By Liana Grey
Earlier this month, Taconic Investment Partners acquired a former tea and coffee warehouse at 71 Laight Street in northern Tribeca.
By 2014, the development company plans to build 34 loft-style apartments, some as large as 5,400 s/f, which will be marketed by Sara Kallus of Prudential Douglas Elliman.
71 Laight, which will encompass the existing warehouse as well as a new, modern building designed by architect Morris Adjmi, is one of 13 new luxury condo developments rising in Manhattan’s priciest zip code.
“There’s a lack of product, that’s why [the condo market] is hot,” said Ariel Cohen, an executive vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Recently, one of Cohen’s clients was interested in purchasing a three-bedroom at 101 Warren, a 35-story tower with 227 units and a Whole Foods on the ground floor. The asking price: $4.24 million.
Six months ago, three-bedroom residences in the glass-and-steel building, which boasts river views, a spa, a board room, and a private, elevated pine forest, were fetching $3.7 million, Cohen said. Now, they’re selling for at least $4 million. “101 Warren is untouchable,” Cohen said.
Of course, expensive price tags are commonplace in the neighborhood, whether at recently built towers or converted manufacturing sites like the Pearline Soap Factory on the corner of Laight and Washington streets.
Four years ago, Justin Timberlake purchased a loft at the building with 14-foot ceilings, electronic shades, and Hudson River views for $4.77 million, later selling the unit and moving to SoHo Mews.
Timberlake is one of a handful of celebrities that have flocked to the neighborhood since the ’90s, from Robert De Niro – who owns a hotel on Greenwich Street and co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival following the 9/11 attacks – to Meryl Streep, who purchased a penthouse at 92 Laight Street for around $9 million.
Gwenyth Paltrow lives in the same development as Streep, in a $5.1 million three-bedroom apartment. And in 2004, Jay Z closed on a penthouse in a converted warehouse on Hudson Street for $6.85 million.
The neighborhood, once an artist enclave, has only continued to rise in popularity.
At 250 West Street, a 106-unit condo conversion near Hubert Street, 70 percent of units have been snapped up since sales launched last summer, some fetching more than $7 million. According to StreetEasy, a three-bedroom, 3,768 s/f penthouse is in contract at the building for $10,500,000.
Draws for buyers include a two-level amenities space, and a location across from Pier 25, a recently-completed addition to Hudson River Park with a miniature golf course, beach volleyball courts, and a skate park.
According to Thomas Elliott, executive vice president of the building’s developer, El Ad, 250 West Street is “benefitting from a limited supply of quality inventory currently on the market throughout Manhattan, and especially in Tribeca.”
Of the 13 brand-new developments coming down the pipeline – which include 11 North Moore, 290 West Street, and 460 Washington Street, among others compiled in a list recently by the community newspaper Tribeca Citizen – few will be behemoths like 101 Warren and 250 West Street.
“They’re going to be more intimate, boutique buildings,” said Cohen.
Developers Colonnade Group and Olympic Real Estate, for instance, are planning to build an eight-story development with only four units at 403 Greenwich Street.
VE Equities last week told Real Estate Weekly it will build the “15 Central Park Westˮ of Tribeca on a site it just purchased at 24 Varick Street.
While it remains to be seen whether, like the Zeckendorf-built 15 CPW, the Varick Street building will break city pricing records, Cohen has no doubt that the apartments will be snapped up.
He predicts that the majority of buyers at the brand-new buildings will be families coveting Tribeca’s highly ranked schools, as well as young bankers at Citigroup’s Tribeca office and the Goldman Sachs tower further south on West Street.
With inventory lacking in prime, historic Tribeca, the boundaries of the neighborhood have shifted east and north. “The [heart] of Tribeca used to be way west of Broadway; actually, west of West Broadway,” said Cohen.
Now, formerly grungy stretches of Church and Canal streets are fair game for luxury developers. And a handful of the new condos slated for construction in the neighborhood are located east of Church Street.
ABN Realty, for instance, is building a 21-story, 24-unit tower on a vacant lot at19 Park Place, between Church Street and Broadway.
Then there’s 69 Reade and 71 Reade, down the block from Reade57, a 21-story glass-and-steel tower being marketed by Shlomi Rueveni of Brown Harris Stevens SELECT.
Several months ago, Rueveni told Brokers Weekly that local and international buyers alike were drawn to the 84-unit building’s convenient location. “There’s proximity to every notable downtown neighborhood,” he said.
But a large appeal is still the TriBeCa address. “[Brokers and developers] are really stretching TriBeCa out,” said Cohen.