Out and About: Rare is sponsor who doesn’t stint

Kitchen of apartment in the low 80s that is sensitive to the co-op’s past.

Sponsor apartment in established buildings generally consist of less than meets the eye.

I have in the past written that the quality of finishes and upgrades tends to make such apartments not such great deals.  Their big advantage is the absence of a co-op board to demand a grueling application process, though the burden in condos is considerably smaller.

But a pair of one-bedroom sponsor units in a full-service high-rise in a Central Park block of the low 70s proves to be the exception.  (For the uninitiated, sponsors in this case are companies that purchased or originally owned a rental building and converted the units into co-op or condo apartments.)

Working with a savvy broker well before listing the co-ops, the sponsor of the similar units that are the subject of this post tailored them to the market.  They have been gut renovated thoughtfully and expensively.

Facing west with most open exposures into the interior of the block, the apartments feature top-of-the line kitchens that have admirable Italian cabinetry, Caesarstone countertops, Sub-Zero refrigerator with two freezer drawers, Miele dishwasher, Dacor oven, microwave and floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet.

In the baths are Waterworks fixtures, marble-tiled floors in a herringbone pattern and radiant heating in those floors.

Other pluses include beautiful hardwood floors, above-average amounts of closet space, solid wood doors and separate heating/cooling zones.  Although there are no washer/dryers for one-bedroom apartments permitted in the 1925 building, each floor has one of each in addition to a basement laundry room.

Other of the building’s virtues are its proximity to the park, modest fitness center, playroom, private residents’ dining room and catering kitchen, cold storage, bicycle room, concierge and doorman.

It is nice to encounter a sponsor who doesn’t stint, but there’s a hefty price — negotiable, the listing broker allows — to be paid: $1.195 million with common charges of $629 and real estate taxes of $874 a month for the 732-sf condo; for the 656-sf unit, which was taken temporarily off the market a week ago, $1.07 million and a total of $1,386 per month.  

Other properties that I have seen and that are listed by various brokers:

  • On West End Avenue in the low 90s, a depressing one-bedroom co-op that faces nothing but brick walls.  This 750-sf unit has a decent, if dated, galley kitchen with cheap oak cabinets, an older bath, floors that are poor in places, low maintenance of $751 monthly and, as the listing says (without irony) “plenty of quiet.”  In a 1924 doorman building with permissive policies and a roof deck, the apartment is offered aggressively for $599,000.
  • A stylishly renovated one-bedroom apartment with terrific skyline views to the northeast on Broadway in the very high 60s.  In a pet-friendly 1977 high-rise with doorman and roof deck, the 750-sf co-op boasts good floors, a modern pass-through kitchen with breakfast counter and no oven, good closet space and a well-done bath.  Even with high maintenance of $1,460 a month, the current asking price of $525,000, reduced three times from $599,000 in November, seems right.
  • In the low 80s of a Central Park block, an appealing two-bedroom, two-bath co-op that has as its chief defect an eccentric layout — for example, a 37.5-foot-long hallway from the entrance to the living room.  Otherwise, the 1,400-sf classic-six-room apartment has much to commend it, providing as it does touches that evoke its origins such as restored wood paneling and a sensitively updated kitchen (pictured at top).  Exposures are south at treetop level.  With a listing price of $1.395 million and maintenance per month of $1,509, this unit should sell in the neighborhood of $1.25 million.
  • A superbly renovated 1,800-sf apartment on Riverside Drive in the low 80s.  This gut-renovated, three-bedroom, two-bath co-op had walls removed to improve natural light, but the unit may remain darker than most buyers will embrace.  Among its features are a handsome open kitchen with high-end cabinets and appliances that don’t impress, a dining room, excellent closet space, heated floors in the baths, washer/dryer, three exposures and good flow.  At $2.369 million, cut last week from $2.495 million, with monthly maintenance of $1,790 and only 65 percent permitted financing, this unit could use another reduction.

Tomorrow: No winners

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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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