Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing
By LAUREN PRICE
If you're looking for multi-level living, outdoor space and privacy, you don't have to restrict yourself to the suburbs (or to pricey prewar mansions) anymore. That's because the talk of the town is all about new townhouses.
Trend-setting developers began adding townhouses (aka maisonettes or townhomes) with street-level access and sizable amounts of private outdoor space to their high-rise projects back in the '80s, but they were few and far between. Nowadays, with New Yorkers clamoring for more room to roam, townhouses are taking over as new condo buildings all over the city - and beyond - are adding these units.
"It mimics a suburban style of living that city buyers often yearn for," says Paula DeNunzio, a managing director at Brown Harris Stevens.
Maisonettes have been around for decades - particularly in tony prewars along Fifth and Park avenues - and were sought after by moneyed buyers in search of palatial-ness and privacy. Architect Costas
Kondylis was the first to revisit the concept when he added a newer and sexier version of them at the Grand Sutton in the mid-1980s.
He went on to use that same concept for new buildings like Morton Square in the West Village, the Link in the West 50s and Arcadia on East 79th and First. Kondylis believes the emerging townhouse trend makes sense for both buyers and developers. The new units "provide buyers with the best of both worlds: a private entrance and a unique brand of exclusivity normally associated with townhouse living, but with all the white-glove services," he says. "It's appealing to developers because it allows them to maximize the amount of premium residential space."
The six townhouses at the new Lumiere building in the West 50s were a result of SHVO Group founder Michael Shvo advising the developer to carve them from what was to be retail space on a street with little foot traffic.
"I knew the demand was huge and I was right," Shvo says. "All six sold very early on."
Shvo is working on projects, not yet formally announced, with townhouses including a building on Washington Street and another on West 86th Street.
Many of the city's most prominent residential buildings of the future are planning townhouses as well. The new developments include High Line 519 on West 23rd Street (which will offer a $3.24 million unit with an unobstructed view of the railroad viaduct's transformation to an above-ground park) and Santiago Calatrava's 80 South St. glass-cube townhouse building (where 12 four-story homes are expected to start at around $30 million).
Annexed to the storied Parc Vendome at West 56th Street and Ninth Avenue are the new Townhouses at the Parc Vendome. When the units go on sale in early 2006 (prices are not yet available), townhouse buyers will be offered private spas and screening rooms, plus all the services and amenities of the Parc Vendome.
Corcoran Group Senior Vice President Sharon Baum points out that the new townhouse trend is not off-limits for prewars. Some buildings are converting ground-floor professional offices into maisonettes that offer the cachet of a separate address.
Prudential Douglas Elliman Managing Director Daniela Kunen notes that first-floor dwellings were "once considered second-rate" but are "now deemed prime by many buyers." Kunen is currently marketing 823 Park Ave. at East 75th Street - a stunning prewar rental that has been converted into family-size condos. Opening in 2006, the building's sprawling $8.75 million maisonette with a large garden will have north, south, east and west exposures.
Kunen recently sold a different maisonette at 330 E. 72nd St. The buyer first purchased a $2.4 million simplex on a higher floor but got permission from the sponsor to flip it three months later (for $2.7 million) after falling in love with the $4.26 million maisonette.
You don't have to be a multimillionaire to grab a new townhouse if you're willing to move further uptown. Senneca Terrace, opening on East 112th Street in October, is offering $899,000 one-bedroom, 11/2-bath duplex townhouses with 1,300 square feet inside and more than 800 square feet of landscaped garden outside.
Like many buildings, Senneca Terrace is offering a mix of townhouse units with more traditional condo units. But in the case of this building, even the upper units can feed buyers' cravings for indoor and outdoor space. Corcoran Group broker Valerie Dominguez has been selling two-bedroom apartments with nearly 1,100 square feet inside and two terraces outside for $525,000 to $590,000.
Two years ago, Halstead Property sold a street-level townhouse at the Washington Irving building on West 112th Street in a blink of an eye for $552,000.
"In today's market, the price tag would be over $1 million," says Steve Kliegerman, executive director of development marketing at Halstead Property. Warburg Realty Harlem is about to announce a project on 111th Street off Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard that will include one townhouse.
The townhouse trend is not limited to Manhattan. In Fort Lee, N.J., the Costas Kondylis-designed Palisades Condominiums offers four townhouses, priced from $1 million.
The Shipyard in Hoboken, N.J., is a luxury rental community that features a collection of residential buildings surrounded by retail shops, restaurants, a marina and a ferry stop for quick jaunts across the river. The Independence building at the Shipyard, which features 335 total units, has eight townhouses (starting at $5,661 a month) that directly face the Hudson River and the New York skyline.
Saturday, October 08, 2005