Shocking! Upper East Siders Fall Hard for Luxurious Limestone Tower

The condo tower is rising on the site of the former Hunter College School of Social Work.

The condo tower is rising on the site of the former Hunter College School of Social Work.

No one loves limestone like the Upper East Side. Other neighborhoods may have affinities, crushes, infatuations even, but none can compare to the east side’s  adoration of the gray stone. Case in point: 135 East 79th Street, the Brodsky Organization’s nearly-sold-out limestone-and-brick condo tower where three of the six penthouses have gone into contract during the past month.

“Most of our buyers have been people who already live in the neighborhood,” James Lansill, a senior managing director at Corcoran Sunshine told The Observer. And unlike so many of those who are snapping up glass boxes in the sky along the Southern perimeter of the park, the riches who are buying at 135 East 79th are not so nouveau. A large number of soon-to-be residents are downsizing

“There are a lot of emptynesters looking for very, very sophisticated residences,” Mr. Lansill explained.

The limestone facade is merely one of the old-fashioned touches in the brand new, 31-unit condo tower. Other features beloved by the sort of home seeker who shivers with pleasure at words like gracious and old world include herringbone wood floors, bespoke millwork in the kitchens and closets and custom-cast hardware. The building was designed by William Sofield, a man so devoted to craftmanship that he plans to chip the 22-foot pear tree sculptures flanking the main entrance with his own hands.

Soon, there will be no need for renderings.

Soon, there will be no need for renderings.

But for three penthouses, two of which have yet to hit the market, the development is sold out, with closings expected to start this fall. The penthouses, all duplexes, have been particularly popular. During the last days of August, a five bedroom, five bath listed for $23.5 million went into contract. Last week, two other penthouses followed suit—another five bed, five bath asking $23 million and a $25 million five bedroom with five-and-a-half baths. Considering that the three penthouses range from 5,086 square feet to 5,334 square feet, we’d love to see the palatial floor-throughs or hulking townhouses that those residents are downsizing from.

Among those yet to make their market debut is a 3,558-square-foot two-bedroom with a massive master bedroom that has a salon-sized sitting room, plus his- and her-bathrooms and dressing rooms.

“A lot of empty nesters buy very large apartments and take bedrooms out. We went to the end game,” said Mr. Lansill.

As for those looking to scoop up an apartment, the pickings are slim—the only penthouse (in fact, the only unit in the entire building) currently on the market is a 4,476-square-foot four-bedroom asking $20.35 million.

Mr. Lansill said the building’s popularity with the uptown set has not surprised him. “The elevator is one of the prettiest rooms I’ve ever seen—it has these huge bronze panels—and from there, it’s just this procession of beautiful spaces, from the private landing to the foyer within the apartment. It has this stunning old world residential nirvana.”