From Harlem to TriBeCa, Riverdale to the Financial Distric, new construction and conversions are luring New York City buyers beyond the heart of the city. Many buyers are confident that property values Uptown and Downtown will increase over time, and are buying there with the promise of building equity through their purchases.
Floor-to-ceiling views are just part of the appeal of this penthouse apartment at 3220 Arlington Avenue in Riverdale.
Downtown enjoys all the buzz these days, but there are plenty of compelling properties Uptown. In Riverdale, a penthouse apartment at the four-year- old, 26-unit Riverstone condominium at 3220 Arlington Avenue offers what many Manhattan apartment dwellers can only dream about: a deeded indoor parking space included in the $2,099,000 purchase price. This full-service condo comes with a 24-hour doorman, pool, fitness center, women's and men's locker rooms with steam showers and sauna, a screening room and space for cold storage in the lobby. The apartments are contemporary, affording floor-to-ceiling views of the Palisades, the Manhattan skyline and even the Long Island Sound, and are well appointed with high-end Brazilian wood floors, Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine coolers, Viking stoves, granite countertops and glass back splashes.
One clear advantage to living in the Bronx is the low real estate taxes, which are even lower in this building because of the building's (now phased out) 421a tax abatement. "In a challenging real estate market, the space and the finishes are important — but parking, for someone moving from Manhattan, is essential," said Amela Kadric, vice president with Halstead Property. "Easy access to Manhattan is one of the reasons Manhattanites move here in the first place. Ninety percent of our buyers used to own or rent in Manhattan, and now they are happy to own in Riverdale."
Harlem continues to offer great value to apartment seekers. At $750 per square foot, 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard is priced high for the uptown market, but just right for buyers who demand the building's quality finishes and amenities. The 12-story building, located between 122nd and 123rd Streets, is more than 70 percent sold, and now offers one- to three-bedrooms that start at $499,000 and range up to $1,8 million for the most expensive three-bedroom penthouse.
The building is soon adding a 9,000-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor, to be operated by Drew Nieporent, one of America's most celebrated restaurateurs.
"People who move here are looking for more space, but are not willing to sacrifice the finish level that you might see downtown," said Andrew Barrocas, chief executive of MNS, the exclusive sales and marketing firm for 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard. "Our objective with the building is to get buyers not to think of Harlem as a discount or a value play, but to think about comparing the building to other condos they were considering in some of the most highly regarded sections elsewhere in Manhattan. The building was finished with the highest possible finishes, from Wolf to Sub-Zero appliances, hand-blown light fixtures and creative architectural details throughout — including oversized outdoor spaces and roof terraces with wood-burning fireplaces and a second- floor relaxation terrace."
At the other end of Manhattan island, TriBeCa may be the hottest neighbor-hood of all. "I am bullish about TriBeCa — I really don't think there is a better market to buy in all of Manhattan right now," said John Gomes, executive vice president for Eklund Gomes Group at Prudential Douglas Elliman, the exclusive sales and marketing team for several new TriBeCa developments, including One North Moore, 471 Washington and 250 Bowery. "The waterfront is the main attraction. I have lived here for 15 years, and never understood why we never could really use the waterfront. Now, the Hudson River Park is fully functioning, from Battery Park to Harlem and beyond."
One North Moore, at the corner of West Broadway, is a storied address that has become a boutique condominium combining the best of Uptown and Downtown, added Gomes. "Recently, a lot more Upper East Side people seem to be buying here in TriBeCa," he said. "They are spending a lot of time Downtown in any case, but there were not enough options for them to invest in. The city is shifting downtown — and now there are many condo options here."
At 2,835 square feet, the remaining available apartment at One NorthMoore is across the street from the most expensive single-family residence ever sold in TriBeCa. This one, on the market at $6 million, is a fifth-floor apartment. "This building is not industrial TriBeCa at all," Gomes said. "We have a mix of modern and classic that adds the best of Downtown and Uptown sensibilities. In the kitchen, for example, we have Shaker-style cabinet doors, as opposed to a sleek, shellacked look. The countertops are Calacatta marble — also more of a classic, traditional Uptown look. The building was built from the ground up, and made to look like it was there for a long time. The developers did such a good job that people come into the building thinking it was a conversion: that is a high compliment."
Three other properties in TriBeCa— two on the same street — amplify the area's current appeal. Reade57 is a new 21-story condominium at 57 Reade Street that took a different course from the sprawling loft lifestyle. Built by the developers of the Standard Hotel, this new 84-unit building offers a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes starting at $876,000 — a much lower price point than most new TriBeCa offerings, where the average listing price for an apartment is over $4 million. Since launch of sales earlier this year, more than 600 people have added their names to the wait list for seeing the building.
"Traditionally, TriBeCa residential inventory has been conversions of storage houses, warehouses or old factories," said Shlomi Reuveni, senior managing director and executive vice president of BHS Select, a new development division within Brown Harris Stevens. "We felt that there is a missing inventory and price level for first-time buyers who are currently renting [but] might want to own instead of rent, and who are not ready to spend $3 to $4 million on an apartment. There has been tremendous demand for some of the smaller units, which are priced around $850,000 to the mid $2 million level. With the 421a tax abatement, the building has attracted a different buyer to TriBeCa."
In contrast, 77 Reade is a landmarked gem built in 1852 with classic loft-like exposed brick, high ceilings and a cast- iron facade. One part of the building is completely new construction, but is made to resemble the vintage structure connected to it. The resulting amalgam achieves the old-loft feel — with 10- to 12-foot ceilings, oversized windows and wide plank hardwood floors — but with up-to-date Miele appliance packages, not felt that there is a missing inventory and price level for first-time buyers who are currently renting [but] might want to own instead of rent, and who are not ready to spend $3 to $4 million on an apartment. There has been tremendous demand for some of the smaller units, which are priced around $850,000 to the mid $2 million level. With the 421a tax abatement, the building has attracted a different buyer to TriBeCa."
In contrast, 77 Reade is a landmarked gem built in 1852 with classic loft-like exposed brick, high ceilings and a cast- iron facade. One part of the building is completely new construction, but is made to resemble the vintage structure connected to it. The resulting amalgam achieves the old-loft feel — with 10- to 12-foot ceilings, oversized windows and wide plank hardwood floors — but with up-to-date Miele appliance packages, not to mention a fitness center, common roof deck and a private parking garage.
Open-plan lofts start at $975,000, with the one remaining penthouse priced at $4,335,000. "All the authenticity is built in," said Barrie Mandel, senior vice president with The Corcoran Group, who pointed out that 40 percent of the 29 units were sold within eight months. "We have lots of windows all over, and no bedrooms with fewer than two large windows. It feels like a classic loft — both the old part and the new."
Laight Street is a classic cobblestone street below Canal, facing the massive open Holland Tunnel exit rotunda between Hudson and Varick Streets. One of the two fifth-floor apartments at 44 Laight offers 4,021 square feet of living space, and 40 linear feet of south-facing windows in the living room. On the market since September 15, the family-size apartment started at $5.25 million, and has been recently lowered to $4,450,000. The privately owned parking spaces below the building are particularly attractive to high-profile people because they can drive into the building and then take the elevator up to their apartment, avoiding the street altogether. "There are only a few boutique buildings like this in TriBeCa with private parking garages," added Craig Filipacchi, vice president with Brown Harris Stevens.
Farther Downtown, in the Financial District, are several competitively priced options. After opening at the height of the real estate meltdown, 75 Wall Street is now 50 percent sold. "What really differentiates this building is the 42nd-floor rooftop terrace, which gives 360 degree views all around the city for residents only, and the Andaz Hotel, situated below the residences in the same building," said Shelley O'Keefe, senior vice president at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. "We are on top of one of the top hotels in the world."
Residents can take advantage of room service and catering for parties in their apartment, housekeeping, valet laundry and valet parking at the hotel — but Club 75 is just for them. Prices range from $685,000 to $8.4 million. "Most buildings there offer some kind of outdoor space and a club room," said O'Keefe, "but no building can offer hotel services to its owners like we can."
25 Broad Street at the Exchange, located in the heart of the Financial District, is a former bank that has emerged as a 305-unit rental complex. To date, 104 of the available apartments have been rented. When completed, 25 Broad will feature apartments with ceilings of up to 13 feet, solid wide-plank wood flooring, generous walk-in closets, and an amenity space with a high-tech game room and lounge, golf simulator, children's playroom, fitness center with yoga studio and on-site concierge.
The rents range from $3,300 a month for one-bedrooms; two-bedrooms are in the $5,300-a-month range. "The Financial District is still considerably less expensive than Midtown or the Upper East or West Sides," noted David Sigman, executive vice president of LCOR, property developer and manager for 25 Broad. "We have two other projects in Williamsburg, and find that the rents we get at 25 Broad Street are comparable. A lot of our renters save money on renting by living in the Financial District, and then they commute to Midtown. They get a large space here, and are in their midtown office in 15 or 20 minutes."
Wednesday, February 22, 2012