Taller Than Morimoto, and maybe more ‘zen.’
Wearing a stately red robe, flanked by voracious sales agents and their eager buyers, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto was the main attraction at Tuesday night’s preview party for West Chelsea’s future Caledonia–”the first luxury condominium tower on the High Line.”
Does the Japanese maestro interest himself in local real estate? “Yes I do,” Morimoto said in a thick, impressive accent. “But you need a lot of money for this,” meaning Caledonia. He shook his big knife to the beat of The Zombies’ She’s Not There.
If money were not an issue, which Caledonia view would you want? “The west!” chirped a sales agent. The Hudson River will be just a sun-soaked view away when the 450 West 17th condo is up in Fall 2008.
But according to David Wine, the Vice Chairman of developer Related Companies, there’s more to this development: it is “warm, inviting, luxurious, zen.”
Luxury, at least, was on display at the pary, thanks to an enormous model (yellow deck umbrellas included) that allowed passers-by to illuminate haute-amenities like pet spa, children’s playroom, and of course the 40,000-square-foot “state-of-the-art” Equinox Fitness Club.
Then there is the bamboo, cobblestone, Feng Shui and vintage wood, thanks to hospitality designer Clodagh. “The way I design is a sequence, a necklace, of experience,” she explained. “Everywhere you walk and look you see something beautiful.”
But for now The Caledonia is only an impressive hole in the ground, one that happens to be surrounded by the Robert S. Fulton Housing Projects. As for this un-pristine neighborhood, Mr. Wine argued: “People who are here don’t want pristine. They want history, they want old, they want new.” (But: “They want clean.”)
“Anyone who is a long-term New Yorker would not imagine anything, let alone a building like The Caledonia, would have been possible ten years ago,” he told the crowd. “But today it is, without a doubt, one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city.”
Morimoto, The Caledonia’s favorite chef, would agree. “I’m very proud to be here–making it more blown up. My business,” referring to his eponymous eatery at 88 Tenth Ave., “it will go up.”
– Max Abelson