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Talk to the Hand

New buildings admit you—and only you.

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EDITED BY CHRISTOPHER BONANOS

Closing on an apartment is typically a pretty standard procedure: Sign here, initial here, sign this and this, congratulations. But at Time Warner Center and downtown’s Morton Square, buyers now hear one brand-new request: May we scan your hand, please? In a nod to James Bond, both buildings will admit residents only by finger- or handprint at the elevator bank.

For a certain buyer, this is just the coolest thing ever. “I’ve been having this big Jetsons fantasy for years, and now it’s coming to life,” says Dennis Mangone, a Corcoran Group broker who’s moving into Time Warner Center next month. “The fingerprint was a major selling point.” (He may not have realized yet that his apartment itself still requires a key.) Likewise at Morton Square, where a handprint admits you to the garage and bike room. “We did it as a security issue,” says developer Jules Demchick. “We have a record of who can get in.” Given that his best-known buyers are the Olsen twins, we foresee a madcap DVD wherein the two swap identities, fooling doormen and dates, only to be found out via prints.

Time Warner’s system is built by a company called Bioscrypt, which also sells to the NYPD. “We enroll two fingers, in case you’re wearing a Band-Aid or something,” says marketing manager Robert Gailing. The technology also allows homeowners to restrict guest access at set times, to schedule the housekeeper—or keep out that special someone. A spokesperson for Time Warner’s developer, the Related Companies, admits that the feature was chosen less for security than to “reflect the lifestyle” of the target buyer. Hence the arrangement at E, the $23,500-a-year Equinox gym downstairs, where you’re admitted by retinal scan (in case you forget your finger). As for Morton Square, the system hasn’t been installed yet, and Demchick is lately having second thoughts. “With weight loss and gain, the science isn’t there to match up the handprint,” he says. Get fat, and you’re locked out: It’s like dating Donald Trump. —Deborah Schoeneman


Tribeca Thrill
Even unfinished, the Hubert has star power.
If new buildings were Oscar contenders, the Hubert, in Tribeca, would be Miramax’s prestige picture. So perhaps it’s appropriate that Harvey Weinstein has been among the red-carpet names who’ve checked out the place. Paul McCartney has also dropped by, and New York Ranger Petr Nedved and his fiancée, Victoria’s Secret model Veronica Varekova, just tried to buy a place but were outbid. The 28 lofts, three maisonettes, and two “townhouses”—each with private garden and garage—won’t be finished until summer, but only two penthouses ($12.5 million and $7.7 million) and one townhouse ($10 million) remain unsold.

Even though it’s still a hard-hat zone, Louise Sunshine, the building’s marketer, recently held a lunch for about twenty brokers amid portable heaters in a raw loft. (Nobu Matsuhisa was the chef.) “It was like walking into this magical land,” says Michele Kleier of Gumley Haft Kleier. “It was a construction site and then, all of a sudden, it was like you were in Le Cirque.” —D.S.


Big Deals
Tribeca
45 Lispenard Street
3-bed, 1-bath, 1,850-square-foot co-op.
Ask: $1.395 million. Sell: $1.375 million. Maintenance: $1,500. Time on market: Two weeks. “It’s one of the last great loft buildings that hasn’t been developed,” says Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Arlene Groder, who represented the sellers—two British motivational speakers who are moving to Connecticut. And the apartment “has the nicest bathroom I’ve ever seen,” Groder adds, sounding rather motivational herself. The buyer, a thirtyish single-guy producer, was represented by Elliman’s Tim Melzer.

Upper West Side
11 Riverside Drive
2-bed, 1-bath, 650-square-foot co-op.
Ask: $344,000. Sell: $344,000. Maintenance: $625. Time on market: Six weeks. A two-bedroom on Riverside Drive at that price? Yes, but . . . “It was a converted two-and-a-half-room, really a jumbo studio,” says Elliman broker Orren Azani. The walls had been erected by the young couple in residence, who wanted a bedroom and an office. “It worked really well,” Azani adds somewhat convincingly. The buyer, an art director at the Times, won a brief bidding war--and just might be planning to take down a wall or two. —C.B.


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