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Housing Gimmicks
Photo: Aaron Murphy
A slowing housing market inspires creativity in listing agents and sellers. Rather than cutting prices, the search is on for added value.

On November 1, 2006, the Washington Post printed a report with a subhead that read, “As New York Housing Cools, Sales Gimmicks Heat Up.”

The story provides the situation and Big Apple-style solution. “For $3 million, you can own a two-bedroom apartment at 255 Hudson St., a boxy building of blue-tinted glass at the southern end of SoHo. The money will buy you architectural touches that include ‘the warmth of textured concrete,’ as a brochure puts it, not to mention a killer view of the twice-a-day traffic snarl at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.

No Parking an Asset

“What you don’t get is parking. So earlier this year, the developers of 255 Hudson cut a deal with an outfit called the Manhattan Classic Car Club, a lending library of sorts where, for a rather hefty sum, members can borrow any of a fleet of luxury vehicles including a Rolls Royce Corniche. As it happens, the club is right across the street from 255 Hudson, allowing the project’s overlord to turn what by any account would seem like a liability—there is nowhere for your car—into an asset.”

Saying that “Basically, a decent gym and whirlpool won’t cut it any more,” the article reports about some of the amenities found across Manhattan. They include “an 18-hole golf simulator” and “a personal concierge who would be happy to book your travel plans or buy you an English bulldog if that’s what you want.” Then there’s “the yoga garden and 20-foot climbing wall as well as an arts studio. . . .”

One real estate broker predicts “computerized control panels that allow owners to tinker with their apartment from anywhere in the world.”

Only time will tell if innovative offerings such as these will have a positive impact on the housing market.

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