Throughout New York, developers are increasingly turning to terra cotta and other materials used extensively in the construction of buildings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to The Wall Street Journal's Zolan Kanno-Youngs.

For apartment buyers and developers, the old materials can evoke a certain authenticity and appeal to sustainability, especially in an era of shimmering contemporary towers made of aluminum and glass.

But these materials aren't cheap.

Mr. Stern of JDS Development said pricing of materials differs depending on the project, but terra cotta can be as much as $100 more per square foot than glass.

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