Even though it sometimes seems as though New York University has bought and rebuilt all of Greenwich Village, plenty of new students look for apartments without the university’s help. More than a few well-off parents have seen their kids’ four years as a chance to do a little real-estate investing, buying apartments near the campus rather than paying for a dorm room. After all, if an apartment appreciates enough over four years, it may pay for the tuition.
Except that these days, the locals won’t always play along. Downtown brokers report that the Village’s better co-op boards are, of late, icing parents’ hopes of earning equity while their offspring earn diplomas. Corcoran’s Maura Geils used to sell to parents at 67 East 11th Street, an elegant prewar doorman building between University and Broadway where one-bedrooms list for north of $700,000. Today, she says, the board prefers buyers with jobs, responsibilities—and mortgages. “Parents can buy with children, but the children have to be income-earning. Some boards get turned off when wealthy parents plop down cash and think they can buy their way into a building,” says Geils. “At 111 Fourth Avenue, another top building, I had a very wealthy family willing to stand on their heads. But it got too convoluted. The building wouldn’t even entertain it—I guess they’d had some bad experiences.”
Besides, a lot of the new development in the neighborhood is, by its very nature, not for the pizza-box crowd. Though it’s in the heart of NYU turf on Waverly Place, design firm AvroKO’s futuristic new “innovative residential environment”—called smart.space—features foldaway desks, Murphy beds and even folding bicycles in loft apartments starting at $599,000 for a studio. “If we were doing just-for-students,” says principal Kristina O’Neal, “we probably wouldn’t do a curated wine collection.”
Faced with high prices and hostile co-op boards near NYU, some students are taking Mom and Dad’s money farther afield—to the Twenties and Thirties, the financial district, and the far East Village. Tisch art student Ashley Macknicka had to head east of Second Avenue last year to find a 600-square-foot two-bedroom for $356,000, with help from Citi Habitats’ Tracie Hamersley—and, of course, her parents. “I don’t think I could find a deal like this now,” says Macknicka. She’s right: A similar apartment upstairs, according to Hamersley, currently lists for $499,000.
Barrymore Seeks Duplex
Sightings of Drew Barrymore and her beau, Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti, are a dime a dozen downtown, but could the movie-star–hipster power bloc be thinking about a move to the Upper West Side? Barrymore, who starred in the real-estate comedy Duplex and will soon be seen in the Curtis Hanson feature Lucky You, recently stopped in with Moretti at an open house on West 72nd Street hosted by Bellmarc broker Désirée Halac. “They were sweet, friendly, and unpretentious,” reports Halac. The two-bedroom co-op, listed at $1.175 million, isn’t exactly rock-star material—Moretti, for his part, owns a condo in the East Village—but it’s refined enough for (Hollywood) royalty: It’s in an Beaux Arts building near Riverside Park and has parquet floors and lots of prewar charm. The seller, interior designer Joanna Lee Doster, is no stranger to the homes of the famous: She’s the author of Celebrity Bedroom Retreats, a book about the inner sanctums of such boldface names as Donatella Versace, Blaine Trump, and Ali MacGraw. —S. Jhoanna Robledo
Same Space, Different Place
See Spot Sell
What does an extra $100,000 buy in this eighties Brooklyn Heights condo conversion? Double-height ceilings, for starters, a river view, and a loftlike, dramatic duplex layout. But what truly makes it worth the extra cash is, says Halstead agent Michael Connolly, “that rarest of rare amenities”: a deeded parking space big enough for not one but two compact cars. In a neighborhood where garage space costs at least $300 a month and street parking is as elusive as an affordable apartment, the perk is priceless. “You don’t have to circle the block for a spot,” Connolly says—a rare case of broker understatement. Sometimes, a feature really does sell itself. —S.J.R.
55 Poplar Street, Brooklyn, Apartment 4K
The Facts: One-bedroom (with loft den), one-bath, 1,000-square-foot condo with parking.
Asking Price: $895,000.
Charges and Taxes: $1,028 per month.
Agent: Michael Connolly, Halstead.
55 Poplar Street, Brooklyn, Apartment 3B
The Facts: Two-bedroom, 1.5-bath, 1,069-square-foot condo.
Asking Price: $795,000.
Charges and Taxes: $1,162 per month.
Agent: Michael Connolly, Halstead.