Last month I
that I enjoyed how well-appointed the new developments are in this real cycle, as opposed to in 2004-2008.
Now, almost every building offers far higher prices and delivers commensurate finishes.
Of course, a few buildings were built and designed as rentals, and converted to condominium to take advantage of a rising market.
With land prices reaching a maximum, that situation becomes more rare.
Conversely, developers actually are compelled to achieve very bold prices
even to make
their projects work.
This month, I saw five (5!) projects that fit on either side of the divide.
First, 111 West 57th Street, JDS’ new project incorporating the Steinway Building, strikes the right notes on all fronts.
The Sorting House is emblematic of what is being built in the West 50’s and what is being done creatively to get condominiums going
right now, while the Circa on 110th and Central Park West tries to break new ground with its stunning views.
Drive, which I had seen but didn’t have room to write about last month, is an interesting conversion on the Upper West Side that makes the most of its layouts.
Lastly, The Bryant at 16 West 40th is noteworthy, and probably the best Midtown project on the market right now.
111 West 57th Street
JDS has made such a massive splash as a developer, I cannot help but be predisposed to whatever the next project might be.
With successes such as Walker Tower and Stella Tower, JDS has decided to take on another alt-neu combination with its purchase of the Steinway Building at 107-111 West 57th Street.
In doing so, they have embarked upon the creation of what will be the tallest residential tower in New York City, at over 1400 feet, until someone else tops that!
What has worked with units like Walker Tower is a small unit count in a larger, older building, with incredibly beautiful finishes and great views.
This formula has been tweaked here, in that the building itself is new.
Steinway Hall is incorporated into the base of the building, making most of
it into amenity spaces.
That Steinway’s concert hall still will host concerts is somehow comforting.
Otherwise, the streetscape also will
suffer far less, experiencing only a slight shift with the addition of a glass storefront.
The magic happens where the full-floor units begin.
While I’m curious to find out who will be buying units with terraces 600, 800, 1000 feet in the air, I know that many buyers will be more than interested in 3800-4400 square foot full-floor units with 14-foot ceilings in the public spaces, and 12-foot ceilings in the bedrooms.
Kitchen again are
being done by Smallbone, and PE Guerin is offering much of the stunning bath hardware.
A few touches are not exactly pitch perfect, like the all onyx standalone bath, but I am sure that before the building is completed (2019), they will make a few tiny changes for the better.
The side of the building is clad in a terracotta tile that will humanize
it, to a degree.
These little details
connect it to nearby buildings built nearly 100 years ago,
which were engineering marvels at their time.
considering nearly 1400 feet, many are decrying that zoning has not kept pace with engineering of today.
This design by SHoP will reflect light, inspire, and be a gorgeous addition to the skyline.
Happily, it will distract from other less well-executed designs to its East and West.
I believe that in its more contemporary design, it will be a foil to Robert Stern’s 220 Central Park South, which is incredible, but far more reverential to the past and not, to my mind, any more successful in its design.
Those looking for a full-floor unit will spend far less to get a unit here.
I’ll end by saying the designs –
from custom hardware, doors, duplex stairs, baths, kitchens – are truly jaw-dropping.
My prediction: Massive Hit.
The Sorting House is the type of building that really helps define the market right now.
While 111 West 57th street must reach into the sky to attract its buyers, The Sorting House is only 30 units
built on top of a West 52nd Street Post Office!
Nearly every apartment features outdoor space.
Talk about underpromising and over-delivering – the 1-bedrooms are essentially 2-bedrooms (each has a very large home office) and
60% sold out.
They did their market research, and know that this sub-$2mm price point has a huge market in the West 40’s and 50’s for these practical apartments with lots of storage and open kitchens.
I want to say that the project was value engineered in all of the right places.
White Oak flooring, Miele appliances, a wet-room concept in the baths, brass finishes, a strong design element by Architecture Outfit, integrated storage, part-time doorman, private storage for every unit, and a grill station on the roof, if your apartment doesn’t have its own gas line.
The only concern is that the taxes and common charge are a bit high.
But at $1700-2000 per square foot, they have attracted buyers who still view them as a value play.
I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much writing when you’re busy doing last minute shopping or – gasp – by taking some time away from your online reading, but Circa is testing the market Uptown with strong design and stronger pricing.
Located on the Northwest corner of Central Park, this site has a unique shape along the traffic circle
that runs from 110th to 111th Streets on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
The developer, Artemis, has been able to built 12 stories by adding a community center within the building.
What has been created is quite a leap from other buildings in the neighborhood, and it instantly cements the connection between West Harlem and the Upper West Side.
Yes, Starbucks already came into One Morningside Park just a half block away at 110th and Manhattan, but there is something leafy, pedestrian, and inviting that happens when a gas station is replaced with a shiny white shimmery building designed by FXFowle.
I am intrigued to see if buyers are willing to pay $1500+ per square foot for units that do not face Central Park, but the $2000+/square foot prices for the sweeping views South start to make sense.
Not only that, but with 20-25 year tax abatements making the taxes miniscule, my only concern is that they won’t have enough apartments to sell or
enough large units to sate demand.
They haven’t even hit the market yet, by the way.
But I’ve seen the finishes.
This largely is
about the views and design.
Everything is at an even higher level than One Morningside Park, with parking, storage, and terraces for many of the units.
270 Riverside Park
I generally wouldn’t bore you by
writing about the types of units that, well, so many of us live in on the Upper West Side.
So I’ll try to keep you entertained.
270 Riverside is a pre-war building that never, until now, converted to cooperative.
Now, with only 4-units per floor, four VERY LARGE units, 270 Riverside offers incredible views of Riverside Park, gorgeous amenities, reconsidered layouts, along with so much of the finishes package that is left out of coop renovations – central air-conditioning, massive eat-in kitchens, enormous master baths with exquisite finishes throughout.
With only 57 units in the building, and far fewer available because of holdover renters, they are seeing interest and velocity in their sales.
I felt that there were some layout challenges in the large units, but I suspect that the lack of inventory for these sizes in condominiums will all but ensure a successful outcome.
Happy to tell you more – ask away!!
The Bryant (16 West 40th Street)
Sir David Chipperfield has designed
a shockingly good 57-unit project on Bryant Park, 16 West 40th Street- known as the Bryant.
I have enjoyed the kerfuffle over the naming issues –
since nearby is the Bryant Park Hotel.
Immediately, what struck me at the sales office were the following:
– A design level that seemed geared to the private client, with attention to detail that outdid almost everything I’m seeing right now.
Something about it struck me as being on par with Jean Nouvel or even better.
These apartments will have really terrific views of Bryant Park, North and South.
I didn’t expect to be transfixed like I was, but the condominium units all will
be above the NY Public Library, starting on the 16th floor.
– Location – I thought to myself, “How awesome would it be to be in this location?
It’s so much better, much more central, in so many ways, than
some of the “tertiary” locations like 53rd and Lexington, or 1st Avenue and 51st street.
Not to mention how central to the
subway, to LIRR and Grand Central.
– Bryant Park!
This is a four-season park reconceived by some very smart civil planners some 15-20 years ago now.
It is a destination and now can be a really terrific home.
Chipperfield takes a very elegant approach building some interesting combinations of finishes.
A terrazzo marble moves from the exterior to the interior walls throughout the columns of each home.
While it may not be as well-suited to those who want to hang art everywhere, it’s a bold choice that grew on me during my visit.
Clean lines in the kitchens with fluted glass cabinets,
massive windows to frame the city views, rich and warm woods on the floors, immense closets, and enormous windowed baths.
Hydro radiant heating in the baths, with electric heating elsewhere in the oak flooring.
Gaggenau appliance package, 9 1/2- foot ceilings, 4-pipe hvac system – in all, a VERY expensive level of finishes.
It’s surprising that something this posh will be offered, but it’s this level of curation and finish that sets it apart.
I have some concerns about the play between terrazzo walls and marble floors in the master baths, but there is a strong echo between this design and Emery Roth’s Eldorado, among others.
The question is whether the scale of each apartment can support those “clashes.”
In all, I could envision buyers falling in love here, in a way that they may not in many other new development locations.
This building completes the block, replacing a parking lot, and offers an anchor just South of 42nd Street for another grouping of units from
there to 34th Street, where the Setai blew us all away with its views.
In all, a strong showing in December.
If you have questions about new development, please call or email me anytime to discuss.
– Scott firstname.lastname@example.org and 646-504-5710