New developments are changing layouts and focusing on wellness because of coronavirus

By Jennifer White Karp  |
July 6, 2020 - 3:30PM

A rendering of Townhouse on The Park, a new rental development in Long Island City, where most of the units will have private outdoor spaces thanks to a garden or rooftop balcony. 


In a few weeks or months from now, if you tour a new rental or condo in New York City, you may get the sense it was designed with the coronavirus pandemic in mind.

That’s because it was. Developers who are in the early phases of construction are pivoting to adapt layouts and amenities because coronavirus has changed what New Yorkers are looking for in an apartment. (What’s in? Home offices and private outdoor space and amenities. What’s out—for now? Pretty much anything shared, like gyms and pools.)

As the New York Times reports, the pandemic has been a wake-up call for developers: They have been building too much of the wrong kind of apartment: Small, expensive places with high-end finishes and access to lots of amenities for all residents.  

Some developers are able to change gears, according to the article. For example, one Long Island City project is redoing floor plans to accommodate home offices. Another LIC development is turning its foyers into “decontamination rooms.”

A new emphasis in marketing

Other developers who are later along in the process are switching up their marketing plans to highlight the features that appeal to renters and buyers now, adding safeguards with an eye toward preventing infection, and offering new incentive programs that make it easier to buy. (The percentage of new condo units sold can be a critical factor in getting a mortgage.)

For example, a 70-unit project in Long Island City was supposed to have a movie theater theme, a nod to the nearby Kaufman Astoria film studios. Instead, the building will be rebranded with a wellness theme, according to the article.

At Townhouse on The Park, a new rental development on 11th Street between 45th Road and 46th Avenue in Long Island City launching leasing this summer, there are 75 three-bedroom apartments with private outdoor spaces for almost every unit thanks to a private garden or rooftop balcony. Rents range from $7,200 to $8,250 per month

Each unit has a Mirror home gym system so renters can work out at home, which is helpful if NYC goes on lockdown again. Apartments are large enough for home offices and have in-unit Whirlpool washer/dryers, so renters here don’t need to share a laundry room. There’s also keyless entry, to avoid high-touch zones, which can spread infection, and a landscaped courtyard, where renters can entertain outdoors while maintaining social distance, according to a marketing email.


A rendering of the roof terrace at The Rowan in Astoria.


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A condo developer charts a new course

You can see a shift in the marketing and promotions for new condo buildings like The Rowan, a new construction condo building in the Ditmars section of Astoria, where closings are expected to begin in the spring of 2021. Construction resumed and the sales gallery reopened for this project when NYC entered Phase 2. The six-story building will have 46 studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and half of them will have private outdoor space. Asking prices for available listings range from $695,000 to $2,595,000,

“Having a private outdoor space, in-unit laundry, and multiple indoor and outdoor amenities for work and play is what buyers are looking for today,” said Stephen Kliegerman, president of Halstead Development Marketing. “The Rowan has seen strong interest despite the recent shutdown.”

The building is 35 percent sold after five months—just eight weeks were when real estate was “open,” the rest were during the shutdown, when 10 percent of units sold.

According to a spokesperson, the development offered a successful promotional “satisfaction guarantee review period” (now ended) that allowed buyers to back out of the purchase with no consequence after five days.

The development also requires only 5 percent down at signing, instead of the usual 10 percent. An additional five percent will be due by October 1st. Brokers here get paid 50 percent of commissions up front, instead of having to wait several months to get paid, as an incentive.



Jennifer White Karp

Managing Editor

Jennifer steers Brick Underground’s editorial coverage of New York City residential real estate and writes articles on market trends and strategies for buyers, sellers, and renters. Jennifer’s 15-year career in New York City real estate journalism includes stints as a writer and editor at The Real Deal and its spinoff publication, Luxury Listings NYC.

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