Real Estate Weekly
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Little guy is keeping up with big neighbors in high-rise corridor

By Holly Dutton

Manhattan’s 57th Street corridor has garnered a lot of attention for becoming a playground for developers building ultra-high towers with eye-popping prices per square foot.

However, one group of developers saw the potential in offering luxury apartments in the same neighborhood, but with a much lower price tag.

432 W. 52nd St
432 W. 52nd St

432 West 52nd Street is a conversion completed last year that features only 55 units, but packs on the amenities and luxury.

Located on 52nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, the seven-story building was formerly a dormitory for staff members at St. Vincent’s Hospital, which shuttered in 2010.

Victor Lee, owner and managing principal with JVL Property Group, which along with Okada Acquisitions and Zion Enterprises, is developing 432 West 52nd Street, got involved with the building when it was being converted by The Chetrit Group into rentals.

“We started looking at the building, and thought it would be better positioned as a condo,” said Lee. “There’s a lack of condos in the area — Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown West are such well-positioned locations, and we didn’t really see a lot of inventory in condos. There’s just a need there.”

432 W. 52nd St
432 W. 52nd St

After the developers took over the project in May of last year, they set to work re-doing some of the completed renovations and including more condo-level finishes. Five months later, construction was complete, and sales officially launched last October.

“In Manhattan, all you hear about are these uber-towers, near our location, and you hear about prices north of $2,500 or $3,000 per square foot, and in some cases $6,000 per square foot,” said Lee. “We thought to bring something more reasonable and tolerable in terms of price.”

And it seems the plan has worked – Lee said their traffic numbers are some of the highest in the city, in terms of interested potential buyers checking out the building, which is now over 70 percent sold.
The apartments are available for immediate occupancy and range in price from $750,000 to $2.395 million.

“We’re pretty pleased with the demographic that we’ve anticipated. There’s a lot of younger, single people wanting to live in this area, as well as a good mix of investors that see value in the building,” said Lee. “Anywhere from recent grads to working singles, and couples, too.”

432 W. 52nd St
432 W. 52nd St

The units range from 436 s/f studios to 1,400 s/f two-bedroom garden duplexes and feature state-of-the-art kitchens and heated bathroom floors, as well as washers and dryers in every unit.

The units have open floor plans with plenty of natural light, and feature stained, white oak flooring, and individual climate control, smart wiring and energy-efficient windows.

Kitchens feature custom lacquer cabinets, Caesarstone countertops, glass tile backsplashes and refrigerators integrated into the cabinetry. Bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling ceramic tile, radiant-heated floors, custom vanities and premium fixtures by Grohe and Kohler.

Building amenities include a resident lounge, fitness center, bike storage, and a 4,200 s/f common rooftop garden with a catering kitchen and grilling station.

Jaclyn Boulan of Stribling & Associates is heading up sales at the building.

She said one of the biggest draws for buyers has been the location, which is halfway between Columbia University and New York University, near several subway lines, the theatre district, Hell’s Kitchen’s “restaurant row,” Times Square and Central Park.

“It’s really been perfect for this neighborhood,” she said of the building. “It’s already established and it’s also up and coming. The sky’s the limit with this neighborhood.”

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