If you took a peek at my other recent post about housing starts being up significantly from 2012 to 2013, note that many of those Manhattan projects are online and in construction.
I’m not trying be the frontline reviewer of these projects, necessarily, but
in the past month I did get to see 2 projects whose sales offices opened quite recently: 10 Sullivan and Stella Tower (425
West 50th Street).
West 15th is in its
push, but I got to walk the building itself and enjoy its views!!
Two broader thoughts.
in the interim
since the last “flood” of properties to the market in 2004-2008, sales offices have been able to take on a much
stronger presentational language.
Audio/video presentations have gone 3-D, and
floor-to-ceiling renderings offer closed-in sales offices wide open views
of particular units.
Many buyers lack the ability, with good reason, to envision
a final product. As this is probably the norm, unfortunately, these strong visual
key to reaching top dollar sales.
As developers work to sell from floorplans in projects still 12-18 months from completion, the success of these efforts is crucial!
I also note that I feel more and more that I’m in living in Ray Bradbury’s short story, The Veldt
(enjoy the cheesy video).
Second, kitchen finishes have begun moving away from the all-white language that
became so popular in nearly every development of recent vintage.
Instead, lower cabinets are incorporating much more natural wood.
The look is more organic than rustic,
which perhaps transitions
better into all-wood flooring.
There’s still a juxtaposition
of lighter grey-washed floors (either herringbone or straight) and these rich grains, which read with more texture and depth than the all-white look does.
However, the execution of these kitchens requires more skill, and so developers raise the bar for their subcontractors.
In the end, it’s pretty simple – having paid top prices for the land or building to redevelop,
must achieve the highest prices –
and, to do so, must deliver a product that is nearly as good as,
if not better than, what most end-users could acquire from a custom renovation.
Certainly, the promise of the sales office, for
a buyer, is
So let’s start with 10 Sullivan.
First, it’s a Cary Tamarkin project, from the architect who has brought a particular language of darker brick and mullioned windows to all of his developments.
He is the developer here, rather than solely the architect.
456 West 19th is another of his projects,
and the list grows, including 508 West 24th Street,
now on the market, as well.
10 Sullivan’s location benefits from the quiet Sullivan side street, along with the zoning of Sixth Avenue that allows for a
than everything surrounding it.
Additionally, the Holland Tunnel traffic dissapates before it reaches this location, leaving it a quieter spot, too.
Like the Flatiron building,
this has a ship’s prow for the South-facing facade, allowing for gorgeous 20′-wide living rooms in the full-floor units, with a wrapped, actually-curved, window.
As I mentioned above,
the millwork in the kitchens shows off fine wood graining, and they actually have built in an extra dishwasher for entertaining, next to the wine refrigerator.
Will it get used for baby bottles?
I guess we’ll see.
The baths feature rich stone counters, reaching to Italy or beyond to grab intense, unique veining that recalls the Thomas Juul-Hansen baths in buildings like One57.
The light will be incredible, though the views are, relatively speaking, just city.
This is more about location than open views;
in Tribeca, location and light are top of the list.
The large full-floor units have 4 bedrooms, catering to families who want the square footage.
The penthouse benefits from a double-height ceiling that creates pretty intense drama.
With fewer than 20 units and a full-service amenity package, including parking (!), they have managed to fit quite a lot here.
They are also building three townhouses next to the main building, which technically are not part of the condominium and, at twenty feet or wider, offer a special opportunity to someone who doesn’t mind
a backyard fronting Sixth Avenue.
lush greenery at the back of the backyard, I don’t see it being a major issue.
Given the limited space here, I’ll say just that they seem to have created floorplans successful for what buyers are looking for today, along with something unique and apart from the cookie cutter.
They are still awaiting official Attorney General approval, but the interest has been fierce.
NEXT, Stella Tower.
Unofficially, they are telling me that they are already 50% sold.
This is from the developer, JDS, who is wrapping up Walker Tower on West 18th Street, which I was totally crazy about last year.
I felt it
deserved the “development of the year,”
such an award.
They took the amazing bones of a 1929 tower and made it magnificent!
Stella has all of the same parts.
Same developer, same original architect (Ralph Walker, who designed it in 1927), same style, same high ceilings, same new windows, and the same template of interior construction.
The only differences, and they are significant:
location and views.
This project is on West 50th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, across the street from a monolithic, unattractive (but low-rise) high school.
That is, the block is not leafy, tree-lined West 18th Street.
The views, which open in many directions, and in some cases offer slivers of River, unfortunately are
not the Empire-State views or West Village views of Walker Tower.
I think the block may be more of a concern for some than the views, given the light and air that comes from 14′ ceilings and gracious plans.
One other unfortunate item is
that this building doesn’t have the same setbacks
that created so many terraces in Walker Tower.
The building features about 50 units.
They created more one-bedroom units, thinking
they might attract fewer families to the location.
The kitchens again are from
The feeling is a bit more rustic here than I would probably favor, but we’ll leave it to the market to decide what buyers like.
Other choices, like an exquisite sliding bathroom mirror, are custom-designed in conjunction with Cetra Ruddy, who supervised the interior design.
In the end, it’s
still a love affair –
and, in the long run, what is happening all over the West 50’s will likely catch up to the surrounds.
But at $1800-2000 and more per square foot, the apartments look very interesting at the three-bedroom size, but perhaps
less so as $1.9mm one-bedrooms.
I’ll be curious to see if the powerhouse team of developer-architect-design overcomes the objections of location.
to much of what’s out there, at even higher prices, I’d say it’s most likely!
Terrific design? Check.
High Ceilings? Check.
Terrific Location? Check.
High interior design, but not over the top? Check.
High amenity level? Check.
This building has so much going for it!
It’s not a surprise that they are nearly 90% sold.
Currently, they’re marketing only
7 units, including some high-floor three- and four-bedrooms with stunning views in 3 directions.
My only complaint is that the units seem a bit small for their $2500+ per square foot price tag.
I think that buyers might be looking for slightly larger apartments than
those left, but the views!!
Wow wow wow.
That’s all I have for you this month!
I look forward to many, many more posts and tweets, and soon.