Saturday, January 30, 2016

Planner envisions new mixed-use building on Elm Street By Greg Reilly, New Canaan Advertiser

Planner envisions new mixed-use building on Elm Street

This parking area adjacent to the Unimin office building and across the street from Karl Chevrolet is targeted by the Town planner for new mixed-use commercial building. — Greg Reilly photo
This parking area adjacent to the Unimin office building and across the street from Karl Chevrolet is targeted by the Town planner for new mixed-use commercial building. — Greg Reilly photo
Town Planner Steve Kleppin has a vision of a new, mixed-use commercial building in part of the commuter parking parking lot on Elm Street, across from Karl Chevrolet.
The lot, known as the Lumberyard Lot, provides parking primarily for commuters, and it is next to the Unimin office building, which is on the corner of Elm and Grove streets.
Kleppin, an employee of the Town of New Canaan, told the Advertiser that he is requesting funds to do a preliminary study with drawings of what the area could look like with a structure for retail / office space possibly with residences. He imagines it would be built similar in style to the nearby office building at 220 Elm Street, which is on the same side of the street closer to the train station.
Kleppin’s vision includes building a two-level parking facility behind the would-be new building, closer to the train tracks. The parking facility, he believes, could add “a minimum” of 100 new parking spaces for commuters and others.
In Kleppin’s plan the land parcel needed for the commercial building would first be sold by the Town to a developer.
A likely hurdle to the the plan, he anticipates, will be designing satisfactory traffic flow.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

New to the Market: 213 Old Stamford Road - $1,558,000.

213 Old Stamford, on the corner of Old Studio Road

NEW THIS WEEK. It always starts with location and this one has it: the Old Studio Road neighborhood near schools, Waveny and town. Totally renovated top to bottom with a gourmet kitchen in today's neutral colors. NEW this week.

Why is 213 Old Stamford Road going to sell in the next 90 days? There are at least 5 good reasons:

1)   Price  $1,558,000 represents the sweet spot of the New Canaan market. There is always demand for houses at that price point. Last year 27 houses sold between $1.5 and $1.7 million and 30 sold the previous year. Looking at the last 27 houses that sold in this category they sell in 133 days at 97% of their asking price. If this one is better than average for condition, location and style, and I think it is, then it will sell.

2)  The Kitchen. It seems everybody these days is focused on houses with great kitchens. Some people want to do the kitchen their way but for most of us we aren't looking to take on a project, we want to just move in to a great house where somebody already took the trouble to get it right. Walls were taken out, steel beams added and the plan opened up resulting in this 21st century kitchen with soapstone countertops.

3)  Renovated well. This house has been renovated, really renovated, not just paint and carpet. See the exhaustive list of improvements below. The homeowner has invested $450,000 improving the house and it shows. Rarely do we find a well-renovated house offered at this price point.

the bedrooms with updated lighting, new thermal windows and painted in neutral colors.
4)  Hot Location.  The trend seems to be toward these close-to-town neighborhoods. Ask any mother of school-age children in New Canaan how much time is spent driving family members around to various activities and its easy to see why the neighborhoods close to school, town and train are so popular. And, its not just mothers driving up the demand for in-town locations. The desire for an easier commute to the station or Merritt Parkway is important to commuters. That, coupled with the tendency for empty-nesters to seek smaller, newer homes close to town are all driving this trend. The house at 213 Old Stamford house meets the needs of a variety of those buyers. It is located halfway between the village and the schools, providing easy access within a mile in either direction to all of the amenities that New Canaan has to offer.

Master Bedroom with Sitting Area and TV

Master Bath with Soaking Tub and Frameless Glass Shower

5)   The Master Suite. Almost as important as the kitchen we find that the Master Suite is a must-have for the buyers looking today. They demand adequate closet space, usually walk-in closets, and plenty of them. Second, they demand a Master Bathroom with adequate space for two to get ready in the morning, usually with both shower and soaking tub. Finally, the Master Bedroom usually has some amenities that the other bedrooms lack such as a sitting room or fireplace. This house features that sitting area, great for watching the big screen TV, plenty of well-organized walk-in closet space and a Master bathroom that would rival even the most expensive new houses in town. 

List of Improvements 213 Old Stamford Road
August 2012-2015:

  • Master Suite addition: Reconfigured the 2nd floor layout of rooms, added walk-in closet, painted, added ceiling-filled soaking tub and steam room with LED lights, heated floor, granite vanities and rain bulkhead. You have to see it to believe it.
  • Added outside porch area underneath the bathroom addition.
  • Upstairs bathrooms completely remodeled: new fixtures, tiled walls and floor, tubs and sinks.
  • Floors sanded and stained darker: all of the 2nd floor and 1st floor piano and dining room.
  • Replaced all windows with Thermal windows except for TV room because it already had them. All new expensive hand-slide window treatments.
  • Hardiplank siding done on entire house, trim replaced, and stone facing of garage and new porch area.
  • New bluestone walkways, front door area and patio area outside the porch added.
  • New paved driveway with drainage. New basketball court with painted foul shot line!
  • All yard fencing replaced. Post and beam pressure-treated fencing. New stone wall in front yard. All new landscaping, yard completely re-sodded after construction, added outdoor lighting. New irrigation system. Automaticly waters the entire property: 9 zones for the grass and drip system the flowerbeds.
  • New washer and dryer, gutted mudroom, replaced with built ins, new exterior doors, new garage doors.
  • Upgraded electric to 200amp service and converted all lights to LED lights which reduced consumption $150/mo.
  • Heating system changed from baseboard electric to 3 zone FHA, brand new system controlled by NEST online, 2 air handlers, 2 a/c units, and humidifier system added for 1st floor only.  Furnace replaced 2013
  • Connecticut Basement systems installed French drain for the entire basement perimeter, added all new triple sump pump with battery backup, and humidifier system unit.
  • Basement – Finished basement in 2015. Carpet and walls are done with waterproof, water-resistant no-mold materials.
  • Kitchen – Finished in Summer 2014. Walls removed to open up the space between kitchen and family room and dining room. Steel beam installed. Soapstone countertops with lighted barstool area and glass-tile backsplash. High-end custom cabinetry. New Jacobean-stained hardwood floors. New stainless steel farm sink and beverage refrigerator. Induction cooktop and stainless steel hood with ventilation to the outside. Crown moldings.
  • Powder room. New in 2015. New toilet, sink, fixtures and hardwood floors.
  • Generator – Generac brand automatic with a GenTrans switch that powers all critical systems and about half the house. New in 2015.
  • the basement, finished by CT Basement to guard with special mold-resistant materials guarantees a safe, healthy play space for the kids to bang on those drums and play that guitar
  • Cedar Storage Shed in the backyard. New in 2015. 6’ x 8’

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Canaan Market January 2016

Fellow Real Estate fans,

China and oil grabbed all of the financial headlines this month. What about the Fairfield County real estate market? Glad you asked. Public Open Houses are getting traffic. Pendings are up (17 versus 11 in the last 30 days) This is what is happening in the market in our area:   
  • Area Sales: We told you Stamford, Darien, Wilton, Norwalk, Westport, Weston and Ridgefield collectively show the number of sales is up 4.54% and $ volume up 3.3%.  When you take out Westport and Ridgefield and add Greenwich the county sales are up 9.3% and dollar volume down 3.1% 
  • New Canaan market: 243 house sales was the same as last year. This is 21 houses above our 10 year average of 222 single family home sales.
  • New Canaan Inventory:  We begin the year with 188 houses, up 47 houses and 33.3% year over year. Pretty soon we will stop talking about last year and accept that a range of 188-340 is the new normal 
  • Condos:  Much attention has been placed on the decrease in sales: down 37.7% for the year. But as we said last month 2014 was exceptional and a statistical aberration. We came in at the new normal level for sales (38 sales vs. the 9 year median of 45) and inventory (40 active vs the 9 year median of 47). 
  • Pendings: Pendings are up in New Canaan houses (16 vs. 12 at year end) & down for condos (2 vs 5).  
Interest rates will rise this Spring and the psychological impact cannot be overestimated. A rising tide could impart a newfound sense of urgency to both buyers and sellers. Sellers may accept the diminished buying power and borrowing power of buyers. Lookers,  fearing a market slipping away from them, may become buyers. We have the inventory; tThis Spring should see more deals at all levels.  

Below is a link to our January Market Report, which includes detailed information on the market this past year.  If you would like to discuss the report, or if you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at 203-247-4700 (JE) or 203-247-5999 (SE)  

Best regards,          

John and Susan
If you want a condo that's in the downtown this is the one. High ceilings. Beautiful wood floors. Gardens. Owner is highly motivated to make a deal this winter. Bring it.

A beautiful brick end unit at Pride's Crossing means twice as many windows, double the light. The garage is a few steps from the patio. The basement is finished.

One of the few examples under $1.5 on the West side, this immaculate house offers privacy, a play yard and a view of the river.

A 2014 built condo, top of the line kitchen, 2 garages, Geothermal heating & cooling, with views of a forest and pond with flat sidewalks into town.
NEW construction along Mead Park.  The front house has a first floor master. The rear house borders the park. 

Very private townhouse in the newer portion of Canaan Close features 3 large bedrooms (with ensuite baths) and 6 private balconies or decks overlooking the 5 Mile River

44 Benedict Hill - $1,799,000  The Evans House
From 1960, one of the most striking and pure examples of midcentury modern architecture in the world, period. Put this one on your bucket list.  Now rented for 2016/2017. See the video of architect James Evans discussing it here.

Yes, its an important midcentury modern. But, it's an absolutely livable and fun modern house with the finest materials, a gourmet kitchen, pool and attached garage. And, at this price you simply cannot find a better modern.

You say you want charm and character from the 1930's, but updated. You want a "football field" flat lawn. And, you'd like to live on Ponus. This is the house for you. See the video of 1094 Ponus's sunset views here.

Maybe the best poolside entertaining in New Canaan. Consider it has the grandest soaring front foyer. This is an important house, showing like new, not to be missed.

1083 Smith Ridge - $4.200,000  Everybody who enters this house says "Wow " Four levels of beautifully finished space & high ceilings, includes a gourmet eat-in kitchen, adjoining family room & lower level spa opening to the outdoor pool. A paneled library, with fireplace, terrace & alcove is a godsend. See the video of 1083 Smith Ridge.

The quintessential family compound on the banks of the Five Mile River includes a gracious main house with river views, a separate studio/office, a guest house and the expertly designed, award-winning party barn. The peaceful, 2.6 acre property is bordered by 2.4 acres of Land Trust and the river. See the video of 227 Lambert Road here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Gone Again: Midcentury Modern with the Hyperbolic Paraboloid Has Been Rented, Coming off the Market

That's right, you let the opportunity slip through your fingers once again.

The James Evans house of 1960 with its famous Hyperbolic Paraboloid roof has been rented for the next 18 months and is coming off the market later this month. I've attached several photos of the house, taken from several different angles and during different seasons to show off some of the outstanding features and tell the story of this house one more time:

John Engel and James Evans, Spring 2015, addressing a group of Belgian architects 

Showing off the colors of Autumn

These turnbuckles, similar to what you might find on a ship, counter the lateral forces of the roof.
Close-up of the turnbuckles which support the house on the lower level.
Architect James Evans with a group of Belgian architects.

James Evans points at the famous roof and describes how it came to be

Top Ten of 2015: 255 Brushy Ridge Road in New Canaan as Featured on NBC's LXTV in 2012

This turn-of-the-century shingle style house sitting on top of Brushy Ridge Road sold in 2015 for $2.8 million. It has since undergone a complete renovation and is looking better than ever. I consider it one of our Top Ten of 2015. Check back for the complete list of the ten most outstanding houses sold in 2015. Check out the video from 2012