Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
Courtesy of Rimontgó
The region around and in particular south of Valencia, all the way to Murcia and beyond, is synonymous with the cultivation of oranges. The most important orange-growing region in Europe, it is also the iconic home of the famous Spanish orange.
Brazil and the US may actually produce more oranges than Spain these days, but within Europe the ubiquitous fruit is still firmly associated with Spain and its sunny climate. Known in many languages as the ‘Spanish apple’, Citrus sinensus is thought to have originated in the tropical climate of South East Asia and to have been in cultivation in China by the third millennium BC.
Developed from the cross-cultivation of the pomelo and the mandarin, the sweet orange is also perfectly suited to the Mediterranean climate, and is thought to have reached these parts in medieval times. The orange tree certainly took root in Iberian soil and before long had become so entrenched that it is now a part of Spanish iconography.
Where the regions of Seville and Huelva became known for their bitter oranges, as used in the making of marmalade, the region of Valencia was to become famous for its sweet oranges and mandarins. The majority of the country’s 80,000 hectares dedicated to the fruit are to be found in this region, where the dark green leaves of endless orange groves line the valleys and stretch far into the distance.
The little town of Nules has even given its name to an important variety of Clementine, while the Valencia orange has its origins in California but was named in deference to the city’s unique association with this foodstuff. Though production soon spread to other parts of the world, Spain was by the 19th century the most important exporter in Europe, eventually developing a huge industry that was centred in Valencia and sent much-needed vitamin C to other countries throughout Europe.
The medicinal importance of the orange was recognised in countries such as Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, with their long, dark winters devoid of sunlight. As a result, oranges and mandarins became an important delicacy for generations of children, a treat enjoyed above all at Christmas. The majority of the fruit consumed in this way in Central and Northern Europe not only came from the eastern region of Spain, but was shipped from Valencia as well as a host of smaller ports along the coast.
As a family business, Rimontgó traces its own roots to the orange-exporting business founded in Jávea at the beginning of the 20th century. With Britain as the principal market, it was to form the basis of a thriving business well beyond the Spanish Civil War, the iconic purple paper into which individual oranges were wrapped proving to be a powerful brand that still resonates with the generations that were growing up then. The link first established by oranges between this region of Spain and Northern Europe would later be revived when foreign tourists began to visit and later settle along the Bay of Jávea – with Rimontgó as a common link throughout.
21 years ago I assembled the shareholders and signed the papers which created Warburg Realty. Then, as now, we were emerging from a severe recession. I still believe in the future to which I pledged myself and the company in September of 1991. As a token of that belief, Warburg has just signed leases to expand and move our headquarters to a full floor at 654 Madison Avenue, on 60th Street. How the future shapes up will depend on many factors outside any of our control, but New York possesses a number of essential attributes which protect our real estate sales market against the worst sorts of adversity. Here they are:
· The city never stops growing. For a variety of reasons, from economic opportunity to energy efficiency, from artistic freedom to racial heterogeneity, America’s great cities are magnets whose attraction just grows greater from one year to the next. And what city is greater than New York? People from all over the country and the world flock here to live every year, eager to make our city’s energy and excitement work for them.
· There is little housing available. Every year, our housing shortage becomes more acute. The rental market is tighter than it has ever been, converting many would-be renters to would-be buyers. And according to the most recent census, rentals account for 70% of Manhattan’s housing stock! No wonder so many would-be buyers feel there is nothing for them to look at. With only 30% of Manhattan’s housing stock in the sales pool to begin with, there is never more than 1.5% or 2% available at any one time.
· The city is an incubator for business growth. An August 19th Crain’s article points out the discrepancy between the stubbornly high unemployment numbers about which we keep reading and the actual rate of job growth in the city, which has seen 200,000 new jobs added since the recession ended in September of 2009. Gradually, such job creation leads to business expansion, which in turn leads to increased commercial leasing, residential rentals, and residential sales. If more people are employed, those people need to actually live and work somewhere.
· Quality of life throughout New York continues to improve. Crime remains at historic lows relative to other U.S. cities, and New York has never looked more beautiful. We have green space extending up the Hudson Riverbank from the Battery to 125th St, we have the High Line, and our parks are oases of tranquility, magnets for New Yorkers of every income and age level. We have spectacular new residential buildings designed by the world’s greatest architects. Broadway, Lincoln Center, BAM, countless galleries, and hundreds of small cutting edge venues in every borough provide display and performance opportunities for artists of every variety. There is no more exciting place to live.
For 21 years we have built a business based on integrity, product knowledge, negotiating expertise, and a deep belief in the city we inhabit and serve. These qualities have made Warburg a force in the marketplace as we come of age. Who knows what our marketplace will look like 21 years from now? My colleagues, my shareholders and I look forward to finding out.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
The Santa Barbara lifestyle is one of refined beachside elegance. Visions of grand luxury homes and real estate properties, fine local wines, pristine beaches and resorts ideal for your next vacation, and incredible natural beauty come to mind, attracting countless visitors and luxury home seekers each year. Imagine a 30 acre property within walking distance to the glimmering Pacific Ocean, filled with lush botanical gardens, overlooking the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and the Santa Ynez Mountains…does this sound like a dream property? Welcome to the Santa Barbara Zoo, hailed as one of the most beautiful zoos in the world and the dream home of more than 400 animals from 160 species!
The coastal city of Santa Barbara has a rich and interesting history, and the Santa Barbara Zoo is no exception. The land that the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on was purchased in the late 1800s by a tea and coffee merchant who rode on horseback from Pasadena to Santa Barbara – and who was so charmed by Santa Barbara’s beauty that he decided to stay! When he died, his widow graciously allowed a self-policed community of victims of the Great Depression to live on the property – so long as they abided by her rules on order and neatness. Once she was no longer able to maintain the estate, she donated it to the Santa Barbara Foundation. When the time came for the Santa Barbara Foundation to decide what to do with the land, they ultimately decided to give back to the community by using the land as the site for the Santa Barbara Zoo, which opened its doors in August 1963.
Today, the Santa Barbara Zoo continues to be a well-loved community establishment. With animals from every corner of the globe, there is sure to be something for everyone. In addition to observing the many creatures in residence at the Santa Barbara Zoo, visitors can get take part in activities such as hand-feeding the giraffes and penguins or participate in the Keeper For A Day, Backstage Pass, and Behind-the-Scenes Tour programs to get up close and personal with the zoo’s wildlife. The Santa Barbara Zoo also provides a number of other great community events such as Zoovies (outdoor movies at the zoo) during the summer, the upcoming Boo At The Zoo, a Halloween themed festival, and the Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash (click here for a complete list of events at the Santa Barbara Zoo).
As people scour the globe searching for their perfect home, the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo already enjoy prime Santa Barbara real estate with an ocean view! If you’re searching for your dream home in the Santa Barbara area, Sterling Properties is glad to be of service to you - contact us today!
Luxury Real Estate member Debbi DiMaggio of Highland Partners – Better Homes & Gardens Mason McDuffie explains the process of developing her new book:
“This is my story as to how Contained Beauty came to be…
As you know, my name is Debbi DiMaggio. I am Midge and Vince’s daughter, Michael’s sister, Adam’s wife, a mother of two amazing children, Bianca and Chase, a Realtor, an avid volunteer and now an author.
The first question I am asked most frequently is just how Contained Beauty came to be and what does the title mean. Contained Beauty: Photographs, Reflections & Swimming Pools.
In my book, the word “Reflections” refers to both, the reflections in a swimming pool and the reflections in my life.
Swimming Pools are Contained. For me, they are a place of beauty and comfort. Throughout the journey and putting this book together, I realized that I was like a swimming pool. I was living contained trying to keep a tight hold on my life and everything in it.
If you know me well, then you will know that when I get an idea I have to follow through with it or it will stay with me, keep me up at night and will occupy my mind until I do something about it.
A coffee table book about swimming pools was one of those ideas that kept repeating. I could picture my coffee-table book in hotels and resorts around the world and in people’s homes and in all of my real estate listings.
It wasn’t until Bianca’s junior year in high school, when she was busy considering colleges, and Chase was becoming more independent with friends, sports and school when things started to change… I felt a void, similar to that, of an empty swimming pool.”
Courtesy of Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty
Newport, Rhode Island (September 19, 2012) Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty announced today the listing of “Wildacre”, an iconic oceanfront architectural masterpiece located on Newport, Rhode Island’s famed Ocean Drive.
Built in 1902 as a summer estate for Albert H. Olmsted, a Hartford based banker, “Wildacre” is a brilliant collaboration by Irving Gill, a San Diego based architect and renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. An intriguing Shingle-style with Asian and Arts and Crafts elements, the dramatic massing of the house with its steep peaks and gables fits perfectly into the rugged site with granite outcroppings overlooking Price’s Neck Cove and the Atlantic Ocean.
“Wildacre” was purchased by the present owner in 1997. Since then the magnificent gardens and residence have been restored to perfection with modern amenities including a private dock. Based on original Olmsted blueprints and design strategy, architect Madison Spencer “created a series of terraces secured by stone walls that bow at the neck of the cove in order to shield a new infinity-edge pool which falls away to breathtaking views of the ocean beyond.”
The recipient of numerous awards including: Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission Honor Award; Newport Historical Society Award; and the nomination in 2002 to the “Classicists 100”. Wildacre is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Paul A. Leys, co-owner of Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty, commented “We haven’t seen a property of this caliber offered on this coveted stretch of Newport’s oceanfront in decades. We are delighted to present this phenomenal property to the market.” The list price is $15,750,000.
About Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty
Gustave White Sotheby’s International Realty is a full-service agency specializing in waterfront and luxury real estate and serving all of Rhode Island, including Block Island, as well as southeast Connecticut and coastal Massachusetts. Gustave White has been in business for over 80 years as a leader in the luxury market and is the sole Sotheby’s affiliate for Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Regent member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. Paul A. Leys, Co-owner of Gustave White Sotheby’s Int’l Realty, may be reached at 401-848-6706 or at email@example.com for more information.
Courtesy of Nest Seekers International
Luxury Real Estate member Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International recently took the stage during the Nolcha Fashion Week:
“New York City real estate brokers are used to pounding the city streets in search of their latest deal, but today two of Manhattan’s best-known dealmakers strutted their stuff in a more official capacity.”
The historic city of Solvang, just 33 miles north of Santa Barbara in the gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley, is a unique little town and one of our favorite options for a day trip or weekend getaway. A visit to this little town in wine country promises a short escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – walking down the streets past the many shops and eateries feels more like strolling through a quaint Northern European village. Solvang (which means “sunny fields” in Danish) was originally built up around the Mission Santa Inès in the early 1900s by Dutch pioneers. Today, Solvang’s cultural roots are still highly evident in the Danish Provincial style architecture that dominates the main areas of town, the wealth of authentic dining options, the many festivals held throughout the year, and of course its four windmills!
Each year in September, Solvang celebrates its history during Danish Days. This weekend long festival features a wonderful array of ways to learn about and participate in many aspects of Danish culture. During the festivities, visitors from all over the world come to Solvang to enjoy authentic Danish cuisine such as the signature æbleskiver (Danish pastry ball) and medisterpølse (Danish sausage), listen to music, watch performances by local dance groups, and even see live demonstrations of Viking Age weapons! Throughout the weekend, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the works of local craftspeople skilled in traditional Scandinavian arts and crafts, woodworking, papercutting, and more in the Old World Artisans Marketplace (Click here for a complete list of events). And of course, being in wine country, there will be plenty of chances to indulge in a fine selection of beverages from the Santa Ynez Valley’s many world class wineries.
Despite its old fashioned roots, Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley as a whole provide incredible opportunities for the finest in wine country luxury real estate. The exceptional mingling of the relaxed countryside and luxury lifestyle is part of what makes the Santa Ynez Valley such an attractive option for homebuyers. If you’d like to learn more about the real estate opportunities in Solvang, the Santa Ynez Valley, and Santa Barbara, Sterling Properties would love to be your guide!
Courtesy of Fuller Sotheby's International Realty
The 2012 Fall Edition of Digital Connoisseur Magazine is now Available online.
The publication features a full-color gallery of fine residential, ranch and resort properties represented exclusively by Fuller Sotheby's International Realty.
Click Here to view the digital Connoisseur Magazine.
Courtesy of Kentwood Real Estate
DENVER – Dan Eitemiller, a leading real estate professional with The Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek, has listed a truly unique residence with a colorful history at the Sanctuary Lofts in Denver. The gorgeous loft, nestled within the friendly confines of an architecturally distinctive church built in 1889, includes a master bedroom that was converted from the original church bell tower.
“When this historic church was built, it was the tallest building in Denver,” said Eitemiller. “In 1995, a developer and architect redesigned the building into 12 lofts. The unit I recently listed has 40-foot high ceilings, a gorgeous 15-foot high stained glass window in the living room, and abundant windows for a naturally bright environment. The loft showcases all the modern conveniences in an historic landmark, including a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors that extend beyond the kitchen.”
The very visual loft has been featured in USA Today, the Denver Post, Empire Magazine, and Front Range Living. Eitemiller has compiled a booklet containing the history of the building for interested buyers, and for members of the media wishing to showcase the loft and the church’s colorful history. His documents and articles include information on the building’s conversion, floorplans, historic references, and more. The architect who designed the lofts, Norman Cables, lives just one block away from the historic church.
Sanctuary Lofts is located at 999 E. 22nd Avenue. Unit No. 9 offers 2,212 square feet of finished living space, two bedrooms, two baths, and a dramatic overview from the loft. The owners will enjoy towering ceilings, extensive tile floors, skylights, and a sumptuous master bath. The loft also offers original doors and woodwork, and a huge deck in a very distinctive building featuring stunning architecture.
To arrange a personal tour of the loft and to obtain more information on its history, contact Dan Eitemiller at 303-919-2373 or via email at deitemiller@DenverRealEstate.com. To view the property online, visit http://www.tourfactory.com/900745.
About Kentwood Real Estate
Kentwood Real Estate is dedicated to its legacy of being “Colorado’s Premier Real Estate Company” through the highest producing, most knowledgeable, caring and experienced sales team in the country, offering the highest quality customer service experience. Kentwood Real Estate is an innovator known for unparalleled marketing strategies and superior Internet technology that place its clients in the best possible position.
Kentwood Real Estate is comprised of The Kentwood Company in the Denver Tech Center, The Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek, and Kentwood City Properties in downtown Denver. For more information, visit Kentwood Real Estate online at www.DenverRealEstate.com.
August was remarkably busy at Warburg Realty. Formerly the month when nothing happened, when buyers were "out of town" and sellers did not want to list, August morphed this year into a bonanza, with more contracts signed for more money than during almost any month since 2008. This phenomenon has led me to think about how this busyness differs from the busyness of five years ago, and how it is the same. These two eras, separated by only a few years, stand on different sides of the serious recession of 2008-2009. So in spite of the competitive bidding, the scarcity of inventory, and the harried buyers, the landscapes seem to me more different than similar. Here's how:
1) First, the active market of today does not carry with it the sense of optimism which characterized the middle years of the past decade. Although people are buying, they do not sense limitless possibility in the world or the economy. For some real estate is a hedge, for others just a decision to focus on enhanced quality of life. But today's New York buyers, as a rule, don't feel like residents in a world of endless growth.
2) Probably as a result of this guarded perspective, most buyers don't anticipate a big windfall in the value of their purchases. Yes, they believe it is appropriate to hope for appreciation keeping pace with and maybe even exceeding the Consumer Price Index, but unlike the buyers of 2006, they do not believe they could turn right around and sell their property for 15% more the week after the closing. And generally, they're right.
3) The upper end of our market is far more dominated by high ticket condominium purchases made by non-Americans. It is an ironic fact that just as the high flying Wall Street bankers of the early 2000s faced a day of reckoning, our market has been flooded with Asian, European, and South American buyers with vast purchasing power and a desire to park part of their wealth in New York condos.
4) Competitive bidding has resurged in 2012. But in spite of that resurgence, American buyers remain cautious with their dollars. The desire NOT to overpay has never been stronger, and most multiple bid situations are created by the perception of real value in the property on offer. Importantly, even with many bidders, prices rarely stray much outside appropriate price parameters.
5) While co-op boards have always been stringent, the recession has made them particularly anxious about new applicants and their overall profile. Throughout the industry, agents are reporting a higher incidence of board turndowns than ever before; one of my colleagues at another firm has referred to 2012 as “the year of the turndown.” Buildings are going through applications with a fine tooth comb, and every co-op package we submit elicits additional questions and requests for explanation from the members of the board. We have also seen multiple examples of extraordinary requests from boards: 10 years of maintenance in escrow, a multi-million dollar deposit until a renovation is complete. These requests are unprecedented in my long experience. And the condos are following suit. Since they cannot turn buyers down (in theory a condo’s only two alternatives are to permit a sale to proceed or to buy the unit themselves), they use delay as a tactic, requesting one piece of paper after another until the buyer (hopefully) gives up and walks away. At Warburg, where we are hyper-careful about the quality and content of our board packages and each is reviewed multiple times, our board turndown rate is up 40% over last year.
So we find ourselves in a strange positive/negative environment. The market is strong, but customers are not particularly optimistic about the future. They buy as a hedge or for quality of life reasons (always, in my opinion, the best reason to acquire a home) without anticipating a huge return on their investment. The really big bucks are spent more by foreigners than Americans. And the boards are tougher than ever, so skilled agents are more integral than ever to the process of shepherding transactions to a successful conclusion. In many ways, I prefer this environment. It feels rational. It moves (usually) at a reasonable pace. It expands our horizons. For 2012, this is the new normal.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
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