Posted by Leonard Steinberg on November 19th, 2011

The other night I was invited to the launch of EXTELL’s newest addition to the New York skyline, One 57, the Christian de Portzamparc-designed 90 story, 1,000ft tall Tower located at 157 West 57th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Towering above the Time Warner Center, Trump’s One Central Park West, and certainly looking down on the neighborhood icon 15 Central Park West, the 135 residential units will rise above a 210-room Park Hyatt Hotel, offering un-obstructed panoramic views of Central Park and the entire tri-state region.

The occasion was a grand one indeed:  Manhattan Brokerage Royalty came out in full force, immaculately attired in Prada, Louboutin’s, sequins and all. A string quartet greeted guests as they embarked from the elevators and led them through palatial double doors into the sales office/showroom. No expense has been spared in creating certainly one of the most dramatic showrooms ever, resplendent with floor to ceiling screens showcasing a movie of the building and environment, two mock-up kitchens and a master bathroom. Severely chic black, white and deep wood tones featured. The interior design is the responsibility of uber-chic Thomas Juul Hansen, one of New York’s premiere designer architects responsible for projects such as One Madison Park, One York, Jean Georges and Perry street to name a few. The quality of the Smallbone kitchens is immediately apparent, vastly superior to most of the designer name kitchens one sees regularly. I thought the floorplans were particularly strong, the perfect take on a classic apartment with a very modern, purist sensibility. The well proportioned, squared off rooms are reminiscent of One Beacon Court, another building many considered to be in a less-than-stellar location that has been hugely successful.

I thought the bathroom was rather beautiful and especially grandly scaled for highrise living. Architecturally, the look of the building is one of Severe Gotham Chic with definite Art Deco-inspired undertones, and should definitely appeal to many foreign buyers seeking a glossy New York experience.

Several brokers muttered that there are not enough Russian buyers to buy all these units: I suspect that sales will start to take off mostly once buyers have the ability to witness the views on site, and it may be challenging at the $ 5,000+/sf pricing not being directly on Central Park: 57th Street is not exactly Fifth Avenue. I also believe the true value of these apartments may only be realized once the building is completed and buyers have the ability to walk through the spaces, getting a feeling not only for the bathrooms and kitchens, but also the light, views, volume of space and the other finishes so critical to this price point. Hopefully the finish quality takes its cues from One Hyde Park, where this profile of buyer was willing to spend the extra dollars knowing the apartments did not have to be gutted. This building is for those that love super-highrise living, want spectacular views, grand spaces, full services, tight security, a central location, sleek, modernist design (the opposite of the Plaza or 15 Central Park West) and do not want to renovate.

It was heartening to see luxury Manhattan New Development spring back to life: this will be one of several new modernist buildings for the uber-rich coming to the market over the next year or so, including Macklowe’s 1,300ft + tall Drake building on Park Avenue at 57th Street and One Madison Park. Other, more humanly scaled buildings are coming too, so the mix and variety will be outstanding, bringing an end to the very limited inventory of top-notch apartments currently available. I believe the quality bar will be raised dramatically by this level of competition, and it will be an exciting time in New York real estate for sure.