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755 West End Avenue #6A
Coop, Classic seven into six (or maybe five), 3BR/3BA
Asks $2,395,000; Maint. $2,300
The A line at 755 WEA is familiar terrain for classic seven shoppers in the northern part of the Upper West Side. There has been no shortage of listings, and no mystery regarding valuation: these workmanlike Candela sevens have traded consistently around $2MM (and failed to trade if the owners dug in higher), depending on elevation, condition and timing.
The strengths and weaknesses of the original floor plan are equally apparent. The corner position allows every window to face out, either east across WEA or north across 97th Street. The public rooms are large, and can easily be combined into a single open space. An internal corridor leading from the kitchen to the service entrance offers additional possibilities for storage, laundry or utility.
On the downside, the original kitchen, maid’s room and third bedroom are all narrow, and bathroom access – particularly from the public areas - is not optimal. The LR and DR face north into 771 WEA, with indirect light that is suitable for art and rare books, but not for tanning or dazzling guests. Ceiling height at 755 WEA is ordinary by pre-war standards, so the space is more sprawling than grand. There isn’t much grandeur to 755 as a whole, with its tiny lobby, scruffy landings and limited amenities.
#6A reflects a solid effort to address the more tractable challenges. The maid’s room has been absorbed into a large, well-equipped eat-in kitchen, with nice flow between cooking and eating areas, and also toward a home office/pantry area in the service corridor. The entertaining space has been brightened by removing the wall between the LR and DR. The northern third of the original DR (the windowed part) is now a den, mainly glassed in to allow light to reach the still-generous dining area. Notably, a third full bathroom has been added; although accessed from the bedroom corridor, this extra bathroom requires less of a foray into the host’s private quarters than the original second bath, which is now en-suite with BR2.
The main problem with #6A in its current state is that the latest work was done – probably about nine years ago – without much thought of eventual resale. The first feature a visitor notices upon entering #6A is the interior doors. They are huge, ornate, ubiquitous and gleaming with rare, highly polished wood inlay. If you like a lot of lacquer on your mahogany and rosewood, #6A is for you. I’m not sure whether the style evokes the Near or Far East. I do know that it’s highly taste-specific. The owners must have spent lavishly on an effect they prized. Unless you happen to share their taste, the obvious cure involves a lot of sandpaper, primer and white paint. That seems a shame. The Taj Mahal is garish too, but I wouldn’t want to cover it with clapboard. Maybe there’s an aftermarket for those doors somewhere, and they could be replaced with painted pine.
A similar issue is evident in the kitchen, which is so emphatically kosher that gentile buyers may be a bit put off. The problem isn’t the duplicate appliances, or divided storage; those are familiar items on WEA. Even the little washbasin might have uses beyond ritual. But how many breakfast nooks have Hebrew inscriptions engraved in a faux stone wall that evokes ancient Jerusalem? There are secular quirks too, like a bombé chest incorporated as a base cabinet, and an old-worldish kitchen floor of wide, aged planks. (I happen to like these latter touches; YMMV.)
The bedroom wing is an odd contrast. The paneled doors -echoed by the walls of the master bath - are more Jersey Shore than Jerusalem – possibly a legacy from the previous (pre-2003) owners. The maroon and gold master bedroom strives for opulence; for me, those colors evoke a Boston College fraternity house. The other bedrooms and baths are more neutral; they also show more wear, including a ruinous crack in the sink pedestal of the added hall bath,
I suspect the owners' hold period was shortened unexpectedly by a change of circumstances. Unless they find a like-minded buyer, they will likely pay a price for having tailored #6A to their own needs and desires. Time will tell the size of that discount. If the money invested in fancy doors had gone toward a feature with wider appeal – modern climate control, for example - #6A might come closer to the ambitious initial ask. Then again, the owners have enjoyed the home they wanted for the past eight-plus years, so maybe they are happy with their choices.
Isn't the answer as to value pretty simple? With my family of 5 and a budget of 2.4 million, wouldn't I be able to get more of what I dreamed elsewhere on the UWS? (Better view, better decor, or better building, etc.)
I suspect not only gentiles but not non-orthodox Jews may be put off by the "emphatically kosher" kitchen and other sectarian touches. Two dishwashers is a waste of space and Hebrew inscriptions would need to be replaced ASAP (I would have the same reaction to a carved in crucifix), renovations that detract from what I am willing to pay for the apartment. Not that I'm in the $2MM+ UWS market.
I totally agree with all three of the above. What is that wall covering in the breakfast area? It does have space. Taste specific is great if you're going to live in the apartment unitl you are 104.
I like the relatively low maintenance.
Breakfast under the Wailing Wall? Most Brilliant!
Would definitely consider it but I'm more like $1.4MM+ short...
uwsbeagle: Maintenance generally runs lower in the 90s than further south. I think it's a function of RE taxes, plus (in many buildings) fewer amenities/employees.
Interesting to note that StreetEasy now has apartment 6A listed as "Temporarily Off Market."