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This is an amazing property and fairly unique, but...
1. Is this a two unit townhouse? The description and the floorplan seem to be at odds. Who would pay $20mm for a townhouse only to rent out half of it?
2. I question the decision to put a fire escape up the front to make it a two-unit building. How easy would this be to remove?
3. It looks like the two kitchens are superflous. Wouldn't it be better to have a proper living room and dining room?
4. I'm not a huge fan of the garden, but this could be easily remedied with some good landscaping.
This was originally a seven-unit apartment building which has been converted into a single-family home. The choices that you disagree with were the result of design decisions made during the renovation.
FWIW, they weren't choices that I would have made either.
more on the renovation here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303640804577488743216579570.html
DG Neary Realty
The story and the listing call it both a single-family and two triplexes. The listing's plans show it as two triplexes, with no connection between the two.
It looks as if it'd be an easy combo, though, so may as well try to sell it as whatever a buyer wants.
But it doesn't make sense that you'd spend SO MUCH MONEY to renovate this townhouse completely to turn it into a two unit building if there's really no market for it. I also doubt that the owner would ever have rented out the other unit and risk ruining the "mint condition" status.
It may be "an easy combo", but why put in two kitchens for no practical purpose if the next owner is just going to take them out?
A friend of ours owned a house on that block a few doors up. He died a few years ago when he was in his mid-90s and I don't know what the family has done with the property. It had an a apartment on the first floor and then the rest was his living space -- three floors, I think two baths. It was in need of updating but it was comfortable for him. Can't believe the excessive elegance of 81 Horatio in comparision. (Or that the owner would prefer an apartment on the UES to living there.)
Just looked up our friend's house. His unit has been rented out since he died; I think the first-floor tenant is still there (has a deal where he can stay as long as he wishes for a minimal rent, so I'm sure he's keeping that place). It's a great neighborhood and a lovely street. But $20 million??!!
jws363, people do strange things, and change their minds. The owner is calling it a one-family, but the plans show two separate units. To get from the cellar/garden/parlor triplex up to the 2/3/4 triplex, you have to hike to the front door, go through the vestibule, etc.
This is one of those listings that I appreciate someone singled out. Without sounding like an internet troll, they'd be lucky if they got a nickel over $12mm. There isn't a single comparison that validates the asking price. As it's also been pointed out, very strange configuration done with the renovation. Having the house converted to a multifamily requires permits, architect plans as well as time and money. Only an investor would consider doing this, but to spend $20mm on a property that may only produce $250k total in gross income annually, I don't see it, at all. After taxes and other general operating costs, you're looking at the same type of revenue that can be generated from one or two very smart purchases at $2mm a piece. You could buy and rent a 1.5 or 2bdrm condo for $2mm or less that would yield $8k a month in rent, however in this house, the lower two floors gets what $10k, 11k max? The upper floor unit $15k at best? Very weird listing indeed.
...and this isn't the upper east were some "rich family" will drop $25mm on a house off 5th Ave. It's Horatio St. If the seller is in no rush, then perhaps they can wait for one of those not so bright tech guys who just blows his wad of cash on a property like this, but that's a risky proposition for a seller who's options look very limited to sell and an overall shaky market.