North of 96th Street, Fifth Avenue matures

Fifth Avenue north of 96th Street is finally becoming a developed, mature neighborhood, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Long home to middle-class residents, many of whom were employed by nearby Mount Sinai Medical Center, the area between Carnegie Hill and Harlem had resisted the luxury and expensive development that proliferated to the south. Now the area is home to new condominiums, foreigners buying in to those buildings and new museums. The only trailing component is retail.

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The Journal pegs the beginning of the transformation to 2004, when investors led by the Chetrit Group, who are now being sued by the condo board, purchased the rental building at 1200 Fifth Avenue near 101st Street for $61 million and converted it to condos. Though sales started slowly, just nine of the 63 units remain, and buyers have paid more than $1,700 per square-foot on average for units. Then, Durst Fetner converted 1212 Fifth Avenue at 102nd Street into 55 luxury condos, asking about $1,445 per square-foot. Finally, at 1280 Fifth Avenue, near 109th Street, Brickman developed a Robert Stern-designed 116-unit condominium that’s now attracting foreign buyers.

Combine those developments with the new museums in the area, including El Museo Del Barrio at 1230 Fifth Avenue, the Museum of the City of New York near 104th Street and the African Museum of Art inside 1280 Fifth Avenue, and the area is becoming almost as high-end as its neighbor to the south — just without the crowds. [WSJ]