The Perks of Living in a Penthouse
Worldwide, developers are racing to build record high, with 432 Park Avenue as the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere standing about 426 meters; 2014 was the tallest year in the history of construction. “Owners are looking to maximize returns,” said Richard Anderson, head of the New York Building Congress. “One way to do that is to construct the most floor space possible. If you have a fixed lot, the only way to increase floor space is to go up.” Office buildings don’t often reach the maximum height allowed because with increased height, elevator access becomes a greater necessity. Building more elevators detracts from the functional space, which makes it harder to offset construction costs. And in all buildings, increased height complicates the cost of construction because more money has to go into fire safety, water pressure systems, and other necessary features. Residential buildings, on the other hand, have the power of penthouses to help offset these additional construction costs.
Premium buyers are willing to pay top dollar for the most luxurious penthouses. According to the Daily News, New York City’s most expensive home, the 550 Madison Avenue penthouse, is going to hit the market for a record $150 million. The penthouse at Extell’s One57 sold for $9,000 per square foot, compared to the average of $6,000. Since penthouses sell for well over the average price of the other units in a building, they are able to offset the additional price that comes with higher construction. Without the concern of more expensive construction, developers only have incentive to build as tall as they can. But why are people willing to pay so much more for the penthouses?
Being at the top of the building means a complete, 350 degree view. Imagine stepping outside onto your terrace and being able to see all around; not into another building’s window, but a truly breathtaking view of New York City. Depending on where your penthouse is, you already might have a great view of summer fireworks or the ball dropping. And with the increased height of new constructions, the expansive view of the concrete jungle below is only bound to get better. 56 Leonard Street stands 57 stories tall, providing a phenomenal view of Tribeca, the Hudson River and East River from its 10 penthouses. 56 Leonard Street has a unique shape, featuring distinct recesses throughout the body of the tower.
Outdoor Terrace Space
Usually apartment living means no backyard, which can be quite a sacrifice for some...unless you have a penthouse. The amount of terrace space that comes with penthouses is immense. David Hirsh, president of Brandy Lane Homes, told the National Post, “You could easily have a party for 50 people on those terraces - no problem. They’re huge.” Having so much open space is incredibly multipurpose, whether you use it to host events like a summer BBQ, a reunion, or simply retreat from the city into your own personal roof garden. The Apple Bank Building penthouse at 2112 Broadway has a particularly unique terrace, accessible both from the master suite and the ground level of the loft-style penthouse, providing 461 square feet of open space.
Many penthouses come with finishes that are a notch above those throughout the rest of the building. Jack Winberg, president and CEO of Rockport Group explains that this is a major selling point. “[Buyers] want to look and see the quality of the finishes,” he says. As part of their practice, Rockport Group furnishes many of their penthouses to add to the “wow factor,” emphasizing the luxury of their finishes. Speaking of “wow factor,” One Beacon Court is a gorgeous high-rise located just between the Upper East Side and Midtown East, providing stunning views and a beautifully lit interior.
Occupying the top of the building means no noisy neighbors above, and you don’t share the floor; it’s all yours. Looking down at the rest of NYC also means it’s pretty difficult for people to be looking into your place. And most penthouses have additional security, like intercoms. Those features combined with a reclusive location will provide the ultimate sanctuary. The Atelier, located at 635 West 42nd Street is at the edge of Midtown West, placing residents close enough to access the center of the city while maintaining a more private locale by the waterfront. The Atelier goes above and beyond providing tons of amenities.