For decades, Mt. Sinai housed some of its staff at 1212 Fifth Avenue, an elegant pre-war building on the corner of 102nd Street. When the hospital needed funds to build a $500 million cancer research center, it sold the apartment house to Durst Fetner.
The goal was to gut-renovate the 15-story building, which was designed in 1925 by the brothers George and Edward Blum, and offer a product largely unavailable in the neighborhood: a charming prewar with all the modern advantages of a condo development, including flexible selling terms. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Pazziglini said.
To give the building a boutique condo feel, the development team decreased the number of units per floor from five to two and installed brand-new windows and gourmet kitchens with Bertazzoni & Miele appliances.
“You know the difference between when you close a luxury car door and a cab door,” Pazziglini joked while swinging open the fridge.
Drawn by the up-to-date finishes and proximity to about eight museums and Central Park’s conservatory garden, a handful of former co-op dwellers have ventured west from Park Avenue and purchased units at the building.
“It’s a cross-section of New Yorkers,” Pazzaglini said of the development’s current residents. “We’ve seen traditional Upper East Siders relocating from Park Avenue, foreign investors, and empty nesters from the suburbs.”
Since sales launched last summer, around half the building’s 55 one- through three-bedroom units have been sold, are in contract, or are about to go into contract. A handful of buyers have combined units.
Savvy buyers, he said, have combined apartments in the back of the building, which range in price from about $900 to $1,100 per s/f, with park-facing units priced at $1,500 to $1,700 per s/f. “If it’s in your budget, it’s a very intelligent move,” Pazzaglini said. “You get the ‘value’ of the back unit.”
During a walkthrough of the model units, Pazzaglini pointed out small touches unavailable at many of the Upper East Side’s pre-war co-op buildings.
In a three-bedroom, 3.5-bath unit listed for around $3 million, oversized windows look out upon Central Park, and every bedroom has an attached bathroom. “You never have en-suite baths in a pre-war building,” Pazziglini said.
Units have modern green features, such as LED lighting and formaldehyde-free cabinets imported from Italy, which have helped put the development on track for LEED Gold certification.
And the amenities package is more typical of the city’s newest glass-and-steel condo towers than that of older buildings on the Upper East Side.
There’s a children’s playroom and lounge on the ground floor, and a gym in the basement with both old-school and 21st century nods, including exposed ductwork, red metal lockers, and sleek screens that instruct residents how to use some of the equipment.
Residents will also have access to a pool and other perks at a new ground-up condo tower Durst Fetner is developing down the block at 4 East 102nd Street on behalf of Mt. Sinai, which purchased the site as a real estate investment.
Construction on that 37-story tower is expected to be complete this spring.