Savanna tests market for 170-unit Morningside Heights condo

The potential high-rise was focus of petition by City Council member Mark Levine
By Will Parker | February 08, 2017 12:35PM

543 West 122nd Street and Christopher Schlank

Christopher Schlank and Nick Bienstock’s Savanna submitted a “test the market” application for a 170-unit condominium project at 543 West 122nd Street, according to new filings with the New York State Attorney General. The submission is not an offering plan, but an attempt to gauge market interest in a project before going forward with a full application.

Savanna bought the land for the project a year ago from the Jewish Theological Seminary, paying $96 million. The seminary announced it would use the funds from the offloaded parcel to build a performing arts center and a residence hall. The transaction also included an off-campus dormitory, the rights to which Savanna then assigned to an undisclosed buyer.

The developer can build up to 250,000 square feet on the Morningside Heights site, a prospect that some in the area are not thrilled about. City Councilman Mark Levine, who was concerned the building’s height could reach 40 stories, launched a petition last spring urging the developer to consider a lower-scale development and include affordable housing. The targeted 170 units would suggest that Savanna still has its sights set on a significant development.

Architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle is designing for Savanna and Halstead Property Development Marketing’s Steve Kliegerman recently said in an interview that he would be handling future apartment sales at the project. A representative for Schlank declined to comment.

Savanna recently partnered with Paramount Group to buy a stake in a $215 million office building at 55 Broadway in the Financial District.
In October, the company went into contract on the Falchi Building in Long Island City for north of $255 million, according to sources who spoke with The Real Deal.

Savanna is also planning to build a large mixed-use development site at 141 Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The City council agreed to a rezoning in exchange for Savanna scaling back its plans.