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West 142nd Street: Almost $2.9 Million

SOME people buy town houses in Harlem for their rich historical detail, the intricately carved moldings, the oak paneling, the Victorian grace. Others look for buildings that can be reshaped into starkly modern spaces.

A town house for sale on West 142nd Street, at the edges of the Hamilton Heights Historic District, combines a bit of both — a Beaux-Arts limestone facade and a meticulously renovated ultramodern interior.

Last week, it went into contract for just under $2.9 million, which would be one of the highest prices paid for a Harlem town house, brokers said. (The record price is $3.89 million, according to property records, for a much larger house a few blocks away on Convent Avenue at West 143rd Street.)

Brokers would not name the prospective buyer.

The 142nd Street house, which had once been bricked up and taken over by the city, was painstakingly renovated by Janeen Koconis, an artist and designer, over five years. She converted it from multiple apartments to a two-family house, added terraces on each floor and created minimalist white interiors, right down to a white staircase.

The house, which is listed on city records as being only 17 feet wide, has traditional fireplace mantels, loftlike bare walls with some exposed brick, and a deep garden patio with stone pathways and a canopy overhead — just right for a certain kind of buyer.

The town house was put on the market in the spring, and this summer the listing was taken over by a team of Corcoran brokers, Joanne Davidson and Nicole Fleetwood, who quickly attracted interest from other brokers and buyers.

Brian Phillips, the broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman who sold the house on Convent Avenue, said the interiors in Ms. Koconis’s house looked as if “they belonged in a house in TriBeCa or SoHo,” which made them particularly striking in Harlem.

Several brokers said that while this could be the second-highest-priced town house in the Hamilton Heights area, a number of sales in Harlem have approached $2.9 million.

According to Sandy Wilson, the senior managing director of Corcoran’s Harlem office, the price per square foot for town houses in Upper Manhattan was 32 percent higher in 2006 than a year earlier, while the average price rose by 5 percent, to $1.74 million.



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