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Open House Agenda: Four Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | August 23, 2013 7:43am
 Gut renovations and roof decks add to these apartments' appeal.
Four open houses to catch this weekend
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Late August is typically a slow period for open houses, but here are four that caught our eye — not least for their colorful interiors. Two are for sale by owner, while the others are newly renovated sponsor sales.

140 E. 28th St., Apt. 6D, Kips Bay, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
905 square feet
Maintenance: $1,854/month
Open House: Saturday, Aug. 24 and Sunday, Aug. 25, noon to 2 p.m.

Lowdown: The husband of the couple which owns this corner one-bedroom condo is an architect, so it’s no surprise the gut renovation turned out beautifully.

"It hadn’t been updated since at least the 1970s,” said owner Nicole Stansell, who has lived in the building since 2005, first in a studio before she and her husband moved into apartment 6D four years later.

The 1932 building was designed by Emery Roth, the architect behind several of the city’s iconic Beaux Arts and Art Deco apartment buildings, including the San Remo, Eldorado and Beresford on Central Park West.

A trip to Morocco in 2010 inspired the couple to finish the bathroom floor in Moroccan tiles, Stansell said. The couple also converted a bedroom dressing room into a hallway leading to the bathroom, which opened up a lot of light into the living room, but there is still plenty of closet space, she said.

Location: “[The neighborhood] gets a bad rap for being too generic, but I feel it has more of a personality than it used to,” Stansell said, noting the new Fairway, Sarabeth’s and the Gansevoort Hotel nearby, along with the developing Madison Park area.

“There’s a church and a private elementary school across from the building, so it’s quiet and gets less foot traffic” than some of the other blocks in the neighborhood, she said. “There’s also a cab stand around the corner on 28th and Lexington, which is nice if you’re looking for a taxi in the pouring rain.”

The apartment is a block from the 6 train and walking distance to Grand Central Terminal. Plus, you can see the Empire State Building from the landscaped roof deck, which, according to Stansell, is barely used by the building’s other owners.

Why put it on your open house calendar? You don’t often find apartments this gorgeous sold by the architect who renovated it. Though the maintenance is on the high side, it’s 53 percent tax deductible, Stansell said.


375 Lincoln Pl., Apt. 2E, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
700 square feet
Maintenance: $714/month
Open House: Sunday, Aug. 25, noon to 2 p.m.

Lowdown: The owner of this pre-war one-bedroom in Prospect Heights with French doors, high ceilings and exposed brick hired contractors to do the electric and the floor, but she and her husband renovated the rest of the kitchen themselves.

“It’s bright and spacious, the cabinets go up to the ceiling, and my husband knew how to build the shelves into the corners, so there’s more space under the counter,” Joelle Hawkes said.

The bathroom was newly renovated when she moved in in 2006.

“People who have come to look at it walk in and say, 'Wow, what a good feeling in here. Your pictures don’t do the space justice,’” she said.

But that’s exactly the reaction she wants.

“I’d rather over deliver than disappoint,” Hawkes explained. “You go to places with photos taken with a fish-eye lens, walk in and say, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I regret walking through the door. You’ve wasted my time.”

The neighbors are friendly, and the building has a “phenomenal, very responsive” live-in super, night-time security and laundry on each floor, Hawkes said. The common roof deck is used mainly by people from the second and third floors, since the rest of the units have their own outdoor spaces.

Management replaced the windows recently, so there’s a $40 additional assessment for 18 months that started in August, she added.

Location: Prospect Heights continues to gentrify, with new restaurants and boutiques lining Flatbush, Vanderbilt and Washington avenues. The building is two blocks from Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Library, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum. Grand Army Plaza has a weekly farmers market on Saturdays, and a food truck rally the first and third Sundays, May to October.

“It’s more convenient than Park Slope because you’re a block from the 2/3 line,” Hawkes said. “There’s so much culture in the area, and I have a kid now and there are playgrounds galore that are never really crowded.”

Why put it on your open house calendar? The apartment is in an excellent location in the heart of Prospect Heights, but also close to Park Slope and the booming Franklin Avenue corridor of Crown Heights. The asking price is only $10 per square foot above the average for the area, per Trulia.


250 Manhattan Ave., Apt. 3A, Central Harlem, Manhattan
2 Bedroom/2 Bath
843 square feet
$1 million
Common Charges: $567.50/month
Real Estate Taxes: $604.58/month
Open House: Sunday, Aug. 25, 11 a.m. to noon

Lowdown: Developers gutted the former rent-stabilized building that had nine apartments and created 20 units plus added an elevator, storage and bike room, said Maor Shefer of NestSeekers, who staged the unit.

“Four tenants returned who had lived there for several years and they love how it’s been remodeled," he said.

The bedrooms of this unit — which hit the market last week — are narrow, but the ceilings are nearly nine-feet high. The open kitchen has granite countertops. There’s a Jacuzzi in one of the bathrooms.

A CNBC news crew filmed the apartment last week as part of a segment showing how prices are going up in Harlem, said Shefer. “This listing is $1 million, but last year it would have gone for $700,000."

Location: Morningside Park is across the street; Central Park is 1.5 blocks southeast. St. John the Divine, Columbia University and Morningside Heights are a short walk up the hill along 110th Street, also known as Cathedral Parkway. To the north and east is Harlem.

New establishments continue to open nearby, especially along Frederick Douglass Boulevard (Eighth Avenue). Harlem Tavern is a neighborhood favorite, and a new wine bar, Park 112, just opened. B and C trains are one block away at 110th Street at Central Park; the 1 train is three blocks west, at Broadway.

Why put it on your open house calendar? The area is developing fast, and prices will likely rise. “Manhattan Avenue is going through a facelift,” Shefer said. “Our building, 1 Morningside Park, at 272 [Manhattan Ave.] is another gut renovation project. At 280 will be a beautiful rental building. It’s becoming an inviting and friendly place to live.”

Note: The open house is by appointment only. Contact Shefer at maors@nestseekers.com or at 917-539-8057.


1401 Ocean Ave., PHD, Midwood, Brooklyn
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
1,000 square feet
Maintenance: $794/month
Open House: Sunday, Aug. 25, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Lowdown: This 17th-floor, east-facing penthouse in Midwood’s post-war Premier House is sizable. It has ample closet space and a “350-square-foot terrace that spans the length of the apartment, with 180-degree views stretching from Long Island City to Manhattan to Far Rockaway,” Hakim Edwards, of Halstead Property, said.

More vistas can be seen from the building’s rooftop pool and club.

The owners renovated the kitchen and bathroom before putting it on the market two weeks ago. The unit also comes with a guaranteed parking space, for about $100 per month, Edwards added.

“I had brokers come in from Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights to take a look and help me price [the unit],” Edwards said. “We’re starting aggressive because of its uniqueness. There are not that many penthouses in Brooklyn. Add that it’s 1,350 square feet [with the terrace]; the pool, the deck and the parking spot available with the purchase; and it makes it a $450,000 apartment.”

There's also a padded playground and basketball hoop in the backyard.

Maintenance covers all amenities and utilities, including central air, and is 45 percent tax deductible.

Location: One of New York’s top-ranked pizza places, Di Fara’s, is five blocks away on Avenue J. Brooklyn College is a block north. The area is mostly residential, but there are shops along Avenue J, and the bustling Flatbush Nostrand Junction, with the 2/5 train station and a Target, is about a mile away. The building is between the Avenue H and Avenue J station on the Q line.

Nearby public schools include the well-regarded P.S. 193 and Edward R. Murrow High School, with college preparatory curriculum and strong arts programs.

Why put it on your open house calendar? For potential buyers who crave outdoor space and the morning light, this place could be for you. As a sponsor unit, there’s no board approval.