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Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend

By Amy Zimmer | April 4, 2014 7:50am
 This weekend's agenda looks at lofts in a former dry goods store, soap factory and bakery.
Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend
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BROOKLYN — Soaring ceilings, open layouts, historic flair and, often, quirky floor plans: loft living has a romantic appeal for many New Yorkers. These three lofts trace their roots to a soap factory, a turn-of-the-century department store and a babka bakery.

67 E. 11th St., #515, Greenwich Village
Studio loft/1 Bath
Approximately 600 square feet (including loft space)
Maintenance: $1,388
Open House: Sunday, April 6, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Lowdown: This bright, south-facing unit sits in the former home of the McCreery Dry Goods Store, a cast iron landmark built in 1868 and noteworthy for being the first residential conversion of a cast iron loft building, Halstead’s Barak Dunayer said.

“This is about owning a piece of history,” he said of the doorman co-op, established in 1973.

Locals fought to save the building when a developer planned to tear it down for apartments, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Besides enormous arched windows and exposed brick walls, an original cast iron column graces the apartment’s foyer, which “some people go crazy for,” Dunayer said, “because they see the history right in their face when they walk in.”

The current owner, who has lived in the unit since the building first went residential, never upgraded the kitchen or bathroom. But there is a new heating and cooling system, Dunayer noted.

The home has 14-foot ceilings except for the lofted sleeping area, which is only 5-feet-8-inches-tall.

“It’s not a bedroom; it’s a sleeping area,” Dunayer emphasized, adding. “If it was another foot [taller], the place would cost $850,000.”

Location:  The building, between University Place and Broadway, is in a prime spot, steps from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, the Strand Book Store and Union Square’s transportation hub.

Why put it on your open house calendar?  Though the kitchen needs a renovation, Dunayer said, “Anybody can do a kitchen. But to be in this location, in a historic building, it doesn’t get much better.”

50 Bridge St. #515, Dumbo, Brooklyn
Studio/1 Bath
980 square feet (excluding loft space)
Common Charges: $455 a month
Taxes: $0 (with abatement that ends in 2019)
Open House: Sunday, April 6, noon – 1:30 p.m.

Lowdown:  Built in 1904 by the soap manufacturing company, Kirkman & Son, 50 Bridge St. has retained a “cool industrial vibe,” even though it’s now a full-service luxury condo, said owner Bernard Klein who is selling without a broker.

“It was our dream to live in a loft space," said Klein, who moved into this "super bright" unit with his wife a year ago. “We had been living in something more cookie cutter."

They were initially looking for TriBeCa lofts, but couldn’t find anything with enough sunlight at their budget, so they turned to Dumbo.

“There’s definitely an energy you get from being in an open space and it’s a good one," Klein said.  "Not to be cheesy, but it brings out more creativity and inspires us.”

The fifth-floor unit has 980 square feet on its ground floor — punctuated by columns stretching up to the 13-foot ceilings. There are two walk-in closets on the main floor and a 500-square foot wraparound loft level that can be used for storage or an office, Klein said. (The loft space was not calculated into the price tag, he noted.)

Location: The building is on a cobblestone block surrounded by new luxury high-rises, said Klein, whose favorite local haunts include the Fitness Guru (a gym), Brooklyn Roasting Company (his “go to" for coffee), St. Ann’s Warehouse (a theater space) and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The York Street F train is two blocks away.

Why put it on your open house calendar?  Dumbo prices have caught up to Manhattan, but they’re not quite at TriBeCa levels yet, said Klein, noting, “There are not too many loft spaces that exist at this price point,” he said of the home listed for under $1 million.

234 North 9th St., #1D, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
1.5 Bedroom/2 Bath
$1.48 million
Approximately 1,480 square feet
Common Charges: $793 a month
Taxes: $0 (with tax exemption through 2024)
Open House: Sunday, April 6, noon – 1:30 p.m.

Lowdown: What’s now a boutique condo was once a bakery where Sophia Zablowski started making her Polish Babka cakes in 1915, said Town Residential’s Zeeshaan Qadir.

Many original details remain, including timber beams and columns, exposed brick walls and steel doors.

“The unit is so distinct and unique. It’s hard to find something comparable,” said Qadir who, in a nod to the building’s heritage, plans to have slices of babka at Sunday’s open house.

“You feel like you’re walking into your own townhouse,” he said of the duplex loft that has its own private entrance off of Roebling Street.

A foyer leads upstairs to the living room and kitchen (with southeastern floor-to-ceiling windows) or downstairs to a bedroom (with a window) and a smaller room (without a window) that could be used as an office or nursery, Qadir suggested.

The current owner, who moved here in 2010 and was the apartment's first owner, added personal touches, like a sliding wall-mounted wine rack made from reclaimed barn wood and refinished pickled gray maple wood floors.

“She really put her heart into it,” Qadir said. “It’s a city home meets a country home." For those who like the owner's aesthetic, her custom furniture is for sale, too.

Location: It’s conveniently located in “the trifecta” of Williamsburg, Qadir said, three blocks from the Bedford Avenue L train stop, a few blocks from McCarren Park and a short walk to the waterfront, home to Smorgasburg and East River Ferry.

Why put it on your open house calendar? “It feels like a home,” Qadir said of the unit whose price was chopped by $70,000 this week, making it $1,000 a square foot.