By Rachel Stern
Fully furnished with both boldly colored modern furniture and rustic, midcentury antiques, seven turnkey apartments went on sale at The W Downtown at the beginning of January.
Even with prices 28 percent higher than the building’s unfurnished units, all were snagged by the beginning of February. International investors purchased six of the units to rent out, and rising Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin rented a 1,182-square-foot two-bedroom condo.
These artful abodes are the latest undertaking of Louise Sunshine, 71, a longtime New York real estate marketer who is known for infusing interior design into residential real estate to boost its value and help it sell more quickly. Through Sunshine Select Residences, the new company she is undertaking with the help of her two sons, she aims to bring her pre-furnished apartments and condos to high-end markets around the world, starting with the Financial District.
“They’re contemporary design mixed with vintage pieces,” said Sunshine of the W units she individually adorned with hand-selected art and artifacts such as Warhol prints and long, polished bathroom mirrors. “I hope people get as much pleasure living in them as I get decorating them.”
“Every unit has the taste and touch of Louise,” said Richard Nassimi, director of sales at The W. “They present a really warm, unique feeling.”
Sunshine has marketing in her genes; her grandfather was Barney Pressman, of Barney’s New York, and her father ran a real estate business. A mother of three, she volunteered in the 1970s as a high-level political fundraiser and was a Democratic National Committee chairwoman.
Her marketing skills caught the eye of one of her big donors—Donald Trump—who gave Sunshine her first job working as a lobbyist for him in a two-room office on Lexington Avenue. She helped him execute the Trump Towers of 1984 and several well-known buildings that followed, including The Promenade, luxurious high-rise towers at 530 E. 76th St.
“Donald and I worked together for 15 years and developed 15 exciting and successful buildings,” said Sunshine, who was vice president of The Trump Organization between 1975 and 1985.
In 1986, Sunshine’s success prompted her to start her own business, The Sunshine Group, which made $8 billion in real estate sales over 16 years. There she coined the phrase, “Not all square feet are created equal.”
Now Sunshine, 71, has homes in Connecticut, Palm Beach and New York—she maintains a pied-à-terre at One Beacon Court at the top of the Bloomberg Tower (151 E. 58th St.), one of the buildings she marketed while she was at The Sunshine Group. All, she says, have their own unique, homey design; the midtown apartment more modern and the Connecticut one blending into the local more traditional style.
She aims to expand to international cities, with plans to sell Sunshine Select Residences in Hong Kong and Tel Aviv, she said. But for Sunshine, this move only marks the beginning of her latest trajectory.
“I would like to see it grow in the direction,” she said, “that we have properties in every international city.”
Tags: 2012 OTTY Awards, Barney Pressman, Democrative National Convention, Jeremy Lin, Knicks, Louise Sunshine, New York Knicks, New York Press, Our Town, The Trump Organization, upper east side, W Downtown
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