NY Observer

On a warm and misty morning last week, the Observer met Dave Maundrell, president and founder of Apartments and Lofts (aptsandlofts.com), at 139 North 10th Street in Williamsburg for a tour of the Printhouse Lofts building, whose leasing and marketing Mr. Maundrell is managing. Built in the early 1900s, the stately brick edifice was used over the years by a printing company (get it?) and a toy factory, and has lately been converted by Greystone to 36 luxury apartments. Greystone acquired the property last year for $15.8 million, following a brief game of hot potato among parties unwilling or financially unable to oversee the overhaul themselves. Dressed in a dark blazer over an untucked pink button-down, Mr. Maundrell was in a relaxed and buoyant mood; the product, he felt quite sure, would practically move itself. (Tom Ryan, senior head of operations at Greystone, was also on hand; if the building inspired trepidation in its previous stewards, he did not appear to have inherited it.)

We moved past an antique printing press, heavy and washed tastefully in rust, that had been installed in the lobby’s concrete floor, and up via elevator to the model unit, a “1.5 bedroom,” the like of which will be offered for $3,575 a month. (Within three hours of a recent email blast, Mr. Maundrell said that he’d compiled a list of 100 prospective renters and brokers interested in the building, and he expects prices to rise swiftly; showings will begin in the next two weeks.) As in many other recent industrial conversions, “authenticity” at the Printhouse Lofts has been commodified. “The kind of people who want to be in this area, more and more, they like the loft conversions, something that has a little more soul,” Mr. Maundrell said. “Always, we want to have nice kitchens and bathrooms, but other than that, you really want to let the bones speak for themselves.”