With its tree-lined streets, stunning architecture and ample green space, Morningside Heights feels like an oasis on the Upper West Side. Academic institutions are the anchor of the neighborhood, while charming cafes and bookstores dot the landscape between the campuses of Columbia University, Barnard College and more. Morningside Heights is quickly becoming one of the city’s more popular neighborhoods, and the newly opened Vandewater one of its most desirable and distinctive buildings.
Vandewater, located between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue at 543 West 122nd Street, is a 33-story luxury condo building that blends the historic and architectural character of the surrounding neighborhood with modern amenities.
“As a native Upper West Sider, it’s important to me that the building feels like it was meant to be there and is a timeless addition to the skyline,” said Christopher Schlank, a founder and managing partner of Savanna, Vandewater’s developer.
The building was designed by INC Architecture & Design, the firm responsible for 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and the TWA Hotel. Compared to many of the other glass-box-style new buildings, Vandewater is unique — its design carefully crafted to feel at home among nearby institutions, including Columbia’s neoclassical architecture and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s Gothic spires. “The key to ensuring Vandewater fits into the neighborhood is understanding the history of the area,” said Schlank. The building’s name is an homage to the neighborhood’s original title: Vandewater Heights, after one of the first families that owned land in the area.
Vandewater is home to 183 residences, ranging from studio to four-bedroom apartments priced from $920,000 to $6 million. It recently set a record for highest price point in the neighborhood when one of its four-bedroom apartments sold for $4.5 million — a remarkable sales achievement in a residential market buffeted by the pandemic.
Each of Vandewater’s residences features oversized windows, European white oak floors, quartzite and granite countertops and zoned climate controls. They are equipped with thoughtfully curated appliances provided by P.C. Richard & Son, which include Miele appliances in the kitchen, Whirlpool washers and dryers and Kohler toilets. From the upper floors, residents have unobstructed views of Central Park, the Hudson River and the skyline of Lower Manhattan.
Vandewater’s outdoor spaces include two private gardens and a cobblestone motor court drive, all the work of landscape architects at Michael Van Valkenburg Associates, who designed Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as spaces at Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. The gardens have been thoughtfully curated with plants that bloom at different times of the year, so residents always have outdoor space that feels inviting.
Green space is just one of the elements of sustainable design at Vandewater. The building expects to receive LEED Gold certification thanks to its use of recycled construction materials, efficient water and electricity use and local sourcing. Vandewater’s laundry spaces are equipped with Whirlpool heat pump dryers, which are sustainably produced and designed to reduce energy consumption while providing high drying speed and performance.
Like its exterior, Vandewater’s interior takes cues from its academic surroundings. The Lobby features Ionic columns inspired by Columbia’s Butler Library, along with a spiral staircase that connects to the building’s amenities.
The building boasts an impressive 24,000 square feet of amenities spread across three floors, including a salon, a great room and a club room. There is a state-of-the-art fitness center with a quiet energy room, 70-foot lap pool, sauna and steam room. For students of all ages and disciplines, the building offers soundproofed practice and study rooms, a teen lounge and the Little Forest, a children’s playroom with a dedicated craft center.
“Vandewater offers owners the opportunity to live in a world-class condominium in the heart of an Ivy League environment in Manhattan,” said Steve Kliegerman, president of Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing. “Morningside Heights finally has a new building to call home that is worthy of its rich history and commitment to higher education.”
The neighborhood is as well suited to students and young families as it is to professionals and empty nesters. It offers a multitude of green spaces, including Riverside Park to the west and Morningside Park to the east. In the spring, nearby Sakura Park is filled with thousands of flowering cherry trees. The abundance of academic institutions in Morningside Heights makes it easy to audit a class, take in a student show or sit in on a world-class lecture.
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