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I visited a few new developments this past month, excited to see what new inventory is to offer discerning buyers interested in owning in Manhattan.
Certainly it’s timely to discuss
both what is showing now, and what is on the horizon.
Specifically, I’m interested in whether buyers are paying more for new development versus resale apartments.
From recent closings, that there have been more resales breaking numbers, but closings over the next twelve months may likely shift the winner in price per square foot to new developments.
Then again, some have postulated that the “record” has become more about marketing than reality.
Not to mention when headline contract prices may be manufactured- when buyers are credited back monies simply to have a developer reach a “record” price.
Certainly, One 57 will break lots of records, but as I discussed last month, there are a slew of resales attempting to steal attention.
PR for a building in its infancy has the ability to determine the future cache for resales.
For example, much noise has been made about a unit at CitySpire on West 56th, asking $100mm but perhaps worth $30-40mm.
The cache of that building, considering that the majority of units are one- and two-bedrooms, simply isn’t there in the same way as others.
Cache and reputation, especially what word of mouth across the world does for a particular building, are what seem to be selling units at the highest numbers.
Press is nice, and certainly the CitySpire unit is getting press, but it does not seem to necessarily move buyers to overpay.
From a 30,000 foot perspective, there seems to be a bit more “testing” of the market than sellers at the very high end right now.
That is, if they get a very high price, they will sell- and if not, they’ll hold on.
I’ll link this to my market check-in when it is completed – which speaks to a lack of inventory, still, of large apartments.
How much textbook Supply and Demand will impact pricing with so few units on the market continues to be the story.
For now, let’s focus on a couple of new developments.
A couple of weeks ago I toured this new condominium conversion.
530 Park has been a rental since its construction in 1940.
Does 1940 qualify it as “Pre-War?”
Certainly it was conceived prior to 1939, and perhaps one could sell it as “Pre-War,” as in pre-US involvement in WWII.
This building, as many building in that time between 1940 and 1965, has an interesting feeling.
Not unlike Manhattan House, 530 Park, in its original construction, had some of the gracious elements of Pre-War buildings, and began to test out some of the elements which are typically considered “Post-War.”
Ceiling heights are actually reasonable, closets were originally not amazing, baths are a bit smaller, lobby was less of a calling card. Certainly, the location will have its critics (too commercial) and lovers (so central!) and I cannot make that determination for my clients.
That said, the current owners/developers, Aby Rosen and his partners at RFR, certainly feel that it garners $2800 per square foot or more.
From the smallest unit (635 square feet) to the largest of the units, the success of a project like this seems to ride on how well the large apartments “flow,” along with how well buyers are drawn to this location.
Since few, if any, units have an open view, it must be about quality of finish and living atmosphere as well.
As with many new buildings, a recreation of the elegant and understated Pre-War lobby seems to be de rigeur.
Recently I read about the first time Indiana limestone was used in New York City- by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built Grand Central Station.
Ultimately, transportation costs won out, and Indiana Limestone was the least expensive.
Now many of our grandest buildings are clad in it.
530 Park’s developers have recently clad the first 2-3 floors in this limestone, giving it a new look from the street (see above photo).
It makes a difference, a curb appeal which had been missing.
In terms of finishes otherwise, the apartments benefit from new windows installed throughout, along with closets reconfigured in the larger units.
Baths remain a bit small, and the interior design choices all lean to lighter colors to maximize the brightness of the apartment interiors, which are not always flooded in natural sunlight.
White kitchens, light floors, light bath finishes.
Smallbone of Devizes seems to be the kitchen of choice recently, featured in a number of developments- 535 West End, 212 West 18th (Walker Tower, see below) for example.
At $2800 per square foot and up, this is an option that fits the budget, perhaps.
In the end, the combination apartments (3-4 bedroom and larger) are the most successful, in that they are able to recreate the flow of older apartments that “got it right.”
Studies/libraries/dining rooms in the best locations, large closets, gracious master bedrooms, decent (perhaps small) secondary bedrooms- but overall, very nicely flowing apartments.
The smallest apartments are original layouts, and simply don’t read in the same way- they feel normal, and tiny.
Kitchens are very small, but lovely, and while I look at a number of units, I’m having trouble understanding why a 635-square foot apartment is asking $2.2mm.
I am not sure that buyers will not consider other Upper East Side locations first, and that this won’t become a pied-a-terre haven rather than a place for New Yorkers.
I’ll keep this short, because there are other posts to write.
I visited this a few weeks ago as well- In short, the location is not where everyone wants to be, but the product is simply first rate.
Soaring Ceilings, incredibly done finishes, gorgeous views to the North or South (or both!), and all in a building with about 60 units starting on the 10th floor.
The views South are of the West Village, and iconic North views- with many units getting terraces.
The ceiling height, elegant unique layouts, and Art Deco lobby will win over many buyers from across the world.
Some will balk at the prices (again, approaching or exceeding $3000 per square foot), but this becomes a real test of quality of building versus location.
I think the building quality wins over buyers.
The views are stunning, and there is a feeling inside which is dramatic, inviting, luxurious, and special- for this jaded broker, not something that is felt most of the time.
The apartments tend to sell themselves.
The monstrous closets, and bedroom-size baths don’t hurt, either.
More new development oohing and aahing and ugh-ing next month.
As normal, my question:
Who do you know who is interested in buying or selling in New York City?
If anything above inspires you, please send them my way.
My team and I will take good care of your referrals.