Best Condos in Manhattan
Posted by Wei Min Tan on May 11, 2020
Which is the best condo in Manhattan? Well, the answer is It Depends.
When representing global investor clients looking for a condo in Manhattan, we work with various client objectives. For example, buying to rent out has a different set of criteria compared to buying to use as vacation home or buying simply to park money. There are multiple investment strategies with Manhattan condos and the “best” condo depends on the strategy.
A client buying a vacation home would have more personal preferences going into the evaluation than a client who just wants to rent it out as soon as possible. Some condos have great wow factor but carrying costs are high, or maybe location is not very central. Sometimes a client doesn’t care about how easy it is to rent out but just wants a famous building in a specific location.
Here are examples of best condos in Manhattan based on different objectives.
Best Manhattan condo for carrying costs
99 John Street is a prewar Art Deco building in the Financial District by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, the architects who built the Empire State Building. 99 John was built in 1933, used as a commercial building, then a rental building. In 2007, it was converted into a residential condo. The interiors were renovated to condo standards, elevators changed, fancy amenities were added. Most recently, the hallways were updated with brighter carpets and wallpapers.
This is the building with the lowest carrying costs (common charges and property taxes). Hence for an investor buyer, rental yield is quite attractive. Downside is that the streets in Financial District are narrow. FiDi was the first Manhattan neighborhood and buildings there were not built with setbacks (narrowing of the building as it goes higher). As a result, there is less light going into the streets.
Weimin’s analysis, Manhattan condo historical price trend
Photos below: Represented client in purchasing the 99 John Street condo below from developer during the condo conversion in 2008. Apartment has 500 sqft terrace, a rare luxury in Manhattan. A few years later, we sold the property for the record price per sqft in the building.
Best luxury building for investment in Tribeca
200 Chambers Street, built in 2007, was the first luxury condo in Tribeca. This was followed by 101 Warren in the same time period. Currently, there are two more luxury condos in the area, 111 Murray Street and 100 Barclay. The building of 200 Chambers and 101 Warren brought in Barnes and Noble and Whole Foods into the area, which is now the commercial center of Tribeca.
For investment purposes, 200 Chambers is a good buy because of low carrying costs. It’s a premium building with premium prices. But rents are commensurately high as well. 200 Chambers was designed by Costas Kondylis & Partners. Full amenities and also has a swimming pool 🙂
Photos below: Client’s one bedroom investment condo at 200 Chambers and the building’s interior zen garden.
Best luxury condo in Soho
40 Mercer, designed by Jean Nouvel in 2005, is one of the most visible buildings in Soho. It was built to be like a loft, but in this case, a loft that is new and modern. Very high 14 ft ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the classic loft buildings of Soho. New loft blending into old cast iron lofts. Lofts, former factories or warehouses converted into residential, are desirable because of their big spaces and high ceilings.
40 Mercer is an ultra luxury building. Amenities include an underground garage, swimming pool, garden, fitness center. It is one of the few condo buildings in Soho not subject to AIR (Artist-in-Residence). As background, most Soho buildings technically require residents to be a certified artist. This is not a rule enforced by New York City.
Weimin’s article, Best areas to invest in Manhattan
Photos belows: Client’s 40 Mercer condo, very high ceilings and large windows.
Best super tower condo in top neighborhood
111 Murray is an ultra luxury, 800 ft all glass tower in one of Manhattan’s top neighborhoods, Tribeca. The curved glass tower widens at the crown, making it one of Tribeca’s most recognized new structures.
111 is located opposite the Goldman Sachs headquarters (green building in photo below). It has white glove concierge service and all the amenities. There is a residents’ lounge, dining room that can be reserved for entertaining, fitness center, landscaped garden, 75 ft lap pool and even a Turkish hammam.
High floor apartments at 111 have wonderful views of Tribeca and Lower Manhattan.
Photos below: client’s condo at 111 and the building’s resident’s lounge.
Best prewar condo close to Central Park
The best prewar condo in Manhattan close to Central Park has to be the Parc Vendome. The complex comprises four buildings, two on W 57 St and two on W 56 St. There is a beautiful English garden in the middle of the four buildings. The building is very attractive because of the prewar characteristics of high ceilings and thick walls. Built in 1931, the Parc Vendome was converted to condo in 1983. The complex is 2 blocks from Central Park and Columbus Circle.
Below: Parc Vendome’s English garden and our client’s post renovation condo. Notice the beamed ceilings and prewar details.
Best new condo in Midtown East, United Nations Areas
The Sutton at 959 First Avenue has one of the best interior detailing, especially the large casement windows. Proximity to the United Nations has helped attract highly qualified diplomat tenants wanting a top quality building. Ceilings are 10.5 feet and amenities include a garden, high tech gym, and full service staff.
Sutton was built by Toll Brothers in 2016/2017. Back then, reservation deposit was only 10 percent. We booked and waited 2 years for completion. After closing, the apartments were rented out almost immediately because of the wow factor.
Weimin’s article, New property projects in Manhattan, how we pick winners
Photos below are of a client’s high floor east facing apartment at the Sutton. The casement windows are amazing.
Best condo In Gramercy
Gramercy is one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods. It has lower density, many restaurants and is close to Flatiron where the entertainment and restaurant factor magnifies. 200 E 21 St is a new development by BKSK Architects and targeting LEED Gold certification. Our client booked the apartment 2 years ago and currently we are awaiting closing. Carrying costs are a bit high but the interiors with wood paneling is the first I’ve seen.
Photo below: 200 E 21 St viewed from the outside, notice the trees which are abundant in Gramercy.
What We Do
We focus on global investors buying Manhattan condos for portfolio diversification and long term return-on-investment.
1) Identify the right buy based on objectives
2) Manage the buy process
3) Rent out the property
4) Manage tenants
5) Market the property at the eventual sale
Article updated May 11, 2020
Follow On Instagram