The Real Deal on the town…

Elliman's Dottie Herman and Howard Lorber party at Mexican fiesta at 949 Park Avenue
By Adam Fusfeld | May 06, 2011 11:48AM

Though the Mexican empanadas, tequila and piñatas were typical of Manhattan Cinco de Mayo celebrations yesterday, the location certainly was not: a new condominium between 81st and 82nd streets along Park Avenue. That contributed to the large crowd at 949 Park Avenue last night — 145 brokers, by the count of Fredrick Eklund, one of three Prudential Douglas Elliman agents exclusively marketing the building — packed into one of the glassy development’s six units, all duplexes.

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The crowd was dodging “Million Dollar Listing” camera crews filming an episode for the show, premiering in the fall, as well as the staircase, and a jam-packed elevator corridor where visitors were angling to get to the roof.

Several brokers noted that the 1,989-square-foot unit felt small for its $4 million starting price, but John Gomes, another member of Elliman’s marketing team, noted that two of the units are already sold, two more are in contract, leaving two available for sale. “They’re unique, and certainly not for everybody,” he said, noting the floor-to-ceiling master bedroom windows, but, he said, Vera Wang was among the people who checked out units earlier in the week.

Zach Vella, head of the Vella Group that developed the building, admitted he struggled to decide how to layout the 12-story building before ultimately settling on six duplexes. Vella, who was among The Real Deal’s rising stars in the April issue and the subject of positive press in the New York Post last month, said the complimentary coverage has opened doors to new opportunities for development, and he has a few deals in the works in Tribeca. Why Tribeca, and not West Chelsea, where new developments seem to rise every month? “There’s too much inventory there,” he said. “And I love Tribeca.”