In Manhattan, eight figure condominiums are fairly commonplace, as scary as that sounds. However, anything priced over $20 million represents fairly rarefied air, usually reserved for buildings with significant architectural provenance. Starchitect developements like Santiago Calatrava’s 80 South Street, Richard Meier’s 166 Perry Street, or Enrique’s Norten’s One York are prime examples; Calatrava’s condos start at $29 million, Meier’s penthouse condo is currently on the market for $24 million and Norten’s penthouse for $34 million.
So I wasn’t stunned when I saw a recent New York Times article about a $25 million condo – except for the fact that it was in Brooklyn! Obviously, for many years now Brooklyn’s status has been ascending as hipsters, yuppies, bankers and thespians (like Michelle Williams) have all started infiltrating its neighborhoods like Willamsburg, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
With it’s great location at the intersection of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, literally just over the East River and walkable into lower Manhattan, DUMBO was one of the first neighborhoods in Brooklyn to be developed. In 1988, one of the first buildings to be converted from industrial to residential use was the ClockTower Building, a 124 unit building that is the tallest and most visible building in the neighborhood. The founding developer of DUMBO and the building kept the condo adjacent to clocktower area for himself (though I don’t he lived there), but only within the last few years did he get approval from the building’s board to include the clocktower area into his condo.
His persistence paid off because the end result is stunning: a 3,000 square foot, 3-bedroom triplex with an additional fourth level roof deck (or crow’s nest as they call it) with not million dollar views, but multi-million dollar views of downtown Manhattan. The elevation above all else is stunning.
The most striking element of the condo is the four famous 14 foot tall round windows with built-in, working clocks. Though they are certainly cool, I am not sure how I would work these in as a designer…
Also nice is the central staircase that rises three floors and wraps around an all-glass elevator.
The finishes are generally, not surprisingly, spartan (like the pathetic kitchen) despite the eight figure price tag. But people who can afford places like this don’t mind the blank canvas look because they usually hire star designers for additional multi-million dollar renovations to really customize them so everything will likely be thrown away anyways (wouldn’t I love to work on this place…).
The only room that a designer might not touch is the master bathroom, which is well done with an Agape tub, Boffi sinks and Artemide lights.
Overall, compared to its competition I listed above, this condo will face challenges. Despite its highly unique design and truly one of a kind views, most people would rather stay in Manhattan than cross the river, whether that’s snob appeal or for logistical reasons. Moreover, all the other listings include much more square footage (like 6000+); on a square footage basis, this is an astronomical $8,333 per square foot!!! And let’s not forget the recession thing… But alas, for whoever buys this, I doubt this place would be more than a drop in the bucket against their overall net worth. That said, maybe the unique qualities of this place are worth it to someone, maybe as third or fourth home to an architecture aficionado…. hmm, does Brangelina want a pied e terre in Brooklyn?