There once was a time when having nine-foot ceilings was a big bragging point. Apparently, no more. A great many new developments in the city have ceiling heights of 11 feet or more and the New York Times recently ran down some of them.
They include 56 Leonard, the 60-story, 145-unit Tribeca condo tower, which has heights of 11 to 19 feet. "You can’t fake the sense of space, air and light without high ceilings," developer Izak Senbahar told the Times.
Other developments with 11-foot ceilings are 520 Park Avenue, the Fitzroy in Chelsea, 10 Sullivan in Soho, and 20 East End Avenue. Soori High Line on West 29th Street will have 13- to 18-foot ceilings in 80 percent of the units. 180 East 88th Street has 14-foot ceilings. Even Greenpoint is in the game, where the Gibraltar at 160 West Street will have 11.3-foot ceilings.
For Douglas Elliman’s Vickey Barron, who is selling the Fitzroy, the trend in buyers seeking high ceilings began about five years ago. "I now have clients who will give up having a pool or other amenities in a building, but will not budge on ceiling height," she said. "Buying a home is an emotional thing, and that ‘wow’ factor a high ceiling provides is something you can’t replace."
Building high ceilings can add a sizable chunk to the construction budget. Arthur W. Zeckendorf, who is developing 520 Park Avenue, said it added 10 percent to his building cost. Higher ceilings often require more custom building materials. Zeckendorf also said it added 10 percent more time to the construction schedule.
Then there is the challenge of showing off those high ceilings before the buildings even exist. The developers of 20 East End Avenue took about a year to find a space for their showroom. The developer of 180 East 88th Street looked at 30 to 40 spaces before finding one.
Are high ceilings the wave of the future, or are they just a passing fad for those who can afford them? Stay tuned…