“Convenience and apartment size draws buyers to mid-block condo”
Fast sales aren’t everything. Slow and steady wins the real estate race, too. Selling since summer 2010, just 10 of 62 apartments are left at the Santorini, a new mid-block condominium in Astoria that rises above the two-story brick homes around it.
A few steps from the N/Q stop at 36th Ave., it might be one of the best mid-block condominiums on the Queens market. The setback and half-moon drive port is why. Of course, it has parking, but this convenient dropoff loop allows the building to ease back from the residential block, setting itself apart from the more arrogant architecture that leaves apartment windows on the street.
The beige brick and flanking columns of units that jut out with bay windows are more today than the older, flatter Queens. Starting in the low $300,000 range for 460-square-foot studios, some apartments sold right away.
“Everything facing the Manhattan skyline went first,” says Harold Valestin, vice president of MNS, the real estate company in charge of marketing and selling the building. “This place is all about the new Queens and the old Queens. It has big apartments, spacious layouts and great light. It’s convenient to what people need, like supermarkets and transportation, but it’s a step up from everything else around here. This is for families, singles, empty nesters and young couples. Big families can move into the larger units, and Queens is all about family.”
When Valestin speaks, developers and buyers in Queens listen. The New York native, who grew up in the borough, has made his home turf his profit center. Valestin’s focus on Queens neighborhoods such as Astoria, Forest Hills and Rego Park has helped borough developers understand modern real estate.
“You can’t just come in here and build anything anymore,” says Valestin. “MNS did the same thing in Brooklyn. We help developers understand what attracts high-end buyers. We push the design envelope. People pay for that.”
In recent months, prices have increased. Studios start at $339,000, with an 875-square-foot, one-bedroom penthouse on the market for $595,000. The larger 1,573-square-foot, three-bedroom apartments are available for $799,000, with 1,115-square-feet two-bedrooms listed at $654,000. Santorini is FHA and Fannie Mae approved, so first-time homebuyers can put as little as 3.5% down. Valestin reports that nearly 10 apartments have already appraised at higher figures than their purchase price.
The building has flow. Two elevators give way to spacious hallways. A roof deck looks toward Manhattan. Three-bedrooms feel as big as lofts. White crystallized-glass-topped kitchen islands mesh with white lacquer cabinets. In three stops, the subway arrives at 59th St. and Lexington Ave.
“There’s a reason Astoria keeps going up in price,” says Valestin. “Yes, it’s close to Manhattan, but there is so much here. Culture, bars, parks, museums, all kinds of foods and a wealth of diverse people. This will always be a great New York City neighborhood, but the chance to live here at this price won’t last.”
Go to www.santoriniliving.com or call (718) 374-6772.Newspaper