I was looking for that perfect home for a while. Finally saw a loft I quite liked in Tribeca. Right on West Street, Statue of Liberty out of the south windows, great space to work with and rebuild into what I wanted. After going back and forth with the seller and finally agreeing on a good price, I started due diligence with an attorney before signing a contract. In that process I found out that all but one window in the loft were lot line windows. Just in case you don’t know, it means that the building can be built right next to mine and block them off completely! Since I am not the type who gives up easily, I decided to do more investigation. The windows were facing the parking lot… So I asked around and found out who owns the lot. Apparently it belonged to someone (name omitted on purpose) who owns a lot of real estate in downtown Manhattan. And his family owns a restaurant in the neighborhood. So I had a few dinners there (it is good food too!) until the guy showed up. I walked over to him and asked for a quick chat. I shall admit that I was a bit scared, but that apartment purchase was all I had and living without light just was not an option. Surprisingly enough, he actually ended up talking to me for quite a bit. Guess my naïve approach had worked. He went on explaining to me the grandiose plans with the other lots of land he owned which we could see right out of the window of the restaurant. The plan was to build there first and on my lot eventually. Funny enough, he told me to get the place and that he would warn me before building! This was very cute, but obviously does not work like that in real life and as soon as there are any plans filed, it is too late… I decided to walk away from the deal. There is still nothing built on that lot 3 years later but most of the other lots along the river are taken… Clearly just a matter of time.
How did you discover that lot line windows were involved?
Don’t remember to be honest. I think via asking the broker and attorney because the windows looked strange on the side of the building (random vs pre-designed). What I did do is investigate what lot line windows really means and had an architect I knew explain to me the rules and also check filings on the next door lot.