The recent boom in luxury condo construction saw plenty of new entrants hit the Manhattan skyline, with more than a few of these new condo listings bearing the brands of some heavyweight architects. With all the attention given to deserving star-architect condominium listings such as Jean Nouvel's Nouvel Apartments (in Chelsea) and Robert A.M. Stern's 15 Central Park West (at, yes, 15 Central Park West, on the Upper West Side), as well as Frank Gehry's luxury rental at 8 Spruce Street, I.M. Pei's first NYC condominium seemed to slip through the cracks somewhat. But The Centurion, the first Manhattan condominium from the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, is belatedly getting the attention it deserves -- and selling out its condos for sale at a brisk rate. It took longer than usual, but this superstar architect's first Manhattan condominium is increasingly looking like one of the superstar apartment listings in Midtown West.
"I.M. Pei, and his son, Li Chung Pei, have designed an apartment house in Manhattan that, while devoid of any grand, theatrical gestures, embodies an unfussy, functional, and elegant ethos," Wall Street Journal architecture critic Dana Rubinstein writes. "The Centurion is clad entirely in Chamesson limestone from Burgundy, France. That gives the 19-story tower an integrity absent in similarly positioned developments that seek to project grandeur, all while hiding behind precast, value-engineered exteriors." If you don't speak architecture critic, let us translate: that's a rave.
Architecture critics, it turns out, are not the only ones cheering. While a dozen apartments at The Centurion remain on the market, sales have been booming for nearly a year, now. So much so, in fact, that The Centurion has availed itself of an almost unheard-of luxury in the Manhattan real estate market and marked up eight of those 12 remaining apartments for sale (other condominiums at The Centurion, strangely, have been marked down). Curbed fails to find any rhyme or reason to the mark-ups, but the significance is clear -- even in a Manhattan condo market that is mounting an increasingly impressive comeback, The Centurion is looking more and more like an undeniable hit, and behaving accordingly. Given its stunning looks, lovely communal spaces -- check out the water garden in the interior courtyard -- and prime Midtown West location, it's hard to argue that The Centurion doesn't deserve it.