Most people know aptsandlofts.com as a go-to resource when searching for prime New York City real estate, so it makes sense that its digs are just as impressive as the ones it offers up to clients. The Brooklyn-based company recently opened up its second street-level office at 236 Court St. in Cobble Hill, and the beautifully renovated 2,000 sq. ft. space retains much of the character of its former life as a grocery store while showcasing the work of local brands and contractors. We recently got a chance to pick the brain of aptandlofts.com founder (and born-and-raised Brooklynite) David Maundrell about his elegant new storefront, the demand for green homes in New York City and the Brooklyn Brownstone boom. Read on for his thoughts and to see photos of the space's double-height, brick-walled interior.
INHABITAT: For those who aren’t familiar with aptsandlofts.com, can you tell us a little bit about the services your company offers?
DM: aptsandlofts.com is one of NYC’s leading privately owned full-service real estate brokerages. Our team offers clients new development sales and leasing, development marketing, re-sale brokerage and commercial leasing throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Founded in 2002, our team has developed leading benchmark campaigns at some of Brooklyn’s most popular rental and condo developments, establishing ourselves as the go-to Brooklyn brokerage. We’re also recognized for our creative work, winning awards for our new development campaigns.
INHABITAT: You chose to locate the new aptsandlofts.com storefront in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Why did you choose this location?
DM: With our business growing to the Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and Park Slope marketplaces, I needed a second location central to these neighborhoods and Cobble Hill was simply perfect. Situated in the middle of Brownstone Brooklyn, the Cobble Hill office is located on Court Street, a major street within the neighborhood that has a great balance of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic passing through. The neighborhood’s unique character that embraces the surrounding businesses and locations is an added bonus.
INHABITAT: Can you tell us a little about the storefront’s past life as a grocery store?
DM: Previously a two-floor space used as a grocery store, the second floor was removed prior to aptsandlofts.com’s interest in the space, adding double the height to the front portion of the space. I also left the original wooden beams exposed throughout the space, which resonate with Brownstone Brooklyn.
Close attention was paid to the storefront; I worked closely with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to design a storefront that seamlessly blended with the neighborhood and the surrounding storefronts on Court Street, as well as to mimic the original storefront for the property. It consists of a floor to ceiling wall of glass separated into three panels as well as a transom along the top of the storefront and several panels and reveals. Aside from the glass, the storefront is completely made of steel providing a very elegant and high-end look. The storefront is a “tip of the hat” to the original storefronts at 236 Court Street. Additional features include vintage light fixtures that highlight the aptsandlofts.com sign band at night.
INHABITAT: What are some of the local vendors you used and why was it important to you to do so?
DM: For our second street-level office, I aimed to completely design the Cobble Hill office using elements sourced from local Brooklyn businesses, not only to provide business to the borough I was born and raised in, but to also ensure the space embodies an authentic Brooklyn aesthetic.
This 2,000 sq. ft. office space has many detail oriented finishes, including Flavor Paper wallpaper, Flor carpet and tile, M. Fine reclaimed wood accent walls and PureKitchen custom desks, all Brooklyn based vendors. Several of the sub-contractors were also Brooklyn based including Horrigan O’Malley Architects and ND Architecture & Design. PC as well as Durukan Design.
INHABITAT: What are some of the other sustainable/eco-conscious elements in the design?
DM: Some sustainable/eco-conscious elements include our shop local aspect of using local Brooklyn businesses, energy efficient LED lighting fixtures and our use of reclaimed wood throughout the space.
INHABITAT: As a real estate professional, have you seen a demand for greener apartments and homes? Does it seem like people are willing to pay more for these kinds of amenities yet?
DM: We have noticed that people with very specific medical needs will pay more for an LEED certified Green building. However, many developers are not able to achieve LEED status for residential developments due to the cost of producing a building with this status. I give credit to owners of development projects that have been able to achieve LEED Green certification.
INHABITAT: Are there any particular neighborhoods in NYC that are especially “hot” in terms of green housing?
DM: We are currently seeing a strong movement for Passive houses in Brooklyn, in both condos and single family homes.
INHABITAT: What is your favorite part of the new aptsandlofts.com office?
DM: My favorite part of aptsandlofts.com’s new Cobble Hill office is by far the storefront lit up at night. We designed the lighting system to highlight the reception desk at night, as well as these great sconces that spread light. It really looks amazing when looking into the store from the street and it truly helps the space standout at night.