Out and About: Rooms without any views

View from the living room of an otherwise appealing apartment.

As everyone knows, apartments with some combination of open views, sunny exposures and skyline vistas can command premium prices.

But many buyers who begin their search demanding lots of light–as most buyers will maintain–don’t often appreciate how much less they can spend for a place that has minimal light and bleak or offputting exposures. Light and soothing aesthetics  are the inevitable trade-off for value, though a grim exterior can be a heavy price to pay.

A great example of this phenomenon is the possibly 650-700-sf co-op with the view from the living room shown above.

The unit in a 1951 building with garage on Riverside Drive in the low 100s has been beautifully renovated–new pass-through kitchen, lovely hardwood flooring, good closet space and higher-than-average ceilings. But don’t even think about looking out any of the windows, including the bedroom.

The broker obviously put a fair amount of money into the improvements and would just as plainly like to get back his investment.

Not gonna happen.

When the apartment went on the market in April, it was offered for $545,000 with monthly maintenance of $822. The price was cut to $525,000 a month later and, again this week, to $499,000.  There is simply no way to turn the ugly duckling of the exposures into a swan of soulful beauty.

The price will eventually fall to a level where a buyer will realize the value of trading off a pleasant exposure for a bargain price.

Below are others that I have recently visited.  They are listed by various brokers:

  • An 1,100-sf co-op with two bedrooms, a single bath (and the possibility of adding another), nicely improved eat-in kitchen, ample custom closets and loads of character.  In a pet-friendly 1928 building with part-time doorman superbly located in the mid 70s, this airy second-floor apartment has plenty going for it.  What it lacks, however, is the possibility of ignoring the noise from heavy bus and other traffic on the avenue it overlooks.  The unit has an asking price of $1 million and may, because of its proximity to gourmet stores on Broadway, sell for as much as $950,000 with maintenance per month of $1,360.
  • Hard by Lincoln Center, a superb one-bedroom, two-bath condo in a white-glove high-rise constructed in 1996.  This  airy 915-sf apartment on a middle floor has a washer/dryer, floor-to-ceiling windows and generally unobstructed exposures to the east.  With granite countertops, the open galley kitchen is original and certainly serviceable, but it is far from glamorous.   At $1.375 million and common charges plus real estate taxes totaling $1,749 monthly, the unit is expensive but not outrageously out of line for such a desirable building in such a popular neighborhood.
  • In a full-service 1961 building that is on a corner of Central Park West in the high 90s, a basic one-bedroom apartment facing south from the second floor.  Although vegetation blocks much of the view, the 750-sf condo is bright, if plain.  There are an interior kitchen modestly updated a couple of years ago, a barely improved bath and wood parquet floors.  For reasons that elude me, units in the building tend to command somewhat high prices.  This one has been on the market since May and has had a $25,000 price cut last month to $765,000 with real estate taxes and common charges totaling $610, plus $216 assessment, monthly.
  • A three-bedroom co-op with terrific views from the seventh floor of the Hudson River and but a single bath, though plumbing is in place for a second one.  This rambling 1,500-sf apartment in a 1922 doorman building on Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights has a big kitchen that could stand some fluffing, floors in poor condition and spacious rooms.  Listed in May for $1.799 million, the place now is offered for $1.75 million with heady maintenance of $2,486 a month.
  • In the Central Village, a modestly renovated one-bedroom co-op off Union Square.  The 625-sf sponsor apartment has pleasant open views north, including the tippity top of the Empire State Building, and is otherwise inoffensive–except for those low ceilings that bedevil the full-service 1964 white-brick building.  At $630,000 with maintenance per month of $974, this unit on a higher floor should sell in the mid-to-high 500s.
  • A three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath condo in the high 80s on a corner of Broadway.  This dated 1900-sf apartment in a 100-year-old doorman building is seriously burdened by having had lot-line windows blocked by post-war construction, resulting in a living room and a hallway being bathed in gloom.  There are numerous other oddities about the place, including an unnaturally narrow hall bath, double-width master bedroom created by the combination of two rooms, and what was a shaving closet.  The asking price of $2.13 million with combined monthly costs of $3,717 bears no relation to reality.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201


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