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Out of UWS And Into Harlem

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If reading The Hunt stokes your deepest hopes that someday everything in life could work out, then you, too, are obsessed with the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section. Join us as we venture into the depths of this weekend's installment.
Chad Matthews of the Upper West Side was tired of paying $4,000 a month for a co-op in which all he did was sleep, so decided to leave the neighborhood for greener pastures. In particular, Harlem. Let's see where the hunt took him.

-Mr. Matthews, 39, a native of Chicopee, Mass., first rented a one-bedroom, then bought a studio, and, four years ago, upgraded to a one-bedroom in a different building at Lincoln Towers, a high-rise complex, originally rentals, behind Lincoln Center. He spent around $565,000. -The maintenance fee rose several times over the years, to nearly $1,400 a month. He found that high and assumed it would continue to rise. The buildings, after all, were nearly 50 years old and would need repairs.

-His monthly outlay was about $4,000. “For the money it cost to live there,” he said, “you could rent in a luxury apartment building.”
Last winter, that’s what he decided to do. His idea was to spend around $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom in a new rental building.

-He checked out some of the new residential high-rises on the West Side, including Silver Towers on far West 42nd Street, the Ohm in Chelsea and 505 West 37th Street. His first reaction: “Wow, these places are amazing!”

-But the buildings seemed rife not only with amenities but postcollegiate tenants. That stopped him in his tracks.

-He decided instead to continue to avail himself of the mortgage interest deduction and buy a condominium. His price range seemed to spell Harlem.

-The one-bedrooms at the Parc Standard, at 2101 Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 113th Street in Central Harlem, had less than 600 square feet, which seemed small for the price, around $400,000. East Harlem, he found, was much more affordable.

-At the Conrad on East 110th Street, he liked the big balconies, but the closet space seemed scant. Granted, there was a Manhattan Mini Storage very nearby, but he didn’t like the idea of “moving into a condo knowing it was too small.”

-Next up was the Sedona, a small condominium built on the site of a former bus garage on East 119th Street. The name was chosen because “it has this very relaxed feeling like you might find in the Sonoran Desert,” said David Daniels of the Corcoran Group, the building’s agent. “It is all earth tones and muted colors.”

-He zeroed in on a one-bedroom with 720 square feet and a 48-square-foot balcony. Here the closet space was ample, including a walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom, a coat closet, even a linen closet. What’s more, the place came with a washer and dryer as well as a basement storage locker. The listing price was $445,000.

What do you guys think of his decision? The move from the Upper West Side to East Harlem seems pretty drastic, no? But he seems to like it!

· Voting With All Six Feet