As with many things in life, bigger is better — especially when it comes to Manhattan real estate. With developers building increasingly larger apartments to satisfy the desires of current buyers, master bedrooms and bathrooms are being created in twos. Why the growing demand for two of everything? Reasons can be as varied as the buyers themselves — from competing work schedules of couples to keeping a mother-daughter real estate plan more equal. Here are several buildings making things twice as nice for New Yorkers.
“The surging demand from our clients [for double master suites] has been very pronounced,” says Tom Postilio of CORE, which represents an East 63rd Street townhouse with two master bedrooms. “It appears as if this growing trend will soon become mainstream, as the way we co-habitate continues to evolve.”
Take, for example, two sets of visitors to the Walker Tower sales center last spring — one a couple, another a mother and daughter — both looking to buy residences with two master suites. In the first case, the second master gave a couple the luxury to escape to their own private realms while still living very much together. For the latter, another master allowed the adult daughter personal space while still being able to live under her mother’s roof.
The request for dual masters required some replanning by the project’s developers. “At the time we had already designed and commenced construction,” says Elliott Joseph, a principal of Property Markets Group which developed Walker Tower, “but the overwhelming demand for larger residences inspired our team to combine units.” Four condos with double masters were created and promptly snapped up by buyers at the full $12 million to $13 million asking price — one went to the mother-daughter client, another to the couple.
Tricia Hayes Cole, the executive marketing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, has noticed that Upper East Side apartment-hunters, in particular, are hungry for two bedrooms. “Some buyers said they wanted to use both suites; others planned to use the second master suite for guests who will have an equally luxurious experience,” explains Cole.
Cole led many clients to Manhattan House, on East 66th Street: “Because it’s a conversion, the developer has the ability to make planning decisions in real time, and envisioned this new layout to meet that demand.”
That layout can be found in a new three-bedroom crafted from what were previously separate side-by-side apartments. The configuration features two master suites with spa-like bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers. It’s on the market for $6.125 million.
Across from the UN, the Foster + Partners-designed 50 United Nations Plaza will feature seven full-floor, five-bedroom penthouses on floors 35 through 41. Each just-under-6,000-square-foot unit offers double master suites at 400- to 450-square-feet a pop — and the units also include pairs of master bathrooms. Marketed and sold through Zeckendorf Marketing, prices begin at $22.25 million.
“Today’s lifestyle for many couples is complex, with business travel and schedules often interrupting normal daily routines,” says Jill Mangone, Director of Sales, Zeckendorf Marketing. “[50 UN Plaza’s] penthouses afford these buyers the luxury of maintaining individual personal routines without disrupting the routine of their spouse or partner.”
And it looks like the demand won’t be confined solely to luxury buildings: “The growing popularity of the double master-suite layout could very well transition from an emerging trend to one that is mainstream in the not too distant future,” notes Jonathan Miller, president of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Even long-standing properties are embracing double-masters: At the Prasada at 21 E. 90th St., a unit with a pair of master suites just hit the market for $2.69 million through Halstead.
Developers have taken the hint and also started adding more his-and-her bathrooms — but this is not as simple as adding a second sink. Take 737 Park Ave., where a third of its units feature an enormous, symmetrical bathroom for two. Along with room-long vanities on opposite walls, there’s a pair of glass-enclosed water closets on each side of a double-sized, glass-enclosed shower.
The unusual bathroom set-up reflects the desires of project developers, Macklowe Properties, to imbue 737 Park Ave. with the types of luxurious amenities typical of prime buildings across the Upper East Side.
“When it was built in 1940, 737 Park originally had 102 units; we’ve reduced that to 60 condos to fulfill today’s desire for larger, more modern apartments,” says Jarrett White, vice-president of marketing and sales for Macklowe Properties. “As part of this process we’ve added features more typically found in private homes … amenities like these large bathroom suites.”
Even more elaborate double bathrooms can be found at SoHo’s Puck Building. Its six new loft-like penthouses feature his-and-her bathrooms within each master suite. The massive bathrooms boast polished travertine marble, built-in linen storage/hampers, radiant-heat floors and illuminated Seura medicine cabinets with imbedded 19-inch TVs mounted above lacquer and nickel vanities. Hers has an Urban Archeology freestanding Mercer stainless-steel tub and glass-enclosed rain shower; his has a steam/rain shower with a bench and teak backrest.
Puck Building developer Jared Kushner says the penthouses’ grand scale made them a natural fit for trophy bathrooms. “It never even occurred to us not to do dual master bathrooms,” he says.
“With only six penthouses, we were able to create perfect floor plans and not be limited by space constraints. We approached the design of this project as if we were building six custom, one-off private homes.” Marketed by Douglas Elliman, a three-bedroom Puck penthouse begins at $21 million.
Also downtown, an 18th-century apartment building at 79 Horatio St. is being redesigned as a 25-foot-wide, five-bedroom townhouse priced at $22.5 million with Douglas Elliman.
The project’s pièce de résistance will be its full-floor master suite with marble his-and-her bathrooms with antique glass walls, chandeliers and radiant-heat floors. The bathrooms are the size of some studio apartments — hers at some 350 square feet; his at over 250 square feet, says Thomas Ryan, senior vice president at Greystone Properties, which is developing the project. The “hers” tub is so large it had to be hoisted via crane into place.
Grey estimates the bathrooms will cost upwards of six figures to complete. But ultimately the added space will deliver what top-market clients now crave most — space, privacy and luxury.
“There’s no doubt couples want to be together in the bedroom,” Grey says, “but when it comes to getting ready to go out or some extra pampering, our clients want some room for themselves.”