In the Rezone
Based on the arguments made by those both for and against the Midtown East rezoning—a “sweeping proposal,” wrote New York magazine architecture critic Justin Davidson, with “swollen ambitions for the skyline”—one might think that the proposed land use change, which would affect 78 blocks between Second and Fifth Avenues and East 39th and East 57th Streets, would be a dramatic revision of New York City’s most hallowed business district.
Crain’s New York Business calls the plan “essential.” The Post’s Steve Cuozzo, ever a friend to big real estate, says it’s “vital to the city’s future, a way to ensure that Manhattan’s most desirable commercial zone can compete in the future with global capitals like London and Shanghai.”
It appears we underestimated the appeal of a key to Gramercy Park. Although we expect there’s probably more than access to a gated garden that’s driving sales at 18 Gramercy Park, the new condo conversion from the Zeckendorf/Robert A.M. Stern team. The 16-unit building had six units, all of them listed for more than $14.5 million, go into contract last week, according to Olshan Realty’s Luxury Market report (although the units most likely went into contract sometime over the past month).
The most expensive unit, a duplex penthouse listed for $42 million, went into contract earlier this month, reportedly for the full $42 million ask to Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander. And while $42 million might look like a steal compared to the prices paid at 15 Central Park West, the Zeckendorf’s other collaboration with A.M. Stern, it’s an impressive get. A downtown record, in fact.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
The paint had scarcely dried at 15 Central Park West before the building’s first residents set to knocking down the walls and stripping out the ultra-luxury condo’s ultra-luxurious finishes. Not that the finishes were lacking—like the layouts, they were widely considered to be exquisite—a stunning marriage of old-fashioned grandeur and modern sensibilities. In fact, ex-Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill thought that architect Robert A.M. Stern had done such a fine job designing the building that he hired him to do a massive renovation on his brand new, $43.7 million penthouse.
In the upper echelons of Manhattan real estate, the pursuit of perfection is as common as Sub-Zero refrigerators and private elevator landings. Haunted by dreams of what could be, owners are forever tearing magnificent properties apart in the hopes of transforming them into even more magnificent properties.
Such dreams often pay off handsomely. To wit, Mr. Weill’s freshly-renovated penthouse was so striking that it fetched $88 million shortly after completion. But of course, it would surprise no one, particularly not Nicholas S.G. Stern, son of A.M. and the owner of boutique construction concern Stern Projects LLC., if the Russian tycoon who bought the celebrated spread started his own renovation any day now.
Robert A.M. Stern, that dapper dean of old-school architects, sits down with The Times for one of its patented 30-Minute Interviews today.
There’s an interesting discussion of why 15 Central Park West is the bonanza that it is, and why Mr. Stern does not live there because of it (he likes the windows at the home he built for himself inside another project, The Chatham). But what really struck us was his song and dance about starchitects, and basically how the rest are pretenders.
Mr. Ross' Neighborhood
It may be bigger than Baltimore or Stamford, and it will probably be prettier, too. The plans for Hudson Yards continue to impress, as the office towers get refined and high-profile firms sign up to do the residential buildings. The first big news was that High Line designers Diller Scofidio + Renfro would be responsible for one of the apartment buildings, and now The Observer has learned that none other than money-minting godhead Robert A.M. Stern is designing another.
Steve Ross has actually been a regular client of Mr. Stern’s in the past.
In light of the recent news that the former New York IRT Powerhouse has joined the “Seven to Save” preservation list, notable builders and community members have spoken out about the historic value of the building.
Once, living in a building with celebrity residents or prewar pedigree was the goal of every nouveau riche New Yorker. Trump International, anyone? Yes, please, 740 Park.
Now upwardly mobile denizens of our great city have slightly different aspirations: starchitect developments; that is, buildings designed by jet-setting, Pritzker-prize winning architectural wizards, typically of the old guard variety. While some have suggested that the starchitect craze is the result of pure unadulterated vanity, it turns out that buildings have made a pretty penny since they began to sprout up a decade ago, Crain’s reports.
The Journal has a story today about the efforts it’s taken to sell the penthouse at One Jackson Square, a wavy glass condo on the northern edge of the West Village designed by the typically-staid-but-a-standout-here KPF and developed by Hines and Aby Rosen’s RFR. It took more than a $2.8 million price-cut, to $18.5 Read More
With the Whitney really, truly, finally for sure moving downtown – into a Vader-like new building, no less — its old ominous digs will soon be forlorn and vacant. The Met has expressed interest in moving in in some capacity, but New York architecture critic Justin Davidson and design doyen Robert A.M. Read More
It has been a banner year for architect Bob Stern, the Yale dean and New York designer. His classic-meets-modern condo buildings have won the praises of the brokers and the buyers, setting records this year both uptown and down. Now, he is getting recognition from his fellow architects, as Stern was just Read More