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Townhouses in Condos; A Bromance Grows in Brooklyn

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, figuring out along the way what the subtext of each story tells us about the state of the NYC real estate market using our bona fide Market Point system.

1.) For those of us lucky enough to be contemplating a townhouse purchase, a problem that arises is the lack amenities and general "DIY" maintenance when compared with a building. Fear not, oh wealthy buyers! Several buildings have been marketing townhouses with all the amenities you would expect, but with the privacy of a townhouse. Let's take a look at some of them.

-"The developers and architects say they are propelling the town house into the modern era by providing the convenience and amenities of condominium living while working within the confines of historic neighborhoods."

-" At Soho Mews, on West Broadway between Grand and Canal Streets, the steel and glass design pays tribute to the cast-iron buildings that dominate the neighborhood. Superior Ink, on Bethune Street between Washington and West Streets, adheres to the architect Robert A. M. Stern’s nostalgic bent. And a block away at 385 West 12th Street, the developer/architect FLAnk has clad four town houses and accompanying condos in glimmering copper that will change color as it ages."

- "Still, many affluent buyers also want the amenities and services that come with being part of a larger development. And they are willing to pay a premium for it, including monthly fees ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 on top of the multimillion dollar purchases."

- "But technically, because the town houses are part of larger building, they are maisonettes — which is itself a marketing term coined by developers almost 100 years ago to lure in apartment buyers."

You're going to be paying top dollar to "have it all", with prices at one of these developments starting at over $4 Million. The fact that these units are moving says something good about the market, although we're not sure how significant such a niche really is. Nonetheless, +2 MP does seem warranted.

2.) I Love You, Man. The Hunt took us on a journey beginning with two brothers from another mother who began their (initially rocky) friendship that lasted through the years. Living as roommates works for the few years as being a post grad. However, these guys found a way to be bromantic even in an adult life.

- "They checked out 184 Kent Avenue, a monolith designed about 1913 by Cass Gilbert that Mr. Castaldo describes as “an old-school Williamsburg loft building with huge cavernous spaces and all-concrete floors.” But back then, No. 184 was too raw, so the men ended up in an equally cavernous but more livable space just up the street at 151 Kent."

- "The building had drawbacks. Residents partied early, late and often. Noise was nonstop. The ceiling leaked when the upstairs neighbors — “girls in major high heels jumping up and down” — watered their plants, Mr. Castaldo said." Hipster parties are just an unavoidable fact of life if you choose to live in the 'burg.

- “Four guys, one place, 10 years is a long time,” Mr. Girardi said. It became increasingly clear that, when Ms. Ingram moved to New York to join him, the longstanding roommate setup would dissolve. Without Mr. Girardi’s presence, Mr. Castaldo had no interest in communal living. So he decided to hunt for a condominium of his own nearby."

-"Though Mr. Castaldo thought his budget, around $400,000, would buy a one-bedroom, that amount produced only studios. Furthermore, many places seemed shoddily built. He saw cracked flooring and crooked tiles."

-“It seems these were developers who just jumped onto the fact the neighborhood is getting popular, so let’s make some money,” he said. “They put them up quick and cheap.” He was alarmed by the area’s many stalled buildings and, he said, “leery of putting money down on a place that people weren’t living in already.” -1 MP

-"They considered 34 Berry, a new building in Williamsburg that had begun life as a condo but was now a rental. Mr. Girardi liked the amenities, including an attended lobby and a gym. But he did not go for the aesthetics. The building resembled a school, he said."

- "He and Ms. Ingram then made their way to 184 Kent. They discovered that, with a budget of around $2,200 for a one-bedroom, some of the least expensive ground-floor units were within reach.“The design reminds me of a prison, but in an elegant kind of way,” Mr. Girardi said. The couple signed a lease on a one-bedroom for $2,445. With two free months on a 26-month lease, the outlay came to $2,257 a month. Ms. Ingram was pleased to find not only a small washer-dryer machine inside the unit, but laundry machines on the floor, too." We hear that prison-chic look is starting to blow up. +1 MP

- "Mr. Girardi urged Mr. Castaldo, who had been away on vacation for a few weeks, to give the building another chance. There was, he told his friend, a similar one-bedroom next door to theirs. “Most girlfriends, if their boyfriend said his best friend should live next door, would tell him to cut the cord,” he said. “Cristen is a very fun girl and she was, like, ‘That would be awesome. ”

“To me, Ron is like Damien’s brother,” Ms. Ingram said."

A collective "AWW", if you please. We're glad to know that The Hunt can renew our faith in friendship. The Times gave us a pretty light week, perfect for a labor day weekend, and we give it a +2 MP.