A $1 billion financing package from Asia has cleared the way for one of Manhattan's tallest skyscrapers and new gallery space for the Museum of Modern Art.   Singapore's billionaire Kwee family, which controls property developer Pontiac Land Group, is making about a $300 million equity investment in the metal and glass tower designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, according to people briefed on the deal.

This means the revival of one of the city's most talked about pre-crisis real-estate projects, one that drew critical acclaim as well as protests from some neighbors when it was unveiled in 2007. Progress slowed during the recession and its aftermath when financing for such big projects dried up.

Nouvel's initial project was for a 1,250-foot building, which wasn't approved by the City Planning Commission. (A hotel was once part of the plans, too.) The City Council ultimately decided that Nouvel needed to chop 200 feet off the building's height, and it's that 1,050-foot version that will rise thanks to this new cash infusion.

The now planned 78-story 1050-foot Jean Nouvel-designed building at 53 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues will consist of 480,000 square feet of apartments atop a 92,000-square-foot hotel and include space for a the MOMA and a restaurant. “It will be the ultimate destination for the world’s most elite buyers.”
  The tower, known as 53 West 53rd Street, (or Tower Verre) will feature 145 luxury condominiums, along with the biggest expansion for MoMA since 2004: 36,000 square feet of new gallery space on the museum's second, fourth and fifth floors.    Construction is expected to begin in 2014 on the 1,050-foot-tall building on vacant land adjacent to the museum, with the first residents arriving in 2018.
Photos courtesy of 53w53.com
432 PARK AVENUE, an extraordinary 1,396-foot condo tower designed by Rafael Viñoly, will become the tallest building in New York City and the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere upon its completion in 2015.  The views from high floor apartments are going to be truly spectacular!

Located on Park Avenue between 56th and 57th Street, 432 Park Avenue is in a great Manhattan location, surrounded by world class shopping, art and design and very close to Central Park. This slim and elegant square condominium tower will be 96 stories high. All windows measure an expansive 10 feet by 10 feet, flooding residences with abundant natural light and providing spectacular views of Central Park, the Hudson and East Rivers, Atlantic Ocean, and many iconic Man­­hattan buildings and avenues.

In the tradition of New York City’s finest apartment houses and hotels, residents will enjoy 30,000 square feet of amenities including a private restaurant, outdoor garden for dining and events, spa and fitness center with sauna, steam and massage rooms, 75-foot swimming pool, library, lounge, billiards room, screening room and performance venue, children’s playroom, and boardroom. In-suite catering, concierge, 24-hour doorman, and valet parking services will be provided by the building’s handpicked staff.

Residences include private elevator landings, separate service entrances, eat-in kitchens, windowed his-and-her bathrooms and large master suites with adjoining dressing rooms. Interior finishes include 12.5-foot  ceilings, solid oak flooring, custom hardware, and the highest quality natural materials. Kitchens feature custom cabinetry, Miele stainless steel appliances, Dornbracht fixtures, and marble countertops and flooring. Master bathrooms are fitted in book-matched slabs of Italian statuario marble and contain freestanding soaking tubs, custom vanity units and radiant-heated floors. Residents will also have the exclusive ability to purchase climate-controlled wine cellars, office suites, staff apartments, and storage facilities as a complement to their residence.

The building offers many large apartment layouts, including full-floor penthouse floor plans for the 85th-88th-floor units and the 91st-96th-floor units, one of which is already in contract for $95 million.432 Park Avenue, currently now under construction in Midtown Manhattan, has signed contracts for half its 99 residential units.  The building’s total asking price is $2.7 billion, according to a filing with the New York attorney general. This means that 432 Park won’t only be Manhattan’s tallest condo tower (and the tallest residential building in the Western hemisphere), it will also be the condo tower with the highest total asking price.  Demand for the high-end units remains strong.   The average price per square foot of units sold is about $6,000    Demand for high-price apartments is strong partly because, for now, not that much inventory is available. Brokers also point to a rush of affluent investors looking for hard assets that offer a view and other amenities.  Prices for individual units, when considered in light of that $2.7B total, don't sound so high: current availability is $20 million to $82.5 million.
Photos courtesy
of  http://432parkavenue.com
If you are interested in buying an apartment in 432 Park Avenue, please click on the link below to request more information or call (212) 991-8072
44-story new construction / new development condo at 50 United Nations Plaza will launch sales this fall, and now finally some details have emerged about the 88-unit tower designed by globally-renowned architects Foster + Partners.   Pricing has not yet been finalized but we can have a look at a few floor plans.
The A unit  on floors 17 to 34 is a 2,609-square feet two-bedrooms with libraries and three bathrooms.
The B unit  is 3,004 square feet and has 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
The huge 15,597-square-foot triplex Penthouse will be priced at $100 million.  It will have its own private pool, revealed in the photo below.  It  will have 14 bedrooms, 13 full bathrooms, a fireplace and 1,500 square feet of outdoor space, with a 10,000-pound stainless-steel staircase leading to the infinity-edge pool.
Prices for other apartments will start at $2.5 million.  50 United Nations Plaza will be a striking addition to the East River skyline upon its completion in 2014.   Located across First Avenue from the United Nations, this 44-story luxury residential tower was planned with the international diplomatic community in mind. One parking spot will be guaranteed for each apartment in a secure garage to meet the needs of the tower’s future residents.
Photos courtesy of www.50unp.com
If you are interested in buying an apartment at 50 United Nations Plaza, please click on the link below to request more information or call (212) 991-8072
It is 2013 and there are new condo developments in Manhattan. Here are some of the latest coming on the market.

The Sterling Mason, 71 Laight Street, New York, NY

33-unit building, with spacious two- to five-bedrooms (only three per floor) ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet. Building amenities include a library, a 92Y Wonderplay kids room, a courtyar, a fitness room with a yoga studio and underground parking. Construction is expected to be complete in the fall of 2014. Prices range from $3.9 million to $22 million.

Village Green West, 245 West 14 Street, New York, NY

This 12-story condo, which is “targeting” LEED Gold certification, will include 27 one- to three-bedroom residences, plus four floor-through penthouses. Kitchens feature Smeg cooktops and convection ovens, Liebherr fridges and Miele dishwashers; bathrooms have Lefroy Brooks fixtures. Building amenities include: roof terrace, wellness center, sauna, treatment room, coffee bar and bike storage. One-bedrooms start at $1.2 million, penthouses go from $7.6 million to $9 million.

Greenwich Lane, Seventh Avenue South, between 11 & 12 Streets, New York, NY

St. Vincent’s medical center has been redesigned and converted to luxurious Greenwich Lane — a collective of five buildings and five townhouses in the heart of the West Village. What unites all 200 one- to six-bedroom units is a “lush, private central garden.” Each of the buildings will have its own unique look — the architecture comes courtesy of FXFowle; interiors are by Thomas O’Brien of Aero. Sales launch in fall 2013; closings anticipated to begin late 2015. Prices are expected to range from $2 million to over $20 million.

Halcyon, 305 East 51 Street, New York, NY 10022

This is a luxury new condo development in Midtown East, in proximity to the United Nations.  Each of its 123 one- to four-bedroom units of this 32-story condo will enjoy 10-foot ceilings, oak wood flooring, double-paned energy-efficient windows and spa-like master bathrooms with honed marble and brushed bronze fixtures. Prices range from $1.3 million to above $10 million. Amenities include a 21-foot pool, Aqua Spa, gym and sauna. This building should be completed in the second half of 2015.

One Vandam, 180 Avenue of the Americas (180 Sixth Avenue), New York, NY

The 14-story SoHo building, designed by city-based firm BKSK Architects, is one part limestone, one part glass; the second floor features a landscaped outdoor terrace. There will be 25 condos, ranging from one- to five-bedrooms, from about 1,000 square feet to over 5,000 square feet. Sales will launch in fall 2013; closings should begin the first quarter of 2015.  

500 West 21 Street, New York, NY

This High Line condo building will occupy an entire block of 10th Avenue between 20th and 21st streets. The one- to four-bedroom units will measure 1,100 to nearly 4,000 square feet and be priced from $2 million to $15 million. Sales start this winter; expected completion is fall of 2014.

61 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Residences at the new condo building at 61 Fifth Avenue will have super-high ceilings (ceiling in the triplex residence will be 19 feet) and windows to match.  The apartments are very big:  three 4,300++square-foot, three-bedroom duplexes, plus a four-bedroom penthouse triplex, which claims 5,900++ square feet of sun-flooded space on the inside, and another 1,901 square feet of private terrace. Prices range from $12.975 million to $28.5 million; the project should be completed by the end of 2013

540 West 49 Street, New York, NY

This 114-unit condo has plenty of smaller units. Prices haven’t been released on the studios (which start at around 525 square feet), one-bedrooms (700 to 800 square feet), two-bedrooms (990 to 1,250 square feet) or penthouses (1,200 to 1,700 square feet) but rumor has it that they should be running from around $700,000 to $2.5 million at the top end. The two interconnected seven-story buildings will share a 6,000-square-foot courtyard with a reflection pool and an open-air movie theater. Sales should start in fall 2013 with move-ins by spring of 2014.

21 West 20 Street, New York, NY

The facade of this 15-story Flatiron condo is a mix of blackened stainless steel, glass and stone, but the magic really happens on the 10th floor, where the building “unfolds . . . to reveal three floor-through penthouse homes perched atop the neighboring restored, landmarks-protected structure.” In all, there are 13 full-floor units, including a fourth penthouse — a duplex — on top. Skytop Penthouse Homes will start at $8.5 million and go up to $17 million; pricing for the other units is not yet available. Sales are expected to begin later this fall.

Contact us for more information about these and other properties in Manhattan (212) 991-8072
Below is a list of apartments available for sale at One57 condo as of Jan 14, 2013:
There is still a good selection of luxury units left to be purchased in this building where so many billionaires have bought apartments.  The tower’s least expensive unit — a two-bedroom, two-bathroom with asking price of $8.9 million — is still available, featuring southern and western exposures. At this moment, the most expensive unit left in the building is  a full-floor, 6,240sf four-bedroom, five-bathroom residence #81, asking price $54 million.

For more information on this and other luxury Manhattan properties, please click HERE
More people use mass transit in New York than in any other American city. But no other city is so dependent on taxis. From 1952 to 1986, Checker Motors in Kalamazoo, Mich., manufactured the A8/Marathon. Thousands of the bulky cabs clogged New York’s streets. They came in all colors until 1970, after city officials required in the 1960s that taxis be painted yellow. During the Depression, when drivers outnumbered passengers, many owners could not afford to renew their medallions for $10.   In 2011, when taxis made about 500,000 trips daily and carried 240 million passengers in total, a medallion traded for more than $1 million.

The opening in 1952 of the 17-acre United Nations complex on Manhattan’s East Side validated the city’s claim as the world’s capital. Today the city is home to 35,000 diplomats and staff and family members attached to 193 permanent missions, which contribute an estimated $2.5 billion to the city’s economy.    New Yorkers should be proud of that distinction.

In the 1970s, the subway system was decrepit and riddled with crime, graffiti and rundown equipment until its chairman successfully lobbied for a cash infusion. That was the beginning of a turnaround that would deliver new cars and amenities, like the MetroCard, which was introduced in 1994 and replaced the token altogether nine years later. The cards became emblematic of a modernization program that included signs alerting riders to waiting times and , progress on the Second Avenue subway.  nytimes.

If it is $100 million, is it art?  since a penthouse at 15 Central Park West sold last year for $88 million, or $13,000 a square foot, sales prices in Manhattan have been flirting with $100 million, and brokers say it's only a matter of time until the barrier is broken.

Can some residential properties be legitimately marketed and sold as art?  When we call a property art, it tends to have architectural or historic significance.  For example, Manhattan town house designed by the famed 19th-century architect Stanford White can be considered art.  But even new construction could be considered art.   It’s the equivalent of postwar and contemporary art, which is setting record prices.

For high-end real estate sellers and buyers, the art analogy holds obvious appeal, since prices for paintings cracked the $100 million barrier at auction years ago and quickly rebounded from the financial crisis. The record for the most expensive painting is said to be held by Cezanne’s “The Card Players,” sold last year to the royal family of Qatar for a price estimated by Vanity Fair at $250 million.

To reduce the Cezanne’s 97-by-130-centimeter dimensions to real estate terms, that’s $19,826 per square centimeter. If an apartment is asking only $12,500 per square foot, and comes with swag drapes and a crystal chandelier, isn't it a bargain?

Art and real estate are very different. The assets are different, the liquidity is different. Still, as the art market has become increasingly global, people are looking at art as an asset because the values have increased so much. People have always considered their home as an asset. If they see it’s worth $50 million, they’re even more likely to consider it an asset. So you can see the markets converging.

Most art is portable, and thus sells in a global market; most great art is unique and can’t be replicated; art serves no utilitarian function; art values are based on a wide range of scholarship, research and critical evaluations, which may take generations to evolve; and valuing art is much more complicated than valuing real estate. So when people refer to their real estate as art, they’re really trying to say it’s unique, that it can’t be replicated.

Art advisers often caution prospective buyers that they should buy art because they love it, and not just because they expect it to appreciate in value. Perhaps the same could be said about high-end real estate. If living at the top of a new condominium tower delivers unparalleled satisfaction, then perhaps price doesn’t matter.

In the next year and a half, five more high-profile projects should begin sales in Manhattan. They include 432 Park Avenue, the city’s tallest residential tower, The Carlton House at 680 Madison Avenue, the 78-story Jean Nouvel-designed Tower Verre, at 53 West 53rd Street, and 737 Park Avenue.

Developers of 432 Park Avenue have submitted plans to raise asking prices to $5,800 per square foot — a double-digit increase from the prices set in June. One bedrooms there will ask $4.96 million and a six-bedroom will start at $64.4 million.  According to the Wall Street Journal, CIM Group and Harry Macklowe plan to erect a slim condominium and retail complex designed by Uruguayan-born architect Rafael Vinoly with 128 units and 12-foot high ceilings. The $1 billion project, at 432 Park Avenue near 56th Street, includes a 5,000-square-foot driveway, golf training facilities and private dining and screening rooms.

The gut-renovation project of Carlton House at 680 Madison Avenue is slated for completion in 2013 and is being designed by Beyer Blinder Bell Architects & Planners.
The spruced-up Carlton House, between 61st and 62nd streets, will have 18 stories containing 68 apartments, plus a brand-new, five-story townhouse that will fill what is currently a 35-foot gap between the existing building and its 61st Street neighbor. The first floor of that 9,700-square-foot house will serve as the main lobby for the main apartment building, while the upper four floors will have a private entryway accessible to a single user.

The planned 78-story 1050-foot Jean Nouvel-designed building at 53 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues will consist of 480,000 square feet of apartments atop a 92,000-square-foot hotel and include space for a the MOMA and a restaurant. “It will be the ultimate destination for the world’s most elite buyers.”

If you are interested in buying in one of new luxury condo developments in Manhattan, please click HERE

Trophy Apartments find wealthy buyers.  Fewer than 40 of the tower’s 92 apartments remain unsold and transaction volume has already surpassed $1 billion.  Further, nine of 16 full-floor apartments have sold, and all the buyers are billionaires -  at least a few of them are "significant billionaires".
Architect Christian de Portzamparc designed the building's exterior to create an illusion of movement, a fluid-like cascade of glass that looks like waterfalls and gleam blue in the sunlight.
The minimalist lobby is stark but luxurious. Building amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, yoga studio, performance spaces and screening room, as well as an arts and crafts center.

There will even be a pet washing room when Fido comes back muddy from tussling with his friends in Central Park.
Helmsley Park Lane Hotel is officially switching a portion of its rooms from hospitality to residential. The hotel plans to convert its 18th to 44th floors into residential units, a move estimated to cost some $56 million, according to permits filed with the Department of Buildings.

Units on floors four to 17 will continue to function as hotel rooms but renovations for those rooms are also planned. Goldstein Hill & West Architects will handle the project. Their previous work includes the Aldyn and the Rushmore on the Upper West Side, and the Laurel on the Upper East Side.