Printed from at 01:05 PM, Jan 20 2017
Talk » Renovation » Discussing 'Townhouse Gut Renovation'

Townhouse Gut Renovation


Anyone know how much it costs these days to gut renovate a 4000 sft townhouse in Manhattan? I am converting a five unit house to a single family. Assume renovation need not be too high end.

If the work is not too high end, you are talking about $175,000.

I have been given numbers that run as high as $2 million. Lowest someone has quoted is about $600k. Would like to know what can be done for 175

you cant do that work for 175k. i work in that field. i think at least 500k range.

We're renovating a 4000 square foot house in Riverdale and I don't think anything we're doing is really high end. The interior work alone will cost us more than $500k (and we're doing the paint stripping and painting ourselves -- that would have added at least another $75-100k to the price). The exterior work we need done has to be postponed and I can't even guess at what it will cost us. I'd think that gut renovating a townhouse in Manhattan will run at least $500k and could run as much as $1 million or more.

I'd say $750K to $1 million.

Don't cut too many corners -- it becomes hard to sell a 4,000-square-foot property that doesn't have, say, central air conditioning.

ali r.
{downtown broker}

if you are not in the business, use at LEAST $500 per sf. So about $2 mm minimum to turn it into a decent one family home. probably more than that.

You might try contacting these guys for an indicative quote:

I think they just finished a similar job on West 74th Street, and they did one in Gramercy before that.

Not an endorsement - just a possible lead to explore.

Thank you for your comments.

as i said -- we get numbers from 500k to 2 million very quickly from a small sample of people.
Considering that in most parts of the country one can BUY an fully built luxury home for $500-600k, what gives -- what are we paying for? higher labor costs? or panache and contractor markup?

Are you kidding? What are you paying for? In the rest of the country you can also get a one bedroom apartment for $100,000. What gives that that costs $1,000,000 in Greenwich Village? What gives?

Uh...labor costs are a wee bit different in NYC than Demoins. Construction is also constrained by the density of the city. Gutting an attached structure means all sorts of engineering issues, city water supply issues, electrical hookups, sewer hookups, a million code complaince issues. You can have the entire job's materials just dropped off since there is no where to store them or for the trucks to casually show up when they want to.

When you say "gut," you also aren't really being clear. Is the flooring and walls and ceilings and wiring and plumbing coming out leaving basically just the joists? Does the entire house have to essentially be rebuilt? At $200 sq/ft. for renovation, the job would be $800,000 for 4000 sq/ft. And if you think you can do a top to bottom gut renovation for $200 in Manhattan, you will lose your shirt by the time this job is done. In an apartment, $300 sq/ft. is a reasonable starting point for a gut. I imagine in a house with all the attendent issues that never arise in an apartment, you are looking at significantly more.

"if you are not in the business, use at LEAST $500 per sf. So about $2 mm minimum to turn it into a decent one family home. probably more than that."

I call major BS. Ethanandwendy are probably "in the business" and are trying to rip you off. The standard rates I hear time and again from architects I know are an absolute MAXIMUM of $300 psf for a very high end, best quality reno of everything, including central AC. NOT a *minimum* of $500 as these people are suggesting. Bullshit.

I am in the middle of a very high end gut, and its north of $500 when you consider all costs. That includes architect, GC, all supplies, HVAC, windows, expediters, and all the other things you forget about.

kylewest -- the number of people who have quoted me $200/sq ft and whose work we have seen is not insignificant. Appliances and finishes have been comparable to the luxury condos. When an architect is involved and manages the project, the number jumps to $300+/sq ft very quickly.
I have also seen the number vary depending on location -- quotes in Washington Heights or Brooklyn are lower than quotes in Harlem which in turn are lower than for the UWS -- all by a big margin
This is why I wonder if the bids correlate with their estimate of your ability to pay.
Also, a person who has a lot of money is likely to be turning over more design and construction to the architect -- there the cost really goes up quite a bit.
The lowest costs seem to be where the architect is used primarily to approve drawings, and a non-Manhattan based GC is used to turnkey the project.

Here's what I found in comparing architect/design/GC bids (on apt. reno): the lower bids, upon close inspection, omitted many aspects of the job that would be necessary by the time it was complete and the bids were therefore, artificially low. Admittedly, some architect fees were nuts on the high end. But if one bid included $4000 for an expeditor's fees and permits, and another said I would have to secure those on my own, the lower bid wasn't really that much lower. All construction will involve unanticipated headaches. Open a wall and the change orders begin to emerge as everyone starts claiming not to have been able to anticipate what is inside and that now the work is more involved (read: costly). The bidders more upfront about ALL costs won me over. Go with the lowest bid and you get someone desperate for work who lowballs you or someone who doesn't know what they are doing. Either way, they will eventually find a way to ratchet up the prices to make a profit. $200 sq/ft. for any reno in manhattan sound way low and unrealistic to me when all is added up. If all one is doing is replacing a vanity, reglazing a tub, switching appliances and refacing cabinets, then yeah. $200 is reasonable. But for a real "gut," no way. Significant electrical and plumbing alone will approach $200 sq/ft in a 100% gut.

very interesting -- I should clarify that I am reporting what has been submitted to me and not done this yet. What kylewest reports is downright scary.
However, the bids I received when asking for Harlem vs asking for UWS or asking for Brooklyn were very different. I would suspect that the complexities of construction in these 3 locations are not too different.
I have seen 2 properties in Harlem that had nice gut renovation jobs. One owner indicates $150/sq ft the other $300/sq ft. Quality of things used is somewhat nicer in the 300 job, but they did 4 apartments vs 2 so 2 extra kitchens and 3 duplexes that require additional stairs.
ANother person doing a so-so renovation is reporting >$200/sq ft.
It is possibly that these things can cost what you are willing to spend. However, it is less clear what the cost should be conditional on different things you want to do.
Willie Kathryn Suggs, a notorious Harlem realtor typically quotes $375k for the full job minimal gut reno and $500k if you want fireplaces remodeled and central AC
Architects in Harlem quote $200-300 and Brooklyn based $150-250, and UWS $300-500

joe anyone you would recommend, been quoted 250-400.

I don't know that I can recommend these people, but they were recommended to me. You can try

1. Architect (Columbia grad + green construction + very nice to talk to + some interesting proje
Ignacio Lamar
AQC Architects
200 W 138 St
New York, NY 10030
212 281 9855

2. Uptown townhouse Bill ROhlfing 9176925716

3. Kenny D'Anna ASA Construction

4. you will have to get the contractor details from this developer

Will be curious to see what they tell you. you can mail me at

hmmm the phone number at bottom is Kenny D'anna -- somehow it got moved past item 4 -- belongs with item 3

oh also as to the item 4 -- 2068 fifth avenue. I liked the construction work and the materials but not their layout -- very attractive in some ways but an odd placement of a full bathroom on the main levels of each of the duplexes. So you may want to directly talk to the contractor who built the townhouse.. the link is there on their website, and I have never talked to them. Here it is so you don't have to hunt for it

sorry to keep posting incrementally, but I went back and looked at teh 2068 fifth avenue
is the architects page -- you can see the pics -- very attractive -- and a video + pics (click the arrows)
click on description and they tell you that the construction cost was $1.2 million for 7200 sq ft -- under $200/sq ft.
I don't think this includes the architects fees and other costs though, since when I talked to the developer his estimate was closer to $300/sq ft.
Still an example that some nice work can be done in this price range.

thanks joe will follow up over the next few weeks


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