Poor, lonely, luxury condo tower! Unlike the co-ops lining Central Park to the East and the West, whose residents really love them, it seems like One57′s new residents are only interested in it for its money. Or, more precisely, how their money might become even more money if they buy apartments there.
As the condo’s top-floor units go into contract, New Yorker’s real estate community has been speculating on who the super-secretive billionaires buying there are. Tantalizingly, Extell confirmed two contracts for more than $90 million, but for months and months and months, there’s been no indication of who the buyers might be. So imagine the collective glee when The Wall Street Journal revealed that one of the buyers was billionaire hedge funder William Ackman. Sort of.
Real estate kerfuffles
A new boom has successfully been hoisted onto the crane at One57, nearly seven months after the previous crane snapped during Hurricane Sandy and dangled ominously over West 57th Street for several days.
The maneuver’s completion—which involved swinging the boom over three buildings before hauling it up the side of the uber-luxury tower—was announced by Extell at just after 3 p.m. this afternoon. Residents of the two co-ops under the boom will now be allowed to return home after being forced to evacuate from their homes last night. It also means that construction will be able to move forward on the condo tower.
Real estate kerfuffles
Despite the rainy, windy weather that is set to hit New York tomorrow and a last-minute lawsuit filed to stop Extell from evacuating two co-op buildings adjacent to One57, plans to repair the crane broken during Hurricane Sandy are still moving forward Saturday morning.
Which means that the unfortunate residents of Alwyn Court, the landmarked building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 58th Street, will either vacate the building voluntarily in the next few hours or face forcible eviction. The crane repair involves swinging a boom over Alwyn and two other buildings before hoisting it up the side of the unfinished tower.
And then there were condos
With prices ranging from $2.9 million to $65 million, no one can accuse Extell’s hotel-to-condo conversion at 21 East 61st Street—which just launched sales—of courting bargain hunters. But in comparison to Gary Barnett’s crown jewel rising a half mile away on 57th Street, the Carlton House looks positively affordable.
In comparison to anything other than uber-luxury condos poised to set records when they close for more than $90 million, the Carlton House is pricey indeed. Though anyone who was really hankering for the low end of the luxury market would be well-advised to stay away from Extell projects altogether—only Extell could make $65 million look, well, kind of reasonable.
Last week was a difficult week one for many businesses that call the city home. Among them Extell, whose 26,000-pound crane boom dangled perilously over West 57th Street for days on end after it was torn asunder from the crane in the hurricane’s high winds.
The construction disaster is, at the moment, being chalked up to a freak accident—although an extensive investigation is underway, The New York Times reports that the crane was inspected a week before the storm and found to be in good shape—it was a blow to Extell’s ego.
It seems like all we hear about these days is how popular and cool One57 is. There’s hardly spotlight left for other superstar buildings like the Ritz Carlton and the Plaza, let alone Extell’s former luxury darling The Aldyn. After all, the Aldyn might be a super luxurious and amenity laden, with an indoor basketball court, but it’s not where the billionaires seem to be flocking to.
We’re glad to see that some buyers, at least, are still looking at the attention-starved glass condo/rental tower at 60 Riverside Boulevard. City records show that a mysterious buyer with limited imagination, 60 Riverside LLC has paid $13.7 million for unit 1601, a six-bedroom duplex.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
You might think that life would be impossibly pleasant for the set wealthy enough to buy magisterial spreads on the top fifteen floors of One57. But The New York Times reports that a potential storm is brewing on the building’s uppermost floors. Extell is deeply concerned that members of the “billionaire’s club” will clash with each other as they undertake massive renovations to the yet-to-be finished spaces.
Best Laid Plans
Last Friday night on far west Spring Street, the Ear Inn was crowded as usual. A mix of neighborhood regulars and happy-hour-indulging co-workers from the nearby loft buildings—architects, ad execs, programmers, writers—were crammed around the mahogany bar imbibing. Others were gathered outside around benches on the uncrowned sidewalk two blocks from the West Side Highway.
The bar has been there for 195 years, but forget asking for some sort of mixological cocktail that could be found at hundreds of establishments citywide pretending at this sort of authenticity. Above the bar, beyond the shelves of dusty liquor bottles, are glass carboys, ruddy green and brown glass, the size of harbor buoys. They held wine more than a century ago and disappeared into the bowels of the basement, only to be excavated in the 1970s when the bar was made over by a band of eccentric artists. One of their rank tended bar until five years ago. He has since moved upstate. Things change, then they don’t.
“We’ve gotten the holy trinity of Pret a Manger, Starbucks and Hale & Hearty soups, but otherwise the neighborhood looks the way you imagine it did 100 years ago,” said James Parvin, a segment producer at NBC who lives in a loft he converted himself on nearby Charlton Street.
We already know that the DMZ between the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen (call it Lower West End Avenue?) is a happening spot, with the Walentases, the Dursts, the Elghanyans, basically everybody building a slick new project over there. The biggest, of course, is Riverside Center, Gary Barnett’s massive reimagining of the final plots of the Riverside South complex.
Earlier this week, Extell returned to the local community board with plans for affordable housing in the project, according to DNAinfo, and therein he revealed the latest detailed designs for the Christian de Portzamparc-created project.
Remember when sales started at 15 Central Park West? And how the buyers were “supposed to be kept secret,” but everyone was too excited to keep quiet and they gossiped like crazy and all the buyers turned out to be really famous, exciting celebrities like Denzel Washington and Sting? Wasn’t that great? We were almost like best friends, us and 15 CPW, whispering late into the night together, swapping secrets.
One57, on the other-hand, is mysterious and distant and never tells us anything, huffs The New York Times in article about how different One57′s approach to publicity is from the good natured and totally cool about everything 15 CPW.