By Liana Grey
The sales team at the Isis, an Alchemy Properties development at 303 77th Street on the corner of Second Avenue, is close to securing a buyer for one of the building’s largest, most impressive units: a full-floor penthouse listed for $4.995 million, with four terraces, four bedrooms, and a kitchen with double cabinets and a pocket door.
On a recent afternoon, a couple toured the apartment – one of 10 still on the market at the 18-story condo tower – for the third time. “The smaller units sold first,” said Kenneth Horn, Alchemy’s founder and president.
When sales launched several years ago, units with two-bedrooms were snapped up quickly, followed by two-bedrooms with a den.
All that remains for the most part are three- and four-bedroom condos located in a portion of the building that cantilevers over neighboring low-rises.
“People buying larger apartments want the security of knowing the building is stronger, at least 50% sold,” Horn explained.
About two months ago, the Isis hit the 65% mark. Sales have been propelled by the quality of the building’s finishes, its boutique-style intimacy, with a maximum of two units per floor, and proximity to the Upper East Side’s myriad bars and restaurants.
Rather than compete in Manhattan’s amenities arms race, Horn kept the building’s common spaces refreshingly simple.
There’s no lounge, screening room, virtual golf course, or fitness center at the Isis – just a super, porter, 24-hour doorman and a roof terrace, which is used less for parties than leisure time on weekend mornings. “People come up here and read,” Horn said of the landscaped outdoor space, which boasts sunset views.
Horn has designed his other projects much the same way.
At the Oculus, a condo development at 50 West 15th Street, Horn thought about putting in a pool, but then decided against it. “No one uses one,” he said.
Horn is equally cautious when selecting new development sites. He made sure that the Isis, for instance, wouldn’t be disrupted by construction on the Second Avenue subway. “Before we bought the site, we looked into it,” he said.
To keep up the sales momentum at the building, Horn has promised his in-house sales agents an extra half percentage of commission, as well as a $20,000 American Express gift card when a unit is sold.
In addition to Penthouse A, the full-floor unit with a potential buyer, the team is close to selling a duplex listed for $2.57 million, with two terraces, sweeping views of the Upper East Side and Queens, and a spacious kitchen.
There, as in Penthouse A, a set of double cabinets serves more of an aesthetic purpose than a functional one. “I can’t imagine anyone having that much kitchenware,” Horn joked, recalling a buyer at another Alchemy development who stored clothing in his cabinets and oven.
So far, buyers include investors from Turkey, Spain and Italy, a couple of retirees, and about two or three pied-a-terre users.
There are residents with more unusual backgrounds, too, like an out-of-town couple whose young daughter landed a lead role on Broadway. “They moved here to watch her perform,” Horn said.
Not long ago, a man purchased the entire fourth floor of the Isis and turned it into a four-bedroom apartment, which he plans to rent out for about $25,000 a month.
Horn has had a fair share of quirky prospective buyers over the years: at one development, he recalled, a couple asked if they could “test drive” a unit and spend the night sleeping on the floor before deciding whether they were interested in making a purchase.
Another prospective buyer sought permission to take a shower in an apartment, presumably to test the water pressure.
At the Isis, the sales process has been relatively drama-free. “Nothing’s happened here,” Horn said.