I like the texture on this one, real silky.
Sometime in early January.
Sales at Meier-Designed Tower Could Signal Pricier Downtown Market
BY JULIE SATOW - Staff Reporter of the Sun
February 10, 2005
The last of three Richard Meier-designed glass towers rising on the edge of the West Side Highway is nearly half sold, with two bidders in hot contention over the penthouse. Forty-five percent of the 31 apartments at 165 Charles St. are in contract, and a local real estate developer is vying with Hollywood heavyweight David Geffen, who owns DreamWorks SKG with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, for the $20 million penthouse, according to sources close to the deal.
The units, which went on sale in April, cost between $5.3 million and $8.5 million for the 22 three-bedroom units in the building. One 2,553-squarefoot three-bedroom on a high floor went into contract recently for $2,895 a square foot, said a senior managing director at the Sunshine Group, James Lansill. The building has two apartments with only two bedrooms, both of which have sold, and two apartments with one bedroom, which have also been sold. There is one remaining studio in the back of the building.
As for the 4,551-square-foot four bedroom penthouse, if it sells for the asking price of $4,394 a square foot, it would be the most expensive apartment to sell downtown, the president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, Jonathan Miller, said. A deal for the penthouse is expected as early as this month, Mr. Lansill said.
The 16-floor building, which is wrapped in a glass, aluminum, and granite skin, will be ready for occupancy this summer.
The price points for the building, which are on par with real estate prices for luxury buildings uptown, is helping to drive a trend in name-brand architecture downtown, experts say.
"If the building's sales succeed, it will prove that this type of product can be absorbed into the market, and it will spur more development by well-known architects downtown," Mr. Miller said. "It builds a track record that other developers will follow."
A Douglas Elliman broker who specializes in luxury real estate, Leonard Steinberg, agreed.
"The buildings are the most visible of all the designer buildings and are a clear leader," he said.
Other buildings by well-known architects include the Santiago Calatrava glass-cube building at the South Street Seaport, the Gwathmey Siegel building at Astor Place, and the Winka Dubbeldam-designed luxury residences on Greenwich Street.
Nicole Kidman, Martha Stewart, and Calvin Klein are just a few of the boldfaced names who have bought units at Mr. Meier's other glass towers on nearby Perry Street. Those buildings were delivered raw and have reportedly been plagued by infrastructure problems. The Charles Street building has also attracted Hollywood luminaries, including Natalie Portman, who bought one of the building's two one bedrooms, and the owner of a travel agency, Michael Holtz, who bought two apartments in the building.
The developers, Izac Senbahar and Simon Elias, hope the building will not have infrastructure difficulties like the others. "There were logistics problems with [the Perry Street] apartments because they were delivered raw," Mr. Senbahar. "We have professionals doing everything so we will not face these issues."
Mr. Meier was given carte blanche to decide even the smallest details for the interiors, including 9-foot-tall, $6,500 bathroom doors and leather theater seats in the communal screening room.
"This was Richard's vision, and we wanted to let him paint the entire canvas," Mr. Senbahar said.
The Charles Street building, which has a 50-foot infinity-edge pool and a private wine cellar, has terraces on 23 of its units. Every apartment comes with wide-plank Wenge wood floors, double-glazed windows, and central air conditioning and heat. There are Bosch washers and dryers, Gaggenau ovens and dishwashers, and Sub-Zero refrigerators. The bathrooms are designed with white Corian, Dornbracht fittings, gray jet-mist granite slab stone flooring, frameless glass showers, an extra deep soaking tub, and Duravit bidets.
As part of the process of allowing Mr. Meier free rein to design the entire building, the developers skipped a traditional aspect of development known as value engineering. This is when a project architect is hired after the design architect - in this case Mr. Meier - with the purpose of finding a more affordable way to adapt the styles to the apartments. Without value engineering, most of the fittings must be custom-made to Mr. Meier's specifications at a much higher cost.
"We didn't do any value engineering, so it is very unique, and would be very difficult to pull off in a bigger building," Mr. Senbahar said. The banks balked at the costs and financed about 60%, instead of the more common 80% or 90%, of the $100 million project, with the remainder coming out of the developers' own pockets, Mr. Senbahar said.
the 50 foot infinity edge pool sounds awesome as well as the wine cellar and screening room. Glass Towers are becoming ever so popular, since Gwathmey Siegels creation of Astor Place used the idea of "waves" and Meiers which is strictly a "Glass Box", I wonder what other designs can possibly be created through this new reinvented concept of architecture
The Real Deal, March 2005
165 Charles Street costs rise
By Steve Cutler
While architect Richard Meier�s marquee two tower project on the West Village waterfront attracted almost as much notice for construction delays and water leaks as architectural panache, his latest project, at 165 Charles St., may eventually epitomize cost overruns in pursuit of perfection.
Where Meier designed the glass towers at 173-176 Perry Street, but left them as raw space on the inside, the new Charles Street project is the architect�s outside and in, right down to the bathroom faucets and screening room chairs.
Developers Simon Elias and Izak Senbahar, who are unaffiliated with the Perry Street buildings, decided to meld their fate to the architect�s vision from the start. Giving the architect carte blanche has meant continual cost increases.
"We went to Richard Meier and he really wanted to do a third building and he wanted to do the finished interiors," Elias said. "We gave him a free hand � everything he wanted. We knew we would end up with a unique product."
It hasn�t been cheap. "We started out with an 85 percent construction loan," Elias added, "and ended up at 60 percent as we continued down the design phase. All the extra money we put in was our own equity."
Living in a building that owes more to art than commerce leaves little room for modest budgets. Prices have reached as high as $4,394 a square foot � or $20 million - for the 4,551-square-foot penthouse with an 1,800 square-foot terrace. The unit has drawn interest from prospective buyers such as Hollywood mogul David Geffen. If it gets the asking price, it would be Downtown�s most expensive apartment.
Wrapped in glass and aluminum, the sleek, minimalist 16-story building is similar but not identical to the Perry Street towers. "The fa�ade is different�it�s like a cousin, not a brother, of what�s there," Meier said. "The height is the same and the idea of the open, transparent building is similar."
Extraordinary interior finishes abound. Apartment walls never touch the ground but instead float just above it, for purely aesthetic reasons. Sheetrock was laid on the inner walls by the same team that did the Museum of Modern Art. Meier�s handwritten signature even graces the inside of kitchen cabinets.
"They are pure Richard Meier," said James Lansill, senior managing director of The Sunshine Group, which is marketing the project. "Every detail on the inside is proscribed by Meier."
Windows in the building have three layers of glass to keep out the noise from the West Side Highway below. A protective layer shields out harmful ultraviolet light rays. To keep the glass clean, the building had a crane-like apparatus mounted on the roof to reach down � it�s an in-house, or rather on-house, robotic window washer.
The finishes transcend craftsmanship, says Elias. "If you look at the Getty Museum [designed by Meier], everything lines up in an amazing way. You see here too, in the apartments, the wood planks on the floors line up with the bare wood on the terraces. I don�t know if anybody notices that, but it�s the kind of thing that�s typical of him."
Interior doors are made of translucent glass. Bathrooms feature a frosted window between the shower and the master bedroom. Shower bases are made of one piece of stone, custom-ground for drainage, instead of tiles.
The common areas are similarly impressive. A below-ground atrium space houses a 50-foot pool next to a 15-foot waterfall. Other amenities include a private wine cellar and a 35-seat screening room specially-designed by acoustic engineers.
Approximately 45 percent of the building�s 31 apartments are sold. The 22 three-bedroom units cost between $5.3 million and $8.5 million. Its three studios, lacking the front views that the larger apartments have, are the building�s bargains, going for about $1.25 million, well below the average overall $2,500-per-square-foot pricing.
Developers hope that with finished space, they will avoid the problems experienced in the other Meier towers. In that project, buyers had to put in their own basics, including bathroom plumbing, and the building reportedly experienced leaks and other problems. Calvin Klein, who bought a unit in the building, threatened to sue over the complications that arose.
The Charles Street project will also be unique in that Meier made an agreement with the developers stipulating that he would never replicate certain aspects of the design in any other projects.
Two of the units are reserved for the developers. "Both Izak and I are going to keep apartments here," said Elias. "We won�t do this again and we didn�t want to drive by 10 years from now and say, �I should have kept one.�"
Great website guys. As a current Meier employee, it's easy to have one's perspective skewed by one's surroundings. It's good to see a forum with different points of view.
The location of the project next to the Perry Street development was an odd situation. I can't think of another instance where we built adjacent buildings with different clients. I think the consensus in the office would be that both projects would be better if they were not next to each other, unfortunately, architects are rarely able to choose their client or the site.
Thanks for the pic.
165 is a great looking building but building it right next to Perry West seriously detracts from both projects. It's a crying shame it wasn't built on another site.
I agree. It ruins the "gate way" effect the 2 buildings had. The building is beautiful, high quality and right for the waterfront but the whole thing looks a little less special now.
An ad in today's NY Times states that units at 165 Charles start at $5,000,000.00 ++ !!!!!!Originally Posted by Fabrizio
And won't they be upset if someone builds something that blocks their views ...
Its so stupid having that one tower different, anyone know why richard didnt design it to fit the other towers?
I think, literally, because he wanted something different.
I think its more similar than different. I'm hoping his Brooklyn development will be radically different.
When looking at the 3 buildings from nearby you can see the the newer tower has a different glass than the original two. It is a much clearer glass, without the blue-greenish tinge of the glass in the first towers. Meier also seems to have refined the exterior structural elements to offer more expansive and uninterrupted views -- though the glass enclosures on the balconies of the new tower are somewhat awkward in how they relate to the rest of the building.
What I don't understand with all three of the towers is the desire for the expanse of windows on the buildings at the eastern edges away from West Street. This is where they look across to the other buildings. Seemingly this design element is to unify the look of the buildings from the exterior, but it must make for a very odd experience from inside the units.
IMO the refinement of the new tower actually makes the original two (terrific looking on their own) look somewhat busy. In a perfect world the new tower would be a few blocks removed from the other two.