The most Instagrammed site in New York City isn’t Brooklyn Bridge or even the Empire State Building. It’s not Central Park or Times Square, either.
It’s the interior of the Oculus, a vast, blisteringly white ribbed structure that soars above a Westfield shopping centre and transport hub in Lower Manhattan.
Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and opened in 2016, it replaces a station destroyed in the 9/11 attacks and epitomises the district’s ebullient rejuvenation.
What was once a nine-to-five working destination focused on Wall Street is now one of NYC’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods with a threefold increase in residents since 2001.
“Lower Manhattan was where New York began and there’s so much history and amazing architecture among the cobbled streets,” says Kelly Klingman of estate agency CORE.
“Today it’s an exciting place to be. Top chefs are setting up restaurants and bars. Tech and media companies have moved in — and it is truly one of the best-connected parts of the city with 20 ferry lines and 13 subway lines.
“Millennials are coming. This is where New Yorkers want to live.”
Here is Wall Street Reimagined
The largest office to residential conversion in New York history is taking place at One Wall Street, a 56-storey Art Deco landmark building from 1931 and once home to Bank of America. Freshly launched, this project is an exciting opportunity to own a contemporary, comfortable home in a piece of Lower Manhattan history.
On completion next year the original limestone façade will remain but everything inside will be new including a huge Whole Foods Market, three floors of shops and 566 studios to four-bedroom apartments priced from £750,000 for 520sq ft.
Apartments have 10ft-high ceilings. Some have terraces and views to New York harbour and the Statue of Liberty, while others look to Trinity Church where American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton — as in the musical — is buried.
One Wall Street residents will have exclusive use of The One Club with the stand-out facilities New Yorkers expect including a 75ft lap pool, a super-sized gym and spa, garden terrace, concierge and even a dog grooming service.
Don’t forget the other Chelsea
Twenty minutes’ walk north from the Freedom Tower, the art gallery-packed streets of Chelsea were fashionable even before the High Line, Manhattan’s raised garden on a disused railway line, opened in 2009.
This is where The XI — also known as The Eleventh — is being built: two twisting asymmetrical towers of 26 and 36 storeys on one full block between 17th and 18th Streets beside the High Line and the Hudson River. The XI will have America’s first Six Senses Hotel & Spa and 236 apartments priced from £1.9 million through Knight Frank.
Designed by architect Bjarke Ingels, The XI forms part of a so-called Architectural Row created by big-name architects along the Hudson. Even the show office is an artwork, with dramatic installations by London-based visual artist Es Devlin.
“Chelsea is a vibrant neighbourhood with an explosion of art and culinary talent,” says Alicia Goldstein of developers HFZ Capital Group. “The Whitney art museum moved here from Uptown, Google is building office space on the pier and local schools include the hugely popular Avenues International.”
One- to five-bedroom homes of 900sq ft to 7,000sq ft are luxurious, with full-height windows and elegant finishes. The first owners should move in during 2020 with the Six Senses Hotel scheduled to open the same year. Residents will have their own extensive spa, health and social areas managed by Six Senses as well as complimentary membership of the 50,000sq ft Six Senses Health & Wellness Club.
“There has never been an offering like this away from the high-end homes by Central Park and families are moving from Uptown to live here,” adds Goldstein.