55 East End Ave., Apt. 2L
Broker: Adina Azarian, Adina Equities (212-580-1480)
A 700-square-foot one-bedroom in a 15-story doorman co-op on East End Avenue. Great layout and excellent flow with an L-shaped living room/dining room. The owners, a couple from Florida, bought the apartment a decade ago to use as a pied-à-terre.
The Problem: Nasty View
The foyer leads to a living room facing directly onto the unsightly roof of a parking garage next door. Broker Adina Azarian took over the listing in February and hasn’t had a single offer. “People comment on the view,” she admits. “And nearly everyone asks about the safety issue,” because the roof is at window level.
An identical apartment on the ninth floor is listed at $499,000, despite its advertised need for a gut renovation. Comparable one-bedrooms in the building have recently gone for some $100,000 more.
Realistically speaking, security is probably not a problem. “You’d have to be Spider-Man to get up there,” one of the owners jokes. The view, they say, also gave them a sense of privacy: “You’re not looking directly into an apartment or another building. There’s a sense of openness that we really liked.”
114 Summit St., Carroll Gardens
Broker: Beth Kenkel, Corcoran (718-923-8082)
A four-bedroom townhouse with a finished basement, a top-floor rental, a landscaped backyard, a roof deck, and close to 3,000 square feet indoors, plus over 1,000 square feet of outdoor space. The owners, a couple with a young daughter, are relocating for work. They’ve invested nearly $200,000 in updates and renovations since buying it in 2007.
The Problem: Road Noise
Perched on the corner of Hicks Street, the house borders the western side of the BQE. Windows have to be kept closed because of the noise, and it’s always audible from the yard and the deck.
Comparable houses on the other side of the BQE are on the market for about $2.1 million. “I’d ask at least that if it were on the other side of the highway,” says broker Beth Kenkel. “It’s in mint, perfect condition.”
“When you’re inside the house you really don’t notice,” owner Bill Spiegel says. “When you’re outside, of course, you do.” Plus, Spiegel adds, the previous owner made large structural renovations—including soundproofed windows. “It’s like Fort Knox. He redid the whole structure—steel beams, soundproofing, AC/heating, security system, air filtration—but left the façade. All the stuff that’s typically a nightmare in a Brooklyn brownstone was perfect.”
205 W. 95th St., Apt. 5B
Brokers: Jon Abeles and Stanley Krauze, Corcoran (212-401-1908)
A sizable (approximately 800 square feet) one-bedroom co-op. Large bedroom, renovated kitchen and bath, sunken living room with French doors leading to an officelike nook, and lots of windows and closet space.
The Problem: Bad Block
A sketchy block. There’s an SRO (the Camden Resident Hotel) directly across the street, a sizable parking garage, and endless construction on Broadway for the 96th Street subway station. “It’s not that beautiful, tree-lined Upper West Side block,” says broker Jon Abeles. “It’s definitely on the industrial side.”
A couple of blocks to the south, an identical apartment would fetch some $100,000 more, says Abeles. After the subway stop’s rebuilt, prices will likely go up a bit, too.
Camden residents tend to convene on the stoop, and neighbors have complained about late-night noise. But things are quiet on the fifth floor, especially since the bedroom is in the back. The apartment’s owner, Ben Weiner, says he hasn’t had problems: “Sometimes you’ll see a person walking down the street in the middle of winter with no shirt on. But mostly they stay on their side of the street.”