New developments sell off floor plans alone

Several new developments across the city are once again selling apartments off floor plans alone, the New York Times reported, a practice not seen since before the downturn. Examples tend to be in areas of low inventory and extensive amenities. “For the right design and location, there’s very little inventory,” said Extell Development’s Gary Barnett, “and if people want to lock into something, they’ll buy off floor plans.”

At Extell’s One 57, a 90-story condominium tower at 157 West 57th Street across from Carnegie Hall, apartments will not be ready for move-ins for two years, but sales will probably kick off this summer. “We have had such a strong reaction with people wanting to buy that we expect to get a fair amount of sales even before the sales office opens,” Barnett said.

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Sales began in April at 471 Washington Street and One North Moore in Tribeca, and each building only has one unit remaining, but the buildings won’t be ready for occupancy until early fall. Justin Ehrlich, a partner at VE Equities, said he never expected to be selling off floor plans. “We underwrote these buildings with big budgets for marketing,” he said. “It helps that they’re boutique and that’s what people are looking for in Tribeca.”

Some developers are reluctant to open sales offices before a building opens. They believe they can get a higher price on opening. The Laureate, an Upper West Side development, had an enormous waiting list even before the exterior had been completed. Shlomi Reuveni, the building’s sales manager and an agent with Brown Harris Stevens, said he didn’t want to sell off floor plans “because we wanted to make sure people were comfortable with what they were buying.” [NYT]