One57 over 30 percent sold, Extell’s Barnett says

Developer, architect and designer talk shop at showroom event

TRD New York /
Feb.February 01, 2012 02:30 PM

About 30 percent of the apartments at One57 are under contract, according to Gary Barnett, founder of Extell Development Company, the developer behind the 95-unit luxury condominium tower.

Barnett, who would not discuss which units are finding buyers or what kinds of prices they are paying, was at the One57 off-site sales office today for a press-only panel discussion on the architecture and design of the 90-story tower at 157 West 57th Street.

When Barnett started assembling the development rights for the tower about 13 or 14 years ago, he realized he could construct a “really large” building, he said. Despite its height, Extell did not need special clearance from city officials to build One57, on track to be the tallest residential tower in New York City, since it is an as-of-right construction, Barnett said.

For architect Christian de Portzamparc, inspiration came from Central Park. “The height permitted me to imagine a conversation or talking between the building and Central Park,” he said, adding “It’s not only stuck to the city, it’s an object in the sky.”

But the developer, architect and interior designer Thomas Juul-Hansen also had more down to earth concerns. Both de Portzamparc and Juul-Hansen alluded to Barnett’s “demanding” approach to the project, and Barnett himself noted how “fussy” he is about floorplans.

When it came to the layouts of the apartments, Juul-Hansen said he wanted to avoid tiny “Mickey Mouse bedrooms,” and instead focus on proper proportions for the rooms. “If you have a given amount of square footage,” he said, “it’s not about cramming as many bedrooms or bathrooms in as possible.”

When De Portzamparc mentioned another reference point for his design — the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, known for his elongated, sinewy sculptures of human figures — Barnett joked, perhaps in reference to the way fine art commands top dollar, “I heard Giacometti — prices are going up!”

In fact, prices already have gone up, not only for the 10,923-square-foot top-floor penthouse — now asking $115 million, up from $110 million in mid-January — since sales officially kicked off in December. Some unit lines were “undervalued,” explained Extell Marketing’s Dan Tubb, One57′s director of sales and an alum of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is consulting on the project (note: correction appended). For example, he said, a 2,009-square-foot two-bedroom priced at $6.65 million in October is now priced at $7 million, about 5.3 percent more expensive.

Prospective buyers must make an appointment to get into the salesroom at 41 East 57th Street where they are treated to a promotional video featuring images of dew drops coalescing into the tower’s façade and a woman in a black gown gliding about her penthouse to the strains of orchestral music. “People [are] very captivated emotionally,” Tubb said.

The showroom also includes a curving wall-sized television screen that can display views from the different units. (The photographs were taken by an unmanned aerial device, more commonly known as a drone, a notice on the screen says.)

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