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Photo of Jennifer Alese with renderings of 101 West 14th Street and 145 Central Park North  (NestSeekers International) Photo of Jennifer Alese with renderings of 101 West 14th Street and 145 Central Park North (NestSeekers International)
Jennifer Alese, Associate Broker and Director of New Development at SERHANT, is heavily involved in the latest wave of NYC's latest new developments With ground-up condos such as 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, 550 West 29th Street, and 41 Great Jones Street under her belt. she is heavily involved in all aspects of high-end residential real estate from fine-tuning floor plans and forming the amenity mix, to pricing, sellout, and delivery.

As a native New Yorker with a background in title insurance, Jennifer brings to the table a keen understanding of real estate transactions, knowledge of the city, and a passion for beautiful spaces. We recently caught up with her to discuss this rather eventful year, two new-to-the-market developments, and what she has been seeing on the ground from her clients and prospective buyers.

What's your take on the Manhattan residential market this winter, and what do you foresee for the rest of 2021 now that there is a vaccine and the presidential election has been decided?

We are already seeing an uptick in sales across Manhattan, and I predict the vaccine will allow prospective buyers to feel much more comfortable as they come back. 2021 is off to a strong start and it is showing no signs of slowing down. The energy has been incredible. We see many buyers trying to be opportunistic. However, many sponsors are not cutting prices on new development units and are holding their prices a little firmer. Homes under $1.5 million seem to be moving as well as the high-end market above $3 million.

Do you still think buying a condo in New York City is a safe investment?

Yes, and I think the people who buy now will profit like the buyers in 2008. It's the same cycle that has been repeated every 5-10 years. If you look back at history, it always comes back. You can't kill the vibe of New York City.

What have you been seeing lately in terms of buyer preferences?

Larger apartments with an extra room or home office continue to be a trend. Ceiling height is also becoming a more desirable trait — 10 - 11-foot ceilings make an apartment feel much bigger. Views are big and so is location. Now more than ever, people do not want to feel isolated. They want to be in buzzy areas. In Brooklyn, inventory is moving steadily, especially in boutique projects.

Buyers are more focused on price, finishes, and amenities. There's a strong demand for buildings that have outdoor space, rooftops, or courtyards. The standard amenities that have grown commonplace haven't changed, but everyone wants their home to feel spacious and open.

Ryan Serhant Ryan Serhant (Nest Seekers)
Our Harlem development at 145 Central Park North has generated the most interest. Nearly every unit has outdoor space and everyone who visits gravitates to the park view. We usually stand back and give them a moment to take it all in. They get emotionally attached —the flooring, the wood window frames, and tree-top views all give off this natural vibe.

We are also handling the sales and marketing of 101 West 14th Street designed by ODA. The majority of units are duplexes with terraces, Brazillian stone, double-height living rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows — nothing in this building is cookie-cutter.

Looking to the future, I believe developers will get more creative incorporating stand-out, memorable features. People apartment-hunting scroll through hundreds of images, so a unit needs to have something memorable to attract attention.

101 West 14th Street designed by ODA Architecture (Rendering by @binyanstudios)
101 West 14th Street interior rendering (@binyanstudios)

What's your dream apartment and which neighborhood is it in?

My dream apartment would have views of the east.... and west. Twelve-foot ceilings with a terrace on both sides. My favorite neighborhood is the West Village. While I live for new developments, I maintain a love for charm and old buildings.

Do you have a favorite architect or designer?

Morris Adjmi is great, wonderful to collaborate with. Another favorite architect to work with has been ODA — I love the way their stuff stands out in a tasteful way.

What can the city do to make New York more livable?

I'd like to see the city get a handle on sanitation. The next mayor will certainly play an important role in the recovery of the city. I think it's safe to say that everyone will be rooting for NYC to come back stronger than ever.
145 Central Park north Roof deck and south view at 145 Central Park North (GRID Development Group / Gluck+ Architects
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