SoHo Braces For New Wave of Posh Pads

New York PostAugust 19, 2015

If you thought an apartment in a spiffy new building within heavily landmarked SoHo was unattainable these days, think again.


Just look at 150 Wooster St., where developer KUB Capital filed permits this month to erect a six-apartment building.


There’s also 30 Thompson St., where color-loving Karim Rashid is designing a flashy eight- to 10-unit condominium reportedly slated for completion in 2017.


Long after the neighborhood morphed into one of Manhattan’s most exclusive districts, residential developers are racing to put up a flurry of new buildings that are thrusting SoHo into the limelight once again.


The reason? They’re responding to deep-pocketed buyers’ demand to live in chic surroundings. Industry experts peg the area’s recent activity to SoHo’s coveted location, smack-dab in the middle of booming downtown development in nearby areas like TriBeCa and NoHo. Beyond projects in the planning phases, the nabe has several others gearing up for sales in the coming months. More supply means good news for buyers looking to score plush pads in this prime area.


“[SoHo] has the perfect appeal for the local and international buyer because it’s an established neighborhood,” says CORE honcho Shaun Osher. His firm is handling sales and marketing for the Annabelle Selldorf-designed 42 Crosby St. This 10-unit ground-up condo  made famous by its $1 million parking spots last year  will start at $8.25 million when listings hit the market this winter.


“It’s centrally located … it’s like the bull’s-eye of downtown. You can walk anywhere within five minutes,” Osher says.


Also alluring for buyers is SoHo’s charm. Cobblestone streets and the world’s largest collection of cast-iron buildings create an atmosphere that everyone agree is one of a kind.


“[It’s] got a magic to it,” says Douglas Elliman broker Tal Alexander, who, along with his brother and business partner Oren, lives and handles a number of deals in the neighborhood. “You can only understand it if you live here.”


And don’t forget the shopping! SoHo’s luxe offerings have long given the area prominent standing. New stores continue to attract tourists and would-be residents.


One recent arrival includes Moschino, which just opened on Wooster Street. This spring, Versace inked a 10-year lease for a store on Greene Street.


It’s no surprise that demand has pushed SoHo prices to jump at a double-digit clip. In the second quarter of 2015, median asking prices rose 21.24 percent to $3.69 million over the same period last year, according to StreetEasy.


Soon, there will be (slightly) more inventory to ease buyers’ appetites. Next month brings the sales launch of 52 Wooster St., a four-unit project developed by Continental Ventures. With architecture by Arpad Baska and interiors by GRADE New York, the units will measure roughly 2,044 to 4,263 square feet. Also listing this fall is the ground-up XOCO 325 condo at 325 West Broadway. Designed, developed and managed by DDG, this project will have 21 apartments.


In addition, the 20-unit Cary Tamarkin-designed new-build condo tower at 10 Sullivan St., a distinct triangular-shaped structure that began sales last year, will add four new townhouses to its count. Measuring roughly 6,500 square feet apiece, each spread will stand 25 feet wide and have backyards. They’ll ask $18 to $20 million when listed late this year.


For Kevin Maloney, the founder and principal of Property Markets Group, which is co-developing 10 Sullivan with Madison Equities, building in this neighborhood was simply a matter of responding to the downtown heat.


“I live on the Upper West Side, where it’s residential and boring … [SoHo] is a much younger, more vibrant neighborhood,” he says. “It’s a place where people are choosing to live.”


They’re also choosing to live west of Sixth Avenue — SoHo’s traditional western boundary. When discussing local real estate, it’s hard to ignore the activity that’s spread into this area, known as Hudson Square; it experienced its own development boom following a 2013 rezoning. Though some industry sources consider this former manufacturing district its own neighborhood (sources say NoCa, or North of Canal, is an emerging name), others insist it’s simply a western swath of SoHo.


Whatever it’s called, construction there sure is easier.


“Hudson Square presents a unique opportunity for SoHo in that it’s not landmarked,” says Robert Dankner, president of Prime Manhattan Residential, a brokerage active in the SoHo market. “There are lots, land and buildings with unutilized air rights.”


“The rezoning for us was the impetus,” says Tony Mannarino, executive vice president of development at Extell, which is developing 70 Charlton St., two 22-story towers that began sales in June with prices from $1.47 million. Designed by Beyer Blinder Belle with interiors by Workshop/APD, the project will have 122 units — 29 of which are affordable rentals, with the remainder being condops. “We felt it was a great opportunity to create luxury product given what’s going on in SoHo and TriBeCa … it presents a real opportunity for buyers as well. They’re getting in when the neighborhood is in transition and there’s more down the road.”


It’s also convenient — and that’s a big draw for buyers. This includes Nest Seekers International broker Ryan Serhant, a star of “Million Dollar Listing New York,” who bought a full-floor penthouse at 22 Renwick St. last year for $3.7 million.


“I can walk to TriBeCa, SoHo and the Village to get dinner,” he says. “The location is incredibly important.”


Several other projects are in the pipeline. One of them is 82 King St., an 18-story condo to be developed by Toll Brothers City Living that will open for sales in mid-2018. There’s also the 115-unit, 290-foot-tall 565 Broome St. — Pritzker Prize-winner Renzo Piano’s first New York residential building, which commences sales in 2016.


“[SoHo’s] in need of full-service, ultra-luxury development, which it doesn’t have,” says Michael Shvo, one of several developers behind Piano’s building.


The building boom isn’t limited to residential buildings.


A $6 million renovation of a half-acre open space at Spring Street and Sixth Avenue will begin in 2016 to create a community park dubbed SoHo Square.


Hotel Hugo opened last year bearing an Italian eatery and a rooftop bar — great additions to the area, which sources say still lacks commercial options.


Overall, there’s potential for appreciation, which is why Sonu Batra, CEO of real estate investment and development firm EastShore Management, snagged a pied-a-terre at 15 Renwick. Batra inked a $2.25 million contract for a roughly 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom condo last October.


“[Today], similar units with similar square footage are going for $2.55 million-plus,” he says. “You want to go where the next boom is going to be. It’s not only a personal move — it’s making the right investment.”