One morning, I happened to read the front page of the Automobile section of the New York Times. At the time, I was desperate, as I needed another cup of coffee and had already read the rest of the paper, when, lo and behold, an article regarding a new apartment building with some real creative stuff caught my eye.
This building in West Chelsea, on W. 24th Street and 11th Avenue, is a 19-story building that features, of all things, indoor car garages alongside the apartments on each floor. The apartments themselves sound magnificent, with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of the Hudson River, but the 300-square-foot sky garage rooms alongside the individual apartments is an amenity I’ve never heard of before. The actual building was designed by Annabelle Selldorf.
How do these spaces work, you ask, and how do the cars get to the upper floors without their drivers and passengers having to exit the cars from the street level? The technology of the single-car garage system was explained as relatively conventional. According to an article in Architectural Record, “Drivers enter the site through a gate on the west side, drive to the back of the site, turn left into the car lift, ride to the appropriate floor, and back out of the lift into the garage. When leaving, the car moves forward into the car lift. When at grade, it moves straight ahead to an exit on the north side of the property.”
The garages have overhead sprinklers and walls and fire-rated doors. When the sensors detect high levels of carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxides, vents open to prevent a buildup of fumes. Once the car is inside the elevator lift, a display on the wall reminds the driver to shut off the engine of the car as he rides the elevator. Infrared sensors monitor the car’s position in the elevator and, when necessary, guide the driver to back up or pull forward.
The article also mentioned plans for similar buildings utilizing this technology in the construction stage in even larger versions being built in other states as well. Though I am not going to tell you the cost of buying one of these units in the building I just described — suffice it to say they start in the seven-digit price range — I will say that my immediate thought after reading this article was that this building should be presented with the equivalent of the Emmy Award for the most innovative amenity.
Imagine being able to leave your house in your robe and slippers or without boots or an umbrella — no matter the weather — to drop off the kids at school, without having to worry about anyone seeing you get in and out of the car. That’s something we can do here in the suburbs, but it’s unheard of in the city.
This is all so wonderful, but I was wondering: What happens if the car breaks down on the 15th floor? Do they call a fireman or a mechanic?
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.