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August 29, 2008

You call THAT a Penthouse?

Filed under: Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:05 pm

Often in the Philadelphia condo market, we see a unit advertised as a “Penthouse”. But what is a Penthouse? Is it simply a condominium that happens to be on the top floor of any give Philadelphia condominium building? It would seem that many sellers and developers seem to think so. And often times, that unit doesn’t even have to be on the TOP floor….many buildings here in town describe a penthouse as any unit on the top, say three floors.

My friend Roseann has a listing that she describes as a penthouse. And in my mind, it is. It is a top floor unit at the Lenox, and what is really neat about it is that it is set back from the rest of the building (from the facade) and has a wrap-around terrace. It is unlike any other units in the building, and is really neat. It evokes the my feelings of a true penthouse.

Some penthouses here in the Philadelphia condominium market are unmistakenly Penthouses. Others could be called imposters. I am not here to judge…you be the judge. I just wish that less sellers and developers would restain from calling a top floor unit in a four story walk-up a “Penthouse”. Is it really?

I would have to say that there would need to be distinquishing charactorstics that set a Penthouse apart from the other units in the building. Either say on THE top floor, or possibly have outside space that other units don’t, or maybe the entire top floor is “keyed off” from other floors in the building. Or perhaps the physical charactoristics of the interior set it apart from the other units.

Both Britannica Online and Merriam-Webster define penthouse as “a structure or dwelling built on the roof of a building.” So….if the unit is NOT on the top floor, is not set back from the facade, doesn’t have outside space, or isn’t visually different from units on say, the 3rd floor of any given Philadelphia condominium building, it is really a penthouse??

Mark Wade
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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