The Real Deal New York

Apartments with faux-greenhouses selling at $50K premium

Most of the “greenhouses” were installed through a building code loophole

October 18, 2014 01:00PM

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An apartment with a “greenhouse”

For decades, New Yorkers exploited a building code loophole involving, of all things, greenhouses. By covering a terrace with glass, homeowners got more indoor space and avoided code hassles by labeling it a “temporary structure,” Now homes with these faux-greenhouses are charging a premium.

“People may have put their potted plants there, but the point was really to create more indoor space,” Howard Zimmerman, an architect who specializes in exterior facade restoration, told the New York Times. He added that there are thousands of these greenhouses or sunrooms in New York City.

“For years, architects were putting these glass enclosures on setbacks, knocking down walls to incorporate them into the existing unit and really abusing the building codes,” Zimmerman said.

These days the wow factor created by the massive glass walls command a premium of $25,000 to $50,000, according to Gina Kuhlenkamp, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker Bellmarc.

Kuhlenkamp who has sold several apartments with greenhouses at Turtle Bay Towers.

Nevertheless, the homeowner may still be losing out, since on the high end the curved metal and glass facades can cost up to $500,000 to install — $10,000 on the low end. [NYT] Christopher Cameron

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