Out and About: Three into one don’t go

Imagine a complete room, a bedroom, at the top of this image of an apartment that just refuses to end.

Even apartments that have resulted from the combination of two units can challenge architects.  When it comes to combining three units, you can’t count on a challenge that is, in most cases, insurmountable.

Such is the case of the co-op with the floor plan at the right.

At the top, the room that I had to cut off was a one-bedroom apartment.  The first fully illustrated space now designated as “den/4th bedroom” was its the living room, and the incomplete one above was the original bedroom.  Where you see the walk-in closet to the right of the current den was the kitchen.

Moving  on down, the “staff/home office” was the alcove part of a studio apartment.  The kitchen was in the room now turned into a laundry.  And what now is the living room of the combined apartment functioned as the original unit’s public space.

That leaves the original two-bedroom apartment in which the present dining room was a living room at the end of the gallery; a gallery placed where it is and as spacious often is a dead giveaway that you are entering a combined apartment.

This particular combination presents a number of, shall I say, issues:

  1. Rooms are out of proportion with each other. An apartment of such size ought to have a much larger living room.  And the kitchen, as nicely renovated as it is, is too big in relation to the other rooms;
  2. Notice that the old one-bedroom unit at the top essentially remains such, with awkward flow from the rest of the co-op, essentially tacked on;
  3. There is way to much useless hallway.

Facing north in the low 70s almost on Riverside Drive, the apartment in a pet-friendly 1924 building lacking amenities beyond bike room and playroom was expensively renovated, especially its wall treatments and its handsome kitchen with top-end appliances.

Only if the place worked better would it be worth the current asking price of $2.85 million, after three $100,000 reductions since it went on the market last July.  Maintenance is $4,187 a month.

Below are some of the properties that I’ve recently visited and that are listed by various brokers:

  • A two-bedroom, one-bath co-op just west of Amsterdam Avenue in the low 100s.  The second bedroom had to be have been a dining room when the low-rise building with few amenities was constructed in 1940, but the 875-sf apartment is nonetheless a nice unit for its fair starting price of $650,000 with surprisingly high maintenance of $1,324 per month.  There are a living room barely more than 11.5 feet wide, merely adequate bath, some newer hollow-core doors, wide galley kitchen with laminate countertops and no closet in that second bedroom.
  • On Broadway in the high 90s, a beautifully renovated two- or three-bedroom, two-bath condo that has stunning views in three directions.  This  airy corner unit in a full-service 2006 building provides 9-foot ceilings, a washer/dryer, expansive master bedroom, high-end kitchen with four-burner Viking stove, wine cooler and granite countertops, and handsome baths.  Listed at $2.395 million with monthly common charges of $1,741 and abated real estate taxes of $400, the apartment should sell for considerably less money.
  • A stubbornly priced one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln Square.  This basically renovated co-op — which is marketed as having a “new frig,” and other appliances along with a “coat of fresh paint” (think about the word order for a laugh) — is in a 1920 building that has an exercise room and roof deck but no doorman.  It went on the mark last. . . June for. . . $495,000.  Today’s offering price is $449,000 with monthly maintenance of $941 after two cuts, the last in December (!).  It does, by the way, face walls.
  • In the low 70s west of Columbus Avenue, a modestly renovated two-bedroom, two-bath co-op that rambles a bit, causing an open kitchen to mark the passage between living room and the good-size master bedroom.  None of the exposures is open, one of the baths needs a new floor and the work done in this generally pleasant unit has a whiff of cost-saving.  In a pet-friendly 1930 building with live-in super and a fitness room, this unit has been listed since early September for $799,000 with maintenance of $1,640 per month.  The market is speaking volumes to the sellers, who aren’t listening.
  • On Central Park West in the mid 80s, a 1,300-sf apartment with two bedrooms, two baths, central air conditioning and northern exposures that afford side views of the park.  The master bedroom has impressive built-ins, the open kitchen is undeniably attractive (though not highest end), there is abundant closet space, and a washer/dryer is included.  Given the exposures over a side street in a 1906 building with limited amenities and eye-opening monthly maintenance of $2,504 a month, this place is pretty expensive at its asking price of $1.679 million after a mammoth $16,000 reduction. 
  • A charming one-bedroom maisonette on Riverside Drive in the low 90s.  This 903-sf co-op has an open kitchen hard by the entrance combining the newer (Viking stone and granite countertops) with the older (cabinets).  Among the unit’s assets are its glowing parquet floors, a bath that has been modestly improved, washer/dryer, spacious dining area, very well proportioned rooms and built-ins such as bookshelves and, inside a bedroom closet, a desk behind doors of solid maple.  In a 1929 doorman building, the apartment is listed at a tempting price of $720,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,243, plus a $78 assessment.

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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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