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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Features

From near-solid glass to masonry inspiration: How the definition of luxury has evolved in the past decade. From near-solid glass to masonry inspiration: How the definition of luxury has evolved in the past decade.
It’s always interesting to look back on how things have evolved over a decade, but the past ten years show an especially stark contrast. 2009 came on the heels of the recession. That made for a true buyer's market, but the New York real estate market would rocket in later years. While it remains to be seen if we’ve reached the bottom of this current correction, there are certainly better deals to be had now than in the heyday of 2014-2018.

Now that 2020 is upon us, CityRealty looks back at the evolution of New York's luxury market from 2009-2019. While it can seem that some things will never change, it's amazing how highly touted features can flop into fleeting trends. The following one-bedroom condos are listed at or around the median price of their times, and we will see what else, if anything, they have in common.

Our first comparison in this weekly series is the 2009-finished Visionaire vs the soon-to-finish 130 William Street. In 2009, the average price of a Manhattan one-bedroom was $859,637. Today, it is $1,312,398, a startling 53% increase despite the island's household median income only rising a fraction of that. Below are two relatively similar one-bedrooms in each building priced close to the Manhattan condo average of the time they were built.


Architecture: Increased texture and depth
(top) The Visionaire, (bottom) 130 William
The Visionaire rose on the last residential site in Battery Park City and would be a true product of its time: The apocalyptic future presented in Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth was still fresh in people’s minds, which made The Visionaire’s LEED Platinum certification and environmentally friendly features especially attractive. They would underscore a building floor-to-ceiling windows and a mostly glass facade that was quite novel for the time, yet brought a touch of the historical back in the form of bands of terra cotta tiles. The design was by Pelli Clarke Pelli in one of the prolific Cesar Pelli's last New York projects. It debuted to acclaim, and current availabilities range from $1.2 million for a two-bedroom to $6.5 million for a five-bedroom.
Now that Battery Park City is fully built out, developers are looking to once-commercial corridors of the Financial District. That’s where 130 William, Sir David Adjaye’s first New York residential building and New York’s first high-rise by a black architect, comes in. His high-rise nods to the neighborhood’s historic masonry architecture, but its roughly textured facade and dramatic oversized windows make it a standout in the Lower Manhattan skyline. Sales got off to a roaring start in the summer of 2018, and current availabilities range from $1.36 million for a one-bedroom to $6.86 million for a three-bedroom with a private loggia.

Young architects can now get big commissions
(l-r) Cesar Pelli and Sir David Adjaye represent different generations of celebrity architects.

We've become deep and depressed
New York city condos L to R: The Visionaire and 130 William | We've grown less optimistic about the future/technology and more reverential of the past

Interiors: Picture windows make a comeback
In recent years, designers and developers have moved away from sterile white-box interiors to create warmer, more welcoming environments that can be felt as soon as anyone walks into the apartments. They also recognize that rather than adding character, columns detract from the seamless, open layout buyers have come to appreciate and expect.

What has not changed, though, is the value of views. The Visionaire features floor-to-ceiling windows, and 130 William is distinguished by its arched windows with bronze detailing, but both apartments look out on sweeping river and skyline views that residents would be hard-pressed to step away from.

Kitchens: More materiality; Sustainability takes a back seat
Both listings feature open kitchens with generous counter space, sweeping views, and abundant cabinetry and counter space that conceals everything. But that is where the similarities end. Visionaire emphasizes its contemporary design and high-efficiency appliances.

Ten years later, 130 William would fill every square inch of its kitchens, not to mention the rest of its apartments, with rare, luxurious materials from all over the world. While this makes for a more texturally rich kitchen with name-brand appliances, the refusal to look locally makes LEED certification an impossibility.

Baths are now home spas
The same attitude of practicality versus plush has also come to apply to master baths in condos throughout New York, and that is especially clear in our two comparison apartments. Double sinks, a soaking tub, and a separate shower make for maximum efficiency at The Visionaire. But ten years later and under a mile north, 130 William pulled out all the stops with textured Italian marble, radiant heated floors, a custom vanity, and an expansive walk-in shower.

Lobbies greet visitors like kings
As in the case of living rooms, residential lobbies now strive to cultivate a more welcoming environment from the get-go. When The Visionaire first opened its doors, the columns probably made a stately impression. Upon entry, residents of all ages were undoubtedly drawn to the fish tank. But as time passed and buildings of all types embraced these features, it would come to look almost corporate.

130 William eliminates columns and embraces the arch of the windows to create a cozier lobby. And rather than crowd around the aquarium, a fireplace makes for a natural centerpiece and a warmer, more intimate ambiance.

Pools aren't just for laps;
Bamboo is now politically incorrect (it's invasive)
New York is home to endless fitness options in the form of numerous gyms, parks, and sports courts, but some lucky residents need not leave home to get a good workout in. The Visionaire certainly had that in mind for its residents when its developers included a fitness center and skylit swimming pool among the amenities.

But in this age of ClassPass, Equinox, and an increasing array of spectacularly luxe workout options, residential fitness centers recognize the need to step up their game to keep attracting users. 130 William rose to the challenge by including a yoga studio, basketball court, and outdoor terrace with its fitness center. And in addition to an infinity-edge spa pool, its pool area features hot and cold plunge pools.

Lounges are lavish extensions of your living room, not the frat house
As people become increasingly disconnected, it is not enough to simply erect a building. Developers strive to build a community among residents. To that end, Visionaire's amenities include a spacious, plush lounge that incorporates a fireplace, billiards table, and big-screen TV. It serves as a natural venue for watching the game, meeting with friends, or hosting an event.

The past few years have seen an amenity war take hold among New York's luxury condos, and 130 William puts up quite a fight by upping the ante on its offerings. In addition to the billiards table that has now become de rigueur, there is also a golf simulator and club room for residents' pleasure. And instead of a simple screening room, the building is home to the only private IMAX theater in New York.

Greenery is still used to decompress...ahhh
As much as people come to New York to enjoy the bustle of the city, there are times when it can be too much. This inspired the designers and developers of The Visionaire and 130 William to turn to landscapers as well, creating leafy entrances as a way to decompress before even entering the building.

However, outdoor space has truly taken on new heights in the past few years. The Visionaire has a lushly landscaped terrace and garden, but it is situated on the ninth floor of the building. (The 35th floor is home to a resident's private terrace with an expansive garden and yoga area with river views.) But rather than put a spectacular penthouse at the top of 130 William, there is instead a rooftop observation deck nearly 800 feet in the air. Just in case the grilling, dining, and lounge areas aren't private enough, cabanas are available for purchase.

It's all about the views and we keep going higher to get 'em
In today's buildings, shared amenity spaces include sky lounges and observatories.

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