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Thread: How Much Is That View in the Window?

  1. #1

    Default How Much Is That View in the Window?

    September 18, 2003

    How Much Is That View in the Window?


    ADDED VALUE View from 1 West 81st Street.

    A VIEW of Central Park was the centerpiece of each of 160 fund-raising parties given on Monday night to celebrate the park's 150th birthday. Park views are reason for celebration the rest of the time as well, since prominent real estate brokers unanimously declare Central Park the most valuable view in the city.

    "I get up every morning at a quarter to six, and I watch the sun rise and look at the park," said Susan Waterfall, who gave one of the parties and lives on the 14th floor of the Beresford, at Central Park West and 81st Street. "The park is a tonic."

    But a dose of it costs more on the East Side than the West Side. "Central Park is the most expensive view," Frederick W. Peters, the president of Ashforth Warburg Associates, said, and the most expensive views of it are from Fifth Avenue. Even in the less fashionable 90's on Fifth, a full-floor apartment with a view of the park, he said, "will command 10 million bucks." The same apartment on Fifth Avenue and 73rd Street, he added, can run to $14 million.

    One reason that the view from Fifth Avenue is considered more elegant is that Fifth Avenue residents can see the architectural gems on Central Park West, like the San Remo, Beresford and El Dorado.

    "A view is the only thing I've seen that creates an instant love affair," said Barbara Corcoran, the chairman of the Corcoran Group. "People lose their minds and bid with their hearts."

    For many buyers, Ms. Corcoran said, a view is a statement of power and control. "Whether they remember to look at the view three months later," she said, "they never fail to point it out to their guests, and their guests admire the view and admire them."

    Elaine Clayman, a vice president and director of Brown Harris Stevens, said there are view buyers and space buyers. "A view buyer will often give up space for a view. They'll live in 1,000 square feet," she said. "The truth is, when you go into an open-view apartment, there is this feeling that you don't need as much space. The outside becomes part of the inside."

    On Fifth Avenue, even in a nondescript post-World War II building, prices rise $2,000 to $3,000 a floor as you go up, Ms. Clayman said. When the view gets above the tree line, the price can jump by $10,000 to $20,000, in a superluxury building even by $100,000. "You pay as you go up for the light," she said, "and then you pay more."

    On Central Park West, apartments with park views in luxury prewar buildings still command a 35 percent premium over similar apartments in the rear, Mr. Peters said. "If you go higher and get a panoramic view," he noted, "that percentage will skew toward a front apartment." Ms. Corcoran said that a three-bedroom apartment with a park view on a high floor in 91 Central Park West, at 69th Street, sold for $3.1 million during the summer, more than double the figure for a comparable apartment in the back of the building with no park view.

    A view of the park from the south costs less. "Central Park South has a lot of hotels, a lot of tourists," said Michael Signet, the director of sales at Akam Sales and Brokerage. "It doesn't have that same family, old-money feel of Fifth or Central Park West. We rarely get calls that specifically ask to live on Central Park South. But there are Europeans and Asians who want to be in the hub of things."

    Central Park North, at 110th Street, despite majestic views of the park and the Midtown skyline, does not even figure in the hierarchy.

    In terms of value, the East River commands the next highest premium, especially on Sutton Place, Beekman Place and Gracie Square. And finally come the views of the Hudson River from Riverside Drive, which have notorious drawbacks. "It's windy and cold, and there's nothing over there," Mr. Signet said. A classic six-room apartment facing the Hudson would be worth $2 million less than a comparable one facing Central Park, he said.

    Views are not equally prized downtown. In a converted sugar warehouse on West Street in TriBeCa, a large condominium with full views of the Hudson River brought only about 15 percent more than an identical space in the rear.

    "Downtown buyers are more interested in an atmosphere, a lifestyle, the industrial gritty nature," said Jim Gricar, the managing director of Corcoran Downtown. Downtown buildings, he noted, are also generally low-rises. "Uptown, New York is like canyons," he said. "Uptown people talk about the park and the river and the `airplane view,' which is not part of the vernacular down here."

    Perhaps the best assessment of the value of a view comes when it is lost. Steve Goldschmidt, a broker at Ashforth Warburg, has a client who paid $680,000 this year for a two-bedroom apartment above the 30th floor in Rupert Towers on Third Avenue and 91st Street. When a building went up nearby that blocked the view of Central Park, Mr. Goldschmidt said, the apartment immediately lost about $30,000 in value. "A view can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse," he said, "but if you take away the view, you're back to buying a pig again."

    Yet a lost view does not automatically depreciate an apartment's value. When Donald J. Trump began putting up towers 28 to 50 stories high in the old Penn Central train yards a few years ago, he blocked the river views for the 29-story Lincoln Towers complex on West End Avenue. The value of Lincoln Tower apartments briefly dropped. But now the prices there are stronger than ever, said Naomi Sutton, a broker at Klara Madlin Real Estate, bolstered by the rising cachet of the neighborhood, due not only to the Trump project, but also to the AOL-Time Warner complex.

    Nicholas Kitsopoulos, a composer for film and television, paid $133,000 for a studio apartment on the 20th floor in Lincoln Towers five years ago, before Trump Place went up. Today the apartment is worth $275,000. "I'm up high, and I can still see a little river in between the buildings," he said. "At night, the Trump buildings with their lights on are like a little light show. It's kind of beautiful, in a weird way."

    There are limits to the power of views, however. The Manhattan skyline from New Jersey is incomparable. "But once you go through the tunnel and cross the bridge, your real estate values drop," said Henry Robbins, the vice president of Yale Robbins. "Real estate is about location, location, location and you're in New Jersey."

    The 20th floor at Lincoln Towers, interrupted by a Donald Trump high-rise.

    What Views Cost Across the U.S.


    In Manhattan, a view of Central Park comes at a premium. A two-bedroom 1,500-square-foot apartment at Fifth Avenue and 68th Street is $2.4 million. Without a view, it would be $1.5 million. What does a comparable view cost elsewhere? In San Francisco, said Patrick Barber, of Sotheby's International Realty there, an apartment in Pacific Heights with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay is worth $1.3 to $1.5 million; $800,000 without a view. In Santa Monica, an apartment facing the ocean costs $1 million. One facing the mountains, said Helmut Lerpscher, of Coldwell Banker, is $700,000 to $800,000. Buyers pay $200,000 more to be in the Turtle Creek-Uptown neighborhood of Dallas with a view of downtown, on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago facing Lake Michigan and on the oceanfront in Miami Beach.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Chicago, Illinois


    CW, thanks for the article. Much of this stuff is common knowledge to real estate professionals, but it is nice to see these "ideas" prepresented with numbers.

    But I would not mind an apartment on the west side of the park where broadway forms part of your block. Looking south above the city lights with is cars an people, would be quite nice for moi.

  3. #3


    When Donald J. Trump began putting up towers 28 to 50 stories high in the old Penn Central train yards a few years ago, he blocked the river views for the 29-story Lincoln Towers complex on West End Avenue. The value of Lincoln Tower apartments briefly dropped. But now the prices there are stronger than ever
    Of course they are.
    Those towers are not like a huge blind wall right outside the window.
    And the whole neighborhood is more valuable since it's been revitalized.

  4. #4
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Sometimes their architecture makes them look like blind walls.

    I'd rather look at something thought out and well designed than unrefined pieces of crap.

  5. #5


    Is it really what you think of them ?
    Aren't you being a little excessive ?

  6. #6
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Maybe. I just think at least two of them are really, really bad.


  7. #7


    Compared to the Lincoln towers themselves, some of the worst apartment buildings in NYC, Trump's building's look like Frank Lloyd Wright.

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