Builders’ flip-flops = architects’ headaches

Designers scramble as developers switch from condos to rentals, and back again
By Katherine Clarke | November 17, 2011 10:17AM

From the November issue: Many New York City real estate developers are back in business, reviving once-stalled condo projects or converting office buildings into rentals. But while developers are patting themselves on the back, their architects may be stifling groans.

These days, architects are increasingly being asked to design buildings that can change from rentals to condos or vice versa, as developers seek to hedge their bets in a still-uncertain economy. But rental units tend to be smaller, with lower-end finishes and amenities, so designing buildings that serve as both is no easy task.

Architect Hugo Subotovsky, of Bronx-based Aufgang + Subotovsky, is currently designing an East Harlem residential project at 318-320 East 112th Street that will start as a rental, then flip to a condo in a few years.

“You have to be always thinking, ‘Would that be a good fit for the condo market in the future?'” Subotovsky said. “It’s a fine balance.” [more]