Right this moment’s Should-Have Amenity? A Little Inexperienced House.

Today’s Must-Have Amenity? A Little Green Space.

RockFarmer Properties has a similar focus on the intertwining of landscaping at the heart of its new Rowan building, a 46-unit apartment at 21-21 31st Street in Astoria, Queens, designed by architecture firm DXA Studio with horticultural designer Patrick Cullina. There, the residents returning home get through a street-side garden to a green roofed, glazed lobby with a private courtyard garden. About half of the homes have private outdoor space, and about half of that outdoor space is large, said John Petras, a founder of RockFarmer Properties – "anywhere from 500 to in some cases 1,500 square feet."

When the pandemic got stuck shortly after sales started last year, developers worried. "But after about a month I was just shocked," said Mr. Petras. “We sold units every week.” He attributed the activity to the project's focus on the outdoors and nature, as well as its location and the company's early introduction of virtual demonstrations.

More than 80 percent of the building's units are now under contract (currently available units cost between $ 789,000 and $ 2.549 million), as are all five cabanas on the roof, priced at $ 65,000 each.

"Last July, in the middle of all of this, we actually raised the price of about 15 of our units," Petras said while other developers offered discounts.

He is now in the early stages of planning the second phase of the Rowan, which will include a larger building with more units, and is considering some strategic changes.

"We're going to try to incorporate outdoor spaces, if not into every unit, into almost every unit," he said. “We're going to try to incorporate a lot of what we call 'special' outside space, which is 500 to 800 square meters. We will try to design these on a high level instead of leaving it to the buyer. "

All of this is becoming more expensive, but I am sure that the investment will pay off: "Every type of outdoor space, even a small terrace, is more important today than it was 18 months ago."

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