When they began converting 535 West 110th Street to a co-op earlier this year, the building’s sponsors decided to gut the top floor, where the maids’ rooms used to be, and carve one- and two-bedroom apartments out of it. They built three, and had 175 square feet left over. “We didn’t know what to do with it, so we made it the best smallest apartment ever,” says listing broker Steven O. Goldschmidt of Warburg Realty. They called it the “micro-studio.” It’s ten by fourteen feet, plus a bathroom; if you were to bring in a queen-size bed, which would take up nearly 20 percent of the room, there’d be just enough space for a dresser, a chair, and a couple of end tables.
Pricing it proved difficult: How to value such an odd space in a relatively top-shelf building? Goldschmidt ended up putting it on the market at an ambitious $195,000, or more than $1,000 per square foot, and after some negotiation, he found his buyer. Aside from one other penthouse, this is the only unit in the building that’s sold, entering into contract for $150,000 as August began. (Two other, and needless to say larger, penthouses await.) “I priced it that way figuring, Let’s give it a shot,” says Goldschmidt, who says the buyer—an auditor for a multinational corporation who needed a pied-à-terre—had been spending a fortune on hotel rooms in the city.
The place has its quirks, even beyond its size. To reach the apartment, the new owner has to exit the elevator one floor below and take a separate flight of stairs. But no matter: The roundabout approach, plus the views of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine nearby, echoes a Parisian garret in which she once stayed. Apparently, she remembers it fondly.