Upper East Side's Lenox Hill Grows in Popularity

Luxury condos in Lennox Hill

As any Manhattanite knows, there’s a tradeoff for buying real estate inside the Big Apple: there isn’t a whole lot of space. Now, although luxury Manhattan condominiums and co-ops have the persuasive appeal of amenities and friendly service, some New Yorkers are still keeping their eyes out for vacancies in the city’s limited supply of townhomes and brownstones. So, basically, all eyes on Lenox Hill, which stands out among some of the taller Manhattan neighborhoods with its historic charm and lines of single-family homes.

Lenox Hill, the bottom half of the Upper East Side, runs from 59th to 72nd Street. Most of the townhouses in the neighborhood have been bought up, gutted out, dusted off and listed with stark prices that have defied the economic downturn. With single-family homes a furiously hot city real estate, closing prices for the Lenox Hill gems range from $8 million to $48 million, according The Wall Street Journal.  A limestone townhouse on 64th Street for instance, sold out to renovators in 2002 at $5 million. Renovators added a pool, elevator, gym, and subsequently a ringing grand total of $21 million.

But with finding a townhouse being as difficult as affording to live one, NYC dwellers have alternatively flooded into the real bulk of Lenox Hill real estate: the mid-rise, pre-war buildings that scrapped the skyline in their own day.  But these buildings Now renovated and mostly sold as co-ops-with a rep for being among the most selective in the city.

The most expensive of these Lenox Hill apartments were once typically found west of 3rd Avenue, given the proximity to Central Park. But recently, the eastern districts of the neighborhood are also beginning to see a rise in the luxury scene. But homeowners have to pay for it, as condominiums in Lenox Hill are among the most expensive in the city. StreetEasy reports that the median asking price for Lenox Hill homes is $1.275 million, or $1,045 a square foot (which albeit is lower than the heart of the rent vacuum, Tribeca, where average price per sq. foot is $1,308). The east side Laurel at 400 East 67th Street, for instance, built in 1930, is now LEED certified and includes two custom-designed resistance pools and a sauna room--with one bedroom apartment at a starting price of over 1.5 million.

Perhaps it’s the solid school district and Michelin starred restaurants that make Lenox Hill worth the price. Perhaps it’s the dream that a townhouse will pop back up on the market radar. Certainly, its proximity to Central Park, Midtown, the Museum Mile are part of the package. But NYC dwellers looking for townhouses can also find stock in the West Village, Murray Hill and Hamilton Heights. And even though townhouses may echo of a “real” house, given the wealth of housing styles in NYC, the desire among homeowner’s for brownstones is not bitterly exchanged for luxury space inside the stunning architecture of high rises.