Strikingly similar new developments across the city are luring buyers away from restrictive co-ops and historic brownstones and into generic-looking cookie-cutter spaces.
But for buyers like Bartell Cope, who is under contract for a new unit in the Rennie, “You take ownership of a place with paint, decorations and your personal energy, so it’s not a cookie cutter for me. – it is convenient.”
Cope and his fiancée Samantha Gorman, who are moving to Harlem from Santa Cruz, Calif., made it a priority to find a place that would allow them to immediately focus their attention on all that the city has to offer.
“The romantic idea of restoring a brownstone is great, but frankly a luxury if you can pull it off,” said the 32-year-old, whose remote job in sales has given him flexibility.
Although the Rennie is billed as luxury residences with one-bedroom units starting at $675,000, the units lack the transitional spaces featured in luxury buildings like 145 CPN or 200 Amsterdam and are therefore considered “effective”, explained Stephen Kliegerman, president of marketing for Brown Harris Stevens Development.
“The Rennie, with a 25-year tax abatement at a very reasonable price per square foot, is a great value game,” Kliegerman said. As such, apartments like this “tend to be much more efficient, [have] much less circulation space, but much more usable space.
While Cope and Gorman’s 792-square-foot apartment at the Rennie isn’t considered a tiny one-bedroom apartment by New York standards, the reality, according to Corcoran agent Sam Teichman, is that many new building developers “try to create as many units as possible within the overall building footprint.
More profit in these efficiency buildings comes from more units – not by, say, adding extra square footage to a bedroom or incorporating transitional spaces into a 600 square foot unit.
Currently, the general reaction of its customers to this “efficiency unit” model is: “I wish I had more room for my money”.
Predictably, those with more disposable income don’t have to sacrifice space.
Lane Rettig and his wife Lily Rettig are delighted with where they landed at 145 CPN, which Rettig described as a “small boutique building that has a lot of charm and character”, much like brownstone rental UWS Rettig admitted they “were very sad to leave me behind.
The Rettig’s $3.5 million, 1,509-square-foot, three-bed, two-bath unit faces Central Park and was the building’s record sale in December 2021.
Aida Sukys, chief financial officer of software firm Justworks, pushed back against the idea that the new buildings, while lacking “pre-war history or charm”, are simpler than a conversion pre-war.
In fact, Sukys said she was drawn to Jolie’s “finishes and they were anything but cookie-cutter.” Personally, she said she would rather “add my own touch and character to the house via furniture, paint and wall color, and not have to worry about constant upkeep.”
Louise Phillips Forbes, a veteran luxury real estate broker, said it would be a mistake to blame developers for generic layouts, common especially in so-called efficiency units, that manage to escape the kitchen’s fate. , thanks to an absent wall but not much else.
They just respond to the market.
“What developers are building and what these cookie cutters offer,” Philips Forbes said, is particularly appealing to “international buyers” who don’t necessarily feel a strong connection to the city’s history and can live without the soul of a pre-war building.
The overriding design aesthetic – lots of clear, clean lines – in new construction is also a response to what people want today, Philips Forbes said. “It must be light, right? Because it will wear out over time.
REAL New York’s Jason Warner, who oversees sales at the Benny (no relation to the Rennie), said the choice to buy in a new building was driven by a desire to move into a “real adult apartment” . building at Prospect Lefferts Gardens in Brooklyn, where Warner oversees sales, this true adult apartment translates to 686 square feet for $580,000.