New York City is a city of contrasts. This is a city where expensive restaurants like the Japanese themed Masa in the Time Warner Center, as well as cheap ones like the many $1 pizza establishments that have sprouted all over New York, can both boast of having a steady and loyal clientele of satisfied customers. In the same vein, it is indeed interesting to note that while some people are distressed over their inability to buy or rent apartments in the city given their rising prices, there are some well-heeled New Yorkers who are going out and buying entire apartment buildings, so as to create their very own exclusive family homes. These are the “urban mansions,” which have hefty price tags but are still cheaper than big name townhouses and co-op penthouses.
These are the “urban mansions” of New York. When unable to find homes big enough to accommodate their large families, certain New Yorkers have purchased entire apartment buildings and converted them into homes that are spacious enough for all of their loved ones. While they may not be Gatsby-like mansions, these homes are large enough to have suburban amenities like yards, elevators and skylights. One high profile example of a New Yorker who did something like this is New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who combined townhouses on the Upper East Side to make up his 12,500 square foot mansion on East 79th Street. Lately, more New Yorkers have followed the Mayor’s example and are taking on these costly reconversions to build the houses of their dreams.
Of course, these apartment buildings are certainly not for the $1-pizza connoisseurs. The Wall Street Journal reports that the price of an apartment building on the Upper West Side can go up to a staggering $10 million, and renovating the same would take another $3 million or $5 million. Despite the monetary and architectural challenges involved in such conversions, the end results are enormously satisfying for luxury home seekers. As Ann Berzin, who bought an apartment building on the Upper West Side, told the Journal, “We love New York and we wanted to stay in New York though all the stages of our lives.” Besides showing that more New Yorkers want to stay on in the city to build both homes and families, these trends are yet another indication of the soaring growth of the luxury real estate market in New York City.