Fewer New Buildings These Days?
Happy New Year! There are fewer residential new Manhattan development projects launching as of late, apart from very large Hudson Yards buildings.
There could be a lot of reasons why we’re not seeing as much new development marketing start off lately: time of year, a wait and see approach for developers on the contours of the market- or perhaps developers focusing on their Brooklyn projects- or perhaps there’s just not that much in the way locations to develop.
Backing up, I do hear that (a) land has gotten too expensive for many developers, (b) the price of land has come down nearly 20% in many cases across Manhattan and Brooklyn, (c) construction financing is quite hard to obtain for all but the most seasoned developers.
So there are a confluence of reasons why we may not be seeing as much coming to market now and over the next year or two.
In the meantime, I saw 200 East 59th Street, a new project by Macklowe (who is wrapping up 432 Park Avenue- currently the tallest residential project in North America), and the Inkwell, a former schoolhouse on West 45th Street.
These two are utterly different projects, geared to very different audiences.
First, 200 East 59th Street.
Make no mistake-
This is a hectic midtown location.
Other projects like 118 East 59th Street (who halted
sales and marketing)
nearby had positioned themselves as being an oasis from the hustle and bustle.
200 East 59th Street aims to take that a step further.
Their design feels like Miami has come to Midtown.
Cetra Ruddy, a very well-known and regarded NYC-based architect, has designed an all-white building, in which the structural columns have been exposed, allowing for every apartment in the 35-story tower to have outdoor space.
Not just little terraces, but deep terraces that are really functional.
The result is impactful.
These are column-free interior spaces, making for easier living- and a flow to the exteriors that feels like an integrated concept, rather than the added-on feeling of some balconies in buildings like the 10+ year old property 205 East 59th, which is literally across the street.
200’s sales office is situated inside the former 432 Park sales office, which only means that it’s perch inside the GM building has been reconceived into a gracious imagination of an apartment interior for the building.
Great ceiling heights, attractive all-white kitchens, it’s a sleek, contemporary, calming presence.
Some might call it a little brother of 432 Park, given some of the similar design choices, even using the same kitchen appliances.
I would certainly describe it as a more accessible price point ($2500-3000 per square foot rather than $8000 per square foot), and in a location that will certainly attract more pied-a-terres buyers from around the globe.
They will have nice city views, even access to the Bloomingdale’s private shopping services across the street, another perk.
Given the development that’s happened or happening in the immediate surrounds, such as (a) 118 East 59th Street, (b) the Bloomberg building at 151 East 58th Street, (c) 252 East 57th Street to the Southeast, (d) the as yet unknown tall tower between Lex and 3rd on 60th street, or (e) the lovely luxury tower to the west at 520 Park Avenue– this should provide a nice contrast to other all-glass facades and should indeed provide a nice respite from the bustle, for its residents.
As its name implies, 520 West 45th, or the Inkwell, was a schoolhouse in Hell’s Kitchen.
This is between 10th and 11th avenues, and there have been a series of successful projects in the neighborhood, along
nearly every street between these avenues (425 West 53rd, Stella Tower, 516 West 47th Street, 540 West 49th Street, 454 West 54th, and on).
So, another project on 45th Street seems smart- and reusing what has been an unused Department of Education with incredibly high ceilings, huge windows, and voluminous spaces- seems like a lovely idea.
Inspired by chalkboards and old classrooms, the design draws from mid-century elements, with tall solid-wood doors, movable library ladders to access high storage areas and kitchen cabinets, fluted glass cabinets, darker hardwood floors, enormous transom windows to bring in light.
This isn’t the first repurposed school for residential development.
There will be another property on 87th and West End that will also have the opportunity to mesh old school with new design.
It’s an exciting project.
With only a small collection of units- around 20 apartments- the apartments are very large, with oversized apartments, rolling kitchen islands, and other fun design nuggest.
This full-service building will attract those who are looking for boutique living, loft living, unusual design that is anything but cookie cutter.
The design will speak for itself.
Despite some of the downsides- higher real estate taxes, or being near the only bus-sized car-wash across the street, along with its proximity to the active train tracks which are below street level nearby- There are Hell’s Kitchen adherents, and those who believe the 10th avenue subway will end up opening at 10th avenue and 42nd street 3 blocks away- all of these are long-term stakeholders in a neighborhood full of character, characters, and charm.
More to come, let’s hope we have more new development surprised in 2017!