UES developers scramble to convert aging buildings as luxury market booms

April 23, 2013 09:00AM

As the luxury market makes a strong comeback, developers who own older buildings on the Upper East Side are pushing to convert them into high-end condominiums, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The demand is extremely strong particularly for larger apartments,” Richard Wallgren, who is overseeing sales at Harry Macklowe’s 737 Park Avenue conversion, told the Journal. More than 30 percent of the 19-story building at East 71st Street was in contract, just four months after sales launched, Wallgren added. 737 Park Avenue was built in 1940.

Another high-profile conversion project, Extell Development’s Carlton House at 61st Street and Madison Avenue, has 20 percent of its 68 condos in contract, representatives of the developers told the Journal. Barnett paid $164 million for the site in 2010, and along with hedge fund partner Angelo Gordon & Company, is investing over $350 million in the project. 

Ziel Feldman’s HFZ Capital Group is turning the Marquand, an 11-story Beaux-Arts building at 11 East 68th Street with 44 apartments, into up to 30 high-end condos. Feldman’s conversion plan for the 100-year-old building has a total offering price of $342 million, according to state records seen by the Journal. The apartments will be restored to their original size, and the servants’ wings will be done away with. Nine of the current apartments still have rent-regulated tenants, Feldman told the Journal. [WSJ] –Hiten Samtani