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Manhattan ‘fortress’ appears unassuming outside, but is a sight to behold inside





The red granite facade offers no hint of what’s inside the townhouse on Manhattan’s East 65th St. Which is exactly how the owner likes it.

The wealthy art dealer who runs his business out of his home values his security and privacy, says listing agent Régis Roumila of Christie’s International Real Estate.

“It’s like a fortress, difficult to get in,” says Roumila. But once inside, “you’re in a different dimension.”

A series of ramps are the initial attention-getters, as they zigzag through the open floor plan of the six-level residence. Then there are the suite’s dimensions: 25 feet wide and running 100 feet to the back. With travertine-lined walls, mirrors and a glass ceiling that infuses the great room far below with natural light, the interior design is a sight to behold.

The effect, says Roumila, is an “airy alternative to a traditional townhouse” and the creation of an eye-popping showcase for a world-class collection of art and antiques where one gilt-adorned table alone is worth $700,000.

Built in 1940, the tall mansion was one of the first modernist townhouses in the heart of New York. It was designed by architects William Hamby and George Nelson, who were hired to create a home as “adventurous” as its owner, Sherman M. Fairchild., according to Christie’s.

The businessman, aviation pioneer and inventor was famous for the first synchronized camera shutter and flash, and aerial cameras, which were later used on Apollo space missions.

Fairchild — party host, jazz aficionado and audio-recording whiz — resided, played and worked in his house, which called a highly efficient “machine for living.”

Thanks to soundproofing, “the sights and sounds of the city seem very remote to the occupant, and the feeling of privacy is virtually complete,” reported Architectural Forum in 1943.

The current owner, a former Wall St. banker, redesigned the exterior as well as renovating the interior when he bought the home more than 35 years ago.

The townhouse remains an “architectural tour de force unlike any other in New York,” observes Christie’s, which is tasked with finding a buyer following the failure of other firms during several attempts dating back to 2014.

The art-dealing octogenarian “doesn’t need the money,” Roumila explains, noting a price drop of $5 million that was slow to come.

(The owner told the he was selling because there’s no elevator connecting the basement level, where his office is located, with the other five floors. The Rockefellers, J. Paul Getty and J.P. Morgan were reportedly among his clients.)

The almost 80-year-old building has much to offer and many options for use, Roumila says of the piece of real estate he terms “very, very rare for Manhattan.”

Its Upper East Side location between Madison and 5th Aves. is a short walk from Central Park and the city’s best restaurants, Roumila says. And it’s the ideal live-work spot for musicians and business owners or home base for a young or multi-generational family. Five bedrooms — including three masters — spread over three floors provide privacy and accommodation for a live-in maid or nanny, he says.


Price: $35 million (U.S.)

Size: 9,440 square feet

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 6 full, 2 half


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Victoria real estate agent disciplined for false advertising, encouraging cash deal to avoid taxes





A Victoria real estate agent is facing $9,000 in fines and a 60-day licence suspension after breaking several professional rules during the sale of her father’s half-million-dollar property, according to a decision by the Real Estate Council of B.C. 

Whitney Garside’s missteps — outlined this week in a disciplinary decision posted on the council’s website — included falsely advertising the property as being almost twice its actual size and advising the buyer they could avoid the property transfer tax if they paid cash directly to the seller.

The property on Burnett Road in Victoria was being sold in 2016 by the real estate agent’s father. That relationship was disclosed and isn’t among the reasons she has been disciplined.

According to the disciplinary consent order, Garside told the buyer — whose name is redacted — that by paying $42,000 cash on the side, the value of the property could be reduced to avoid paying the property transfer tax.

That cash arrangement was not shared with Garside’s brokerage, Re/Max Camosun, a failure that contravened the Real Estate Services Act.

The council also ruled that she “failed to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill” when she advised the buyer the property transfer tax could be avoided by paying cash directly to the seller. 

The council’s discipline committee also found that Garside committed professional misconduct when she failed to recommend the seller and buyer seek independent legal advice, specifically regarding the property transfer tax and the cash agreement.

Another issue the council considered professional misconduct involved the size of the property in question.

The council ruled that Garside published false and misleading advertising and failed to act with reasonable care and skill when the property was advertised as 8,712 square feet, when in fact a portion of the lot belonged to the Ministry of Transportation, and the actual size was just 4,711 square feet.

The discipline committee ordered Garside’s licence be suspended for 60 days, which will be completed Jan. 3, 2021.

She has also been ordered to complete real estate ethics and remedial classes at her own expense.

Garside was also fined $7,500 as a disciplinary penalty and $1,500 in enforcement expenses.

She agreed to waive her right to appeal the council’s discipline committee’s decision in September.

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Frisco apartment community sells to Canadian investor





A Canada-based investor has purchased a Frisco apartment community as part of a larger Texas deal.

The 330-unit Satori Frisco apartments opened last year on Research Road in Frisco.

BSR Real Estate Investment Trust bought the four-story rental community that was built by Atlanta-based Davis Development.

Satori Frisco was more than 90% leased at the time of sale. The property includes a two-story fitness center, a car care center, a dog park and a resort-style swimming pool.

The Frisco property sold along with Houston’s Vale luxury apartments in a deal valued at $129 million.

“BSR recently exited the smaller Beaumont and Longview, Texas, markets and also sold noncore properties in other markets,” John Bailey, BSR’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are now using our strong liquidity position to invest in Vale and Satori Frisco, modern communities in core growth markets with the amenities our residents desire.”

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House prices on Prince Edward Island continue steady climb





Residential real estate prices on Prince Edward Island continue to climb at a rate higher than the national average, according to the latest report from a national organization. 

The Canadian Real Estate Association released monthly figures for November 2020 on Tuesday.

They show that the average price for a resale home on P.E.I. is about 21 per cent higher than it was a year earlier. 

Only Quebec had a bigger year-over-year increase, at about 23 per cent. Overall across Canada, prices were up 13.8 per cent year over year in the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the fifth straight month, year-over-year sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to the same month in 2019,” the report noted.

“Meanwhile, an ongoing shortage of supply of homes available for purchase across most of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces means sellers there hold the upper hand in sales negotiations.”

That lack of houses coming onto the market compared to the demand means that in those provinces, there is “increased competition among buyers for listings and … fertile ground for price gains.”

There have been anecdotal reports for months that Prince Edward Island’s low rate of COVID-19 infection and looser rules around social activities have been encouraging people to buy homes on the Island. 

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