Safe rooms, now all dressed up

Foreign buyers demand extreme protection along with privacy

TRD New York /
May.May 26, 2015 10:00 AM

It might not sound like the most appealing amenity, but foreign investors are requesting them: safe rooms.

While many people’s image of a safe room — or, as they’re sometimes known due to David Fincher’s eponymous 2002 thriller, “panic rooms” — might be more dramatic, today’s safe rooms are hidden in plain sight, between mahogany paneling or smooth plaster, according to the New York Times. In some cases, bathrooms or closets are fortified. Bedrooms can also double as safe rooms.

The world is a very scary place right now, especially for people of means; they feel cornered and threatened,” Tom Gaffney, president of Gaffco Ballistics, which has installed a number of safe rooms around New York City, told the New York Times. “When you have so much to lose, and you can afford to, you put a premium on your safety.”

Gaffney told the newspaper that wealthy buyers from countries such as Russia or the Middle East are used to a high level of security at home.

The Department of Buildings doesn’t have records of the number of safe rooms around the city. Gaffney, however, told the newspaper that his business has doubled over the last 10 years. He installs about six safe rooms a year, the newspaper reported, up from one or two before Sept. 11.

The topic came up at a recent Knight Frank breakfast, when Douglas Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber mentioned his wife’s response to seeing a “panic room” in a townhouse at which the couple looked.

“The panic room worked,” Lorber said. “She panicked right out of there.” [NYT] — Claire Moses

 

Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
(Illustration by Carl Wiens)

NYC’s foreign investment landscape in the era of trade wars and heightened nationalism

30 West 31st Street and 52 West 36th Street (Credit: Google Maps)

South Korean firm snaps up two Midtown hotels for $137M

Here are the leading countries planting flags in Manhattan commercial real estate

Here are the leading countries planting flags in Manhattan commercial real estate

Here are the leading countries planting flags in Manhattan commercial real estate

Here are the leading countries planting flags in Manhattan commercial real estate

Foreign investment in US homes plummeted to $78B over the past year

Foreign investment in US homes plummeted to $78B over the past year

(Credit: iStock)

What China’s warning to students studying in the US means for real estate

With Chinese investment drying up, EB-5 debt isn’t nearly as cheap

With Chinese investment drying up, EB-5 debt isn’t nearly as cheap

Shorenstein Properties co-chairman Michael Rossi and a rendering of MiamiCentral Station 

VirginTrains USA owner sells MiamiCentral office buildings for $159M

arrow_forward_ios