By Carter B. Horsley
Wood-covered residences are in very short supply
in Manhattan, but this handsome development is the first in many
decades to add to the inventory.
The lower half of the 14-story building is
partially "wrapped" in "off-the-shoulder"
style in large sheets of nicely dark stained wood. The "wrapping"
is around the southeast corner of the building but only extends
up to the 10th floor, giving the building, the rest of which is
covered in light-colored masonry, an asymmetrical "look."
The thin panels are extremely attractive and
despite their material appear very high-tech. Indeed, at first
glance one is tempted to think they are bronze or aluminum, perhaps
because of the dark metal covering a very modern art gallery structure
at the northeast corner of Tenth Avenue at 23rd Street just down
the block. (Just to the north of this building, a car-wash occupies
the southwest corner at 24th Street and for an older generation
nothing is much more high-tech than a car-wash.) Directly across
Tenth Avenue is the distinguished, full-block residential enclave
known as London Terrace.
This may not be the South Pacific, but it is
not hard to imagine Mary Martin singing that she will "wash
that man right out" of her hair on this quintessential block
of the "new" Chelsea, a Chelsea that teems with energy,
abounds in artsiness, glories in some landmarks and a rejuvenated
riverfront forested with some industrial blockbusters.
When this development opened its sales office
in the fall of 2004, all its 22 units were snatched up in about
36 hours, a reflection of the neighborhood's high desirability
and the project's distinctiveness.
In a October 21, 2004 article in The New
York Sun by Julie Satow, Eileen Spinola, the head of residential
development for the Real Estate Board of New York, was quoted
as stating that "this is one of the first big public recognitions
that the Far West Side is profitable for investors," adding
that "buyers who missed the beat with downtown, Harlem, and
other hot neighborhoods are approaching the West Side with a vengeance."
Jim Brawders, a senior vice president of the
Corcoran Group, who was the exclusive marketer of the building,
which is known as Vesta 24, with his partner, Cay Trigg Blau,
was quoted as maintained that "this is the fastest I have
ever sold out a building."
The building has a concierge and 22 condominium
units but the sponsors and developers kept five units for themselves.
Most of the apartments on the lower floors
have 1,421 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a
terrace or a balcony and initial prices around $1,100,000 to $1,340,000.
The four full-floor penthouses have wood-burning fireplaces and
roof decks and prices that ranged from about $2,600,000 to $3,000,000.
The apartments have stainless steel kitchen
appliances, Miele cooktops and wall ovens, Bosch dishwashers and
kitchens with moveable islands.
The developer is the Vesta Group of which Mark
Blau of HuDu Development, who developed the Duane Park Building
condominium in TriBeCa, is a principal. Garrett Gourlay is the
architect and James D'Auria Associates did the interiors.