Wild wild 250 West

Elad Group's 250 West benefits from good schools and Tribeca inventory squeeze

Elad’s Thomas Elliott in the lobby at 250 West. Inset, the exterior of 250 West.
You’ve likely zipped past 250 West Street while driving up the West Side Highway. The former fruit-and-vegetable warehouse has arched windows, iron shutters and the words “West Street” stenciled on its Hudson River-facing façade.

The brick building — which takes up an entire square block between Washington Street and the highway — was for years an administrative space for Citibank. Then, in 2006, it was purchased by the Elad Group, the Israeli developer famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for converting the Plaza Hotel into condos.

Elad started construction on converting 250 West into apartments in June 2011, and just one month later, with a good year left on that construction, the units were brought to the market. So far, so good, said Ariana Meyerson, managing director of Cantor Pecorella, which is marketing the property. As of last month, 250 West had sold 25 of its 106 units, with 11 in contract.

“We’re doing deals every day,” Meyerson told The Real Deal on a recent visit to the site. Since the recession began, New Yorkers have been reluctant to buy from floor plans, but The Real Deal reported this spring that buyers were again warming up to the idea.

The Elad building has a mix of unit sizes — from studios to three-bedrooms to a 7,000-square-foot penthouse with more than 4,000 square feet of outdoor space and a private elevator lobby.

Meyerson said buyers have been an “eclectic” bunch, including artists, business owners and, despite the recent Wall Street upheaval, bankers and their families looking to snatch up some of the only new product available in inventory-starved Tribeca.

Condo shortage

The building’s brisk sales pace doesn’t surprise StreetEasy’s Sofia Song. Other than Reade57 on the eastern edge of the neighborhood, she said, there is little new development in Tribeca, so “there’s always demand” for it. And unlike the all-glass Reade57, 250 West is a landmarked, redbrick building and more of a traditional “New York product,” Song said.

While Tribeca inventory increased slightly from last year, the neighborhood has 35 percent fewer units available for sale than it did in 2009, according to StreetEasy. In nearby Soho, by contrast, inventory has remained stable since 2009, and has grown by more than 23 percent since 2008, Song said.

Drilling down even further, Song said that large-apartment inventory (units with more than two bedrooms) in Tribeca is particularly scarce. That sector has seen inventory drop by 23.6 percent since last year. Soho, on the other hand, saw large-unit inventory decrease by just 4.4 percent in the past year, and rise 71 percent from 2008.

Price per square foot varies at 250 West. For example, apartment 2K, a 1,035-square-foot studio, is on the market for $1.15 million — approximately $1,100 per square foot. Apartment 11H, a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath unit on the top floor, is listed at $2,239 per square foot, for $9 million.

According to Song, the 44 units currently listed for sale average $1,452 per square foot, just below the average of $1,598 for other new developments in Manhattan.

In terms of amenities, 250 West will have 5,000 square feet of roof access for all residents (plus private space for three units), a lobby library and a children’s playroom. That’s in addition to a 60-foot indoor pool — still a rarity for new buildings.

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“No one else has all that,” said Thomas Elliott, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Elad.

Definitive numbers are hard to come by, but according to StreetEasy figures, only about 50 Manhattan buildings have pools. According to Song, buildings with pools often have higher common charges, due to upkeep and insurance. Of the 50 in her database, the average monthly maintenance is $1,754. At 250 West, common charges average $1,303.

According to Song, the only comparable buildings in the neighborhood in terms of size and amenities are 200 Chambers and 101 Warren, newly constructed buildings that are now sold out.

Residents of 250 West will also be just across the street (well, highway) from Pier 25 — which has a sand volleyball court, mini-golf course and playground. And, according to the Hudson River Park Trust, a city-and-state partnership charged with overseeing the Hudson River Park, the yet-to-be-finished Pier 26 will include a boat house, a café and an estuarium, or “wet lab” exhibiting local ecology. That’s not to mention proximity to some of the best public schools in the city, including P.S. 234.

A peek inside

For 250 West, the path to conversion hasn’t always been straight.

In 2007, Russian investors approached Elad with “a very favorable offer” to purchase the building from them, according to an Elad spokesperson. The economics of the deal made sense, so the company decided to proceed. But the investors were ultimately unable to close.

After the sale fell apart, Elad decided to move forward with its original plan to convert the building to condos, but “deteriorating market conditions made it prudent to temporarily delay construction,” the spokesperson said. Construction finally started this spring.

Although the building’s exterior evokes old New York, the model unit has a clean and modern feel. There is none of the exposed brick or iron beams that might be expected in a factory conversion.

Instead, architect and Israeli designer Gal Nauer — who has worked with Elad on the Plaza and other projects — used neutral marble and stone in the bathrooms, and white oak flooring throughout.

The master suite in the model unit features a six-foot soaking tub and separate shower, a double sink and a walk-in closet with vanity area. In the kitchen, countertops are white quartz and cabinets are shiny white Poggenpohl. Each unit comes with Bosch appliances. A stacked, European-style washer-dryer is tucked into a discreet wall closet (the building also has a laundry room).

Elliott also said the building will be pre-wired for speakers and automatic window shades, in case residents want them. In addition, Elad is selling on-floor storage units for $1,000 per square foot.

Depending on the location of the unit, some views will look out over the Hudson River to New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty and the fast-growing Freedom Tower also in sight.