Manhattan condo builders pull back as market sinks

Sellout prices for the 10 largest projects this year fell by 58%

TRD New York /
Dec.December 11, 2019 08:00 AM
Madison House condominium (Credit: iStock)

Madison House condominium (Credit: iStock)

UPDATED Friday December 13, 2019, 4:12 p.m.: In a sign of the times, Manhattan’s priciest condo project this year doesn’t expect to crack $1 billion in sales.

Facing an oversupply of new development condo units in the borough, this year’s most expensive condo projects have set the pricing bar far lower than in 2018, according to a TRD analysis.

The total sellout price for the 10 most expensive Manhattan condo projects this year was just $3.1 billion, a 57 percent plunge from last year’s $7.3 billion.

This year’s priciest, J.D. Carlisle Development’s Madison House, is aiming for $756 million in sales. Last year, the top filer was HFZ Capital Group’s The XI with a staggering goal of $2 billion.

Dollar figures were down throughout the list, with the No. 10 project this year, by KD Sagamore and Ranger Properties, seeking sales of just under $96 million. Last year, the final spot on the list was filled by Lightstone Group’s 40 East End Avenue with a target of nearly $200 million.

The stark contrast reflects what real estate agents and others have been saying: prices need to drop to interest Manhattan’s buyers, given the plethora of choices available to them. But some developers may find themselves handcuffed to out-of-touch prices because of constraints imposed by lenders or partners.

The top projects of 2019 also have fewer total units than last year’s. Casco Development’s new High Line condo, No. 2 this year, will have just 34 units. Charles Dunne’s latest boutique project in the West Village, No. 8 on the list, has a mere 10 units and is aiming for a nearly $150 million sellout.

Here’s the full list of the most valuable condo offering plans accepted by the New York attorney general’s office in 2019.

1. Madison House Condominium, Fosun International, J.D. Carlisle Development Group | $756 million
The Nomad tower designed by Handel Architects seeks roughly $2,360 per square foot. The 199 units will have one to four bedrooms, with three duplexes on its top three floors. The 57-story building will have a spa, 75-foot lap pool, lounge and gym on lower levels, in addition to about 4,000 square feet of retail space. J.D. Carlisle bought an assemblage to cobble together the buildable area for a combined $122 million from Rabina Properties in 2015. In 2018, J.D. Carlisle and its partner Fosun landed a $350 million construction loan from Bank OZK, formerly Bank of the Ozarks.

2. 540 West 21st Street, Casco Development | $539 million
The 20-story project includes ground-level retail and 34 residential units. Uri Chaitchik’s Casco Development bought the site near the High Line for $50 million in 2014 and landed financing from Bank Hapoalim to build the roughly $3,100-per-square foot condo. It will include amenities such as a swimming pool. Art dealer David Zwirner’s gallery will share the lot, despite standing as a separate building. The five-story gallery is being designed by Renzo Piano and is reportedly costing $50 million.

3. 25 Broad Street, LCOR | $395 million
The developer owned by the California State Teachers Retirement System is hoping the third time’s a charm for the Broad Exchange Building condo plans. Developer Kent Swig had initially filed an offering plan to turn the storied Financial District building into condos, but after he defaulted on his Lehman Brothers’ mortgage, LCOR, majority-owned by Lehman at the time, took control of the near-vacant building and repopulated the building as rentals. Six years later, in 2017, the LCOR filed a second tester application with the attorney general to see whether there would be a market for turning the 308-unit building into condos. Finally, a month before June’s rent law altered the rules for converting rentals into condos, LCOR filed its offering plan seeking about $760 per square foot.

4. The Hayworth, Ceruzzi Properties, Kuafu Properties, Stillman Development | $385 million
The $134 million assemblage put together by three developers in 2016 will have 61 units totaling nearly 152,000 square feet. The two- to five-bedroom condos are asking approximately $3,000 per square foot with the smallest unit seeking just under $3.5 million and the largest penthouse slated for $18.2 million. The 18-story building on the Upper East Side also includes 31,000 square feet devoted to retail. Building amenities include a partnership with the nearby 92nd Street Y, fitness center, residents lounge and landscaped rooftop. Kuafu sought to raise about $50 million through the EB-5 investor visa program.

5. 77 Greenwich Street, Trinity Place Holdings | $315.8 million
This 90-unit FiDi condo by Matthew Messinger’s Trinity Place Holdings was designed by FXCollaborative and Deborah Berke Partners. Plans for the 40-story tower were filed in 2016 and will include an elementary school, 7,500 square feet of retail and a new subway entrance at Trinity Place. The condo ranges from one-bedrooms asking $1.5 million to a penthouse with four bedrooms and a private terrace asking nearly $11 million. Building amenities include a gym, playroom, lounge and landscaped roof. Trinity got almost $190 million from the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company for construction financing.

6. 368 Third Avenue, Minrav Development | $223 million
Minrav USA, the U.S. arm of Israel-based Minrav Development, bought the Kips Bay site last year for $64 million from Itzhaki Properties and Continental Ventures. Minrav pressed on with the former developers’ plans for a residential tower with a $116.7 million loan package from Bank Leumi later that year to fund its 35-story project. With 100 units, Minrav is seeking about $1,970 per square foot. The building is designed by SLCE Architects.

7. The Residences On Tenth Avenue, Xinyuan Real Estate; Kuafu Properties | $165 million
Chinese firm Xinyuan paid $57.5 million to acquire the site in 2015 and later formed a joint venture with New York-based Kuafu after cost overruns on another project led to Xinyuan withdrawing from the U.S. Earlier this year, Bank OZK reduced its $108 million financing for the 92-unit Hell’s Kitchen project by $20 million, leaving Kuafu to secure additional funds. The developer got a $20 million mezzanine loan from Mack Real Estate Credit Strategies but was up against a new deadline at the time: Its retail tenant Target signed a 29,000-square-foot lease in 2016 and sources said it could back out if the space isn’t finished by the end of the year. Sources say the retailers took possession of the space a few weeks ago.

8. 601 Washington Street, Shibumi Development | $154 million
Charles Dunne and Zac Waksal of Shibumi have just 10 units in their West Village condo. The developers bought the former warehouse for $31 million in 2013. First Republic Bank has lent close to $45 million over the past six years. The developers demolished the old structure to erect a new 44,504-square-foot building and now are seeking about $3,460 per square foot. Dunne, formerly a high-level executive at drug company ImClone, is the same developer behind a handful of other small, under-the-radar condos including 24 Leonard and 33 Vestry.

9. 17 Jane Street, Edward J. Minskoff Equities | $95.975 million
This Greenwich Village project has only six units, the smallest of which will have three bedrooms. Two five-bedroom townhouse duplexes on the ground level each have a rear yard, library, screening room, bar and in-home laundry. There are seven parking spaces underground and a gym. The 31,000-square-foot megamansion was designed by British architect David Chipperfield and Ward Dennis of Higgins Quasebarth & Partners. Four designs were rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission before Minskoff could begin. The developer bought the former parking garage for $26 million in 2014.

10. 199-201 Chrystie Street, KD Sagamore Capital, Ranger Properties | $95.97 million
The 14-unit condo on the Lower East Side is priced at about $2,400 per square foot, among the highest price tags in the neighborhood. The building also has about 3,200 square feet of commercial space. Amenities for residents are to include a gym, bike parking and a rooftop terrace. KD Sagamore bought both properties at the now-combined lot for a total of $28 million in 2015 and 2017.

Correction: In the project description for The Residences On Tenth Avenue, an earlier version of the article misstated the amount by which Bank OZK reduced its financing. In fact, the bank reduced its financing by $20 million, not to $20 million. In the same item, sources also confirmed Target had taken possession of the retail space in late 2019. 

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]

Source: TRD analysis of condo plans accepted by the Attorney General between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 2, 2019 in Manhattan. Current sellout price is as of Dec. 2, 2019.

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