Friday, 3 June 2016

'Million Dollar Listing New York' S5E7: Downtown Demands

This week's episode of Million Dollar Listing sees high prices for downtown digs. Plus, will Freddy and Luis finally strike a deal?

It's Season 5 of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three brokers, Fredrik Eklund, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Serhant, show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 6/2/2016.

When we left off with Ryan Serhant last week, he was in the middle of a fight with the world's friendliest broker, Amy, with whom he's sharing a listing with at The Jade. She's angry that she was left in the dark about a price reduction the listing, which is basically same thing that happened between Ryan and Luis earlier this season. After a few deep breaths and some flattery, Ryan is able to calm Amy down, and agrees to practice better communication going forward (isn't that the same thing that happens between Ryan and Emilia in like, every season?)

Next up is Luis, who is showing an apartment at 870 United Nations Plaza to married couple Gerard and Miriam. They're searching for a Midtown East and/or Upper East Side apartment with a budget of $7 to $9 million. The 5,500-square-foot apartment is impressive, and under budget at $6.995 million, but they pass on it because—get this—the kitchen is too dark. Because when you're willing to drop nearly $10 million on a place to live, getting the cabinets redone is what's going to break the bank. Onto the next property!

Time to check in with Fredrik at his new listing at 1 Great Jones Alley. After last week's wildly successful open house—in which he sold out 25 percent of the building—developer Dan has decided to increase the pricing by 5 percent. Although Freddy is upset about the price change, it's not going to stop him from doing his job, and he's busy with private showings for the final units. Unfortunately, all of the customers still want schedule A, and don't understand how the cost could have increased so dramatically in only seven days. Womp womp.

It's a family affair as Miriam and Gerard bring their kiddies on the next apartment tour with Luis. This one is another UES location, $7 million, but with a twist. Because their budget is a bit restrictive for their desired location, Luis gets creative and suggests they take the remaining $2 million to renovate the space to their liking. Miriam says, "It's too much work, sorry," and tells Luis she is open to looking in a new, more modern neighborhood. Perhaps downtown? And unsure Gerard gives in, saying, "I'm young at heart," and the search continues.

In between drinking his probiotics and patting his t-zone dry (for real), Ryan receives a call at home from Sherif. Since the recent price drop at The Jade, Ryan and Amy have been giving countless showings, but still no offer. Sherif, known for his impulsivity, wants to take it off the market before it becomes stale. Not wanting to incur the wrath of Amy again, he insists on dialing her in. No answer. Uh oh...

Fredrik can't get Developer Dan off his back regarding the remaining units at 1 Great Jones Alley. If only he knew somebody with clients looking for a modern downtown apartment in the $9 million price range.… Enter Luis! He and Freddy have developed an actual business relationship (which we learned a few episodes ago) and think this might be a match made in heaven. Sure, Miriam and Gerard are leaning towards Midtown East, and sure, the apartment is half-a-million dollars over their budget. But Luis and Freddy are going to make it work, dammit!

Back at Casa de Serhant, Ryan is attempting to patch Amy into the convo between he and Sherif, and on the last ring she picks up. She gently tells Sherif, "I think we need to give it a little bit more time and let people adjust to the new price point," but he isn't budging. He tells Ryan and Amy that he stills believes in them, but he is taking the listing down and wants to revisit at a later date. Well, I hope Ryan and Amy can at least stay friends.

With Miriam and Gerard in tow, Luis heads over to 1 Great Jones Alley to meet Fredrik for a tour of the model unit. Despite Luis constantly interrupting Fredrik's pitch—a total broker no-no—the couple is impressed by the modern, natural look of the apartment. Freddy may have even swayed Gerard, who says, "we definitely love this place, but you and I [Luis] need to talk about price." Let the negotiations begin!

Ryan has moved on from the disappointment at The Jade to greener pastures. He's finally connected with Josh, a big-time developer in the East Village, and the two are touring the new Issac & Stern building at 100 Avenue A, right across from Tompkins Square Park. The eight-story, 32-unit development will be a mix of both commercial and residential units, and the first of its kind in the neighborhood. Although its priced at nearly two times the East Village average square footage—$2,500 versus $1,300—it's still fairly low for Manhattan standards, and Ryan is determined to get a piece of the action. Some added incentive? Josh reveals that his development company has at one time owned up to 50 buildings in the East Village alone. Cha-ching!

Luis and Fredrik meet up to begin negotiating a deal for 1 Great Jones Alley. Nobody has paid under full ask yet (which is $9.555 million), yet Luis is convinced that he is going to get the digs for under $9 million. When Luis presents Fredrik with Miriam and Gerard's offer of $9 million, the latter scoffs and nearly refuses to present the offer to Dan, who predictably says: "you really need to do it at full ask." Fredrik returns from his phone call and Luis reveals that his clients have authorized him to go up to the original schedule A pricing of $9.125 million. (Wait a second—isn't this the exact same thing that happened two weeks ago?!?) Freddy says there is "no effing way" Dan is going to counter, but Luis calls his bluff: "They're not gonna to come to your full ask. They're just not gonna do it."

Back in the East Village, Ryan tells Josh he thinks he can sell the new building but will need complete creative control in terms of marketing and promotion. With over 40 development projects hitting Manhattan in the next 90 days, he needs to take a chance on something that will stand out. His idea? A sex, drugs, and rock & roll theme to capture the vibe of the East Village—you know, back before multi-million dollar condos sprouted up all over the place. Josh agrees, but says Ryan must "pre-sell" 50 percent of the building in order for him to become a believer. Pre-sell? You mean without any model units, sales floors or fancy computer generated images? A look of sheer terror glazes over Ryan's face as he says, "Ready set go. Let's fucking do it. I'll do it. Sweet. Awesome. Great. I won't let you down," and they engage in a bro-y high-five thing. I don't know whether he wants to cry or crush a beer can on his forehead.

But enough about Ryan's impending nervous breakdown—let's get back to Luis and Freddy! After some smooth talking (something about "getting momentum going"), Freddy has managed to get Dan down to $9.25 million. Luis calls Gerard, explaining to him that they are the only people who are going to get the full-floor unit at a discounted price, and Gerard gives him the go-ahead. Finally! After five seasons of Million Dollar Listing, Luis and Freddy have struck a deal.

It's time to get the marketing plan going for Ryan's listing in the East Village, so he's enlisted the help of Trina, the best body painter in New York City. (For real, though.) The plan is for her to paint two models to look just like the 98 Avenue A building, only they'll actually be naked. So we've tackled the "sex" part; now where are the drugs and rock & roll?

Fredrik is all smiles when he meets with Luis at the office, until Luis drops some bad news. Gerard and Miriam have gotten cold feet and are sticking with the Upper East Side; there will be no deal at 1 Great Jones Alley after all. Despite their best efforts, it seems like Freddy and Luis just can't make it work between the two of them, and tempers begins to flare. Right before Freddy is about to blow his top, he thinks back to what happened between him and Jared earlier in the season and says, "I need to be more understanding. At the end of the day, I don't want to fight with him anymore." The two end up apologizing to each other and hugging it out. My, how far we've come.

In the last portion of the episode we focus on Ryan, who has launched what he says "is the greatest marketing campaign anyone has ever done for any building." With sorta-nude paintings of chicks plastered all over the city, including a new set he had done with the building's address painted on the models, the campaign is sparking both positive and negative reactions. Mostly, it's sparking the anger of Josh: "This is not what we talked about at all. What were you thinking?" Ryan is so worried that he's made a huge mistake, even Emilia can't cheer him up. He wonders if he's going to get fired, when he notices fifteen missed calls on his cell phone from the last five minutes. But who could they be from? You'll have to wait until next week to find out!


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