In 2005, Mitchell Moinian, a son of developer Joe Moinian, was a 17-year-old senior in high school. On the far west side of Manhattan, on 42nd Street near the Hudson River, 605 West 42nd Street was just was a collection of sites that included a gas station and a parking facility, owned by the Moinian Group.
Fast forward 10 years and Mitchell is 27, a senior vice president at his father’s company and a project executive at SKY, the new 1.2 million s/f luxury rental building that is nearly complete at the site.
During a recent tour of the project with Mitchell and Jordan Sachs, co-founder of BOLD, the leasing broker for the building, Mitchell describes the journey to working on what is the firm’s most ambitious building yet.
SKY has the largest number of rental units of any building in Manhattan. The tower also happens to be Moinian’s 10th residential new development in Manhattan.
“I don’t have kids, but I imagine this is what it’s like to see your kid go to college,” said Mitchell of the building now nearing completion.
Mitchell spent five years working for Cushman and Wakefield, but for the last two-and-a-half years, since he has been at Moinian, SKY has been his “number one priority.ˮ
BOLD, along with Douglas Elliman are in charge of marketing and leasing at the building, which will have 1,175 units total. SKY took part in the 421a program, so 235 apartments will be affordable.
Mitchell said that in many respects, the building has the look and feel of a luxury condo or hotel, something they sought.
“We thought, why limit ourselves?” said Mitchell. “Why limit development product to rental — we treated every single aspect of this building, not like a condo only, but a hotel.”
Tenants even have a valet option in front of the building, a motor court dubbed the “infinity loop.”
The building originally broke ground in 2008, but stalled after the economic downturn, remaining a vacant site for years. But now, the area is home to the biggest private real estate development in New York since Rockefeller Center; Hudson Yards, and the first new subway station to open in NYC in 26 years, the 7 train station 34th Street/Hudson Yards.
Located just north of Hudson Yards and just south of Hell’s Kitchen, which itself has seen a surge of new development, and just west of Times Square and Midtown, it’s an ideal central location for those who want to be right in the thick of the city, but slightly away from it all.
The building is a mix of studios, one and two bedroom apartments, but most of the units are studios, which have proven to be the most popular among prospective renters, said Mitchell.
The units aren’t huge, but what they lack in space, they make up for in surroundings; units have floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning, clear views of the Hudson River, downtown and uptown Manhattan.
But perhaps the most significant draw for the building is what will be outside the apartments.
Once completed, SKY will have 70,000 s/f of amenities. That will include three swimming pools — two outdoor infinity pools and one indoor, a full-service fitness club that will be 15,000 s/f, a full-size regulation basketball court (it’s rumored that more than one member of the New York Knicks will soon be residents there), a “Great Lawn,” and a lounge with a full-service restaurant.
“This is a massive amenity,” said Sachs of the three pools. “It’s something that absolutely separates us from the pack.”
The Rockwell Group, which often designs hotels, designed the interiors and the lobby of the building. Every other floor has different condo-like finishes, and renters can choose between “light” and “dark.”
On the leasing side, brokers use 3D touchscreen technology to walk prospective tenants through what life would be like at SKY — including the ability to see exactly what view an individual unit will have during the day, and at night.
“Feedback has been phenomenal,” said Sachs. The walk-throughs that the team offers to renters include a tour of completed units as well, which are fully staged and furnished.
Leasing began in June, and move-ins are expected to begin soon. Prices for the units range from $2,650 to nearly $6,000 for a two-bedroom.
“It’s not often you see buildings go to market as early as we did,” said Sachs. “Most renters aren’t looking in until around five weeks before. We were able to capture a much larger group.”
The building got its name after the Moinian Group held a company-wide contest to help come up with a moniker for the tower, and went from there.
“We had some good ones,ˮ said Mitchell. “Ultimately we took those and sat down in an executive meeting and our head of development said ‘I don’t know why, but it was always in my mind called SKY.ʼˮ
And The Moinian Group has heavily invested in the SKY brand. The tower even has its own line of products featuring its name — ball caps, chocolate bars, and even reed oil diffusers with a trademark “SKY” scent.
Ground-floor retail will be a part of the tower, with 20,000 s/f of space along 11th Avenue between 42nd Street and 43rd Street, that will have 200 ft. of frontage and 32-foot high ceilings.
By going all out on amenities, design, and scale, the building has ended up being a draw to a much broader audience than just prospective renters — it has drawn buyers, too.
“We had people considering buying and had the means to do so – but they said they got the thrill of buying from the process of looking at SKY,” said Sachs, who said that they have seen an influx of previous home owners leasing at the building.