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For Ceilings, What a Difference a Foot Makes

Posted by Patti Mardell on August 12, 2016
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In a crowded luxury-condo market, developers are betting there’s at least one way to rise above the competition—add a few extra inches.

The end of the standard 8-foot-high ceiling may be near, as builders tout ceiling heights of 11, 12 and even 20 feet. And buyers are paying a premium for the extra head space.

In San Francisco, one of the most expensive condos in the city, a $15 million penthouse under construction in the Lumina, will have up to 18-foot ceilings. In Boston, a 13,000-square-foot penthouse with up to 14-foot ceilings at Millennium Tower is under contract for north of $30 million, setting a record for the city. In Miami, a 6,644-square-foot penthouse with 18-foot ceilings that sold this year for $21.5 million broke the record for price per square foot on Fisher Island.

“It flies in the face of typical economics,” says Peter Zalewski of CraneSpotters, a Miami-based condo-project tracker. Usually the price per square foot drops as units get larger, but the opposite is true of some Miami projects, he says, “in part because these developers are thinking in cubic feet,” and ascribing value to more volume.
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