Aby Rosen is optimistic that his firm’s new Midtown condo tower at 100 East 53rd Street won’t be hindered by what some observers have termed a “slowdown” in the city’s luxury condo market – citing a “very vibrant market” for the 94-unit building’s price point.
Rosen’s RFR Holding topped out on the 63-story, 711-foot-tall project Wednesday, when Rosen was joined at 100 East 53rd Street by representatives from partners China Vanke and Hines as well as architects Foster + Partners and exclusive listings brokerage Compass.
While acknowledging there are “a lot of high-rises” in the pipeline that will bring additional supply to Manhattan’s luxury condo market, Rosen noted that the more moderate prices at 100 East 53rd Street — which, according to AG filings, has a blended average price per square foot of $4,623 — bode well for the project.
“The city needs housing,” Rosen said. “I think at crazy numbers, [units] aren’t going to move. People need to be realistic about what they want to achieve.”
“A different wave of foreign buyers,” he said, from the likes of India, Brazil and other emerging markets, would drive demand for product in the $8 million to $10 million range.
The most recent condo plans for 100 East 53rd Street, filed with the state Attorney General’s office in October, indicated that prices had risen 16 percent on a per-square-foot basis from earlier plans filed several months prior.
But Compass president Leonard Steinberg said the project has a “more realistic price mentality” than many Manhattan luxury high-rise developments. “We’re finding there’s a wealthy type of buyer out there that may want to buy an apartment in New York, but doesn’t have the need for a $30 million apartment,” Steinberg told The Real Deal.
The most expensive unit at the building, located adjacent to RFR’s iconic Seagram Building, is its top penthouse unit priced at $65 million, or $9,615 per square foot. The least expensive unit, a one-bedroom located on the lower floors, is asking slightly over $3 million, or just over $3,000 per square foot. Sales are expected to launch by the end of the month.
Rosen said RFR is about a week away from announcing the “three-star” celebrity chef-run restaurant that will occupy space on the lower floors of the condo tower. He added that RFR “agonized” over the smallest details at the building in order to avoid the “dry” look of condos a lot of his competitors were putting up.
“You don’t get to build next to the Seagram Building every day,” he said. “You only get one shot.”
RFR and Hines sold a majority interest in the development to Chinese bank China Cinda for nearly $141 million last year, while Vanke was brought on as a partner in 2014. The project secured $360 million in financing from the Industrial and Commerical Bank of China in April.