Parties, parties, parties.
Every week this month there has been a broker event for a new development launch.
I’ve been at blowout parties for 275 West 10th Street
(my firm is handling marketing and sales for this), and a “reminder” party for 111 Murray Street (more about this later).
Along with properties I saw at 221 West 77th Street, my quick takeaways from this month:
1) I’m having major deja vu from experiences in 2006 and the last cycle.
2) Definitions of locations and neighborhoods are ever-changing, and getting quite blurry.
3) Don’t count on your view, unless you’re on Central Park or on the river.
4) Almost every lobby and apartment looks like the Restoration Hardware Catalog you just got in the mail.
of the quote about forgetting history and being doomed to repeat it.
There are so many events right now, I can’t help this feeling of deja vu from 2005-2007, where the blowout parties were a prelude to the slowdown of 2008-2009.
This article from 2006 sums it up quite nicely and
easily could have been written yesterday – and I remember very well being at some of those parties mentioned.
The big difference is that at the time,
parties were looked at as “gimmicks” to sell apartments.
The idea was that the apartments themselves perhaps were
poorly done, cheaply done, quickly done, and had no character to speak of –
perhaps they did need parties to sell those junky apartments.
prices were far lower.
$1000 per square foot was the barrier for much of Manhattan then, far lower in Brooklyn, and the highest of the high end like 15 Central Park West or comparable units were perhaps pushing into the $1500-2500 per square foot, penthouses excepted (and always at a premium).
If the costs of labor and materials 10 years ago were not that different
from today, the product being marketed in 2015 for delivery in the next year, two, or three is utterly, radically improved.
A developer can spend an extra $500 per square foot on the build-out and finishes, and,
if the building has been executed well, the product is incredible.
broker can distinguish between what had been acceptable in that last cycle peak and what is far, far better now.
In short – YES.
The prices are quite hard to wrap one’s head around.
But, at the very least, the product is stunning.
Buyers are getting an excellent approximation of what they could expect in a custom renovation, were they to do it themselves.
will be some developer value engineering, but at the pricing levels we’re seeing, you can expect
little corner cutting.
At the top of the list:
520 West 28th Street is going to be a gallery-type of purchase, a “must-have” for many investors/owners.
The design is way out front, with
Zaha Hadid’s first New York City residential exploration is fairly complicated – it ends up being two buildings, in essence – the Eastern third is a half-floor offset from the other two-thirds.
what they are calling a chevron, the motif which Hadid uses again and again in much of the apartment design
– the layouts, ceiling heights, contemporary finishes, all consistent and interesting.
Not cold, either.
They have bought air rights from neighboring buildings, guaranteeing this lovely view of the Highline to the Southeast.
Quite a knockout.
Their pricing, at around $2500/square foot, seems downright reasonable compared to:
111 Murray Street. The question to me here is really about location.
I had a longer talk with a colleague of mine with whom I collaborate on Tribeca and Financial District business.
This building is being marketed as Tribeca.
Is it Tribeca?
Is it Financial District?
Does it matter?
My colleague thinks it does.
Tighter streets, bigger shadows, hulking buildings, ants crawling to their offices – Financial District descriptors.
Lower-massed buildings, residential, sleepy, quiet, neighborhood-y – Tribeca descriptors.
The line seems to blur as buildings like 56 Leonard top out and achieve $4000 per square foot. But my sense is that it does matter to the New Yorker much more than to the foreign investor.
So I think the target for a building like this is geared more
to the latter.
Yes on views, yes on a gorgeous David Mann interior design, yes on ceiling height, yes on the extensive amenity package, including private jet service (!), private hamams in apartments, along with the gym, storage, and whatever else they could fit into 20,000 square feet.
But it seems more like a investment play, a place to park money,
than a place to live. Yet, they claim to be 60% sold already.
The shift is well underway for the Financial District.
As the Fulton Station shopping mecca is completed and
projects like 30 Park Place come to fruition, this will be a destination, a neighborhood, a marvelous Downtown home.
But is the pricing justified now?
Another Blurred Location
118 East 59th Street falls into this category of location, as it isn’t quite Midtown, isn’t quite Upper East Side.
This is a first Manhattan foray for Chinese developer Euro Properties, but definitely not their first entry into urban development, with many Singapore and Hong Kong projects under their belt.
A 500′ sliver building nestled half a block from Bloomingdale’s has done just about everything it could to maximize the space
a peaceful oasis from the bustle of the immediate surrounds.
With these interesting duplex units, along with a series of well-sized one- and two-bedrooms units, Soo Chan of SCDA (busy with Highline projects as well) in
this boutique building has incorporated many of the ultra high-end details of his Soori Highline project.
Gorgeous, fully built-out closets by Studio Becker, rare in any new development.
A masculine-leaning design, with choices of darker stones in the kitchen and bath.
This definitely tilts to the “Gotham” fantasy, and in my view,
this again will appeal most
to the pied-a-terre buyer who craves the combination of being in the center of the city, with unique New York cityscapes, and
enjoying the talents of an architect and designer who knows how to create spaces in which to recharge.
There is this feeling that every apartment is the penthouse, which is quite hard to create.
221 West 77th Street
I am reminded of a penthouse I marketed and sold in 2007 on West 78th Street:
a 2600-square-foot 4-bedroom unit with an equally large wrap-around terrace, in a pre-war cooperative no amenity.
It sold for $5.7mm in a bidding war.
At the time, we told the buyer that we expected a building to go up slightly to the West.
That did happen, at 230 West 78th Street.
Quite a busy little section of the Upper West Side, in fact.
Miki Naftali seems to have learned from all the other projects
he’s doing across the city, and across the street, as he markets 221 West 77th Street.
I questioned the location a few months ago, on a block not yet that pretty.
With its neighbor at 210 West 77th having a similar vibe and aesthetic, perhaps the block will feel
very different soon enough.
What’s different with this building
from its sister building across the street are light and views.
Instead of being enveloped by the Harrison on 76th Street, this site has much better views to the North.
Further, the layouts are a bit more traditional, with really interesting pocket doors separating kitchen from living room, full-floor units that take advantage of the building’s
width, and a more private feeling.
The pricing is higher, but the spaces are just improved in every way.
As 210 West 77th is nearing 75% sellout, I see an easier path for 221 to get the $2000-3000 per square foot they are looking for.
Another West Village Conversion
275 West 10th Street, named the Shephard, was a well-established rental building whose apartments certainly had
started to feel pretty worn.
This is another Miki Naftali project, in addition to his two on 77th Street, for which we enjoyed two weeks ago a blowout party, complete with a Baby Bourbon Bar.
This industrial/mid-century/retro/leather/iron concept really has
Even the Restoration Hardware catalog we all just got has shifted pretty far from the reclaimed wood
look they were doing.
feels like Mitchell Gold and a trip to Mantique Modern.
I love it, but we’re pretty overrun at this point.
What makes this building unique are its historical details, incorporated into the apartments.
Half Moon windows, exposed brick, barrel-vaulted ceilings.
Peppered everywhere with
brass hardware touches.
Really a decidedly un-neutral palette.
It feels very successfully executed, and is rooted in the success of different iterations, like the Seymour on West 25th.
Hey, if bourbon helps sell apartments, that’s okay with me.