The Sky's the Limit New Construction and Development in 2007

While the real estate market across the country has cooled in general, it's still going strong in New York. The New York City market has always stood apart from the rest of the country, for reasons that everybody here practically knows by heart: limited space, high demand, lots of people with lots of money, and highly desirable, one-of-a-kind properties. Whether buyers hope to reside in historic buildings or state-of-the art modern architecture, New York's real estate market without question offers some of the most sought-after properties in the world.

To meet the demand for apartments, a multitude of new projects have been completed for 2007, are currently underway or are on the horizon for the near future. Interestingly, a significant number of new construction projects are condominiums, which will put more condos on the market than in years past.

Hot Neighborhoods

New construction, conversions and development are occurring across the entire city, but for 2007, several areas are seeing more concentrated growth.

"We're seeing a lot of new development in West Chelsea, which is fast becoming one of New York City's most important artistic centers," says Kelly Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. "With the breadth of art galleries coupled with so many top architects like Jean Nouvel and Audrey Matluck designing new buildings in the area, West Chelsea is becoming one of New York City's most vibrant neighborhoods."

Pamela Liebman, president and chief executive officer of The Corcoran Group, concurs. "The new Jean Nouvel Tower at 100 11th Street is an example of really beautiful architecture, and it's going to attract a lot of attention from downtown buyers," she says.

"I think the new development in the upcoming Columbus Circle West will quickly create an ideal neighborhood for those who want the sophistication of the Upper West Side with the accessibility to Midtown," adds Mack. "Buyers are very excited about the great development in this area."

"There's a lot happening just west of Time Warner neighborhood, near Columbus Circle," says Liebman. She cites Element, a 35-story glass tower that will offer 198 units and deluxe amenities; 10 West End Avenue, by Apollo Real Estate Advisors; the Avery, a 32-story condo at Riverside Boulevard and 65th Street, the Rushmore, at 80 Riverside Boulevard, by Extell Development Company.

"The Financial District is seeing a lot of concentrated development; a few years ago we sold one of the first condominiums in this area, Downtown by Philippe Starck. Since then it has quickly become a residential enclave," said Mack.

One of these developments, The Setai, is sure to attract a lot of attention. The Setai Group and Zamir Equities are converting a 25-year-old office building into a luxury condo and exclusive, members-only spa. Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston International is redesigning the 30-story building, located at 40 Broad Street. The condo will include 167 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from 475 to 3,424 square feet and priced from $645,000 to $6.75 million. Renovations are expected to be completed by summer 2007.

Elizabeth Stribling, president of Stribling and Associates Ltd., also points to the up and coming area around Wall Street, which she says, "today has more residential condominium developments than investment banks. During the past 10 years, lower Manhattan has dramatically transformed itself from a business community into a 24/7 residential and mixed-use district."

Swig Equities is redesigning The Exchange, a history landmark building at 25 Broad Street. One block away from the stock exchange, the construction will have 346 units priced from $850,000 to $2.5 million. Condos will range from 718-square-foot one-bedrooms to 2,540-square-foot three-bedrooms. Occupancy is scheduled for May 2007.

On the Lower East Side at 105 Norfolk Street, Blue, a 16-story condominium with a stark blue exterior will have 32 units ranging from 700 to 2,000 square feet, with prices from $700,000 to as much as $3 million. Construction has already begun on the project and is expected to be finished by fall 2007. Bernard Tschumi and SLCE Architects designed the building.

Another Lower East Side development that is cutting-edge is 100 West 18th Street. Developed by The Brauser Group with modernist Australian architect Garrett Gourlay, the 10-story building will have 41 residential units ranging from $1.3 million to $2.3 million and will be completed in December 2007. The units will range from 800-square-foot one-bedrooms to 3,000-square-foot four-bedrooms.

New and Noteworthy Projects

"The portfolio of developments that we are working on is extremely exciting," says Mack of Corcoran Sunshine's newest projects. "We are seeing development throughout the entire city from the Financial District to the Upper West Side, from 'boutique' buildings to large-scale condominiums."

Liebman notes that the Lucida at 85th and Lexington, developed by Extell, has generated interest. "It's a glass tower with large apartments. Because of the bigger space and wonderful amenities, I think you will see lines out the door." In addition, she says, the conversion to condos of the Mark Hotel at 25 East 77th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues has created a lot of buzz. And she cites the Related Companies' 206-unit condo building, the Brompton, on at East 86th Street and Third Avenue, as one to watch as well.

Other current projects to note:

• 40 Mercer in Soho: A 15-story new construction building that spans the length of one block.

• 40 Bond: a redesign of a cast-iron building in Soho with occupancy set for spring 2007.

• Hudson Blue (423 West Street): a 10-floor new building located on the West Village waterfront, and scheduled for occupancy in spring 2007.

• 10 West End Avenue: a 33-story, glass-clad luxury residential condominium tower slated for summer 2007 occupancy.

• 170 East End Avenue: with condos ranging from one to six bedrooms, this project, designed by architect Peter Marino, is scheduled for occupancy in fall 2007.

• Ariel East (2628 Broadway) and West (245 West 99th): with anticipated occupancy in fall 2007, are two glass towers with residences ranging from two to five bedrooms.

• The Avery (100 Riverside Boulevard): located at Riverside and 65th, is a full service residence slated for occupancy in fall 2007.

• The Stanhope: at 995 Fifth Avenue, the converted hotel was developed by Extell Development Company and includes 26 co-op units that can be customized.

• The Plaza: the iconic hotel on the south side of Central Park will include a mix of private residence condos and hotel suite condos, and has garnered a great deal of attention. The conversion will include 180 condominiums and 152 hotel suites available for purchase as hotel condominiums.

New Development

While many new developments are in the works for 2007 and beyond, a few to watch include:

• The William Beaver House at 15 William Street, the first all-new construction condominium tower in the Financial District, is a 47-story building with 22,000 square feet of amenity space.

• The Chelsea Modern, 447 West 18 Street, is a 12-story, 47-unit boutique development with an all-glass ribboned façade, located in West Chelsea. Some of the units will offer galleries and studios for creating or displaying art collections.

• Harsen House at 120 West 72nd Street: One of the first LEED-certified "green" buildings on the Upper West Side. The 16-story boutique-style building includes homes ranging from two to four bedrooms.

• The Lucida, at 151 East 85th Street, is an 18-story LEED-certified building. It offers 110 units that will range from two to five bedrooms.

• Linden78, at 230 West 78th Street, is a full-service, new construction condo building located on the Upper West Side between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway.

An Increase in Condos

Although co-ops have historically out-numbered condos in the city in terms of availability, that trend has shifted slightly as more condos and condo projects continue to enter the market this year. And while co-ops still make up the vast majority of residences, the gap has become smaller over the past 20 years. Today the mix is about 75 percent co-op to 25 percent condo.

The Market Today

"The New York City market, including Brooklyn, has been incredibly hot over past few years. Overall, we've seen a huge demand for apartments," says Liebman.

The current economic climate in the city has a great deal of influence on the market. Two of the biggest influences—the stock market and the record-breaking Wall Street bonuses of 2006—have been factors in both the number of sales and the increase in development.

"The state of the market is strong," says Mack, citing 2006 as one of Corcoran's best years in terms of sales. The organization's research shows that sales of luxury condominiums (apartments sold for more than $2 million) in 2006 were more than 80 percent higher than in 2005. Continuing that trend, 2007 has started off strong as well. "Our research shows that this has been the best January in five years," says Mack.

In addition, a tight rental market is driving an increase in the number of purchases.

As the demand for property increases overall, the number of luxury properties is on the rise as well. "Prices of luxury projects have climbed steadily," says Liebman. "The success of the Plaza and 15 Central Park West speaks to demand for that type of product. The Mark Hotel and the Stanhope will continue that tradition along with several other buildings that will offer spectacular locations along with a unique upscale product."

In an attempt to meet the demand for luxury residences, driven in part by so-called "starchitecture" projects, developers are desperate to find locations that will lend themselves to luxury building. "The problem is that they can't find the sites to build on," says Liebman.

Although an exact figure was unavailable, Mack is confident that the market will see an overall rise in available units over 2006. "There will be an inventory increase in 2007, as the current demand for residences requires it," she says.

Stephanie Mannino is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to The Cooperator.

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