Real estate kerfuffles
Extell’s plan to cantilever over the Park Avenue Christian Church didn’t work out so well—neighbors and the Landmarks Commission kind of freaked out over the developer’s plan to build a 210-foot-tall condo tower that would wrap about the historic church’s spire and block a wall of stained glass windows. Extell has since backed off of the Park Avenue plan, promising a less controversial design by preservation experts Beyer Blinder Belle. But that doesn’t mean the developer is giving up the dream of cantilevering over a landmark—and this time it’s the Art Students League.
Amenity Arms Race
Sure, New York’s landscape is being remade by luxury condo towers, its streets mobbed by the Goyard and Louis Vuitton-toting global elite, the lower and middle classes pushed to the end of outer-borough subway lines. But is the transformation happening fast enough?
Apparently not. The city and state, eager to speed the ascent of the moneyed classes and Manhattan’s ongoing metamorphosis from a borough occupied by an economically-diverse population to one often unoccupied by the wealthy globe-trotters who view high-end real estate as an investment vehicle, are doing all that they can to ease the path of One57. The ultra-luxury tower, whose top-floor units have all but been spoken for by billionaires or investment groups led by billionaires willing and able to pay upwards of $90 million, has just received a plum work permit from the city, allowing around-the-clock seven-day-a-week construction work, according to DNAinfo.
We thought we’d heard it all: pet spas, rent-a-butlers, concierges who can plan a romantic date or hire a helicopter at the last minute. But apparently there is no end to the things that rich people want to be able to do from the comfort of their own living rooms. Like going to Barneys without actually having to go to Barneys. Because shopping for designer clothes and eating at Fred’s can be so draining!
Extell just announced that it is partnering with Barneys to offer residents of the Carlton House, the old Leona Helmsley hotel to super-luxury condo conversion at 21 East 61st Street, special access to a number of the upscale department store’s services. Carlton House owners will get VIP access to the store, personal stylists and entree to the penthouse suite for private shopping. (Trying on clothing around other people is, you know, kind of low brow.) Residents will also be able to order lunch and dinner delivery from Fred’s and get made-to-measure services, in-home custom suit services and home delivery of any in-store purchase.
Real estate kerfuffles
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.
And then there were condos
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.
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.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
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.
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.