Out and About: Even rich buyers must compromise

At 15 Central Park West, this condo was recently listed for $16.5 million

I recently visited a duplex condo in a new building on the Upper West Side,  It was the last of the sponsor’s units still on the market, and I imagined that a unit priced at $10 million would be flawless.

But I see the apartment, in the mid 70s between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, as having three major liabilities.

First, combined from two relatively small rooms, the dining room now has matching protrusions on either side that probably would make it next to impossible for anyone to squeeze by a seated guest.

Second, anyone relaxing or necking in the living rooms upstairs and downstairs either would have to drape the oversize windows or enjoy being exhibitionists.  That’s because units in adjacent wings have direct views inside.

Third, although there is a terrace, it is placed outside a bedroom–and not even the master bedroom downstairs but one like it upstairs.

Otherwise, the 5,387-sf condo has beautiful finishes, a stunning big enclosed kitchen, white-oak flooring, gorgeous master bath with white marble and gold limestone accents, washer/dryer and state-of-the-art wiring.  There are five bedrooms, a home office or library, maid’s room and seven and a half baths.

When I am showing apartments to my buyers, I make a point of advising them that everyone who purchases a new home invariably has to make compromises, no matter what they are willing to pay.

The unit in question, which had a contract fall out a while back for $11.85 million, reportedly has someone interested in buying the place.  Listed at $9.995 million, the condo has a monthly common charge of $6,543 and a currently tax-advantaged real estate tax of $1,443 a month.  

This apartment very nicely makes my point to buyers. And it’s one of literally hundreds of examples.

Other recently visited properties that are listed by various brokers:

  • In the mid 90s close to Riverside Drive, a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath co-op in appalling shape.  This unit in an offputting 1915 building that itself has nothing much to offer beyond pet friendliness demands a total renovation at a time that most buyers don’t want to bother with such an undertaking.  The apartment is further burdened by exposures that are obstructed in half of the rooms and a hallway from the entrance best suited for skateboarding past the two bedrooms and full bath.  Even at a asking price of $799,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,212, this place is no bargain, though the seller now has accepted an offer.
  • In the low 80s, a typically modest renovation by a sponsor of a two-bedroom, two-bath co-op on West End Avenue in the mid 80s.  With western exposures from the nearly 23-f00t-long living room and the master bedroom, which also looks south, the apartment has a big square kitchen updated with GE Profile appliances, marble countertops and solid-maple cabinets.  The bedrooms could be bigger, and closet space is fine.  In a 1923 doorman building that has a garage, this place is listed at a reduced, and still wildly optimistic, $1.05 million with monthly maintenance and a three-year assessment amounting to $1,959.  
  • An impossibly depressing one-bedroom apartment that has nothing but grim, grimy views through its four windows.  Other of its liabilities are the cramped older kitchen, perfect someone who excels at making coffee, and a small living room.  Offered at a reduced $449,000 after half a year on the market, this co-op in a pet-friendly 1920 building lacking much in amenities, should sell for no more than $400,000 with maintenance per month of $778.  
  • One of those odd apartments that have been carved from a larger one in a 1920 building with few amenities.  This one-bedroom co-op  has a kitchen unfit for a serious cook and unable to be expanded.  But the unit otherwise is spacious and well situated on a corner of Broadway in the low teens of the 100s.  It has been listed since early last month at a reasonable $500,000 with maintenance of $914 a month.
  • In the mid 90s near Central Park, a handsomely renovated three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath co-op that had some $700,000 in renovations completed approximately five years ago.  No expense seems to have been spared, but the decor may discourage some buyers.  Among its features are state-of-the art wiring, built-in library shelves, a large first-class kitchen, generous closet space, bright light from the north and plenty of attention to detail.  In a 1929 building lacking a doorman and originally offered at $2.995 million in March, now at $2.795 million since September with monthly maintenance of $2,908, this unit remains out of line with what buyers are prepared to pay.
  • A one-bedroom apartment with upgraded kitchen open to a dining room in the mid-80s between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.  This 950-sf unit has pre-finished hardwood floors and three exposures.  In a pet-friendly 1917 building with a live-in super and central laundry, this co-op is listed for $850,000 with maintenance per month of $1,440–roughly what a two-bedroom apartment should command in a doorman building.

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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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