Adding a little glass to West 72nd Street

Nov.November 30, 2009 08:41 PM


David Picket, president of the Gotham Organization, inside 200 West, his firm’s new rental on West 72nd Street.
West 72nd Street and Broadway epitomizes old New York. Brick-and-terra-cotta icons like the famed Dorilton mix with the bright lights of Gray’s Papaya.

But there’s a newcomer that looks more like South Beach, splashing glass amid the stately stone.

Named 200 West for its 72nd Street address, the 19-story rental tower broke ground in 2007, near the height of the boom, and is scheduled to start leasing in February.

In addition to the 196 apartments, the building, which wraps an obtuse-angled corner, also has a total of 50,000 square feet of big-box-style, multilevel space for three retailers. That’s in a neighborhood where stores typically measure a fraction of the size.

“We will certainly liven up that corner a lot,” said David Picket, president of the Gotham Organization, the developer of the $220 million project and one of its three investors. The others are Philips International Holding and Rhodes NY.

Prices for 200 West’s units — from 460-square-foot studios to 1,600-square-foot three-bedrooms — are not set yet. But it will be hitting the market at a tough time. The average rental price in October on the Upper West Side was $2,398 for a one-bedroom, according to Citi Habitats. That was down 10 percent from $2,677 a year earlier.

Still, one-bedrooms at the building, which will also start move-ins this February, could go for $4,000 a month, said Iman Bacodari, a vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman, who works in the area and is not affiliated with this project.

And for now, 200 West doesn’t have much direct competition.

There’s the Grand Tier, a 30-story Glenwood Management property located at 1930 Broadway, at West 65th Street, Bacodari said.

Like 200 West, the four-year-old Grand Tier is a luxury building, boasting a marble lobby and “alabaster fixtures” in its 230 one- to three-bedrooms. Last month, one-bedrooms there were listed starting at about $4,000, according to its rental office.

Yet Grand Tier has been offering many tenants a free month’s rent to seal deals, and 200 West might need to do the same, Bacodari said.

“There is a market for the product, but it’s a delicate time to arrive at the right pricing,” Bacodari said.

Less of a threat, brokers said, are the rentals developed by Donald Trump along Riverside Boulevard. They don’t have the benefit of straddling subways like 200 West and Grand Tier.

Last month, one-bedrooms were listed for $3,500 a month at 140 Riverside Boulevard.

Andy Kim, a broker who runs the Upper West Side office of Nest Seekers, said 200 West will be “more attractive to people who don’t want to walk an extra two blocks.”

But come spring, a closer rental project, the 41-story tower at 200 West 67th Street, at Amsterdam Avenue, is set to open.

That building — co-developed by Steve Shokouhi and Albert Kalimian and to be completed in May — will have 310 apartments and three ground-level stores. The building begins leasing in March, Shokouhi added.

And, 200 West also has to contend with a burgeoning supply of condo sublets, brokers said. Across from 200 West, for example, is the Alexandria, a ziggurat-topped condo with a pool and playroom; 10 of its 198 units are currently being leased, Bacodari said.

While 200 West will have its work cut out for it in filling its nearly 200 apartments, it already has two tenants lined up for three of its retail spaces, which span three levels aboveground and two below. (That “vertical retailing” concept was introduced to the Upper West Side when the Time Warner Center debuted the Shops at Columbus Circle in 2004.)

Those who shun Gray’s $3 franks for health reasons may be excited that Trader Joe’s will open at 200 West next year, according to a spokeswoman for the store.

The supermarket will take the 25,000-square-foot space. Another 10,000-square-foot space will be leased to a bank opening next summer, according to Picket, though he declined to discuss details of the deal. The third and final 15,000-square-foot berth has yet to be leased, but Gotham is talking to clothing and home-accessory retailers. Picket declined to disclose the rents.

Still, retail rents are not what they used to be. Two years ago, 200 West might have fetched $550 a square foot. Now it would be lucky to get $250, said Jeffrey Roseman, an executive vice president at Newmark Knight Frank Retail.

Few rents exceed $250 a foot on Broadway between West 59th and 110th streets, he said, including at 15 Central Park West. Its retail space on Broadway houses Best Buy and West Elm, plus a Chase bank.

Picket is upbeat that 200 West’s 20-foot ceilings, lined with merchandise, will play to his advantage on a high-visibility corner.

Still, there’s plenty of room for more retail along that corridor, Roseman said. “A lot of people live up there, and New Yorkers don’t like to walk too far,” he noted. “It’s got the income, too.”

In the meantime, residents upstairs could be enjoying cool spring nights on a roof deck that will feature an outdoor fireplace


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