Reach For The Stars: Extell Announces Plans To Build Tallest Condominium Building in Manhattan

Posted on Wed, 05-26-2010

There are a lot of things to miss about the heyday -- it was only just a few years ago, although it feels much longer -- of NYC real estate. There was a time when new construction condos in Manhattan came on the market every week, when the streets rang with news of rezoning and new construction and condo conversions and so on. It was... honestly, probably a bit much, and not nearly as great a time to find a condo for sale in Manhattan as today's more chilled-out real estate climate. But the market is turning itself around as we speak, and proof is everywhere you look, both on the and elsewhere. But if you need proof that the grandiosity of old is returning to Manhattan real estate, look no further than the news that condo developer Extell and star architect Christian de Portzamparc just announced plans to build the tallest condominium in Manhattan at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in Midtown West. Hurray?Let's call it a modified, limited "hurray," for now. Extell President Gary Barnett does not now and has never lacked for ambition or confidence in the ongoing rebound in NYC condos, which has resulted in some impressive Manhattan condo listings -- The Lucida, a green condo listing on the UES, is a favorite around the NCM offices, but 535 West End Avenue and The Rushmore are standout Manhattan condo listings as well. While it's nice to see Extell branching out from its usual locales -- most of its condominiums are on the Upper West Side or Upper East Side -- it's tough to call the quest to build Manhattan's tallest new construction condominium anything but... well, grandiose. And yet, as the Manhattan real estate market turns the corner, maybe some grandiosity isn't a bad thing. "Apartment prices and office rents have bottomed out, and landlords are having to offer fewer concessions, real estate executives say. Foreign investors are back, and wealthy people are buying property again," Charles V. Bagli writes in the New York Times. "Tourists continue to pour into the city. Retailing is relatively strong, and hotel occupancy and rates are picking up...All these tentative signs of recovery could be extinguished by another downturn. But many are poised like sprinters for the starting gun on the next real estate bull market." Barnett insists the building will be finished by 2013, and of course no one knows what the market for NYC condos -- or what New York City in general -- is going to look like then. But while the scale of Extell's ambition might be a bit much, it's encouraging indeed to see NYC real estate developers reaching for the stars again.

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