The Afternoon Wrap: Thursday

  • The world doesn’t need another “wellness community” real estate article, but luckily Forbes‘ entry into the genre includes the following: “[W]hat is happening is the boomers have spent the whole time in the office, and they somewhat forgot themselves,” and “It’s not just about going to a gym. It’s not about working on your mind a little bit.” [Forbes]
  • From the Lights of Dyker Heights to the ‘Burg and Bergen Beach, Gowanus Lounge has the full guide to Brooklyn’s glowing holiday cheer. Prospect Park, lord bless them, has 600,000 lightbulbs alone. [G.L.]
  • Here’s a grossly Manhattanized version of the news above: Sachs Fifth Avenue’s yearly yuletide celebration will only consume “the energy equivalent of three toaster ovens.” Green Design is officially chic. [Interior Design]
  • Jonathan Miller has a must-read analysis of real estate bubble blogging, written (in part) as a response to a recent PBS piece. Mr. Miller’s conclusion? “Lord help us.” [Matrix]
  • Jewish Condo News of the Year: A press release we got on Thursday brags that Riverdale’s “Kosher-smart” condominium has “secured the approval of the community.” Architect David Mandl admits that the community “was weary of the project,” but apparently the golden Jerusalem Stone at the base won them over. More gold, after the jump.
  • - Max Abelson

    Designing a Contemporary Building, Jewish Style: Nearly Complete, Meltzer/Mandl-Designed Arlington Suites.

    Delivers Sensitive Aesthetics and Unique Amenities to Riverdale Community

    Architects’ Vision Ties Together Diverse Urban Landscape with Modern 13-Story Structure Using Setbacks, Glass and Masonry Facade and Jerusalem Stone Base

    NEW YORK (November 27, 2006) – A much ballyhooed 13-story, 26-unit condominium project in the Riverdale section of the Bronx has secured the approval of the community as it nears completion. Located at 3220 Arlington Avenue, and situated between a prototypical six-story, 1950s-construction red brick apartment building on one side and a two-story parish on the other, the sand-colored masonry and glass structure uses gentle setbacks to quietly ascend to a height of 143 feet without disrupting the tranquility of the streetscape.

    “This was a challenging site,” says David Mandl, the design architect and a principal of Meltzer/Mandl Architects, P.C. “The neighborhood was wary of the project and understandably concerned it would not fit in with the scale and mood of this lower-scale residential area. But now that the curtain wall is up and we can see how well the colors of the brick and glass in the oversized windows work with the stone base, it melds seamlessly with the nearby buildings. Recently, we’ve received very positive feedback from residents who are pleased with how this new project adds energy to the neighborhood.”

    Arlington Suites stands at the site of developer Shmuel Jonas’ family home on an irregular lot that borders Arlington and Netherland Avenues. His insight into the community helped shape the project, which includes many unique Jewish culture-oriented amenities. “I wanted ‘Kosher-smart’ apartments that would still appeal to a broad demographic,” says Mr. Jonas. “We have added every convenience conceivable for observant Jewish families, but the apartments are so well-designed that our buying audience is potentially unlimited.”

    The layouts include two- through four-bedroom units, generously ranging in size from 1,872 square feet to 3,333 square feet. Each apartment has floor-to-ceiling windows displaying at least two exposures, some offering Hudson River views, Harlem River views and city views that extend to midtown Manhattan. Eight of the units feature terraces, sized from 239 square feet to 1,810 square feet, and there are 15 balconies ranging from 62- to 71 square feet.

    Common amenities include a 107-space parking garage, large storage units, 12-seat screening room, roof deck with barbeque and sink and a designated Sabbath elevator that is programmed to continually stop on each floor from sundown Fridays through sundown on Saturdays. An on-site fitness center will feature state-of-the-art equipment, plus pool and sauna, and will be open at separate hours for men and women. Among the more unusual features are two large terraces that meet strict spatial criteria for the Jewish religious holiday, Sukkos. The 4,553-square-foot third floor terrace will be shared between four apartments. The 6,000-square-foot second floor Sukkos terraces will be available to the balance of the residents.

    The individual units include many special features geared to observant Jews, such as kitchens with double sinks and 48-inch double drawer Viking ovens. In addition, the developer is offering buyers a choice of two separate refrigerators or two dishwashers. Standard in the units will be double-drawer dishwashers that can separately clean dishes used for Kosher dairy-based meals and those for meat-based meals.

    Even the two-story base of the building, composed of golden Jerusalem Stone from Israel’s Mount Scopus, relates symbolically to western religious cultures and provides a sense of the Jewish homeland. “In addition to its spiritual references, the Jerusalem Stone works well with the building’s facade,” adds Mr. Mandl. “The colors and textures harmonize with the glass and the way the sun reflects off the stone base. It all works together for a contemporary look that also fits in with the neighboring buildings.”

    The first two floors of Arlington Suites are being leased to a medical practice that includes dentistry and pediatrics. The fitness center is also located on the first floor.

    It is anticipated that Arlington Suites will be ready for occupancy in early 2008.

    About Meltzer/Mandl Architects, P.C.
    Meltzer/Mandl Architects, founded in 1995 by Marvin H. Meltzer, AIA NCARB, and David Mandl, AIA, has won six major industry awards in the past few years and was honored as 2004 Firm of the Year by the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA)