By Orlando Lee Rodriguez
Construction of a certain era is not the only measure of quality and class. In a world where early 1970’s architecture is under-appreciated and quick to be written off as unattractive, a lot of quality can and will be missed if you judge a book by its cover.
The Sheffield at 322 West 57th Street, just west of Eighth Avenue is a perfect example.
With the exterior typical of the boxy towers that line York, First and Second Avenue in the East 70’s and 80’s, The Sheffield hearkens back to the Lindsey-Beame era of New York upper class housing. Enormous lobby’s with 30 foot ceilings, grand chandlers, marble floors, revolving doors, wallpaper and columns.
Yes columns, like ceiling heights and windows, can create challenges to conversions that can compete with glass towers, but it is here where the Sheffield has used its limitations to create a supreme advantage over its newer, glassier competition.
“We re-branded in order to change the image of a struggling project,” said Jackie Urgo, president of The Marketing Directors, exclusive agents for the building.
“Our creative challenge was to bring new life. We had create new excitement and spark interest to reach the right market with our new message of style.”
The firm has succeeded on both fronts. Fortess Investment Group and Rose Associates took over the “struggling projectˮ after its original investors ran out of money following bitter battles both internally and with the building’s original tenants.
They brought on The Marketing Directors, who have worked with architects CetraRuddy on maximizing the building’s obvious assets and re-configuring what is undoubtedly one of the most attractive and accessible amenity packages in the city.
In the decade of micro-luxury, The Sheffield’s apartments are much larger than many of the luxury competition — and we are talking huge. Nowhere is there the feeling that you are being cheated out of space for your money.
For example, a two bedroom with an optional 15×11 ft. study, is 2,603 s/f, with north and south exposures and three bathrooms. The dining room is 22×18 ft., stand alone, not an alcove or an extension.
The columns create a separation of space that loft apartments don’t have. For those who cherish a that separation, The Sheffield has square footage that doesn’t leave bedrooms as the only private option.
Hence, you won’t have to see your spouse every second of the day no matter where you are in the house.
“The reconfiguration allowed for the combining of homes and incorporating columns so that they would not be a detraction from the layouts,” said Adrienne Albert, CEO of The Marketing Directors. “Instead they became integral architectural elements in the new, modern floor plans.”
For example, a four bedroom, four bathroom apartment runs around 3,417 s/f and contains two wings with an entrance way in the middle. Not all of the rooms are attached to the center, giving it the feel of a mini castle.
The bedrooms, all located in a suite within one wing, almost feel like a separate apartment, far enough away from the living room where you can have adult time without waking the kids, ever.
And I haven’t gotten to the best part.
Many luxury condos tout their amenities, but many times they are located in the basement or in a windowless space that can make you feel like you are on the Enterprise or the Death Star.
Not The Sheffield.
The fitness room is located where the penthouse would be in other buildings, giving you sweeping views of New York and New Jersey while you sweat it out on the treadmill.
“The Sheffield started its life as a rental building,” said Urgo. “Years ago, rental buildings put the amenities on higher floors so they would add value to all the homes.”
The pool is located a floor above that where the windows open out to a sun deck in the summer. The lounge spaces share the same floors, giving all residents access to skyline views and the roof, instead of reserving it for a privileged few.
Even children have their own play spaces and lounge, so they can socialize with Generation Z with no adult interference.
The 58th floor has a spa with two treatment rooms, steam and sauna rooms. There is also a full exercise studio that is used for yoga and group classes.
“The positioning of our Sky Club provides all residents with views,” said Urgo. “[This] privileged access would usually be reserved for only a select few.”
Re-developed by Rose Associates, Inc. with the Marketing Directors as the in-house consultants on the project, as well as the exclusive sales agents, The Sheffield’s rebirth is not yet fully complete. Architects CentaRuddy transformed and combined apartments to create these new magnificent spaces.
“We developed a marketing strategy to appeal successfully to a wide demographic,” said Albert. “We targeted the buildings’ rental occupants by offering them an upgraded lifestyle and an opportunity to invest and own their home. We introduced cross-promotions, created buzz and interest and breathed new life.”
The 582 unit building is 91% sold. Of the available inventory, prices start at $5.2 million for a three bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, with the a four bedroom, 4-bath going for $7.6 million.
A block and a half from Columbus Circle, The Sheffield is located steps from five subway lines and walking distance from Times Square, Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Center.
Central Park is also a two blocks away for a morning run but, when you can exercise and swim high in the sky, you may never have a reason to leave.