Looking for Love at $2,306 a Square Foot

Sex still sells. Last Wednesday, in a dimly lit barroom at the hotel 60 Thompson, real-estate folk introduced a project called Upstairs: 15 apartments for sale atop Tribeca’s Smyth Hotel.

There was a woman in pink panties, one in fishnets, one in a black bra, one splayed on a couch in heels: Their images flashed by on a flat-screen TV near the entryway, with slogans like “EVERY NIGHT IS AN ADVENTURE” and “CHANCE ENCOUNTERS. REGULARLY.”

The near-nude marketing must work, because four of the Upstairs condos, at 85 West Broadway, have signed contracts—and they don’t open until 2008.

Yet the buyers won’t all be bachelors. “Three different groups of women asked me, ‘If I buy an apartment here, am I going to meet a guy?’” said Sean Turner, executive vice president at Stribling, the marketer of the condos. “I never thought of it that way, but …. Yeah! You’ll probably meet a guy. But that’s not why you buy an apartment.”

Then why do New Yorkers buy Upstairs apartments?

“The physical design, as well as the lifestyle we believe it is going to create, is to a large extent sexy,” said developer Jason Pomeranc, the hotelier also behind 60 Thompson. “It allows people to live a lifestyle that is aspirational and sometimes slightly impractical and yet extremely luxurious.”

It costs $1.1 million for 477 square feet of luxurious impracticality, $3.35 million for 1,513 square feet or $4,800,000 for the all-aspiring penthouse. And according to the marketing materials, additional fees may apply for the 24-hour room service, housekeeping, “bathroom amenity service” and in-room massage. Looking for Love at $2,306 a Square Foot