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Mentioned in this Article:
Stephen G. Kliegerman

Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing

New York Sun

Believe It Or Not

Manhattan Penthouses for Less Than $1M


BY BRADLEY HOPE - Staff Reporter of the Sun

In Manhattan's tight real estate market, finding a spacious penthouse with a view and indoor parking is a tough task. Add the condition that it must cost less than $1 million and real estate brokers stare in disbelief.

"Are there even any left?" the head of new development at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Andrew Gerringer, said.

In fact, four penthouses fitting this description can be found on the island of Manhattan.

As with everything that sounds too good to be true, though, there is a catch.

These luxury units, ranging between two- and three-bedrooms and 1,085 square feet and 1,327 square feet, are at the Langston, a condominium development far uptown in a neighborhood brokers have dubbed Harlem Heights.

There are other penthouses scattered around Manhattan that are on the market for less than $1 million, including two at the Setai, a new condominium at 40 Broad St. in the financial district, a top-floor apartment on West 46th Street, and three penthouses in TriBeCa. These too have catches. The units at the Setai are just 516 square feet, very small penthouses, indeed. With price tags of $805,000 and $860,000, the price for a square foot is very high: $1,560 and $1,667, respectively. Still, for buyers interested in owning a top floor for less than seven digits, this is an answer.

Another possibility is a one-bedroom penthouse in Hell's Kitchen, at 517 W. 46th St., which costs $675,000 for 613 square feet. In a nod to a changing market, the developers are now offering to pay the buyer's city and state transfer taxes in addition to the sponsor's attorney fees.

In TriBeCa, the development at 88 Greenwich St., known as the Greenwich Club, is offering three penthouses for less than $1 million each. The building, which boasts a sky deck, a gym, and even a billiards room, has three penthouses ranging in size between 566 square feet and 678 square feet priced between $860,000 and $975,000.

The Langston penthouses are unique in that they are the only duplexes of the bunch, and the only ones that also boast outdoor space.

"We're offering something that you just can't find in Manhattan or typically in Harlem," the executive director of Halstead Development Marketing, Stephen Kliegerman, said. "These are true penthouses: outdoor space, double high ceilings, real views, a door man, parking."

The 10-story building opened last year on Bradhurst Avenue and 145th Street, a corner that has seen dramatic development in the past two years. What once was a collection of abandoned buildings and empty lots is a neighborhood shaded by condominiums with a Starbucks, a 24-hour Pathmark, and a New York Sports Club. Residents even started a twice-a-week farmer's market in Jackie Robinson Park across from the building.

Roughly 87% of the 180 units at the Langston are under contract. The developer, David Pickett, made an agreement with the city to keep some units for middle-income buyers in exchange for land and tax credits.

Perhaps most impressive of the remaining apartments is Penthouse S, with its 1,302 square feet of indoor space and a terrace nearly as large. The apartment has views of Yankee Stadium. The asking price is $995,000, and brokers claim that a buyer is near to finalizing a deal.

The penthouses include a washer-dryer in the kitchen, two marble bathrooms, and two-story windowed walls in the living room. The building is also a short walk from the A train, making for an easy trip to Midtown Manhattan or a 35-minute ride to the financial district.

Jason Winocour, 39, and his wife, Evelin, moved into a penthouse in the Langston six weeks ago after living for five years in the Jackson Heights section of Queens.

Mr. Winocour, a managing partner at Hunter Public Relations, said the couple chose the building because of the neighborhood and affordability. Also, it is an easy commute for his wife, who works at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"We don't have children, but we are certainly considering that," he said. "The building is very child-friendly. It has an outdoor playground and an Olympic-size swimming pool in the park across the street."

The sales associate for the building, Sidney Whelan, said the neighborhood has changed dramatically from when he moved to a nearby townhouse four and a half years ago.

"All this development has changed the character of the neighborhood," he said. "There used to be a lot of lots. There wasn't a grocery store or drug store, and certainly no farmer's market."

"It's now an interesting mix of people — old-timers and new residents," he said. "The longer I stay here the more I like it because I get to know everyone on the block."

Mr. Kliegerman said he has already seen prices inch upward of $700 per square foot north of 125th Street.

"There is a lot of activity in Central and West Harlem," he said. "A lot of people looking for value.

Mr. Gerringer said that with one bedrooms selling for $1 million below 96th Street, three bedrooms for an equivalent price "sounds like a relative deal." Still, the price for a square foot is about the same as Manhattan's average, he said.

"It's value — that's why people go up to those areas," he said. "They have to feel like they are getting a bang for a buck."

Thursday, September 06, 2007