2008 May 26th

Hoboken Condo For Sale – Comes With Its Own Transients!

They’ve Got To Be Kidding!

I saw an interesting Hoboken condo property yesterday. A 10 unit building was gut renovated and all the units were for sale, a few already under contract. The building was your typical Hoboken 5 story walk-up with the staircase in the center and a ‘right’ and ‘left’ unit on each side of the building. If you’ve ever seen them, you know that these units can be very long and narrow. The location wasn’t bad – the 300 block of Grand Street. That’s between 3rd and 4th Streets, on Grand. Remember that for later.

We went into one of the units listed as a 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath for $439,000. The unit was 670 square feet – pretty small for a two bedroom. In fact, just knowing the square footage makes you wonder how two bedrooms could possibly fit. Most two bedrooms in Hoboken condos are closer to 1000 square feet.

Two Bedrooms and No Living Room

Squeezing two bedrooms into 670 square feet takes a bit of doing. If you design an open kitchen with a 2 seat breakfast bar, the area on the far side of the breakfast bar is your “living room”. A very tiny living room but you could theoretically fit an Ikea love seat and coffee table into the space. Forget about having a real sofa. Given the space (or lack thereof) what would make more sense would be to treat the second bedroom as the living room. Perhaps even remove the wall between the ‘living area’ and bedroom or open it up with pocket or French doors. But then you’ve got a $439,000 one bedroom. At least you’d have a reasonably sized living room.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Open the Kitchen Drawers

Let’s consider the kitchen. It has about 6 cabinets total, 3 uppers and 3 lowers. My favorite was the cabinet between the sink and refrigerator. In order to open one of the few the drawers, you must first open the refrigerator door. That’s right – you must open the refrigerator door – all the way – in order to open the drawer. Otherwise the drawer just hits the refrigerator, eventually denting the stainless steel. The corner cabinet beneath the drawer was essentially wasted space since the door only opens about a third of the way. Since corner base cabinets are where one would store things not used very frequently – like big pots, the door’s inability to open renders the whole cabinet sort of useless.

What Does That Glossy Brochure Say?

There were very fancy, clearly expensive brochures in the condo. The very first page touted “attention to detail“. Inside it, I was stunned to see the “Neighborhood” section with a full page photo (the only full page photo in the brochure) of the Elysian Cafe. I guess if you consider all of Hoboken your neighborhood the Elysian is in the neighborhood of 3rd and Grand Streets. The Elyisian is uptown at 10th and Washington Streets. Not exactly the same neighborhood as 3rd and Grand. Nice try, though.

My Condo Comes With a Transient?

Even more unbelievably was the page of the brochure that listed the condos’ features. Among them was “glass transients and doors“. Someone doesn’t know the difference between a transom and a transient. A transom is the horizontal glass window often found above doors in Hoboken properties with high ceilings. They would be opened up at night in the old days to allow air to circulate through the long, narrow apartments. A transient is something fleeting, like my respect for the intelligence of the people who wrote this brochure. The property is listed with one of the largest brokerages in the US. Don’t they have proofreaders?

Given the obvious lack of attention paid to quality in both the design of the units and the promotional materials used to sell them, buyers’ interest in buying these Hoboken condos are going to be pretty transient, as well!

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