Thin is in. What do you call a trend born of necessity? When new construction fills small odd-lots and leftover spaces it usually means the most desirable neighborhoods are fast approaching a state of being fully "built-out." It also means the price per square foot is just too good for developers to pass up. Do the math, as they say in bad action movie spec scripts.
Here we're looking at three projects all within a stone's throw of one another in Chelsea, and all on extremely narrow lots. They all feature full-floor units, most with bedrooms in the back--where one shouldn't expect a lot of sunlight. The Soma, top right, is located at 116 West 22nd Street and has 10 units on eleven stories. The glass front will be a welcome addition to what is now a fairly dark (and dank) block. At left is the nearby
Chelsea Paradigm, coming in at 12 stories at 146 West 22nd Street. Now completed, the gray stone on the exterior has a smooth supple finish that is much nicer than what the rendering conveys. The stone is lit at night by four cylindrical fixtures that send light streaming up the facade. Finally, below right we have the rendering for 136 West 17th Street, a similar affair, this time with just seven units on 10 stories.
There are, of course, major compromises associated with such long narrow lots. The floor plans for the units at the Soma, for example, show a 10 X 10 foot windowless "study" that can never be closed off as a bedroom (according to city code) because it gets no light or air. But in this superheated market nobody seems to care, and every real-world compromise can be spun as an interesting luxury.
One more thing: we don't plan here at Triple Mint to write about money. At least we're going to try to avoid the subject as much as possible. You can get that conversation a million places just now. While we'll mostly leave the value propositions for others to consider, we do want to draw your attention, in case you missed it, to a reader letter over at the excellent Curbed blog earlier this week. The reader pointed out that the weak state of the dollar is making the real estate flip quite an attractive little investment for Europeans. We can't vouch for the reader's numbers exactly, but we think it's a factor that could keep certain locations (New York, Miami) afloat even if housing in other parts of the country experiences a hiccup (or worse).