Owners hope ODA plans can make a record deal in Chelsea

Asking price of $1,385 psf would be conversion-site record for nabe
By Rich Bockmann | January 09, 2015 08:45AM

The owners of a rustic Chelsea townhouse are hoping that a modern interior revamp by a trendy architecture firm can help break a sales record, even if the plans are just on paper.

Steven Ostad, who founded his real estate firm Empire City Realty in 2010, and business partner Andre Sakhai, son of oil magnate and convicted art forger Ely Sakhai, have lined up a set of designs by ODA Architecture that would transform the four-story building at 224 West 22nd Street from a turn-of-the-century townhouse into a chic 21st-century crib.

Eran Chen’s ODA, known for its contemporary designs, drew up plans for a gut renovation that will excavate the cellar to make room for a sauna and theater, create an entertainment room on the first floor with a 22-foot-high ceiling and slap on a rooftop spa with a Jacuzzi, outdoor shower and barbecue area.

The home sits a block west from the Chelsea historic district, and the building is only about half the size allowed by the current zoning. ODA’s plans would expand it from about 3,500 square feet to roughly 7,000.

At that size, the $9.7 million asking price breaks down to $1,385 per square foot, which would be a record for a conversion site in Chelsea.

The current record, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, is held by the $6.2 million conversion site at 354 West 20th Street, which sold last year for $1,236 per square foot.

That five-story home had been an SRO and was delivered vacant as a candidate for a gut renovation, and earlier this year the buyers received a permit to start preliminary work to convert the building into a single-family home.

ODA last month submitted applications for the conversion that are still pending with the Department of Buildings.

The owners bought the home a year ago for $5.3 million. The Corcoran Group listing from back then describes the building’s “interesting architectural details” such as exposed brick, seven fireplaces, a rustic beamed ceiling and a backyard that, combined with neighbors on each side, gives an “expansive and luxurious feel.”