Retractable balcony apparently still a dream for New Yorkers

By Kelly Kreth  |
October 17, 2011 - 12:08PM

A recent post on the website of City Connections Realty reminded us that it's been two years since the Bloomframe retractable balcony--a floor-to-ceiling window that morphs into a terrace at the touch of a button--went into production in The Netherlands.  

We coudn't help but wonder: If and when the Bloomframe ever arrives in New York City, will it be welcome? 

“I would assume that the Landmark Preservation Commission would not be pleased since it would alter the aesthetics of a building,” says Michael Wolfe, president of Midboro Management, a NYC property management firm. “That said, since it retracts, they may consider it.”

As for whether co-op and condo boards would approve  of the Bloomframe, says Wolfe, “the respective co-op engineer would have to provide their professional opinion with respect to wind resistance, electrical demand, maintenance, etc. I am also concerned if someone left it opened, unattended from a security point of view. What about young children? There are many objections, but it is very, very intriguing.”

Architect Tom Degnan of Degnan Design Groupagrees that approval on the building or city level is anything but certain.

“This is a very innovative application to create an outdoor space with an operable window wall,” says Degnan. It would be “challenging to garner approvals for many multi-family residential buildings in NYC. There are a host of considerations that would need to be considered.”

For instance, he says, projecting living space beyond setbacks is often prohibited.

The Bloomframe “would likely work best in new construction and in townhouses with deep front and/or rear yard setbacks,” says Degnan.

Assuming the Bloomframe gets the green light, how much could it add in property value? “We normally calculate the value of outdoor space by multiplying the total amount of outdoor square feet by ½ the value of the interior space by the square foot,” says real estate broker Michael Signet, the executive director of sales at Bond New York.  “So if the interior is $1,000 per foot and you have a 6x9 balcony, you would multiply 54 times $500 and come up with an added value $27,000.”

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Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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