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Thread: Downtown by Philippe Starck

  1. #1

    Default Downtown by Philippe Starck

    May 11, 2004

    Condos, Not Roll-Tops, on Finance's Holiest Corner

    By DAVID W. DUNLAP

    Philippe Starck is throwing a couple of curves on the Corner.

    He is helping design the conversion of 15 Broad Street into a condominium called Downtown by Philippe Starck. The 42-story apartment building will have an aerial front yard on the rooftop of the five-story 23 Wall Street, which it embraces on two sides, overlooking the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Memorial.

    Is that a spinning sound you hear as Mr. Starck holds a chandelier crystal to his head like an earring? It may be coming from the graves of old-time bankers who knew 23 Wall Street as the House of Morgan, 15 Broad Street as the Equitable Trust Company and the intersection of Broad and Wall as the Corner - epicenter of American finance.

    "It is fantastique to have a garden here," Mr. Starck said on a recent visit to the 5,000-square-foot rooftop. He envisions trees and teak decking, surrounded by a topiary wall with windowlike openings in which lanterns will hang. A large pool will be fed by a tall, crook-shaped pipe, looking like a giant faucet.

    That is a departure for a place where roll-top desks were standard issue until 1963.

    Twenty-three Wall Street was built in 1914 and linked in 1957 to 15 Broad Street. The buildings were later remodeled as headquarters of the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, corporate forerunner of J. P. Morgan Chase & Company. In 1998, a deal was reached under which every building on the block - except for 23 Wall, an official landmark - was to be razed to make way for a new stock exchange and office tower.

    That project fell through after the attack on New York. Last year, A. I. & Boymelgreen of Brooklyn bought the Morgan buildings for $100 million. It is spending about $135 million on the renovation, said Shaya Boymelgreen, the president.

    Ismael Leyva of New York is the project architect working with Mr. Starck on the conversion, which is to be finished next year. Prices for the 326 units will range from about $335,000 for a studio to $3.5 million for a three-bedroom apartment.

    Despite residential conversions all around, the Corner is still strongly financial. Barricaded behind truck blockades and patrolled by heavily armed police officers, the intersection may not be everyone's idea of a prime residential address.

    But Boymelgreen has guaranteed attention for its project by commissioning Mr. Starck, 55, arguably France's best-known designer, who had a large hand in recreating the Royalton, Paramount and Hudson Hotels in Manhattan.

    "Philippe is bringing humanity to the project," said Asi Cymbal, vice president and general counsel of A. I. & Boymelgreen. And a knack for raising eyebrows.

    "It will be the first fertile place on Wall Street," Mr. Starck said, peopled by families and children; a "paradise island" with its own bowling alley, basketball and squash courts, lap pool and small theater. It will, he said, embody "honesty, respect, tenderness, surrealism, poetry, surprise, vision - which have no value on the other side of the street."

    Speaking of which, what about that wartime security outside? Predicting a big change in foreign policy after the election, Mr. Starck answered: "All that will become quiet. Today, it's impossible to find the solution because you don't have the right people."

    Mr. Boymelgreen put the police presence in a more upbeat light. "This is the most secure place in the city," he said. "I can send my wife and children here 24 hours a day."

    A sales office is to open at 23 Wall in six weeks. Eventually, the landmark may be separated from 15 Broad Street and used as a school or hotel. Whatever happens, Mr. Cymbal said, residents will have unimpeded access to the 23 Wall Street rooftop.

    Another amenity they will keep is the 1,900-piece Louis XV chandelier that hung in the main banking hall like a glittering, upended elm. Morgan gave the piece to the developers, Mr. Cymbal said, on the condition that it be displayed publicly.

    It is to be installed in the Broad Street lobby, hovering inches off the floor, with plasma screens displaying residents' faces interspersed among the crystals. When he learned on his visit that many pieces had come from Austria-Hungary before World War I, Mr. Starck immediately identified them as Swarovski crystal.

    Then, after examining a faceted piece from one of the 250 or so boxes, he pretended to don it as an earring. Moments later, looking over the dull-gold curlicue framework of the chandelier, he instructed a colleague, Mark Davison: "Do it in silver. It will be more magical."

    With that, Mr. Starck galloped out of the basement. As Mr. Boymelgreen hurried after his whirlwind of a designer, he could be heard laughing incredulously. "Philippe," he said, "every time you come here it costs me another million dollars."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  2. #2

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    I think it's great that this building is being converted to condos and not being torn down. I was never a fan of the proposed Stock Exchange Tower and this building is a Wall Street mainstay.

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    The building is important and needs to be preserved. I don't know about this proposition however. It is dangerously redefining the very heart of the "financial district". It just doesn't sit right with me. That building is part of the NYSE/Federal Hall/JP Morgan Triangle. Each building symbolic. Turning it into condos or putting a private playground on the roof just seems so.... I don't know what, but it is.

  4. #4

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    A new life for the house of Morgan

    By Christopher Grimes

    Published: June 1 2004 15:48 | Last Updated: June 1 2004 15:48

    He died before it was completed but it is impossible not to feel the presence of the elder John Pierpont Morgan while roaming the halls of 23 Wall Street. That fierce visage, with its intense eyes and terrifying nose, seems to be everywhere: scowling from the building's darkened vaults, staring out across the old boardroom.

    For decades, 23 Wall Street was the most important address in American finance - the home of the House of Morgan. It was known popularly as The Corner, so designated because its entrance opened onto the corner of Broad and Wall streets. The Corner was a perfect perch for the rich and powerful to observe other rich and powerful people, since across from it are the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall, once a branch of the US Federal Reserve.

    Today, the building is no longer the most celebrated address in banking but a "regeneration project"; one piece of a larger effort to draw residents into Lower Manhattan's financial district.

    The building and an adjacent one, the 40 storeys that once housed Equitable Trust, are to be converted into 326 residences and a university. And though it would seem appropriate for a building so closely associated with wealth and power to be converted into luxury housing, the developers have a different idea.

    Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox, partners in the real estate group Yoo, see prices starting at about $335,000 (£183,000) for a studio - the smallest apartment. In Manhattan, where the average sale price for an apartment has reached $998,905, this sounds like a bargain. However, for the largest apartments with the best views, prices will reach $3.5m.

    "Philosophically, my angle is that good design isn't something that's elitist," Hitchcox says. "The idea is very much not to go down the 'capital A' architect route."

    There is plenty of architecture with a capital A on the exterior. The Morgan partners bought a marble quarry in Tennessee to ensure that there would be enough for the building, according to The House of Morgan, Ron Chernow's study of the Morgan dynasty. Before his death, Morgan had planned to bring home columns from Rome to adorn the entrance.

    But the residents of the new complex, to be called Downtown by Phillippe Starck, will probably spend little time in the original Morgan building. They will have access to its 5,000sq ft roof, which Starck plans to convert into a garden with trees and a pool. The Morgan interior will be used by New York Law School.

    Beneath the buildings is a vast system of bank vaults and an elevator - known as the "money car" - that posed a challenge for the developers. But they have a plan to convert the area into recreational space, including a lap pool and squash court.

    Down among the vaults, Jack Morgan, JP's son, also provided a shooting range so his security guards could stay sharp. The range is still there, with pocked ceiling and a large plate dented by thousands of spent shells. This is to be converted into a bowling lane. "It's a bit like a vertical playground," Hitchcox says.

    Upstairs, the old Equitable building will offer residents commanding views of Lower Manhattan and the Hudson River. Some will have terraces that once held massive generators.

    Much of the block - all of it except the landmark 23 Wall Street building - was due to be demolished under a plan to build a new home for the New York Stock Exchange. But the plans changed after the September 11 2001 attacks, allowing a group of Brooklyn developers to buy the whole parcel of land for $100m. Renovation costs are estimated to be about $135m.

    Residential activity in Lower Manhattan has been surprisingly strong after the attacks. Many renters have seized on financial incentives offered by the state to move downtown - an effective programme that has helped foster an atmosphere of optimism. Without them, the mood could easily have gone the other way.

    "As the rest of Manhattan sees a tightening of supply of housing, developers are starting to consider [lower Manhattan] as a new residential housing market," said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm. "Also, the World Trade Center site is going to be rebuilt and that implies there is an upside in the downtown location."

    But challenges remain. The financial district has always been a place where people came to work, had a drink or two after leaving the office, and then left. There are no supermarkets and only a handful of restaurants. After work hours, the area can feel lonely.

    Redevelopment of the World Trade Center will make Lower Manhattan one of the busiest construction sites worldwide. The $12bn project, which includes a Santiago Calatrava-designed transportation hub that will be downtown's answer to Grand Central Station, is sure to enhance the area when completed. But it could mean hassles for residents in the meantime.

    "I think it's terribly exciting what's happening in New York," Hitchcox says. "I want to be careful in saying this, but there is a sense that out of this terrible tragedy something new is growing."

    He sees this development as part of the creation of the new Lower Manhattan, one with vibrant communities and some real nightlife. That has happened all over Manhattan in areas that were once either seedy or deserted, including Tribeca, Soho and the Lower East Side. But development in these areas followed the familiar pattern in which squatters, artists and musicians did the hard work first.

    There is not much bohemian life in Lower Manhattan, but Hitchcox says this may simply mean that residential development may happen more quickly. There will be less resistance to changes in the neighbourhood: "The World Trade Center development is going to really put downtown on the map in a few years. That's why this is a great project - it's about revival, regeneration and opportunity."

    www.ft.com

  5. #5
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    NYNewsday

    PARADISE ON WALL STREET

    Reincarnating a downtown bank building into pricey condos of 'managed energy,' designer Philippe Starck shares his idea of Eden

    BY JUSTIN DAVIDSON
    STAFF WRITER

    November 10, 2004

    There are few corners in New York City with a more sober history and a more fanciful future than the squat, forbidding little former bank at 23 Wall St. Once it was the epicenter of the financial world. Soon it will become an icon of the designer life, a luxury condo called

    Downtown by Philippe Starck. In place of marble halls and hushed talk of money, let there be gigantic, gilt-framed mirrors and loud flaunting of money.

    "My idea is to bring happiness, respect, vision, poetry, surrealism, magic - these are not values you find in Wall Street," said Starck, the French designer famous for fusing baroque and modernist sensibilities into such objects as bulbous baby monitors, tooth-shaped stools and wall-size rococo mirrors. "Here is the center of the world, but it's also hell, so I want to create paradise. This is the Garden of Eden in downtown."

    The building was erected at the behest of J.P. Morgan in 1913. Despite its staid stone exterior, it did represent extravagance of a sort. Having paid a fortune for the site, Morgan decided not to take the logical next step of putting up a revenue-generating tower to house his bank. Instead, he built just the three floors he required to do business, thereby tossing away a vast and valuable tract of vertical real estate.

    These days, to approach "The Corner," as it is known, means braving a gauntlet of police officers in bulletproof vests, guarding one of the world's primary terrorist lures: the New York Stock Exchange.

    The juncture of Wall and Broad streets already has been a target. At noon on Sept. 16, 1920, a bomb hidden in a horse-drawn cart exploded in front of the House of Morgan, killing 39 people and maiming hundreds more. The bank's stonework still bears the scars from the blast. New York City wouldn't see such a gruesome attack again until another September day 81 years later.

    Walk through the austere portal of 23 Wall St. today and you enter a world of flamboyant frivolity. On a generous screen in the vestibule is a moving image of the impish Starck, animatedly holding forth in Inspector Clouseau inflections on the philosophic possibilities his remodeled condominiums will afford.

    A change of scenery

    Proceed through the double doors and in place of Morgan's pinstriped minions, sleekly suited salespeople await in a rose- colored room lined with gauzy white curtains and pierced by a wooden lightning bolt that wraps itself around an old spiral staircase

    One day last week, brand- name man Starck was holding court in the sales office. He gestured toward a chair he had designed - a Louis-the-Something throne upholstered in black shag - while sitting in a more severe steel creation of his, listening closely to a question he then proceeded to ignore.

    "I am not an architect, I'm not a designer, I'm not interested in all that," he began. "I'm interested in new concepts. I want a bigger scale than just if the purple is good with the gray. I've lived in New York for 25 years and for 25 years I've been saying that the future of New York is downtown. Until now, people came in to work, but either they stayed in some terrible hotel or they stayed in midtown. But we have created the first stop of the next life of downtown, which is not just Work but Life." He capitalized buzzwords by force of enthusiasm.

    Starck is correct that the conversion of obsolescent business centers into apartment buildings is an important part of the transformation of lower Manhattan. Until Sept. 11, 2001, the block he is remaking was slated for demolition so a new Stock Exchange tower could be built there. That plan was scrapped after the attacks.

    Businesses into homes

    The acres of high-tech office space being built at the World Trade Center site will likely suck businesses away from creaky old structures made of iron and stone.

    "What makes perfect sense in the evolution of the neighborhood is the old office buildings from the 1920s being converted into housing, while the new smart, wired buildings will be offices," said Carol Willis, an architectural historian and director of the Skyscraper Museum. "Given the recent announcements of conversions to apartments, and even schools, it appears that Wall Street is going to be a largely residential community, and so is Broad Street."

    These changes will depend on such grand forces as demographic trends, the cost of retrofitting and prices per square foot, but Starck and his backers also are betting on the chic of urban pioneering among the affluent, the young, the overworked - people who look at a yoga studio and see a basic need.

    "We are creating a tribe, the Smart Tribe: people who know the future is here. This is the first lighthouse for the - how do you say, the first people who arrived in Massachusetts? - the pilgrims of downtown New York. Before, the guy said to his girlfriend or wife, 'It's so boring to spend two hours on the train each day, can we live downtown?' And the girl said, 'No way!' I know it," Starck said, "because I proposed this to my wife.

    "Now, for the first time downtown, you will see the girlfriends, the wives and the children."

    Design and display

    Starck's curiously retro vision of a family- friendly, high-bohemian Wall Street enclave populated by restive former suburbanites rests on his belief in the life-altering power of good design and the magnetism of display. The bank eventually will become a cluster of boutiques, fused with the high-rise condominium building next door at 15 Broad St.

    The lobby there will boast Morgan's colossal Swarowski chandelier, restored and reinstalled not as a lavish fixture far overhead, but as a walk-around crystal cloud hovering inches from the floor. In theory, at least, the chandelier will be festooned with plasma screens bearing the images of the residents: You can't go wrong using narcissism as an element of design.

    Central to the Starck philosophy is the idea of life as a form of theater and the designer as director. The merger of a former bank and a tower makes "a beautiful building in the center of an opera set," he said. "It's not architecture; it's a movie, it's opera, it's boiling life."

    The financial district outside the airlock provides the urban decor, an exciting backdrop to luxurious domestic drama. Who wouldn't crave a principal role in this spectacle, so amiably populated by a self-renewing crowd of extras costumed as police officers, tourists, brokers, journalists and financial workers?

    Life ... la Starck consists of a series of camera-ready tableaux. In its new incarnation, the roof of Morgan's folly will become a poolside arbor in which to lounge with a cocktail and admire the muscular marble figures in the pediment of the New York Stock Exchange across the street.

    "It will be like an Italian villa on a lake," Starck promised. "You're in the middle of a sculpture, in a garden in the middle of the world. It's an ecstasy trip."

    Naturally, that trip does not come cheap. A mere $4.6 million will buy a 2,300-square-foot apartment with two bedrooms and two baths on the 37th floor, while nine floors below, a 2,011-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment with a terrace looks like a steal at $2.35 million. The apartments, which Starck designed with the luxury condo virtuoso Ismael Leyva, are white-walled and blond-floored, with 11-foot ceilings and spacious rooms tucked in unexpected places. One model appears at first to be an industrial-size studio, until, at the far end, a doorway appears from behind a pilaster, leading to an airy bedroom suite.

    In another, a secret flight of stairs leads from the vestibule to a bedroom loft. The entrance to the rest of the apartment runs through the kitchen, which is arrayed along one side of a hallway in a gleaming array of polished surfaces and $1,000 faucets. If it were ever actually used, guests would be greeted by a display of dirty pots, and greasy smoke would billow over the partition and waft into the bedroom. No doubt, the Smart Tribe always eats out.

    Starck has an emphatic theory for these arrangements. "The old floor plans are completely obsolete; they come from the 18th century. They are reductions of castles. The kitchen is far down a long corridor, because there used to be doméstiques [servants], but now there are not doméstiques. Now there is the wife at the other end of the corridor. Old floor plans are static, ours are dynamic. We think about managing energy. So you can be in bed and continue to speak with your wife while she makes breakfast. My way of working is to find new solutions for the next population - how to live differently with new human values."

    Encouraging someone to hit the snooze button while one's spouse makes coffee may not seem like such terribly innovative social engineering, but Starck and his development partners, Yoo Ltd. and A.I.-Lev Leviev Boymelgreen, seem to have found a public for their amenity-crammed Paradise-on-Wall.

    The sales office opened in August, the week that Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge announced the stock exchange was on al-Qaida's to-do list. Three months later, the developers have sold 75 percent of the apartments to buyers who won't be able to move in for another year. Starck was delighted to hear that several couples were trying to time pregnancies to dovetail with their move-in dates.

    When the building opens and the residents arrive next fall, some of them will be met by delivery trucks from Moss, the SoHo purveyor of vertiginously high design. The crates will contain furniture and accoutrements bearing the Starck seal of approval, most items designed by him, others by a selected corps of his colleagues.

    "I shall never make an interior decoration," he declared. "I have made museums, which are public, and hotels, which are also public. But I don't make the residential."

    Eclectic catalog

    Instead, Starck provides apartment buyers with a catalog of fine and surrealistic furnishings: a couch deep enough to accommodate a football team, light bulbs fitted out with cherub wings, molded plastic chairs with legs too slender to trust. More than a list of expensive products, the Downtown by Starck catalog is a lifestyle manual, an odd combination of freedom and instruction, a compendium of shared principles.

    "We don't try to please everyone," Starck said, reverting to his habitual "royal we." "We give people the best building, the best floor plan, the best fixtures. I know it because I designed it. They're the Smart Tribe, they can recognize the right product. We say you are different; us, also. You are smart; we are not completely stupid, either."

    On this affinity of difference rests the relationship between guru and disciple, and Starck translates that connection into the domain of real estate. "You have not to live in a prefab life," he instructs. "You must build your own. I can't do it for you. But I can help."

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    BUYERS FLIP OUT
    By DAKOTA SMITH

    SOLD! Shari Markoff bought a downtown studio at 15 Broad St. in the Fianancial District in July. Three weeks ago, she sold it for a hefty profit.

    February 5, 2006 -- Who said there's no more easy money in Manhattan real estate?

    Belying a generally flat Big Apple real-estate market, some upscale units downtown have become so hot that the developers want them back.
    At one downtown building, condo buyers are flipping apartments for a profit before they even own them.
    Since early January, Leviev Boymelgreen, the developer of Downtown by Philippe Starck, a 326-unit Financial District building opening at 15 Broad St., has been approaching buyers who went to contract on the apartments months ago and offering to resell their units via a formal "buyback" program.
    In return, the developer charges the seller a 12 percent commission on the deal.
    About 60 units have been put back on the market since the program began.
    According to Shaya Boymelgreen, president of the development company, 10 people have sold their contracts — getting their down payment back, plus a net profit of $300,000 or so.

    "We're making money, No. 1," said Boymelgreen. "And the buyer is making money from the resell."
    Phone calls to owners at 15 Broad St. began about three weeks ago, said Leviev Boymelgreen marketing and sales manager Linda Fine, who is facilitating the program.
    "We asked if they would rather sell before they closed and told them that we would try and find a buyer."
    Shari Markoff purchased a 1,100-square-foot studio last July for $640,000, putting down a deposit of $98,000. She sold the apartment three weeks ago for $900,000. After paying the 12 percent commission, she made a net profit of $152,000.
    Markoff, who purchased the apartment as an investment and never intended to move in, said her apartment sold within a day of putting it back on the market. "From an investor's point of view, it's the greatest thing," said Markoff, who owns six other properties around the city. "I don't see any downside."

    If the units that are being placed back on the market don't sell by the time buyers were originally scheduled to close, then the deal is null, noted Fine. Most closings are set to begin in late March and April in the building.
    On another recent deal that occurred through the buyback program, a couple purchased a 1,727-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment for $870,000 and resold it for $1.27 million. Boymelgreen made a 12 percent commission of $152,400.
    Sales began last July in the building. In fall 2004, 690-square-foot studios at 15 Broad St. were priced at $450,000, while 2,994-square-foot three-bedrooms were priced at $1.5 million. With designer Starck attached, 15 Broad St. was one of the first luxury buildings to start the "over-the-top" amenity trend, offering residents a bowling alley, yoga studio, squash court and extensive rooftop terrace.

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    Senior Swanky Peteynyc1's Avatar
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    Default loft studio line complete

    Click image for larger version. 

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    loft studio line complete

  9. #9

    Default starck is open...sort of

    does anyone have any thoughts about this building? I went in today to get a feel for the layouts, some of them are quite good however while I was waiting in the lobby 2 people came down to complain about problems (1 was floor buckling, 1 was no hot water).

    lol – I cant believe people are actually living in it yet, I asked to see the ammenities only to be told they wont be even available for inspection until the 1st of September with expected opening dates in October…..

    Dean

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peteynyc1
    loft studio line complete
    They'll call anything a "loft" these days ....

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    Default From an agent . . .

    Hi, new to this forum so if agents aren't supposed to post please tell me . nicely . . . and remember I am posting my contact info because my board requires me to!

    Re: 15 Broad (Downtown by Starck) I am under the impression from friends who looked at this building -- and passed -- that the experience varies tremendously from unit to unit, in terms of both layout and view.

    For example, my firm has a 2,050-square-foot unit listed, but we're at $875/sq. ft. because it's a long rectangle, and the windows are only at the short end.

    I see a 1,575-square-foot Elliman listing at $920/sq. ft. that's a more liveable layout, with a windowed alcove and a windowed bath.

    In terms of amenities, it looks like Elliman is holding an OH this Sunday, so you might want to see if they'll show you a real countertop and not just a sample. (lol).

    Also, don't forget that with any new construction, you want to ask owners if they've seen mice . . . I haven't heard of any specific troubles in the Financial District, but it's been a problem for friends uptown.

    GL!

    ali
    ---
    Alison Rogers
    DG Neary Realty
    ali@dgneary.com

  12. #12

    Question the new Philippe Starck building downtown

    guys how does everyone feel about this building?
    big name Philippe Starck
    do you guys think it is a good investment? great investment?
    http://downtownbystarck.com

    this building had crazy amenties
    that i have never seen before in other buildings.....bowling alley? crazy!!! plus
    pool
    fitness
    basketball court and much more....

    I think the neigborhood is up and coming
    right across from stock exchange
    do you think 924 a square foot is good price for this place?

  13. #13

    Arrow

    can someone answer my question

    i peerfer to have my own thread
    why was my thread thrown in with this thread?
    all the stuff posted here i knew already
    but no one has answered my questions

  14. #14

    Default here you go

    not a big fan of the layouts....i am suspect that the square footage #s listed aren't actually usable/interior sq footage #s...don't like having 2nd Bedrooms next to the master bedroom

    that specific block is a pain in the rear end due to the security related to the exchange...

    not yet sold on that neighborhood as a place to purchase a "luxury" level apt...

  15. #15
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    Many apartments were released about 6 months ago directly from the sponsor at around 600-700 dollars per sq foot. These were apartments that were originally planned as hotel space but the sponsor changed plans. There are apartments on the secondary market for alot less than 900+ a sq ft. I saw a finished apartment, and although they are huge, the construction wasnt anything that great. For the price he paid per sq ft ($590) well worth it, but for 900+, definitely not.

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