Glass Condominium – 88 Laight Street

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Overview

The Glass Condominium at 88 Laight Street has been the subject of much speculation since its inception back in 2006.  Years of on and off construction and some unusual sales tactics have made this a development story to follow.  Now that the condos are complete and ready for occupancy, we decided to put all the rumors aside and take a look for ourselves.  Located at 88 Laight Street, just one block from the Hudson River, we were assailed by the scent of the sea, a surprisingly pleasant smell that reminded us of days on the beach.  Not bad, considering we were in the most northern section of Tribeca.

Developed by American Phoenix, this brand new glass building sits nestled between two older brick loft buildings at either corner.  Offering only 8 bi-level lofts with over-sized balconies and boasting river views, this development offers spacious residences in an intimate building.  Perhaps one of the more unique aspects of the building is the SolaRails, or solar-powered balcony rails that convert solar energy into electricity.

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Units & Pricing

There are a total of 8 bi-level lofts with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.  Each loft offers about 1,800 feet.  This does not include the very spacious terraces off the front of the full floor apartments.  Prices start around $2.25M and go upwards north of $3M.  The price per foot for these units ranges from $1200-$1450.

Of further interest is a plaza level commercial space for sale.  Buyers interested in using this space for live and work are able to do so as well because the developer is willing to change the certificate of occupancy.  The space is a combination of three levels, totaling about 3,697 square feet. The lower level is about 1,886 square feet, the first level is about 1,811 square feet and the second level is about 504 square feet.  In addition, there is a 900 square foot outdoor plaza.

At press time, 3 units are still available for sale.

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Features & Interiors

Units are bi-level lofts offering unique split level designs which feature: two bedrooms, including the master bedroom, open living-dining area, kitchen and terrace on the main level.  The upper level contains a second bedroom, bathroom and utility closet.  It is a loft area that is open to the lower level.  Bathrooms were designed with luxury in mind.  The Carrara marble bathrooms have rain steam-shower stalls and soaking or jetted bath tubs.  Kitchens offer top of the line appliances including Miele, Sub Zero and Viking.  Perhaps most impressive are the soaring 17-foot ceilings and double height windows that spread across 60 feet.  The SolaRail expansive balconies add light and additional space to the units.

The units offer wide open space with the option of not enclosing the bedrooms.  They also feature hardwood floors.  As the condominium is made of glass, many units can be seen from the street, which may concern some buyers.  Of equal concern are the red-lit “Exit” signs hanging in the living room.  For some this may add to the lofty design while others may be turned off by its office-like resemblance.

Amenities

The Glass Condominium development boasts of its luxury amenities.  But from what we could see, aside from the features found in the loft units, an open grand plaza leading to a chic wood-paneled lobby, there are few.  All units are accessed by a locked elevator and have individual climate control.  There is also additional storage space that comes with each unit.

However, there isn’t any mention of washer-dryer units or a common laundry.  We suspect that the utility closet on the upper level of the units can be used as a laundry area or converted to another bathroom (with laundry for those buyers who absolutely must have a laundry within the unit).  Buyers seeking full court amenities including a doorman or gym etc. will have to look elsewhere.  If parking is a concern, there is a large 24-hour garage next door to the Glass Condominium.

Area

Advertisements for this development bill Tribeca as a “vibrant but low-key” area, home to professionals, families and artists.  It also points out that many celebrities have chosen to make Tribeca their home in New York and the cultural aspects that Tribeca has to offer.  And while Tribeca has become synonymous with events such as the Tribeca Film Festival, it is also the home of some of the most innovative art and music exhibitions found in the city.  Not to mention, the unique dining options found in the area including world renowned restaurants such as the Chanterelle, Danube and Nobu.  Tribeca also offers the Hudson River Park, a unique riverfront park that allows area residents access to jogging and bike paths, open green lawn space and fields for baseball among many other activities.

Laight Street is a cobblestone street that loops around the Holland Tunnel and leads to the Hudson River.  However, the traffic that drives through this street daily is hard to ignore.  On our trip to this development, the traffic noise was surprisingly minimal.  There was not a lot of honking horns or noise from drivers.  But we do think it is something to consider as residents may find it hard to ignore the view of traffic from the large private balconies or glass windowed living areas.  Also of concern is access to transportation.  Laight Street is only blocks from Canal Street and its several train stations.  However, the street loops around the Holland Tunnel at one end and leads to the West Side Highway at the other end.  Perfect for the industrial factories that used to (and still do) stand by.  However, access to transportation can be rather arduous as it requires a detour to Hudson Street for a direct path to the train stations.  It can be a bit confusing at first.  Hopefully residents can simply hop a cab nearby.

 

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Investment Potential

We found the Glass Condominium to be a good fit for buyers who want to be in Tribeca and live steps from Hudson River Park.  We also think buyers looking for large outdoor spaces may like this space.  Listed in 2006, this development has been a bit slow to sell.  They had a precipitous price decrease in late 2007 which people buzzed about.  Some think the prices still may be 10-15% over market.  And while its location is good for its proximity to the Hudson River, it isn’t without fault, prompting concerns about traffic and long walks from the train station.

We like the Tribeca location and believe this area is better than others in terms of maintaining property values.  One risk may be the increase in Tribeca developments over the past 12 months, posing competition to pricing for this project and others.  In fact, on this street alone there are a few competing condo projects.  This is good for long-term price appreciation but poses short-term pricing risk.  We give The Glass Condos at 88 Laight a B-.
 

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