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Developer’s bet on huge $35M penthouse pays off

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From Crains New York

Developers bet on huge $35M penthouse pays off

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A bet by Manhattan-based developer Witkoff on a slowing segment of the market has paid off: After the firm combined floor plans for two apartments at 10 Madison Square West into a single penthouse last year, it announced Friday that the unit recently went into contract for $35 million, about 21% more than what it would have gone for if they were sold separately.

The firm, led by Steven Witkoff, snapped up 10 Madison Square, the former Toy Building, in a 2011 auction for $190 million. And with plans to gut the tower and construct a six-story addition to the top of the property, which overlooks Madison Square Park, the developer sold 75% of the units within three months after they hit the market. However, a handful of apartments, including two on the 22nd floor, were more difficult to unload.

“As two separate units, they were tougher to sell,” said Kirk Rundhaug of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, which handles sales at the building, noting that 22A was not the best-flowing apartment and 22B was listed for a high price per square foot.

But Elliman and Witkoff decided to redraw floor plans for a 6,500-square-foot, full-floor, five-bedroom apartment instead, after seeing a need in the market for larger homes. But in some ways, the move was still a risky one. An influx of newly built or renovated ultraluxury apartments are hitting the market, and the more expensive units have been selling at a slower pace.

Manhattan’s absorption rate—the amount of time it would take to sell all the apartments on the market—increased by more than 40% for luxury units between the first quarter of 2014 and this year, according to a recent market report from Elliman, which identified luxury units as anything north of $3.35 million.

“There are still a lot of buyers, but they are saying, ‘I have more choices now,’” Mr. Rundhaug said.

Modifying unit size to adjust for market conditions is a common tool for condo developers. For example, the developers of 432 Park decided last summer to go small and convert plans for two units on the 34th floor into 14 studio apartments instead, according to documents from the state attorney general’s office. In the case of 10 Madison Square West, creating a larger apartment by melding two units paid off for Witkoff. Now that the 22nd-floor penthouse is in contract, there is only one apartment still for sale.

“We are thrilled that there has been such strong demand,” Lauren Witkoff, a senior vice president at the firm, said in a statement.

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Alloy’s Plymouth Street Lofts Almost Sold Out Already

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Image by: Hanart

From Curbed NY:

Alloy’s Plymouth Street Lofts Almost Sold Out

Alloy won the Landmarks Commission’s very enthusiastic approval for Dumbo’s first townhouses earlier this month, and now there’s more good news for the development/design team: another of their projects, ten enormous loftsat 185 Plymouth Street, are already 80 percent sold less than a week after they were approved for sale, without ever even being listed publicly. Alloy tells us that they actually received offers on all ten of the units, but decided to hold off on selling the two penthouses, which are now asking $3.4 million (#PHN) and $3.95 million (#PHS). Floorplans (and some cool before pics) are available on the building’s brand new website.

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Most Expensive Condo Unit at One Fulton Square About to Close

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Image by Hanart

One Fulton Sq

 

From Brownstoner Queens:

Most Expensive Condo Unit at One Fulton Square About to Close

The developers at One Fulton Square, the new Flushing condo development, will close this week on their biggest deal yet. Queens Courier reports that a buyer just snatched up a three-bedroom penthouse apartment for $2,053,000. The unit is a total of 2,033 square feet and boasts a wraparound terrace of close to 1,100 square feet. (The photo above is of a similar model unit.)

No word on who the buyer is. Last summer when the project was still fully under construction, thedevelopment was nearly 50 percent spoken for due to the influx of Chinese buyers to the area. Here’s a rendering for the next phase of the development, Two Fulton Square.

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Borough’s First Hyatt-Branded Hotel Holds Grand Opening in Flushing

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Image by Hanart:

With sushi, specialty drinks and an energetic, positive atmosphere, Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia Airport held its grand opening last night, June 26th. Located directly across from Flushing Mall at 133-42 39th Avenue, the 168-room property is the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Queens. It features a rooftop outdoor garden area (above) with spectacular panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and an indoor swimming pool, as well as about 1,000 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space. Believed to be the borough’s one hundredth hotel, Hyatt Place is part of One Fulton Square (rendition at bottom), F & T Group‘s latest Flushing development comprising of 330,000 square feet of retail, hotel, office, and luxury residential condominiums on three-glass levels.

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Penthouse Loft at 185 Plymouth Street in DUMBO Sells for $3 Million

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Image by Hanart:

From 6sqft.com:

Penthouse Loft at 185 Plymouth Sells for $3M

Just in time for Alloy‘s penned Spring 2014 move-in date, the north penthouse (#PHN) at 185 Plymouth Street closed yesterday afternoon for $3.08 million, according to city records. All units in the former Brillo factory are officially now sold out.

Units in the coveted DUMBO property hit the market March of last year, and after managing to sell eight units in less than a week without even listing the property, Alloy decided to raise the prices of the two remaining units, #PHN and #PHS, to $3.4 million and $3.95 million respectively. But that clearly didn’t slow buyers down from wanting to lay claim to some of DUMBO’s hottest new property.

These light filled lofts are nothing short of spectacular with literal walls of windows overlooking the courtyard and the East River; not to mention private outdoor space with insane Manhattan views.

PHN is a sprawling 2,156 square feet with 2,049 square feet of outdoor space, boasting landscaped terraces, oversized glass doors, and marble master baths accented with a dual shower and a skylight.

And this penthouse isn’t the only unit with amazing features. All of 185′s lofts have large living spaces and tall ceilings with exposed timber structural beams. And speaking of exposed, each of the lofts will have exposed brick walls, along with beautiful wide-plank flooring. The kitchens will have Italian Rifra white lacquer cabinetry; top-of-the-line appliances; and tons of counter space, including a 10’ island — the kind of luxury a true New Yorker can really appreciate.

The building’s additional amenities include an exercise room, bike storage and a 24hr virtual doorman.

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10 Madison Square West Combines Two Penthouses, Asks $35M

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From Curbed NY:

10 Madison Sq West Combines 2 Penthouses, Asks $35M

Buoyed by the rampant success of his 10 Madison Square project — 119 of the 125 units are already in contract a mere nine months after sales launched— developer Steve Witkoff has decided to offer the two penthouses planned for the 22nd floor as one $35 million combo. The combined full-floor pad would total 6,515 square feet with five beds, six and a half baths, and 1,736 square feet of outdoor space split between two terraces. The master suite alone total 1,400 square feet, with his and hers dressing rooms each of which is the size of a tiny studio apartment. So that’s good, you know, if you’re into that kind of thing. The listing is currently live only on the 10 Madison Square West official website. [Update: And now it’s up on the Elliman site, too.]

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10 MSW Retail Sells For $60M

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From Curbed NY:

10 MSW Retails Sells for $60M

FLATIRON DISTRICT—The Witkoff Group’s 16-unit residential project 10 Madison Square West has seen fast condo sales (and bonkers prices), and now the 20,676-square-foot retail space has also found a buyer. The real estate investment firm Savanna paid $60 million for the space, located at the corner of Broadway and West 24th Street. They are now looking for a “major retailer” to lease the space.

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Construction Update: 10 Madison Square West

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From New York YIMBY:

Construction Update: 10 Madison Square West

10 Madison Square West – located in the former Toy Building – is making strides in its conversion to residential space, and the project’s 5-story vertical addition is now taking shape. Located at 1107 Broadway, the development will eventually house 125 new condominiums, and marketing is geared towards families – current plans call for no studios, with units ranging from one to five bedrooms.

The project’s architect is Alan Wanzenberg, and Douglas Elliman is handling sales – the firm’s pageon the development has renderings and further details, though the building’s official website is simply a registration page that looks like a Tommy Hilfiger ad. The Observer also covered 10 Madison Square West.

Adaptive re-use is an absolute necessity in cities like New York, where pre-war architecture not necessarily designed for residential use is still in enormous abundance. The old Toy Building was particularly nice, but its conversion to residential will result in something actually suited to the new Flatiron/NoMad surroundings – the neighborhood is at the center of New York’s ‘Silicon Alley’, and the demand for new housing is through the roof.

Preservationists should also be satisfied with the minor increase in 10 Madison Square’s height, which could easily be emulated in historic districts throughout the city. If a conversion can successfully blend a contextual addition with the old bones of the existing project – with no real visual difference between the two parts – there is absolutely no harm in renovating historic structures.

Though botched expansions certainly do occur, it appears that 10 Madison Square West will be a prime example of how to redevelop correctly, and the renovated building will still exude pre-war beauty – just with modern interiors.

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No Toys, but a Park Nearby

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From The New York Times:

No Toys, but a Park Nearby

If only New Yorkers knew what all those toy marketers must have known — that the Toy Building North has some of the best views of the city’s most striking buildings — it might have become residential long ago.

Now to be called 10 Madison Square West, the former 16-story Toy Building North, which is on the west side of Madison Square Park at 24th Street, is being converted to 125 condominiums that will go on the market this month. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of next year.

The building, at 1107 Broadway, was once part of the International Toy Center, attached by a ninth-floor pedestrian bridge over 24th Street to its neighbor to the south, 200 Fifth Avenue, for a total of 1 million square feet of toy showrooms. The larger building at 200 Fifth Avenue is still an office building, although it also houses the massive Italian food emporium Eataly. The sky bridge is no longer used and will most likely be demolished.

The Witkoff Group acquired the nearly 380,000-square-foot former toy showroom building at auction in 2011 for about $190 million and will spend about $300 million renovating it; the developer recently began marketing the building in earnest.

“We originally came in thinking we were going to look at it as an office property,” said Steven C. Witkoff, the chairman and chief executive of the Witkoff Group. But after entering the building and seeing views of the Flatiron Building, the New York Life Building with its gold pyramid roof, and the MetLife Clock Tower that “not many people have had the opportunity to do, it was just clear” that residential condos were the way to go, he said.

Previous developers had experimented with visions of taking the former Toy Building North and making eye candy for big kids with blocky condo additions. Starting in 2005, two groups tried condo conversions, the first one running up against entrenched business tenants. The building has been virtually vacant, its interiors gutted, since 2007, when the economy began suffering and a development partnership including Tessler Developments bought it in a failed attempt to create about 190 units.

But the Witkoff Group, which demolished a 40,000-square-foot portion of the building on the northwestern side of its horseshoe-shaped structure, will add that square footage to the top in a fairly streamlined six-story addition dovetailing with the original structure’s design. The demolished section, hemmed in by 12-story buildings, never offered much in the way of views, but the developers will turn the now-cleared space into a private courtyard for residents.

There will be one- to five-bedroom apartments at 10 Madison Square West, according to Douglas Elliman Development Marketing; the bulk will be three-bedrooms. Prices will start around $1 million, for a one-bedroom, and exceed $25 million for the five-bedroom penthouse.

The addition will contain 14 large units being called “tower residences,” many with terraces, said Susan M. de França, the president and chief executive of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing.

The developer is retaining many of the same window openings but will be enlarging windows in rooms at the corners; it has designed larger windows in the tower as well. Residences at the conjunction of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 24th Street will have living rooms with three-way panoramic views, said Scott Alper, a principal of Witkoff.

Besides a new lobby and concierge desk, the building will have 10,000 square feet of amenity space on a lower level that will be reached from a grand staircase in the lobby. This will include a 60-foot swimming pool and a hot tub; locker rooms for men and women, each with steam and sauna; a 2,000-square-foot fitness center; and a separate Pilates studio, all programmed by the Wright Fit, Ms. de França said. There will also be a children’s play-and-party space with kitchen, along with a spa-treatment room.

The interior designer is Alan Wanzenberg, the founder of Alan Wanzenberg Architect and Design, which worked with the Witkoff Group on its development at 150 Charles Street. Mr. Wanzenberg said he intended to bring the same classic design sense to 10 Madison Square West, using materials like bianco Carrara marble tile, large-format white porcelain tile, wide-plank oak and reclaimed cedar.

Mr. Witkoff, who is largely envisioning families for the units, said he was optimistic about the project because of the building’s central location in Manhattan and proximity to Madison Square Park, which has undergone a renaissance in the last decade.

“What the Madison Square Park Conservancy has done with that park is nothing short of extraordinary,” he said. “It’s really upped the ante for a lot of the properties right there. People want to live there.”

A competing glass tower nearby, One Madison, at 23 East 22nd Street, similarly went through a succession of owners; it will now be marketed by the Related Companies. Mr. Witkoff said pricing at 10 Madison Square Park would start out modestly.“We believe in pricing that creates a lot of interest,” he said, “and we bought the property well, and we can afford to do it that way, so we intend to do that.” The Toy Building North has always been unassuming. Though one of its two designers was William Van Alen, who went on to design the Chrysler Building, this one has almost been more noteworthy for what it replaced — two distinguished hotels — than the office building itself.

A version of this article appears in print on June 2, 2013, on page RE1 of the New York edition with the headline: No Toys, but a Park Nearby.

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