In a typical year Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan is in the Caribbean two to three times, makes it to the South of France and this year will be spending a few weeks in Southeast Asia. However, the place the native New Yorker is most comfortable is her home town where the brokerage her mother founded some 30 years ago, Stribling, is well known for top end real estate deals.
The younger Stribling’s worldview is particularly relevant today as many of the big buyers in the Big Apple are not from New York.
“The old adage is if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. If you are from Malaysia or Kansas, New York is where everyone dreams of coming,” Stribling told me during a meeting her tony Upper East Side townhouse office. “If you look at our clients, we have tech kids from Silicon Valley, bankers from Singapore and billionaires from Kazakhstan.”
While there are still wealthy New Yorkers doing move ups Stribling says the “uber market” is today based on non-resident buyers.
“We’re a city of immigrants. You can live in Paris and never be Parisian. You can live in London and never be a Londoner. When you move to New York you are a New Yorker,” she says.
Saying Stribling’s philosophy is “work hard and be honest,” the company now has some 300 brokers and a separate division Stribling Marketing Associates, specifically to represent developers of high-end residential projects.
Among Ground-up Construction clients have been 211 Elizabeth Street featuring custom-crafted one- and two-bedroom condominiums in a seven-story brick building in Nolita, 48 Bond Street, a 17-unit condominium in Noho designed by renowned architect Deborah Berke and 456 W. 19th Street, 22 duplex residences with soaring double-height ceilings and open floor plans located in West Chelsea.
In the Adaptive Re-use segment Stribling represented The Plaza Residences with 180 elegant condominiums, One Hanson Place, a conversion of the landmarked Williamsburg Savings Bank Building into 179 luxury condominium residences, The Sky Lofts (145 Hudson Street), a loft conversion of a 1920s-era manufacturing building in Tribeca that also features a two-story glass penthouse, which sold for more than $30 million, and One Brooklyn Bridge Park, aloft conversion of a one million square foot printing facility located on the waterfront, in Brooklyn Heights.
One of the major changes in New York real estate is today “you buy based on the property. It isn’t just the neighborhood,” Stribling says. To that point the company recently opened its sixth office, its first branch in Brooklyn.
While luxury today may be more casual, Stribling also sees a return to convention. “The world is becoming a bit more formal,” she says, adding that a current trend is “the return of the closed kitchen, or the ability to close the kitchen off if you want.”
Technology is also changing the way real estate is sold. A new app developed by one of her team enables prospects to develop sample floor plans based on answering various lifestyle questions.
Of course, buying and selling real estate in New York is about being in New York whether the buyers sees the property as an investment or a place to call home. “You have to have a moment each day that inspires you. In New York you never run out of inspirational moments.”