of Americans live in places where driving to work, the stores, etc. is the only option. What elasticity do they have? Freezing their buns off in their house?

    4.04 PM;

    I do have kids (now grown) that I raised in Brooklyn. I should have been more specific in my statements. I was referring to the teenage years. By that time my kids were able to go to most places by themselves, whereas my brother and his wife were only stepping up their chaffeuring activities at that time.

    Benson

  • Benson – of course the oil industry says that supply has peaked – controlling a scarcer commodity is way more profitable than an abundant one.
    Supply is also elastic, in that oil that is not cost effective to recover and refine at $20 (for example) a barrel becomes more economical at $30, $40, $100 a barrel. This applies to old wells, wells with less than ‘pure’ light sweet crude as well as oil in places like deep below the Gulf of Mexico.

    As for demand – of course it is elastic – as the price increases – people will buy/drive more efficient cars – they will combine trips – they will take less optional trips (like vacations)-if the price gets high enough they will move closer to essential things like jobs, retail and entertainment. Businesses will adjust by having less trips, more efficient deliveries and so on.

    As to freezing – the vast majority of people outside of the Northeast use Natural Gas to heat – so they wont have to freeze and the rest will take up Jimmy Carter’s instructions from the 70′s and deal with a slightly colder house.

    Over the longer term if the cost doesn’t come down – people and industry will switch to alternatives like electric (most electric comes from coal or NG plants), and non-oil based substitutes for petroleum products.

    Eventually, as people demand less oil – the price inevitably falls (peak oil or not btw) – mind you this does nothing for carbon emmisions but the idea that people will be forced to pay $9 to drive 25mi or so for the rest of history is just silly –

    BTW – the above is essentially Econ 101

  • 4:51…

    You seem to think the world revolves solely around the United States.

    The reason gas prices are headed towards 7-9 bucks a gallon has abolutely NOTHING to do with the U.S.

    It has to do with the ever increasing demand for oil from China, India, Brazil, etc.

    I’m not sure where your economic schooling comes from, but gas prices are going no where but up. They may fluctuate, but what’s happening now is a trend towards higher gas prices. Not a “high” in a wave.

  • A friends finally pulled out and got a 3-bedroom in PS in a decent building. Very different living situation but I’m glad they were able to pull out a while back. Frankly, they wasted a lot of money in rent during the interim.

    There should be a class action against “BoilCream”!

  • “Financially, however, if you buy the 800K house in Westchester I just saw with taxes of 15K a year, that seems a lot cheaper than a million plus on a condo at NOVO with, what, $1500 in monthly charges (18K a year), plus private school tuition, plus city income tax.”

    First of all, Novo is in PS 321. So people there would not pay for private school. For K-5 anyway.

    Secondly, we sold an apartment we owned for 13 years and paid cash for a house. That kind of trade-up never happens in the burbs. Don’t forget that. City residents aren’t all making 20% down types of purchases like the suburbs. As for city income taxes, it’s still less than what we’d pay to buy a car and insure it.

    You won’t be able to make the suburbs appealing financially. If people choose the burbs it is not for financial investment reasons. It’s a lifestyle choice all the way. Nothing wrong with that. But for those who really love the city and want to stay, these days they really should. And they are. It doesn’t make enough sense to choose the burbs for financial reasons only.

  • the burbs are a sell out.

    even the people who move there know it.

  • 5:10 – so people in the rest of the world are retarded? They are too dumb to use alternatives to oil? Brazil already powers virtually all of its cars by ethanol – I guess that is just a fluke?
    If anything developing countries like India and China have even a more elastic demand curve for oil because
    1. They have virtually no domestic supply (unlike U.S. where we produce almost 50% of the oil we consume)
    2. They are poorer and therefore more sensitive to price – since it makes up a larger % of their GDP and personal income
    3. Are less constrained by environmental laws then the US and Europe – and therefore can (and do) burn more and dirtier coal for their electric needs.
    4. Do not have the oil based infrastructure that we do – therefore alternatives are cheaper to implement
    5 Have a population moving more toward urban living and do not have and likely (with high fuel cost) will not develop – car dependent suburbs to the extent post-war U.S. did.
    It seems clear to me that my schooling in economics was far more advanced then yours – I also am amused by your confidence about ever rising fuel prices – it makes me nostalgic for peoples past confidence in ever rising housing prices(2000s), ever rising tech stocks (1990s), ever rising silver prices (80s), etc….

  • just a little tip, 9:24….

    one can always build more homes.

    we can live without silver, if necessary, although no need…

    there will always be more stock option.

    but here’s the kicker…god ain’t makin no more oil. when it’s gone, it’s gone.

    so you comparing it to home prices shows that your economic schooling ended at around 1st grade.

  • 10:12: You forgot that 9:24 is a dinosaur. When he dies and his body is compressed into oil, prices will decline drasticly.

  • Funny 10:12 – werent you the person who 24mo ago was saying Real Estate will always go up because “God aint makin no more land”…..

  • nope, i’d never say such a thing…

    nice try to cover up your ignorance though…

    i’ll give you that one, old man.

  • c’mon…oil and gas prices are going up, isn’t it just that obvious? no one thought that it would hit $80 a barrel, then $100, then $130…guess what, it did. I believe there some speculation out there that the cost of the barrell will hit $200, is this possible? I think so.

  • Please check this thread in 6mo 1yr and 18mo -

    Then we will see who was right about gasoline prices.

  • Back to the subject of Novo contract holders. I feel sorry they have to wait so long but the wait is also a blessing at the end of the day. Thank BM for his screw-up because they can be released from their contracts. Everyone who signed a contract before the market crashed last Summer had pay a price at the peak of the market.

  • Regardless of what anyone says, the NOVO is by far the nicest building as of right now on 4th ave. Argyle wont be complete for the next 1 1/2 or so. Forte/ ORO? overpriced…
    in thext 2 years there will be nicer buildings in the area, but as of now no… back out of a contract.. and go where?

  • Any update on this thread? Doesn’t look like they’re getting their CofO today..