Walker Tower set the stage for an entirely new level of finishes in Manhattan New Construction by delivering esthetics AND mechanical sophistication similar to that of a very high end custom renovation. Gone were those hideous Home Depot-style HVAC grills and diffusers. Baseboards and moldings were not considered the responsibility of the buyer after closing, not to mention fully automated AV systems and shades. The quality of windows, insulation and sound attenuation, common areas, etc had all changed, and the world took note, delivering record pricing on what is arguably a so-so block. Some may say the buyers over-paid for these apartments: but the buyers who do buy apartments with this level of finish out often consider it a good buy when weighed up against buying the traditional mediocre finish-out new building, gutting it and starting from scratch. Those renovations usually cost around $ 1,200/sf and take up a lot of energy and time.
Now along comes 11 East 68th Street, and in my opinion and entirely new bar has been set for interior finish out. WOW! Shelton Mindel have again delivered, but seeing this quality outside of a custom-designed billionaire’s home is rather exceptional, and entirely new for the new development market in Manhattan. The sophistication of design is of a unique class: from the molding details to the panelling, the systems, the onyx bathroom, the window detailing. Its all just so exquisitely detailed and executed, I am not sure buyers of $ 15million homes will ever be able to look at anything less ever again. Bravo to HFZ capital for taking the bold step forward and not delivering the usual cosmetically disguised schlock we had all become used to. While many will balk at the pricing, those in the know will see the value.
I am working on a project in West Chelsea designed by Steven Harris and another at 7 Harrison in Tribeca: both are small buildings, yet the quality of design and finish out will set another new standard for the Downtown market where until recently a Sub Zero fridge and some marble was enough to delude buyers into thinking what you were selling was quality.
Of course this high level of finish out cannot be applied to all projects as it would eliminate the more affordable properties altogether. Not every buyer has $ 10million to spend. But it does send a message to all developers now entering PHASE 3 of the new construction cycle where competition is growing and lots more product is coming to market: you may have to sacrifice a bit of profit to deliver the quality buyers have now become accustomed to: relying on the super-heated market of the past 6 months to continue forever would be unwise.