Rounding out Riverside South

<i>Extell's fourth tower on the West Side, the Aldyn, gets traction out of the gate</i>

The Aldyn
The 40-story Aldyn is the latest in a wall of luxury towers, and the fourth by Extell Development, to sprout up on Riverside Boulevard in the West 60s.

This largely glass building, however, is a condo-rental hybrid — an option that, as The Real Deal has reported, has become increasing popular for developers since the economy soured because it helps them hedge against the uncertain sales market. The Related Companies has a hybrid project at 440 West 42nd Street, and J.D. Carlisle Development Corp. has the Beatrice/Eventi combination on 29th Street.

But the hybrid model is a first for Gary Barnett’s Extell, which has also built the Avery and the Rushmore, both condos, and the Ashley, a rental, on this patch of Riverside South, a site extending from 59th to 72nd streets. (The northern part of the site was developed by Donald Trump, who built seven buildings there, but he lost the southern swath to Extell after his Hong Kong-based partners, the Cheng Group, sold their majority stake to Barnett in 2005.)

The Aldyn — which is at 60 Riverside Boulevard near 64th Street — has 136 rentals (on floors two through 10) and 150 condos (on floors 11 through 40). Leasing launched in November and sales started in January.

According to Clifford Finn, managing director for new development marketing at Citi Habitats, which is handling the building’s leasing, about 35 percent of the rentals have already been spoken for. Finn expects the remaining rentals, which range in price from $4,000 to $20,000, to be filled by this summer.

And the building is offering concessions to make that happen: a month of free rent for every 12 months on the one- and two-year rent-stabilized leases.

“I think we’ll be offering that incentive for at least the next few months,” Finn said. “It helps with absorption, and almost all new developments give at least a month free [these days] — many give two months.”

Meanwhile, on the condo side, listings website StreetEasy shows that asking prices at the Aldyn range from $755,000 for a 691-square-foot one-bedroom to about $17 million for a 5,641-square-foot, six-bedroom unit.

Top to bottom: Clifford Finn of Citi Habitats and Beth Fisher of Corcoran Sunshine
Larry Kruysman, director of sales at Corcoran Sunshine, which is marketing the condos, said 14 contracts have already been signed (including one for a roughly $15 million duplex). And move-ins, he said, are expected to begin this month.

Kruysman also said that another 15 contracts are currently out to potential buyers, including on one of the two 20th-floor six-plus-bedroom units with the ultimate amenity: a private swimming pool and hot tub. The unit has more than 5,000 square feet of interior space, as well as a 3,000-square-foot terrace. Both it and its sister unit are in the $16 million range.

Beth Fisher, senior managing director at Corcoran Sunshine, noted that the majority of the available condos are one- to four-bedrooms. She said “we priced them to sell quickly” and that there was “no negotiation” on the units.

“Being new to the market, we are priced correctly,” Fisher said.

Both she and Kruysman said they expect to have sold half the condos at the building — which is working with Wells Fargo and HSBC as preferred lenders — by the end of 2011.

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That would likely be a relief for Extell, which is still involved in an ongoing dispute with the Attorney General’s office over whether it needs to return deposits to 41 buyers at the Rushmore.

This time around, Extell is betting on a continued recovery in the Manhattan market. Prudential Douglas Elliman’s fourth-quarter Manhattan market report found that the median sales price of Manhattan luxury apartments was up about 15.1 percent compared to the dark days of 2009, to about $4.4 million. Perhaps more important, in the fourth quarter it took an average of 142 days to sell a luxury property, which, while up a little from the previous quarter, was nearly 100 days faster than the 240-day average in the prior year’s quarter.

Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, said with the luxury market rebounding, the main challenge for the Aldyn is financing for potential buyers.

The Aldyn’s 75-foot swimming pool
“New development lending has much tougher underwriting requirements than existing properties,” he said.

And that may be where the rentals come in handy in filling up the building.

Finn noted that the rentals have the same interior designs as the condos, which were all done by the Manhattan-based Roman and Williams. Apartments include Zuma tubs with Waterworks fixtures in the bath and Smeg and Miele appliances in the kitchen.

He noted that the one- and two-bedroom rental units — while smaller than condos with the same number of bedrooms — are large for rentals. For example, one-bedroom units are more than 700 square feet, which Finn called “above average.” The two-bedrooms are about 1,200 square feet, while the three- and four-bedroom units are about the same size as the condos, ranging from about 2,000 square feet for a three-bedroom to 2,505 square feet for a four-bedroom.

“The apartments have more of that prewar feel to them in terms of space,” Finn said. “They are not as compact as most other apartments on the market in the city are.”

All residents in the building — along with residents at the Aldyn’s two sister buildings, the Ashley, which shares a courtyard with the Aldyn, and another, yet-to-be-built Extell tower at 40 Riverside — will have free access to 40,000 square feet of amenities. They include an athletic club with a 75-foot swimming pool; a 38-foot rock-climbing wall; basketball and squash courts; a bowling alley; yoga and pilates studios; and a golf simulator. Kruysman said the amenities and athletic space is the largest in a private building in Manhattan.

“A single building couldn’t support” amenities of that size, he said.

Meanwhile, after intense negotiations, the 3 million-square-foot Riverside Center, another Extell project, won approval from the City Council at the end of December, and construction is slated to start in 2012. Located between 59th and 61st streets, it will add about three acres of open space and five more glass towers. Architect Christian de Portzamparc and landscape architect Matthew Nielsen did the master plan for the center, which will also include retail, a school, and 1,500 below-ground parking spaces.