Loud and Proud

Dumbo’s 85 Adams Street, a.k.a. Beacon Tower, has a rooftop park, a feng shui–compliant lobby, and sunny apartments with views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. But its best amenity may be its windows. With two panes of laminated glass sandwiching an air space, each assembly measures ten inches thick, enough to drown out the millstone around this fancy new development’s neck: It’s right at the spot where the BQE meets the Manhattan Bridge approach, and pedestrians conversing in front of the building have to shout to hear one another over the traffic. “You can see [the windows] are very substantial,” says Steve Rutter from Corcoran Group Marketing, which handles the tower. He swears that those sashes have allayed many buyers’ concerns.

With prime locations growing scarcer and industrial chic the order of the day, developers are reclaiming more and more space in formerly undesirable neighborhoods. That has forced them to deal with basic issues like where to buy groceries (FreshDirect to the rescue!) or, in the case of Boymelgreen’s Beacon Tower and Extell’s Avery, which is next to the West Side Highway, the roar of cars and trucks. Joshua Cushner of Shen Milsom & Wilke, the acoustic consultants that gathered data on 85 Adams, says this kind of work “has become more commonplace,” and that he’s definitely seen an uptick in business. Firms like Cushner’s conduct studies to see just how noisy a location is and suggest soundproofing materials to builders. (The area right next to the Manhattan Bridge, he says, is as loud as a subway stop when the express is roaring by—no surprise, given that the B and D trains run over the bridge.) “You want the background to be quiet enough so you can talk or listen to music without intrusion from the outside,” he adds.

Not that noise is always a deal-breaker. Bellmarc broker Janice Silver lives in a nine-room co-op so close to the Queensboro Bridge, she says, “people call to get traffic reports. The first week, I couldn’t believe we actually bought there.” Now she can’t imagine living anywhere else—“It’s crazy, but you get used to it,” she swears—and says she shares her own experience with buyers who are nervous about noisy locations. “There’s always compromise. If it’s not noise, it’s space or view,” says Silver. “There are very few apartments in the city that you can’t make livable.” Next: Barbara K Is Moving

Barbara K Plans Home Improvement

Home-improvement goddess Barbara K (the initial stands for Kavovit) has put her 2,700-square-foot full-floor penthouse in Chelsea on the market for $4.3 million with Corcoran’s Kyle Rogers and Marisa Dichne. Kavovit, whose upcoming book, Invest in Your Nest, will hit bookstores this month, actually just closed on the property three weeks ago (she went into contract in November 2004), fully intending to migrate downtown from the Upper East Side apartment that she’s owned for years. But she’s had a change of heart: “I have a young son, and I think I want a family building,” she says. “But I’m still interested in Chelsea—it’s the hottest neighborhood in the city—and I’ll probably look for something else there.” Would-be owners won’t be needing any of K’s line of woman-friendly tools to fix the place up: It’s in a brand-new, wood-façade condo building on Tenth Avenue called Vesta 24. Next: A Triple Assessment of a W. 56th Street Apartment

Triple Assessment
205 West 57th Street, Apartment 9DB

One-bedroom, one-bath, 1,000-square-foot co-op.
Asking Price: $895,000.
Maintenance: $1,550 (includes electric and basic cable).
Broker: Ellen Kapit, Bellmarc Realty.
On Fifth Avenue or Central Park West, the former home of the late Vogue illustrator Joe Eula would fit right in. But its real location—in the Osborne, a landmarked 1883 co-op across from Carnegie Hall—make it a beautiful anomaly, and one that’s tricky to price, say our experts.

Lorraine Miller, Ardor New York Real Estate:
“It’s extremely unusual—a pre–World War I building in midtown,” says Miller. “The floors are magnificent. I like the wall of windows facing west. [But] some people object to getting to the bathroom through the bedroom.”
Her assessment: $1.1 million.

Antonio Mongiovi, Prudential Douglas Elliman: “The lobby’s gorgeous, and there’s lots of original detail in the apartment,” says Mongiovi, who thinks “the kitchen needs to be redone. It’s a little bit dated for today’s buyer.”
His assessment: $950,000.

Michele Gershwin, Citi Habitats:
“Having the fourteen-foot ceiling in the entryway is dramatic, and in a beautiful prewar, people look for that. But the staircase [to the main living area] is a negative. In a 50-percent-down building, you won’t get the young buyers, and the staircase won’t appeal to many older buyers.”
Her assessment: $1.3 million.

Loud and Proud