In case you missed the news, an Upper West Side condo has banned smoking anywhere in the building. The presence of a large number of families, along with an optimistic view about the impact of a smoking ban on property values, seem to have been critical drivers of acceptance.
The Ariel West, a three-year-old 32-story condo at W. 99th & Broadway, is made up of mostly family-sized apartments selling for around $1,300 per square foot, according to StreetEasy.com. Fines will be complaint-driven rather than enforced by "smoking police." The first complaint will result in a $150 fine, and the fine for each succeeding complaint will increase by $150.
Here are the highlights from Friday's NY Times story:
- Owners voted 47 to 3 to approve the ban late last month. There are 68 owners in total; 46 votes constituted the supermajority required to change the bylaws.
- None of the apartments are investor owned, and no one expressed concerns that a ban might hurt property values or make it difficult to sell an apartment. On the contrary, most people thought it might enhance values. [We couldn't agree more.]
- The fact that the Ariel West is made up mainly of family-sized apartments with three or more bedrooms, and that it has more than 100 children under 16, probably helped make the ban easier to pass. “A lot of parents were happy that their children will now know that there will be financial penalties if they smoke, and it’s not just Mom and Dad telling them not to,” [one condo owner] said.
- The ban applies to owners who bought before it was passed. The building is one of the first in the city to approve such an extensive ban. (Several rental buildings introduced bans last year, but established tenants who smoked were not affected.)
News of the smoking ban has inspired more than 50 comments so far on CurbedNY, mostly in support.
Notes one Curbed commenter, "Besides second-hand smoke and cooking odors, the joys of apartment life can also include, of course, the bathroom odors of neighbors (not only the vile smells, but also soaps, shampoos, toiletries, etc.)....I wonder how long will it be until we see a new condo building with completely air-isolated units, featuring airlocks or positive pressurization systems that vent to the outside. (Should such a building be called The Hermetica -- or The Asphyxia?)."
Note to families with several million dollars to spare and a yen for a smoke-free Manhattan condo: There are no apartments for sale or rent right now at the Ariel West, according to StreetEasy.com. In fact, a quick search turns up only one family-sized apartment in a non-smoking building: a 3 bedroom, 3 bath condo at 103 W. 89th Street listed for $1.95 million.