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Building To Sprout Penthouse

March 8, 2006
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

Ten new penthouse condominiums will soon raise the roof of the Metropolitan residential project on Pearl Street in Hartford, promising prospective buyers less noise, better views and - according to the building's backers - a bit of ego as well.

"There's the panache of hitting PH on the elevator key," said real estate agent John Hoye of Prudential Connecticut Realty, who added that the somewhat-delayed closings on the condominiums should begin within two months.

David Nyberg, developer of The Metropolitan Condominiums at 266 Pearl St., won city approval last week to add 10 penthouse units to the top of the five-story building, reconfirming his confidence in the property despite the delays in its opening, officials said.

The new top floor, the fifth residential floor, has always been part of the building's design plan. Its condominiums, arranged in the same plan as the floors below, will sell for roughly 8 percent more than their lower-floor counterparts.

"If you've got initial interest, it brings an additional bang for the buck," Hoye said. "The developer, he's crunched his numbers, and he's thinking it's worth it."

The Metropolitan made waves last summer when its small-for-suburbia units began listing at high-for-Hartford prices. The smallest, nearly 700-square-foot units, begin at roughly $275,000, while the largest, 1,200-square-foot units, go from $350,000 to upward of $400,000. Those prices include the penthouse condos.

Twenty of the building's 50 units are under deposit, including three of the planned penthouse units, Hoye said.

"It makes sense," John F. Palmieri, the city's director of development, said of the penthouse project. "It demonstrates the demand is there, or the perceived demand on the developer's part. ... Everything is in place. He just runs the utilities up, he doesn't have to excavate - it's not a slam dunk, but he's taking advantage of his property."

Hoye said delays in the complex's opening are due to normal construction and compliance issues, as well as the technicality of drawing up condominium documents.

Meanwhile, as some prospective buyers have come and gone, others have taken their place, Hoye said.

City officials said adding a floor to a historic structure is a challenge for architects, but one that Nyberg met.

"It's a beautiful and historically significant structure, so it was critically important that we gain satisfaction with the treatment that they presented," Palmieri said. "Their architect came up from Philadelphia, and they did a good job."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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