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The Covetables

Illustrations by Jason Lee  

The Low-Turnover Condo:
495 West Street
In 1999, architect-developer Cary Tamarkin blazed a trail of sorts with 495 West, where lofts with generous floor plans (as much as 4,700 square feet in some units) and sixteen-foot-high casement windows sold surprisingly quickly, raw and unfinished, in what was then a relatively industrial slice of the far West Village. The condo conversion was among the first wave of luxury residential development along the waterfront, and apartment hunters were eager to buy into his vision. Nearly fifteen years later, the building’s still sought after, thanks in part to its “incredible views and very elegant open floors,” says Corcoran’s Meris Blumstein, with brokers and buyers alike watching it for openings. But residents there—actor Joel Grey reportedly one of them—appear happy to stay put; none has placed an apartment on the market since 2004. And why would they? It’s not easy to find that much square footage in the prime Village, and harder still in a market where prices are so high that what sold at $2 million back then can likely command three times that.
Other low-turnover condos: 132 Perry Street, 140 Perry Street.

The 80/20 Building:
500 West 30th Street
Living in a Robert A.M. Stern building isn’t just for the one percent. This 33-story brick-clad rental building now rising has 78 units (20 percent of the total) set aside for those earning no more than $19,920 to $42,950 a year. (In these 80/20 cases, developers gain access to tax-exempt financing bonds in exchange for offering low-cost units.) Rents are expected to run from $525 for a studio to $873 for a two-bedroom. (No word yet on what market-rate tenants will pay.) In addition to its prime location—next to the third phase of the High Line—the building is loaded with perks: a sun deck, a fitness center, and 24-hour doormen, all of which lower-income tenants can take advantage of (unlike those who were famously blocked from using the amenities at Northside Piers in Williamsburg). Alas: The lottery’s over, and tenant selection is under way.
See also: 525 West 28th Street, 282 Eleventh Avenue.

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