The Real Deal New York

Walker Tower’s façade revealed: PHOTOS

Luxury conversion has seven units left to sell

October 01, 2013 11:30AM
By Hayley Kaplan

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Walker Tower, the converted Chelsea luxury condominium building, has taken down its scaffolding and unveiled the restoration of its 1920s exterior, The Real Deal has learned exclusively.

Originally completed in 1929 by celebrated architect Ralph Thomas Walker, Walker Tower’s façade has been restored to feature a mix of restored brick, new bronze stainless steel panels, newly formed aluminum panels and new oversized windows. Architecture firm CetraRuddy designed the restoration, which involved restoring the façade by hand with 14,000 different metal pieces and nine shapes of bricks in five different colors.

“The façade was incredibly important to get right,” said Michael Stern, the founder of JDS Development, which is co-developing the building with developer Property Markets Group. “We wanted to do our additions in ways that were seamless and looked like they always intended to be there. When you look at the façade now, you can’t tell what was added and where the building stops and starts.”

In addition, four bronze stainless steel spires were added to the crown of the building, based on an early design drawing of Walker Tower by Walker’s architecture firm, Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker.

“We went out of our way to be as appropriate and contextual and respectful with what Ralph Walker had done and what [we’ve] created is an absolutely incredible, shimmering addition to the skyscraper, which is up there with the Frank Gehry building,” said Elliott Joseph, a principal at PMG, referring to New York by Gehry, the undulating rental tower in the Financial District.

Walker Tower at 212 West 18th Street includes 47 condo units spanning 24 stories, 40 of which are under contract. The seven units remaining range in price from $8.25 million to $55 million, said Vickey Barron of Douglas Elliman, who is marketing the building.

Last week, the team listed a penthouse, dubbed Penthouse One, for $55 million, which, if sold for its asking price, would set a record for the priciest apartment sold Downtown, as TRD previously reported. The penthouse would unseat the record set by Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander’s unit at 18 Gramercy Park, which closed in June for $42 million. However, a penthouse at 56 Leonard is currently under contract for $47 million.

“[The new façade is] going to add a lot of value,” Barron told TRD. “When you see it from the street, it’s pretty spectacular. But when you’re on that terrace of Penthouse One, and you’re that close to the façade and the details, it’s pretty impressive.”

Walker Tower’s amenities include a 24-hour doorman, concierge, library lounge with bar, children’s playroom, fitness center with yoga room, sauna and roof deck.

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