Maid in Manhattan
You don't need to be a rock star or a Wall Street tycoon to get a million-dollar apartment at Manhattan's über-exclusive15 Central Park West-you just have to work for one. Individuals who purchase condos of at least 4,000 square feet at the community can also opt to buy separate servants' quarters from a pool of 21 studio and three one-bedroom units ranging from 350 square feet to 500 square feet. The price tag: an additional $875,000 to $2.24 million. Penthouse dwellers need not fear what the neighbors will say, either-the servants' quarters are sequestered at "tree level" on floors six through eight, offering a little "personal space" between employer and employee. "They can still watch their own TV and have their own life," the project's developer Arthur Zeckendorf told Bloomberg.com. "If you have someone working for you full-time, you still want your privacy." Public records indicate that Goldman Sachs Group chairman Lloyd Blankfein, former Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill, and Police frontman Sting are all buying units in the building. Those records do not indicate, however, if these high-rollers have opted for servants' quarter. And for now, Zeckendorf is keeping mum. Private, indeed.
The Living Dead, Down Under
An Australian landlord is stopping at nothing to collect $600 from a resident who broke the terms of his lease by dying. Although survivors of Michael Jay Ward-who had eight months remaining on a 12-month lease-did their best to help clean and vacate the deceased's apartment in Traralgon, Victoria, landlord Antony Lee is still demanding compensation for lost rent on the unit. "A tenant has died. Is that my problem?" Lee told the Herald Sun, Australia's largest daily newspaper. Local authorities don't seem to think so. A Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled that Lee is entitled to one month's rent, based on the fact that the tenant failed to give 28 days notice that the lease was going to be terminated. Ward died from a heart attack on Dec. 6.
If you are looking for a clever way to put the real estate market in perspective, the folks at the econ/politico/entertainment blog Speculative Bubble have got a video for you. Also available via a quick search on YouTube, the Real Estate Roller Coaster is a roller coaster simulation that tracks the ups and downs of U.S. home prices from 1890 to the present. The virtual coaster ride itself stops at 2007-current home price data that would undeniably mean another dip for riders has yet to be added. MFE believes the video's cliffhanger-which literally leaves the rider precipitously clinging to the track at unimaginable heights with more than a century of sprawl below you-is equally apt. Take a ride for yourself by clicking here.
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