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Mentioned in this Article:
Stephen G. Kliegerman

Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing

The Real Deal

Fewer Amenities More Sales

Though many new Manhattan condos garner press because of over-the-top amenities packages, some small- to mid-size building developers are bucking the trend, finding they don't need amenities galore to move units.

"In a small- to medium-size property, it could be an option to not include amenities," said Gordon Golub, Citi Habitats' senior managing director. "You'd have to make sure the property is strong enough without the additional amenities."

Fewer amenities can decrease sales prices and common charges, which marketers say can make a condo in an A-list neighborhood even more desirable.

For example, in September Citi Habitats will be marketing Carriage House Chelsea, a 24-unit, high-end condominium at 159 West 24th Street, with only a few perks. There will be a part-time doorman, 24-hour monitoring system and eight automated, fee-based private parking spaces that are likely to cost an additional $175,000 to $250,000 per year. The units are expected to start at $700,000 for a 600-square foot open loft space, $100 to $200 less per square foot than condos with considerably more bells and whistles, said Cliff Finn, managing director of Citi Habitats Marketing Group. The monthly maintenance will be 20 to 30 percent less than the more amenity packed buildings, he added.

"I think you're seeing more people that don't want to pay for things they don't really need because housing costs are so expensive," Finn said.

When doorman duty at the 47-unit Fitzgerald at 257 West 117th was cut back to part-time from full-time, there was a 75 percent increase in sales, said Stephen Kliegerman, executive director of development marketing at Halstead Property. Common charges decreased to $.75 a square foot from $1.10 a square foot. Apartments are selling for between $565,000 and $1.85 million. Halstead is exclusively marketing the property.

Other developers are contemplating following suit.

Halstead is talking with developers about reducing monthly common charges by including only the amenities that buyers actually use, Kliegerman said.

"That's something that we've been looking at a lot lately," he noted.

By Lauren Elkies

Sunday, July 01, 2007