Seamus Mullen, the chef behind Spanish-inflected Manhattan hot spots Tertulia and El Colmado, boasts that there are many benefits to living at 60 Water, the plush Dumbo address where he moved in April.
His two-bedroom apartment features views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as an open kitchen with a five-burner stove. And the best perk: By showing off his fabulous life — be it Japanese yams whipped up in his kitchen, or him pumping iron in the 60 Water gym — to his 63,500 Instagram followers, the 43-year-old gets paid by his landlord.
Mullen is part of a new trend sweeping New York City, in which social-media stars are striking deals with real-estate developers and managers in which they trade their influence — shilling to their fans how great their pads are — for rent money or even a free place to live.
“I want to demonstrate how, for me, it’s a really special place and it threads through every aspect of my life,” said Mullen. “I’m showing you it’s a special place, rather than telling you it’s a special place.”
Two-bedroom apartments in his building start at $4,849 a month, according to StreetEasy. Two Trees, the company behind 60 Water, confirmed that Mullen pays rent and is compensated for promoting the address (including hosting events at the building), though a representative declined to discuss the terms of his deal.
Insiders told The Post that Luis D. Ortiz, formerly one of the stars of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” lived rent-free in a two-bedroom from early 2016 to early 2017 at the 1,175-unit Sky rental high-rise in Midtown — a home that asked $6,500 per month — in exchange for promotional posts and events. Ortiz, who moved to Paris in February and who has 518,000 Instagram followers, would post shots of his apartment and mingle with guests at events such as a salsa-dancing night that he hosted at the building’s health club. (Ortiz and reps for Moinian Group, his former landlord, declined to comment.)
Among the residents who are paid by Two Trees to highlight their buildings are actress and Rookie magazine founder Tavi Gevinson (557,000 Instagram followers) and singer Abir (12,800 followers).
“We hope that there’s more awareness, more recognition and more understanding of what it’s like to live in our buildings,” said Brian Upbin, who oversees Two Trees’ residential portfolio.
Since moving into a one-bedroom at Fort Greene’s 300 Ashland, Gevinson has hosted and posted her 21st birthday party, held in the development’s lounge and roof deck. (A one-bedroom there is now available for $3,454 a month.) She’s also uploaded shots of neighborhood attractions — such as BAM Rose Cinemas — and her light-filled apartment, even revealing her exact address. She insists safety isn’t a concern.
“[The building is] so big that I don’t think the one person who’s that obsessed with my Instagram [will] move in next door,” Gevinson said of the 379-unit structure.
But a real-estate source said there could be drawbacks to such deals.
“You have to be careful in real estate because there’s snob appeal . . . If you bring the wrong attention to something, it can be very bad,” the source said. “It’s gotta be authentic. When it looks inauthentic, it’s income-whoring.”
Speaking of: The trend is inspiring other Instagram hotshots to scramble for their opportunities at free rent.
A fashion influencer who boasts more than 500,000 followers and regularly hosts professional photo shoots in her home told The Post that she was angling for free rent on a $4,600 one-bedroom in exchange for property promotion — but expects to get half off that.
She admitted she’s not above selling herself for a place to live: “If someone was looking for an apartment, and they saw [my management] tagged so many times, they’d think, ‘Maybe I should look there — this seems nice.’ ”
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