Developers offer soaring ceilings to stand out from the pack

Condo towers like 56 Leonard and 520 Park Avenue have 11-foot ceilings or higher

Rendering of 56 Leonard in Tribeca
Rendering of 56 Leonard in Tribeca

Can you buy a piece of the sky? Maybe not, but high-end buyers are searching for that expansive feeling at their pads, and developers are more than happy to oblige with ceiling heights that soar.

Buyers have always treasured soaring ceilings as a feature, but product was limited to certain types of buildings and units. Now, more developers are including tall ceilings despite the higher construction costs.

“Today, 11-foot ceilings are the new eight-foot ceilings,” Izak Senbahar, president of the Alexico Group, told the New York Times.

Alexico Group is developing the 60-story, 145-unit condo tower 56 Leonard in Tribeca. Every unit at 56 Leonard has ceiling heights of 11 to 19 feet, the Times reported.

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Developers can lose an entire floor with the taller ceilings and increase their construction costs by 15 percent, Richard Lambeck, professor and chairperson of New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, told the Times.

At the Robert A.M. Stern-designed 520 Park Avenue, 11-foot ceilings in the 33-unit condo tower are adding an estimated 10 percent to building cost and construction time, Arthur W. Zeckendorf, a principal of Zeckendorf Development, told the Times. Prices at the 54-story building start at $20.5 million and the triplex is asking $130 million.

Douglas Elliman agent Vickey Barron told the newspaper, “I now have clients who will give up having a pool or other amenities in a building, but will not budge on ceiling height. Buying a home is an emotional thing, and that ‘wow’ factor a high ceiling provides is something you can’t replace.”

The high ceilings also help display art, as buyers seek more walls and amentities to house their collections. [NYT]Dusica Sue Malesevic