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Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend

By Amy Zimmer | January 17, 2014 7:53am
 A wreck, a unit needing a new kitchen and bathroom, and a modern renovation are on this week's list.
Three Apartments to See This Weekend
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MANHATTAN — When it comes to renovating, home buyers have different thresholds for how much work they want to put in. These three Manhattan listings offer a range of options: a building that needs a major overhaul, an apartment that needs a new kitchen and bathroom and a space spruced up by a professional architect.

547 West 159th St., Washington Heights
6 Bedroom/5 Bath
Approximately 3,120 square feet
$1.1 million
Taxes: $1,857 a year
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 19, 1 to 2 p.m.

Lowdown:  This vacant 4-story townhouse from 1905 may lack charming pre-war details, but the solidly structured walk-up is ready for a buyer looking for a blank slate — either an investor who was looking to develop as many as five apartments or someone looking to make a dream home, said Harlem Lofts' Robb Pair.

Buying a fixer can come with challenges, and while this home needs a big renovation, much of the major groundwork has been laid — a previous owner put in new plumbing, electrical and gas and redid the floors and beams before going bankrupt in 2008, Pair explained.

"It's for the harried homeowner who wants to design what he wants, but doesn't want to do the structural work," Pair said, noting that a renovation could be done for under $250,000. (Pair is an expert in such matters through his firm's affiliate, Harlem Property and Re+Development, which specializes in construction projects in the area.)

The current owner took out permits to convert the building into five apartments, but Pair suggested the building could work better as a two-family unit with a yard that could be converted into a lush garden and a roof that could be transformed with a deck.

The building was a Single Room Occupancy but already has a Certificate of No Harassment from the city — which is the first step needed before getting a go-ahead to move-in. (See our tips for buying a fixer-upper here.)

Though it's a "total gut," much of the work requiring time-consuming permits has been done already, so the process could be quicker than similar rehabilitations, Pair noted.

Location: The building is a few blocks from the Sugar Hill Historic District, which means you have a great location without the high price tag, Pair said.

The 1 train is around the corner on West 157th Street and the C train 163rd Street station is also nearby. Some hot new restaurants nearby include the Harlem Public — a short 10-block walk — and the new Il Caffe Latte on 145th, 14 blocks away, Pair said.

Why put it on your open house calendar? "It's probably the only building that someone could buy for $1.1 million range," Pair said, adding, "Washington Heights is so hot right now."

230 East 73rd St., #4A, Upper East Side
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
Approximately 850 square feet
Maintenance: $1,542/month
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 19, 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.

Lowdown: This spacious one-bedroom sits in an elegant Art Deco co-op designed by one of New York’s preeminent pre-war architects, Emery Roth. His iconic Central Park West buildings include the San Remo, El Dorodo and Beresford.

On this quiet, tree-lined stretch of East 73rd, Roth designed a cluster of six brick buildings called “Eastgate” — originally known as the “East Village” when built in the 1930s, said Town Residential’s Wyatt Bertz.

“This is a classic pre-war space,” Bertz said of unit 4A. “You walk in, and it's large."

There's a "dramatic" sunken living room with a beamed ceiling and decorative fireplace, and plenty of closets throughout. But the apartment does need work, Bertz said, noting the current owners bought the space in the 1980s and haven’t updated it since.

“This is for someone with time and vision,” Bertz suggested. “The kitchen and bath need to be taken out. But the floors are original. The apartment has great bones.”

The “impeccably-run” co-op has a shared garden, gym, laundry and doorman.

Location: Situated between the bustling commercial strips of Second and Third avenues, the building is near an array of bakeries, boutiques and cafes.  Old-time diner EJ's Luncheonette is on the corner of Third Avenue, and a block away is JG Melon, often cited as having one of the city’s best burgers, Bertz said. For automobile enthusiasts the Classic Car Club of Manhattan's Upper East location is nearby.

The 6 train is at 77th Street and Lexington Avenue, but a Second Avenue subway stop is expected to come to 72nd Street at the end of 2015.

Why put it on your calendar:  It’s 15 percent lower than the area’s average, Bertz said of the unit.

“Not only is this an opportunity to create the ideal home and see increased value following a renovation project,” he added, “but the Second Avenue subway stop at 72nd Street will provide tremendous upside potential.”

110 Forsyth St., #24, Lower East Side
1 Bedroom/1.5 Bath
Co-op (with income restrictions)
Approximately 750 square feet
Maintenance: $335/month
Open House: Sunday, Jan. 19, 12 to 2 p.m.

Lowdown: The current owner, an award-winning architect, completely overhauled this one-bedroom unit on the top floor of a six-story walk-up when he bought it three years ago, said Brian Goldfarb, of the Oxford Property Group.

“When he bought the apartment, it was a complete wreck,” Goldfarb said. “He got a permit to expand one of the windows. And every little detail he put in: a speaker system a projector that slides down with a remote. He went all out.”

He put in white oak hardwood floors, a central air-conditioning system and a washer/dryer. He re-finished the ceilings with recessed lighting and exposed the brick walls. He customized the open kitchen with handcrafted cabinets and built-in fridge and dishwasher. He even designed the couches for the space. (The owner would be willing to sell the furniture, Goldfarb said.)

The high-concept renovation was featured in Interior Design magazine.

The trek upstairs might be a negative for some, Goldfarb acknowledged, but “you get all the light and views.”

Because the unit is in an HFDC co-op it comes with income restrictions. A buyer can’t make more than $150,000 a year, Goldfarb said. The co-op would also get 11 percent of the re-sale profit.

Location: The building overlooks Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, which has a soccer field, basketball courts, a bird garden and more. The home is near the food markets of Chinatown and several mom-and-pop shops, such as Harris Levy linens. It’s a block from the Grand Street stop for the B and D trains.

Why put it on your calendar: It’s an ultra-modern renovation of a unit with “insanely cheap” maintenance in a “cool, eclectic neighborhood,” Goldfarb said.