A HILL OF A NEW AREA
By ANNE BECKER, May 29, 2004
EVER clever Manhattan developers are used to conjuring Up fancy new names for neighborhoods they're trying to promote - Chelsea Heights anyone?
Ergo, meet "Gramercy Hill" - an enclave knighted by some downtown developers to promote their condos of the same name. "We thought it'd be kind of catchy to come up with a new neighborhood, so we coined the phrase," says Kenneth Horn, president of Alchemy Properties, which is developing 120 Gramercy Hill.
The condos, at 129 E. 29th St., are actually five contiguous 1880 brownstones that Alchemy's spent $9 million to renovate. They brought in an architect, gutted the original buildings down to the walls and added a couple extra stories in height. "They had been stripped of their grace as a hodgepodge of office buildings," Horn says. "We wanted to maintain the look of the neighborhood before it was converted from its original look." So sometime in December, that original look will be back, along with 25 one- to four-bedroom condos, ranging in size from 1,002 square feet to 2,659 square feet.
Prices start at $675,000 and go up to $2,400,000. After just six weeks on the market, half of the units were already spoken for. Six ground-floor duplexes score private gardens and storage space, and 11 other apartments get private terraces or balconies. And all that's in addition to the 1,650- square-foot common roof deck.
The extra-special penthouses get built-in Miele coffee systems, fireplaces and oversized refrigerators.
Alchemy designates the Gramercy Hill neighborhood as a Gramercy Park/Murray Hill hybrid between 25th and 31st streets, bounded by Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue. In recent years, the area's seen a bevy of restaurants such as Dos Caminos and Blue Smoke sprouting on and around Park Avenue.
"The neighborhood will definitely change over time for the better," says Anne Tschida, who recently bought on 120 Gramercy Hill's fifth floor. "It's becoming hot with retail." Tschida, 31, and her husband currently live just a block away in a one-bedroom on 29th and Third. But they had enough faith in the 'hood's future to hunker down and invest there when looking for bigger digs.
Just don't ask the communications consultant to agree to the new nomenclature. "Maybe the name will catch on in five or 10 years," she says. "But I don't know if it'll make me change how I call it. It's definitely a marketing tool for the building."