Friday 20 April 2018

NY developers reach for sky to build towers for rich

One57 building
One57 building

Davin Leonard

IT WAS seen as one of the great white elephants of the post-crisis property boom when construction began, but the One57 tower in New York has proved to be so popular that it is now inspiring competitors.

The 75-storey super-structure, which is still under construction, is one the few skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan devoted almost entirely to condominiums.

Pilloried when the plans were announced, Extell Development's ultra-luxury development is now receiving the highest form of complement: copying.

Rival developers are now rushing to complete competing towers in the same general area south of Central Park.

Three such buildings are rising on once-unfashionable West 53rd Street, just four blocks south of the svelte superstructure that has become a favourite of hedge fund managers and foreign billionaires.

The newcomers are not as tall as the One57 property, but they have some of the same trimming.

One of the copycats is the Baccarat Hotel & Residences, a 50-storey tower under development on West 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue, across from the Museum of Modern Art.

Mark Gordon, a managing partner of Tribeca Associates, which is behind the the Baracat along with Barry Sternlicht's Starwood Capital Management, concedes that his building can't match the vertical reach of the One57 tower.

But in the time-honoured New York developer style, Gordon says that this factor is actually a selling point: "Not everybody wants to live in the tallest building in Midtown. Buyers love that they only have to share the building with 59 families."

The views at the Baccarat presumably leave something to be desired compared with those to be found at One57.

Still, more than half of the 60 units have sold for prices ranging from $4m (€3.1m) for a one-bedroom to $60m for a two-floor penthouse.

Some real-estate experts warn of an oversupply of luxury dwellings in the area – and Extell plans to contribute to it.

The developer is building a second tower that will soar even higher than One57.

Extell President Gary Banrett isn't worried about running out of buyers – not with the sweeping Central Park views that he has to offer.

"That's the money shot," he told the New York Times last autumn.

Those 53rd Street upstarts will have to make do without them (Bloomberg).

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