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Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | October 11, 2013 7:35am
 Check out these two apartments and one brownstone that are relative real estate bargains.
Apartment Sales Listed a Below-Market Prices
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MANHATTAN — Finding a “deal” in this tight market is tough, with most properties priced higher than their neighborhood’s price-per-square-foot average. So, this week’s Open House Insider undertook the difficult task of finding three listings priced below their neighborhoods’ averages. Whether the square footage on apartment listings is accurate, however, is a subject of debate, according to a recent Open House Insider column.

460 E. 79th St., Apt. 11F, Upper East Side, Manhattan
2 bedrooms/1 bath
800 square feet
Common Charges: $844/month
Real Estate Taxes: $619/month
Open House: Sunday, Oct. 13, 1-2:30 p.m.

Lowdown: This post-war condo just west of York Avenue recently returned to the market with a $26,000 price drop.

“We had a buyer at the original price, but the deal fell through,” Anisa Saroop, of Corcoran Group, said when asked about the discount.

“The sellers have a 1-year-old, just had baby No. 2, and they’ve moved to Manhasset,” she offered. “They’re no longer in the apartment, so now they really need to sell.”

The converted second bedroom was created by carving out a small space, at just 88 square feet. But the living room is more than 250 square feet, according to the floor plan.

The owners recently installed new hardwood floors, and renovated the kitchen and bathroom about four years ago, Saroop said. The unit comes with a full-sized washer and dryer.

It’s priced at $1,123.75 per square foot, compared to StreetEasy’s average of $2,077 for the neighborhood.

Parking spaces start between $350 and $500, depending on the type of car, Saroop added.

Location:  Carl Schurz Park and the East River Promenade are six blocks away. Even closer is John Jay Park, at 78th Street. “There’s an [outdoor] Olympic-sized pool there that’s lovely,” Saroop said.

Until the new Second Avenue subway line opens — currently scheduled for 2016 — the closest station is the 6 train at 77th Street and Lexington, which is a bit of a hike. There's a crosstown bus stop across the street and an express bus to Wall Street on the block that takes about 15 minutes and runs every 30 minutes starting at 6 a.m., Saroop said.

Why put it on the open house calendar? Not only is the price below average, but the common charges are too, since “there aren’t a lot of extra frilly amenities,” Saroop said.

“This unit is priced to sell,” she added. “If you’re a savvy buyer, you know what’s out there and what things are trading for.”


311 Van Buren St., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
7 Bedrooms/4 Baths
Multi-family House
3,060 square feet
Real Estate Taxes: $126/month
Open House: Sunday, Oct. 13, 1:30-3 p.m.

Lowdown: The building, in its current configuration of four floor-through apartments, is ideal for buyers looking for rental income to help cover the mortgage.

The third-floor tenant is in place until June 2014, paying $1,400 per month for a two-bedroom space. The three other units will be vacated when the building sells.

The brownstone was built sometime between 1899 and 1910, said Louis Belisario, of Fillmore Real Estate. “The current owners bought it in 2007 and renovated it in 2008. The water heater, boiler and roof were redone in 2009.”

Most of the building’s original details, such as crown moldings, have been stripped, “but they’re easy enough to find and add back in,” Belisario said. “And the new owner could hire an architect and combine them into two duplex units, or combine three and keep one as a rental."

The units are typical of long, narrow railroad apartments, with the rooms opening one into the other. The bedroom in the first-floor apartment is about 200 square feet and large enough for a king-sized bed. The bedrooms in the other units are smaller, ranging from 82 to 111 square feet.

There’s also a sizeable backyard with trees.

Its listing price puts it at $293.79 per square foot, compared to the $361 average for the neighborhood, per StreetEasy.

Location: The building is between Lewis and Stuyvesant avenues. On the corner at Stuyvesant Avenue is JHS 57/HS 26, which has the Jesse Owens Playground. The Eleanor Roosevelt Playground is two blocks away. The closest train is the elevated J at Kosciuszko Street, about a 10-minute walk. There are buses on Lafayette and DeKalb avenues.

A costume shop is relocating from Bushwick to DeKalb Avenue at Tompkins, about six blocks away. Popular spots like Therapy Wine Bar, the Little Red Boutique and Saraghina (known for its pizza) are near Lewis Avenue toward the A and C Utica Avenue station at Fulton Street, which is one mile south.

Why put it on the open house calendar? It’s an opportunity to jump into a still-affordable area of a gentrifying neighborhood.

“The prices I’m seeing elsewhere in the neighborhood are insanely inflated,” said Belisario, whose family founded Fillmore in Fort Greene in 1966 and has been selling in Bed-Stuy since the 1970s.

“That’s not to say some properties don’t warrant it,” he said. “But it usually takes a decade to double the value of a place, not two years. This is a good place for someone to live and earn. Even if they put in $100,000 of renovations, they’re still getting a brownstone for under $1 million.”


15 Broad St., Apt. 1124, Financial District, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
1,509 square feet
$1.4 million
Common Charges: $1,427/month
Real Estate Taxes: $468/month
Open House: Sunday, Oct. 13, noon to 2 p.m.

Lowdown: It’s all about the ability to create your own space with this apartment in “Downtown by Philippe Starck,” a 1928 Art Deco building that once housed J.P. Morgan Bank and was converted to luxury loft condos in 2007.

The unit is essentially a long rectangle that new owners can redesign to their liking.

“The owner is motivated to sell,” said Arzygul “Julia” Benson, of Bond New York, adding that the unit hit the market on Sept. 26. “It’s had just one owner and is in tip-top condition. It has all the original designs from Starck.”

The apartment is listed at 1,509 square feet, putting it at $927.75 per square foot, versus the area’s average of $1,282, according to StreetEasy. Based on a floor plan provided to DNAinfo, it seems the apartment might only have 1,225 square feet — but even then, it works out to be a relative deal.

Though the apartment faces south, Benson said it “is not super bright, but it gets enough daylight.”

She added: “What’s good is that the space is large and open, so you can build an extra bedroom or separate the living room.”

The luxe building comes with plenty of amenities, including an indoor lap pool, squash court and bowling alley. Dance and yoga classes are available to residents at a discount of $10 per class, Benson said.

The landscaped rooftop has “views of the New York Stock Exchange that are so close you feel as if you could reach out and touch it,” she said.

Location: The building, across from NYSE and near Bowling Green, has eight subway lines steps away. Hermès is in the building, and other luxury retailers, such as Thomas Pink and Tiffany’s, line Wall Street, which is around the corner. Several new restaurants and services have opened within a block or two of the building the past few years, including Duane Reade, Pret A Manger, Crumbs Bake Shop and Starbucks. The Australian-style Bluestone Lane Coffee opened down the block in early October, and Reserve Cut, a 300-seat kosher steakhouse, opens across the street on Oct. 15.

Why put it on the open house calendar? The unit should appeal to anyone looking for a large open space they can customize.

"We’ve found a lot of buyers like open space," Benson said, "and building walls is pretty cheap.”