Out and About: How the other half (1%?) lives

One kitchen among several like it in Tribeca on a tour of "luxe" properties.

In a word, the other half lives very well.  Very, very well.

Invited with others to take a brokers’ tour of “luxe” properties in Tribeca and SoHo, I couldn’t resist having a look at them and posting photographs of some of them.

Master bedroom plus terrace in one loft.

They were priced for as little as $12.95 million to — get this — $45 million, and I have to say that they pretty much measured up to my expectations for lavish, stylish and spacious places to live.  They should!

I confess with more than a touch of envy that perhaps such lofts also enable their owners to lord it over those whose abodes cost them a mere few millions — “envy” being key. 

I visited lofts with kitchens the size of Cleveland, terraces as inviting as Central Park on a weekday in spring (or this February) and room proportions that stretched nearly into infinity.

The living is easy.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, just a little.  But I was struck, unsurprisingly, by how b-i-i-g they were, varying from 3,500 to 11,000 square feet. (You read that right.)

Unlike many lofts with windows at two ends, most of the ones I saw that day provided tons of sunlight, extraordinarily high-end kitchens meant more for catering than snacking, and costly finishes that defy those in the homes of families with even hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual income.

I saw places that variously had a staircase of floating glass like those in Apple stores, a dwellings on as many as six floors, one with a lap pool on one of its terraces, rain showers, soaking tubs, a long table sunk close to the floor and able to rise so diners can slide onto a ledge, outdoor rooms with barbecues and full kitchens, private elevators, incomparable baths, exposed brick galore and striking details that evoked the past.

There’s not nearly enough space here to describe all of the properties.  Since I imagine you are dying to know about the most expensive one, I’ll describe more fully the owner’s triplex in an 1862 limestone building.  The $45 million price tag is for the whole structure and its triplex.

The building contains 23,000 square feet, not including a private 2,150-sf basement gym and half-basketball court or the 2,775 square feet of outdoor space. Its mechanical systems and elevator are new.

The purchase also covers three rental apartments plus commercial space.  (Of the gross 23,000 square feet above grade, just under 20,000 are usable.)

Real estate taxes are more than $165,000 a year.

Sun, sun, sun, but oh so many windows to wash.

I would love to show photos of that unit; unfortunately, I was not given permission to do so.  Those on the Web site are proprietary.  But let me tell you about the owner’s eight-bedroom, 10-bath loft loaded with character on the top three floors:

  • Ceilings range in height from 12 to 17 feet;
  • A nearly $2 million glass staircase fairly floats through a light-filled atrium that runs through the center;
  • There are skylights so huge that they make mockery of the term used elsewhere;
  • The kitchen is gigantic, including not one 48-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator, but two;
  •  Paving stones, sinks and a fountain on the roof were salvaged from MOMA’s original sculpture garden;
  •  Heart of pine moldings were milled from the building’s old beams;
  •  Most of the plank flooring also is heart of pine and original to the building, with each board having been lifted, planed smooth and reset prior to staining;
  •  Radiators were imported from Italy;
  •  Bath fixtures are Waterworks;
  •  There is a complete security system with roof sensors;
  •  Architecture and interior design are nothing short of flawless.

This pristine Tribeca property, a former shoe store that is a couple blocks north of Chambers Street and just east of W. Broadway, first went on the market in November 2010.

The theory clearly is that somewhere out there is the right buyer, one who will appreciate its value in its manifold dimensions.  Whether the value really amounts to $45 million is hard to say, though the market does seem to be making a point: The triplex/building has been available since November of 2010.

Now, you have the option of renting the top three floors for only $100,000 a month.

If I had some loose change, I know that I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate to make a purchase offer somewhat closer to my means and unfathomable leagues below the asking price.

Tomorrow: Starr’s last stand

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, search for your new home here.

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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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