Perched on the edge of the entrance to the George Washington Bridge, in one of the few development sites still available in the Hudson Heights section of Washington Heights, is the site of The Ammann. A 24-unit condominium building that has been under construction for about two years now and is nearing completion, The Ammann is poised to bring downtown luxury to a genteel corner of upper Manhattan.
Named for Othmar Ammann, the Swiss-born structural engineer who designed the George Washington Bridge, the building sits on the site of a former synagogue at the corner of 179th Street and Pinehurst Avenue.
The replacement of the synagogue with a luxury condominium building is indicative of the many changes in demography taking place in Washington Heights as a whole. Within Washington Heights is Hudson Heights, which is bounded by 179 Street in the south, Broadway on the east, Fort Tryon Park on the north, and the Hudson River on the west. It is an increasingly-popular neighborhood for young families and others seeking an urban lifestyle but with a bit of the feel of Westchester Village.
A Built-in Challenge to Build On
Positioned as it is, the Ammann building site presented a very specific challenge for the Astoria, Queens firm of NDKazalas Architecture. The views from the building stretche 270 degrees and include the Bronx, Manhattan, the Hudson River, and the Palisades. However, the proximity to the George Washington bridge and entry ramp also created a noise problem.
NDKazalas Architecture’s Edwin Castrillon, who worked on the project, came up with a solution. “The windows are laminated with a film that reduces sound filtration from outside,” he says. “It cuts down the increased noise from the bridge by approximately 90 percent.”
New Price Heights in the Heights
Prices for co-op and condominium apartments in Washington Heights have risen by almost 56 percent over the last five years. According to online residential real estate listing service Trulia, the average sales price per square-foot for apartments in Washington Heights stands at about $820, up from approximately $725 per square-foot a year earlier. However, The Ammann -- which consists of one- and two-bedroom apartments and penthouse units -- has taken offerings to a new level. Its apartments are priced up to $1,026 per square foot, and two sales have already occurred there at $983 per square foot each. So what makes the difference for this project?
According to Castrillon, Orient Development, the developers of the property, put a great deal of thought and effort into both the interior and exterior finishes. Units have terraces and/or balconies to capitalize on the spectacular views. Kitchens and bathrooms have top-shelf amenities and finishes, including Bosch and Blomberg appliances. Each apartment has its own in-unit washer and dryer. Bathroom amenities are also top-of-the-line and outfitted with Porcelanosa tiles and deep soaking tubs.
But perhaps the most inviting amenities are outside the building. The property features both a community roof deck and a backyard garden, as outdoor space is one of the most sought-after amenities for many New Yorkers. Other building highlights include a resident gym, free bike storage, and a virtual doorman.
James and Helen Wu, who co-own Orient Development, have had developed six other condo properties in upper Manhattan, prior to The Ammann.
“We have more opportunity to build affordable luxury in Washington Heights for those who can’t afford to buy the same level of luxury downtown,” says Helen, who loves the diversity of the neighborhood, about The Ammann. “We build the same quality for younger generation buyers, same quality, lower price.”
Sales at The Ammann, which recently launched, are being handled by Bohemia Realty Group.
AJ Sidransky is a staff writer at The Cooperator, and a published novelist.