What Do Brooklyn Apartment Hunters Want?

David J. Maundrell III, founder and president of Aptsandlofts.com, isn’t sure what home hunters want, but he knows what they don’t want, he says:

People don’t want apartments with very little closet space. They don’t want strip kitchens. They don’t want these small, cramped rooms. People also don’t want one person’s vision. We try to help design a product that we can cast a wide net and bring in many people. Sometimes certain designs alienate. It may only be for one type of buyer or renter.

The company, which started in Williamsburg, has become known for its influence in shaping the look of conversions and new buildings there and throughout Brooklyn. It was one of the first to work with developers early on in the process and help steer them away from the Home Depot look, which their customers didn’t like, as we know from conversations with the firm’s brokers over many years. In a New York Times question-and-answer interview, Maundrell said the market is swinging back to condos, with some projects that were formerly built as condos then switched to rentals now switching back again. Maundrell details some buildings they will soon be leasing out, including 50 North 5th in Williamsburg, pictured above, and other buildings in Park Slope and Flatbush. The first two will rent for $60 a square foot or more; at a 62-unit building in Flatbush close to Brooklyn College, two-bedrooms will go for $1,900 a month. “We’re going to push close to 800 apartments to the market over five projects or so in the next 45 to 60 days,” he said. They plan to open a third Brooklyn office soon in an undisclosed location (current offices are in Cobble Hill and Williamsburg).

The 30-Minute Interview: David J. Maundrell III of Aptsandlofts.com [NY Times]

20 Comment

  • Maundrell has some publicist!

  • What’s a strip kitchen?

  • When I was looking last year (sold coop, bought condo, closed both spring 2012) I was amazed at the number of new buildings/conversions with ridiculous kitchens–most were all completely open, guaranteeing that either you never cook or you are forced to cook publicly–and the miniscule living spaces that result from the ubiquitous kitchen island that invades the living room. Some developments–Third and Bond, for one–had very little space for lots of money because of strange design choices, like huge bathrooms, utility closets and kitchen islands that were far too large relative to the useable square footage.

    • I said that about third and bond several times…. and yet, they sold.

      I don’t know, maybe there are a lot of minimalists who like to sit on stools at their kitchen admiring their stainless stoves?

      What trumps everything for me–even location–is sheer square footage. Usable square footage, where I can place furniture, book shelves, have floor space and so on. Most new construction fails miserably on this metric.

  • Perhaps he means a galley kitchen?

  • I reckon strip kitchen refers to the sad little line of fridge-sink-stove that gets slapped against a wall or corner of the sitting room, and usually a tiled floor pad is all there is to suggest that “oh, this is the kitchen”. Open-plan kitchen is another thing entirely, and seems to be very much what people want.

  • People don’t want apartments with very little closet space. They don’t want strip kitchens. They don’t want these small, cramped rooms. People also don’t want one person’s vision.

    but yet, every single new apartment being built today, or any conversion has hardly any closet space at all.
    The kitchens in almost, if not all of the apartments is nothing more than a wall in the corner of the living room, or a “strip kitchen” with an island that takes up too much space anyway.

    I too would not like to be sitting at a bar stool eating my dinner at a kitchen counter.

    This whole “open concept” is nothing more than the developer saving money by building smaller, and more apartments and combining the kitchen and living room together. If you look at the floor plans on any of these so called open concept plans, there is no room for a table and 4 chairs, let alone a couch, and TV.

    Even the bare minimilist couldn’t fit furniture n them.

    3rd and Bond, the floor plans are horiffic, I dont know how todays buyers decorate, but us old timers like regular furniture, and closet space…oh yeah, and we don’t need 5 bathrooms…..

  • All true, which is why I prefer century old construction, even with it’s lack of central AC that the new stuff often has. True, it has to be renovated, or have been renovated in the past, but there was often more floor space to work with and some larger rooms, to allow for a decent sized kitchen and more (can there ever be enough?) closet space.

  • Well, I guess I’m a weirdo, but I like open kitchens. I cook a lot, almost every day, and I don’t want to be sequestered in a different room while my husband and toddler are hanging in the living room. I get to be part of the action in my open kitchen, through prepping, cooking, and cleanup. When you say, tfpunko, that I’m force to cook “publicly,” I guess that is what you mean, although I don’t consider hanging in my home with my family to be that *public*.

    • while your concept sounds nice cooking in an open kitchen, enjoying your family, and I get what you mean, and it does sound nice…..mommy cooking preparing, baby and hubby watching TV, I get it.

      But to me, an “open concept” space like that would / should be 35 x 25 or something to that effect, not 12 x 18 with a stove and fridge in the corner….which is really a living room with the kitchen along a wall.

      unfortunetely todays “open concept” is mearley a staging phrase, for everything shoved in one small room.

      • Yes, I agree. The size of the living space is at issue, not the open kitchen concept, then.

        • My kitchen is partially open, but also extends around a corner so that the oven and refrigerator/pantry closet are out of view. This allows the person cooking to enjoy the company of others but also puts some of the chaos/mess out of sight, which is a perfect solution. The completely open kitchen is fine if the living space is large enough, which is rarely the case in these new developments.

  • I like open kitchens a lot – not strip ones, but the modified strip one that has the sink in a counter across from the rest of the kitchen, effectvely creating a galley kitchen open on one side. But I don’t want stools at that sink counter to be the only place I can eat – I want space for a table that will seat 8 (when expanded) in the living area – so I don’t have to even have stools at the counter if I don’t want to eat there (I’d put a bookcase under the counter overhangs I see rather than use them to eat.) Actually, I want the dining table to be not IN the living area, but in an area that is clearly large enough to be defined as a separate dining area, even if connected to the living room. And the living room can’t be tiny. To do all this well requires a rather long room, and wide enough so the kitchen isn’t too tiny and has some counter space with the fridge is not jammed up against the stove, the stove not jammed up against the wall, the sink not crammed into a corner, etc. Can be done well in lofts, some longer brownstones, and in larger apartments. But much of the new construction or renovation makes this all so small that you have no room to cook, no counter space to speak of, just a few stools at a counter as the only place to eat, and a living area crammed up against the stool counter with just enough room for a small couch and a TV and not much else. Yes, these places feel too cramped to want to live in anything other than very temporarily.

    • totally agree with your comment.

      I too like a big enough table and do not want to eat sitting on a bar stool. That might be cute for a 20 year old on the go, but not for me.

      The whole problem with todays open concept is that it is simply to small a living space.

  • wow, what a worthless fluff piece of an “interview”

  • So he will charge $60 per sq foot in park slope? This means that a 700sq foot rental will rent at $3500!!! Seems very high. Is this the current rate for that market?

  • teach you the Overman! Mankind is something to be overcome. What have you done to overcome mankind?

    All beings so far have created something beyond themselves. Do you want to be the ebb of that great tide, and revert back to the beast rather than overcome mankind? What is the ape to a man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just so shall a man be to the Overman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame. You have evolved from worm to man, but much within you is still worm. Once you were apes, yet even now man is more of an ape than any of the apes.

    Even the wisest among you is only a confusion and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I ask you to become phantoms or plants?

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    Once the soul looked contemptuously upon the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing: — the soul wished the body lean, monstrous, and famished. Thus it thought to escape from the body and the earth. But that soul was itself lean, monstrous, and famished; and cruelty was the delight of this soul! So my brothers, tell me: What does your body say about your soul? Is not your soul poverty and filth and wretched contentment?

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    The hour when you say: What good is my reason? Does it long for knowledge as the lion for his prey? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment!

    The hour when you say: What good is my virtue? It has not yet driven me mad! How weary I am of my good and my evil! It is all poverty and filth and wretched contentment!

    The hour when you say: What good is my justice? I do not see that I am filled with fire and burning coals. But the just are filled with fire and burning coals!

    The hour when you say: What good is my pity? Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loves man? But my pity is no crucifixion!

    Have you ever spoken like this? Have you ever cried like this? Ah! If only I had heard you cry this way!

    It is not your sin — it is your moderation that cries to heaven; your very sparingness in sin cries to heaven!

    Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the madness with which you should be cleansed?

    Behold, I teach you the Overman! He is that lightning, he is that madness!
    And while Zarathustra was speaking in this way, someone in the crowd interrupted: “We’ve heard enough about the tightrope walker; now it’s time to see him!” And while the crowd laughed at Zarathustra, the tightrope walker, believing that he had been given his cue, began his performance.