The Rowan, a 46-unit condo at 21-21 31st Street in Astoria, Queens, was designed by the architecture firm DXA Studio with the horticultural designer Patrick Cullina, and is owned by RockFarmer Properties.
Residents returning home will do so via a green-roofed, glass-walled lobby with a private courtyard garden that connects to a street-side garden.
According to John Petras, a founder of RockFarmer Properties, about half of the apartments have private outdoor space and about half of those private outdoor spaces are “anywhere from 500 to, in some cases, 1,500 square feet.”
The developers were concerned when the pandemic stalled soon after sales began last year. After a month, Mr. Petras said he was “shocked.” Every week, we were selling new units, said the CEO. According to him, the project’s focus on outdoor space and nature, its location, and the company’s adoption of virtual showings were all factors in the activity.
Most of the building’s units (priced from $789,000 to $2.549 million) and all five of its $65,000 rooftop cabanas are already under contract.
At a time when other developers were offering discounts, Mr. Petras admitted that his company raised prices on about 15 of its units last July.
There are some strategic changes he is considering as he moves into the second phase of the Rowan project, which will include a larger building with more units.
If not in every unit, he said, “we’re going to look to incorporate outdoor space in almost every unit.” As much’special’ outdoor space (between 500 and 800 square feet) as we can into the design will be our goal. Instead of leaving it up to the buyer, we’ll be looking to landscape those at a high level.”
However, he is confident that the investment will pay off: “Even if it’s a little terrace, it is more important today than it was 18 months ago,” he explained.
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