The 13th Floor Superstition

Scary floorHalloween is around the corner. Get your candy bowls ready for neighborhood trick-or-treaters and prepare the marathon viewing session of scary movies.

The cult favorite that surely will be playing throughout the month is the horror flick Friday the 13th. The movie ties to the superstition of unlucky number 13 that dates all the way back to the Last Supper.

What may be a myth from years ago is still ever present. A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal uncovered that less than 5% of residential buildings across Manhattan and Brooklyn have a designated 13th floor.

In Chicago, the trend is less elusive with 81% of buildings including the superstitious address. Still other condos in the Loop refrain such as: 1555 N. Astor, 20 E. Cedar, 111 E. Chestnut, 1035 and 1250 N. Dearborn, 10 and 201 E. Delaware, 990, 1040 and 1440 N LSD, 30 W Oak and 1310 N. Ritchie.

The decision to include or exclude floor 13 starts years before agents try to put heads in beds. Developers team up with marketing staff far before ground is broke to determine floor plans and design.

At this time, the staff makes a definitive choice. Some such as Kevin Maloney, principal at Property Markets Group, a New York City-based real estate acquisition and development firm, was quoted taking a clear stance in the WSJ, “If there’s even a 1% risk that someone won’t like it, then why would you do it? It’s a simple change to the numbers,”

Developers get to make the final call. If the 13th floor is omitted, new construction works off a technical plan and a marketing plan.

With any myth, there are believers and critics. Consequently, there’s no firm trend indicating if 13th floor properties are harder pieces of real estate to sell.

With that said, there are always a few modern day horror stories. Two such tale quoted in the WSJ are one of Philip Spiegelman, co-founder and principal of International Sales Group, a sales and marketing firm for developers, and Jennifer Dorfmann, executive vice president and managing director of sales at residential brokerage Modern Spaces.

Spiegelman told the Journal a story about a Miami residential building in the early 1970s where none of the 13th-floor units sold until he finally renumbered it six months later. Jennifer Dorfmann recalled a high-profile Manhattan building where the units on the 13th floor were the last to sell.



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