A Williamsburg Mega Condo Complex Comes To Life
This truly unique space has all the amenities Williamsburgers are looking for at an “affordable” price.
If you happen to be passing the Williamsburg waterfront at night, one building will stand out like a mega-sized cruise ship amid a flotilla of fishing craft. That building would be the Austin Nichols House at 184 Kent Avenue. But calling it a mere building is like calling an air craft carrier a boat. In fact, it’s a century old warehouse and was designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect of the famous Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan. Its structure is 100 percent concrete. Good to know when the next hurricane hits town.
It’s had several owners over the years with various iterations of rentals available to the area’s trendy locals since 2010 when the initial conversion took place. The latest revamp is one that has tongues wagging. The souped up complex has all the trappings any self-respecting hipster who can qualify for a loan for over half million dollars and up (studios start at $650,000, with one br’s at $850K and two br’s $1.3 million) would want to associate themselves with. There’ll be a “jam room” for neighborhood musicians to strum their guitars or program their laptops, communal rooftop access, courtyards spotted with fire pits and seating, screening rooms and co-working spaces. According to The Real Deal, developers Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner) and LIVWRK are hoping for a $427.5 million sellout. Current tenants will have the option to buy their apartments at a discount but face a possible rent hike when their lease is renewed.
Judging from the glossy ad, which might as well read, “A Beautiful Building For Beautiful People. Under 40’s Only”, the sales team has a certain demographic in mind. A networking mecca without leaving your home.
Here’s a Q&A with Christina Dolamore, the Director of Sales for the building.
JEFF VASISHTA: The Austin Nichols building is like the Titanic of Williamsburg condo buildings. It’s both impressive and a little intimidating to imagine living around so many people. How do you foresee residents forging a sense of privacy and intimacy?
CHRISTINA DOLAMORE: One benefit to having so many homes under one roof is being able to offer buyers a wide variety of inventory, from studios through three-bedrooms. The building is still able to provide a sense of intimacy because it is not a massive tower, with identical living spaces stacked on top of one another, but a matchless lifestyle experience of culture and community. The building is just as much as a marvel today as it was 100 years ago, and its size is minimized by its low-slung and contextual classic design.
VASISHTA: Williamsburg has become notoriously expensive but I notice there are condos here for under $1 million. What can a prospective resident expect for the lower price points?
DOLAMORE: The developers of the Austin Nichols House recognized the lack of condo inventory and ownership opportunities in not only Williamsburg, but all of North Brooklyn, and wanted to bring something attainable to the market that didn’t sacrifice on design, location, lifestyle and amenities. Rents in Williamsburg are very high given the lack of inventory, so Austin Nichols House becomes an even greater value once buyers start making their rent vs. buy calculations for the neighborhood. Our studios start at $650k, one-bedrooms at $850k and two-bedrooms at $1.3 million.
VASISHTA: What do you feel the A.N. building has to offer that sets it apart from the many other condos for sale in the area?
DOLAMORE: The Williamsburg market still has a drastic shortage of condominium inventory, but even among the few new projects on the market it is impossible to find the waterfront location we offer at the price point of our residences. It’s this combination of waterfront location in a historic building – steps from the new wave of retail in the neighborhood that includes Whole Foods, Apple and Trader Joe’s – that buyers have been responding so strongly to, in addition to an incredible amenities offering. And unlike many new projects, our amenities are completed, so buyers can enjoy them the day they move in.
VASISHTA: The conversion from a warehouse, especially one built 100 years ago, to a sparkly contemporary condo building looked like a mammoth undertaking. Although, this might be a question for the developer, what were the major hurdles?
DOLAMORE: This building was converted by its previous owners into a luxury rental, so the most difficult construction and engineering work was already completed years ago. Now every common space and apartment is being elevated, including new designs, fixtures, mechanical systems including air conditioning and heating, and more.
VASISHTA: As a sales agent what are the challenges for you in marketing this? What is your strategy? Is there a domestic and international outreach? Investors or only owner occupants?
DOLAMORE: Austin Nichols House provides a unique challenge in that we have 338 homes with 176 individual floor plans available for purchase. While this may make it harder for perspective purchasers to narrow down, it also affords the luxury of providing each purchaser with a special one-of-a-kind home.
VASISHTA: Do buyers select finishes or is there are standard package they can choose from?
DOLAMORE: Morris Admji selected all fixtures and finishes in the residences. Kitchens feature matte-lacquered custom cabinets, Bertazzoni cooktop ranges, smart tech Dacor refrigerators, and Asko dishwashers as well as custom light pendants by Matter Made, hand-painted Japanese Kyoto tiles, and brushed concrete stone countertops. Bathrooms feature a compilation of natural Pietre d’Italia mosaic floor tile, honed Giolia Carrera stone walls, and custom walnut vanities topped off with Matter Made light pendants and blackened steel accents.
VASISHTA: Are all units for sale only?
DOLAMORE: Yes. All residences are available to purchase.