2009 Feb 12th

Is Toll Brothers in Trouble in Hoboken?

Brooklyn Takes a Hit – Is Hoboken Next?

Bloomberg reports that Toll has slashed prices at Northside Piers, Toll’s high rise project in Williamsburg.  Toll is now selling two-bedrooms units at Northside starting at $690,000, down 21 percent from $869,000 at the beginning of last week. Three- bedrooms now start at $860,000, down 20 percent from $1.075 million. Penthouses now cost $950,000, down $1.5 million.“We wanted to get them into a price range that made sense to people,” David Von Spreckelsen, a senior vice president in Toll’s New York City urban division, said in an interview.  I haven’t heard any news of price cuts in Hoboken yet but I’m certainly keeping my ears open.

Is Toll Desperate to Reach Out To Hoboken Realtors?

A sign that the bloom may be off the rose, I recently received an email from Toll inviting realtors to yet another lunch this week and an exceptionally generous  4% commission split.  It wasn’t too long ago that they wouldn’t give us the time of day!  Now they’re offering all sorts of prizes and gifts.  Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?  Here’s the email:


Curious to know what plus, plus, plus means? Then join us at the spectacular Club Maxwell on Monday, February 9 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm to find out! Don’t miss this event to learn about this fantastic new program and special opportunity to experience the fabulous Club Maxwell.
4% Plus, Plus, Plus Program Kick-Off Party 
Monday, February 9 
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm 
Club Maxwell 
1125 Maxwell Lane, Hoboken

Stop by Club Maxwell for some wonderful food, fun, and to register. Plus, you’ll learn who won the Grand Prize from the 2008 Passport Program! 


What do you see in Toll’s future here in Hoboken? Will the rest of Maxwell Place ever get built? Are those units worth the premium prices? I love the ones with the dead on Manhattan view. But what about buildings like 700 Grove? It seems so empty when ever I’m in there.

  1. Tiger

    I guess everyone saw this coming. I think they still have potential in Hoboken, as long as they lower their prices (they were overpriced every during the peak of 06). I read on Hoboken411 a while ago that they will hold off on building the third Maxwell building for two years, not sure if it’s true.

    I like how they try to market 700 Grove as Hoboken. It is not. I never liked this building, I hate driving by it so imagine actually living in it. Also you enjoy the view of the… Hoboken train yard.

    This is obviously a sign of things to come, I know I said before and I still believe that we will recover relatively faster than other areas in the country, but GOD HELP US on the next months to come.

  2. DKzzzzdkzzzzdkzzzz

    “I like how they try to market 700 Grove as Hoboken. It is not. I never liked this building, I hate driving by it so imagine actually living in it. Also you enjoy the view of the… Hoboken train yard.”

    How much do residents of 700 Grove save on taxes by being outside of Hoboken?

    I am sure whatever they save condo management steals through condo fees but there must be some net net savings .

  3. Lori Turoff

    Taxes on a 2 bed 2 bath almost 1300 sq ft unit at 700 Grove (list price $589,000) are $9,338 per year for 2009 and maintenance is $638 per month but that includes heat, gas and hot water and a doorman. For comparison, a similar size units at the SkyClub taxes are listed from $9,000 to $10,000 and maintenance in the high $300 to low $400 range. Heat not included. So it doesn’t look like there is much savings in taxes at 700 Grove.

  4. Willy

    Toll’s policy to date – brilliantly – transferred price risk to contracted buyers while the developer simply stopped building to conserve cash.

    The ramifications on unit values will make MP more susceptible to dropping prices than any other property in Hoboken (maybe W will be equal in disaster).

    MP is a cookie cutter building with a FEW units with good views. The remainder of the buildings subsidize the “over the top” pricing. Even view units cannot hold such sq ft costs.

    So envision the domino effect… broader Hoboken market to MP/W Hotel… to riverfront/views… to “ordinary” units. we are headed to $400 per sq ft folks! As some property blogger put it best, de-nial is no longer a river in Egypt.

    And yes, given the very active participation of real estate professionals (as investors) in the Hoboken property turnover to date, they are partly to blame.

  5. Lori Turoff

    Toll has a 1200 sq ft 2 bedroom 2 bath (no view) listed in Hudson Tea for $636K and they will renovate for free. Not clear if that includes parking or not. It is an 8% commission too. So they are starting to offer some lowered prices at least in this building. They won’t budge yet on Maxwell but I agree – they stuck the under contract buyers with the non-negotiable high prices and stopped building to save money.

    Why are real estate agents any different than any other investors? Investors are investors. I don’t get your point.

  6. Willy

    It’s a conflict of interest since you have inside knowledge that is withheld from the public buyer wherever convenient. Remember exclusive listings? They’re still around but worthless thanks to technology. This has applied to all markets (even stock exchanges) where “front-running” allows realtors to flip whatever they deem mispriced before it gets to the market “norm.”

    You don’t see a problem being an investor in an asset class where you are rewarded on a percentage of the sale value? Oh my!

    I didn’t say realtors were any different, but ethically a huge problem. The NAR had to settle a huge class action because of the information it kept captive from online listings, just as one example of the information landscape. There is much more to fix once the Washington lobby for the industry is cleansed by the economic environment and the pressures of such dealings by the new administration. It starts there.

    We will eventually get there, but until then, choose whether you want to be a licensed realtor or a real estate investor. How would you like surgeons to get into the organ donor business?

    I think realtors have enough of an image problem. That seemed to be part of your separation of church and state in this blog (transparency). Am I wrong or are you just finding your own angle toward the same means? Tsk tsk.

  7. Lori Turoff

    Inside knowledge? What inside knowledge? Please be specific. I have never had any knowledge in any transaction of which I’ve been part that was not straight from the public listing sheet. So I’m not sure to what you refer.

    Do stock brokers not work on commission? Investment advisors? Insurance sales? What’s the conflict? Enlighten me.

    The NAR is not a realtor, it is an industry trade association with powers that realtors do not have individually. Yes, they try to control the listing info but they have been unsuccessful. Realtors do not own the listings, the brokerage does. They are told what they can and cannot do with that information by the real estate boards. Again, something entirely out of the individual realtors control.

    I believe the listing info should be as widely distributed as possible as that is what benefits the consumer. Do I think the current system is perfect? No. But not because of the real estate agent. It is our governing bodies – the state commissions, the local MLS boards, the NAR who make the rules. We are stuck with them. There is a huge change coming thanks to enlightened agents and brokers who do not believe in monopoly of information. But that is an entirely other issue than the points you attempt raise.

    Why is it a problem for a doctor to donate an organ? Does it compromise the doctors reliability in some way? Why would my purchase of an investment property comromise my reliability as a realtor? Yes, I believe in transparency and attemt to do what I can to perpetuate it by publishing this info on this blog. Hopefully that helps my image rather than hurt it. I’m sorry, I don’t follow your argument and certainly don’t agree with what I believe you’re trying to say.

  8. Tiger

    Willy, I’m not sure I follow your logic. In your first paragraph, you make it sound that ‘they’ have some access to ‘other’ market-insider info. You say this happens in every investment, but don’t forget that this is what got Martha Steward in jail. I don’t think realtors have access to something similar to stocks. What would that be? ‘tips’ that toll brothers are lowering prices? ‘tips’ that the market is going to crash in september? If only we had a crystal ball.

    Then in your second paragraph and onward you say that you don’t think that realtors should be realtors and invest in real estate. Why not? In fact, I find it great that Lori and many other respectable realtors in this town OWN in it, and invest in it just like we all do. I just don’t see the conflict of interest – Enlighten me, please!

    Finally, the doctor and organ donor example took the cake. huh? first of all, organ donor business is ILLEGAL. You cannot donate organs for business, and why would a surgeon be involved in that? I’m not going to ask if you know a doctor or familiar with the WAITING LISTS for organs, but do you watch Grey’s Anatomy? ER? Scrubs?

  9. DKzzzzdkzzzzdkzzzz

    If anyone using insider information and in violation of professional ethics it is not realtors but local politicians. Take any city/town in US and local lecherous swarm of political inbreeds will be fully vested in Real Estate.

  10. Terry S

    I’d take anything Willy says with a grain of salt. He maintains a pretty subpar website dedicated to RE “reality”, when in fact it’s a lot of hot air short on real data and facts, and big on rumor.

  11. Willy

    I have no affiliation with a website. If you need to get defensive, find a better excuse for your rebuttal than to deflect the topic. This one is already getting off the point which is why I refrained in continuing the discussion. Thank you.

  12. Terry S


    Seriously, give it up. You’re clearly the person who runs the blog – not simply due to your unmistakable writing style, but your obsession with the W Hotel and Maxwell Place. Not to mention you even referenced the blog yourself in your previous comment!

    So now that I have you here, seriously what is your issue? Now you’re set on attacking Lori Turoff, who runs a fine blog (and actually backs up her view with real data – something you need to learn) and is well-respected in the Hoboken real estate community. Is that your thing? You just attack anyone who doesn’t agree with you?

    And, ironically enough, you run a blog dedicated to real estate transparency – yet almost half of your postings revolve around rumor of which you never source (simply because you have no sources), and some of which have turned out to be untrue as we later find out.

  13. Willy

    Okay, it’s my blog so why don’t you provide us with a link so we can get you off our backs. You seem to want to advertise yourself but none of us want to participate in your agenda. Maybe that will keep you on topic in this thread and clear of your continuous intervention and off-topic comments. You are obviously a jilted individual looking for an axe to grind so stop hiding behind Lori’s objectives and state your own. If you are a Maxwell or W buyer/owner/flipper, I’m sorry but I doubt that I’m in the minority with that opinion! Since you are definitely not a writing style expert, let’s get back to Toll Brothers and their marketing strategy. That was the originally posted discussion by the author. I think Lori can take the related opinion so I don’t want to dwell on this tete-a-tete any longer. My last word on the matter.

  14. Terry S

    My “agenda” was to tell everyone not to take your accusation (“Am I wrong or are you just finding your own angle toward the same means? Tsk tsk.”) seriously, as you make it a habit of rumor-mongering.
    Good luck with your blog though!

  15. Rumor Mongering

    I love the rumors regarding pricing at Maxwell Place. I can’t remember a building development in this city that has generated so much publicity. People can’t stop talking about what direction prices are going and when or if they will be cut.

    The fact is that Toll has stated publicly on numerous occasions (and I might add under the threat of civil and criminal liability if they were to lie or make misleading statements) that the building is 95% under contract (and yes I realize that doesn’t mean closed).

    Should folks want to back out they can do so and Toll will gladly take their deposits and wait for the market to rebound before re-listing the units. I am not sure the total number of units where construction delays have given buyers an out but from what I can tell it is not many.

    The bottom line is that there is no other shoe to drop here, these buildings will be the last ones to soften in the entire city and the first one rebound.

    I realize that Maxwell is not immune to macro risk but if you are committed to homeownership as opposed to renting (and that is a separate debate) where else in the city would you rather be invested in this market?

  16. Janey D.

    I know for a fact that the second MP building was 95% under contract as of nearly a year ago. Toll is more reasonable than other builders and they haven’t come down hard on people who got laid off and couldn’t go through with the purchase. They’ve allowed for cancellations and refunded deposits they could have retained. So for those who think you know so much in here, think again.

  17. Jon

    Janey, I heard that they WILL NOT refund deposits. Where did you hear they will?

  18. bettyboop

    rumor mongering wrote: Should folks want to back out they can do so and Toll will gladly take their deposits and wait for the market to rebound before re-listing the units. I am not sure the total number of units where construction delays have given buyers an out but from what I can tell it is not many.

    sorry rumor mongering, i’ll have to disagree with you there…there have been many news stories (including a ny times real estate piece) that contradict what you’re saying. toll is not gladly taking deposits back & re-listing units, they are in fact refusing to refund deposits to many people who purchased at the height of the market & can’t get financing now that the market has collapsed. so get your story straight before you publicly post incorrect information:


  19. Lori Turoff

    Janey sounds like she works for Toll, no? I know of a specific buyer in the new building who had some unfortunate circumstances and they would not refund the deposit or negotiate at all.

  20. Jon

    We know a couple that can no longer get financing for the 3 bedroom they were buying. Toll did allow them to transfer their deposit into a two bedroom and is financing thier unit for 4%. At least they allowed that. If not, they said they would loose their deposit.

    On a side note, the people that live in these buildings pay a huge monthly maintenance fee and their taxes are high. A friend who does live there said they charge $500 for use of the game/entertainment room for a birthday party! Give me a break! And when she called to get the pricing, the man she spoke to said he was not allowed to quote prices over the phone but would mail her a contract and in it would be the price. What a joke.

  21. TS


    I think you an Rumor Mongering are in agreement. He/she said that Toll will gladly TAKE their deposits, not refund them.

    From what I’ve seen the maintenance isn’t “huge” by any stretch of the imagination in MP.

  22. Tiger

    I don’t think they are doing it out of kindness of their heart, it is their best interest that as many buyers as possible actually finance and close; so yes, I’m not surprised that they transfered the deposit to another unit; as long as they get to keep the money.

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