Astor Place: Moving Units at a Snail’s Pace


Back in early April, the Wall Street Journal reported that the undulating, glass-sheathed Sculpture for Living was looking like a white elephant. “[J]ust one condo has sold since September, leaving 15 of the 39 units empty,” wrote The Journal.

This week, New York magazine looks at some possible reasons for the slow sales.

Was it Paul Goldberger’s scathing New Yorker piece? (For those who forgot this critical takedown, Mr. Goldberger thankfully keeps it, like a trophy, on his website here).

Could it be the new fangled “condop?” Selling high-end units on a land-lease sure hasn’t helped the Stanhope, either. (Third item down).

Or perhaps it’s the neighborhood that’s keeping away the super-swanky, downtown buyers–who may feel more at home in Tribeca–from dropping $5 or $10 million on an apartment. Perhaps they are a bit wary of the Sparks-drinking skateboarders or gloomy goth kids lingering around The Cube. Not to mention all those drunk NYU kids passing by late at night, or the not-so-spectacular views of the K-Mart across the street.

But maybe everything’s actually alright in luxury real estate land. As Related VP David Wine tells the magazine: “[It’s] a very big financial success.”

He might be right. But it’s not surprising that when the pace of sales doesn’t live up to the hyperbolic marketing campaigns that go into so many new starchitect-designed buildings, it may just appear to be a failure (even though it could turn a profit in the long run).

Michael Calderone

Astor Place: Moving Units at a Snail’s Pace