Hudson Yards, West Chelsea show signs of life with condo sales

72

Most Manhattan offices remain sparsely populated, but developers and landlords are confident the work-from-home phenomenon is temporary. Which is why they believe that office towers have a bright future — and their success will spill over into the residential neighborhoods around them.

The folks at Related Cos. shared with us some recent cheery data from Corcoran on sales at major apartment projects at Hudson Yards or in the West Chelsea area just south of it. People continue to buy expensive homes there, despite all of today’s fear and uncertainty.

Among them: Lantern House at 515 W. 18th St., next to the High Line, has averaged three unit sales each month for the past six months.

Seven condo sales have closed since May at the Zaha Hadid-designed 520 W. 28th St. One was the penthouse, one of only two apartment sales over $20 million signed in the city in this year’s third quarter.

Both 15 and 35 Hudson Yards — at Related’s vast complex that includes three office skyscrapers, the shopping mall and The Vessel — have averaged between one and two sales per month for the last six months.

At least some of the buildings’ appeal is their proximity to the Hudson Yards district’s new commercial towers. They include not only Related’s, but also Tishman Speyer’s Spiral and Brookfield’s Manhattan West.

The Lantern House and the High Line.
The Lantern House and the High Line.Related Cos.

Related CEO Jeff Blau said, “With tens of thousands of office workers and the center of commercial gravity moving west in Manhattan, we naturally see a huge opportunity for the nearby residential market and specifically the West Chelsea submarket. Many of these workers will want to live close to their office in a post-pandemic world.”

The district’s office boom has continued unabated during the pandemic. Facebook signed for 730,000 square feet at Vornado’s Farley project in early August. KKR, which is moving its headquarters into 343,000 square feet at 30 Hudson Yards, added 22,000 square feet at 10 Hudson Yards in May.

Homeless saga continues

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, said real-estate sage Yogi Berra. He was referring of course to the Lucerne Hotel homeless saga, which might not have ended last week, despite a judge’s ruling to let the city move more than 200 men from the Upper West Side to the Radisson downtown. A FiDi organization called Downtown New Yorkers (DNY) doesn’t want the men in its midst any more than Upper West Siders did. On the heels of a notification to appeal filed on Friday, the group will ask the state Appellate Division on Monday for a temporary restraining order to block the move into the Radisson until the appeal is heard. That could thwart the city’s plan to start the move immediately for days or weeks.

The city transferred the homeless men from city-run shelters into the Lucerne on West 79th Street in July, enraging neighbors who feared for their families’ safety. In September, Mayor de Blasio, yielding to local pressure, announced the move into the Radisson at 52 William St.

Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin on Friday judiciously called the judge’s action “a regrettable decision for the men at the Lucerne that does not serve their best interests.” But Wall Street-area residents don’t want more than 200 “recovering” addicts, some with criminal records, plunked amid apartment and office buildings on dark and narrow William Street.

However, DNY’s appeal isn’t based on the appropriateness of a new homeless facility in the neighborhood, but on state Supreme Court Judge Debra James’ finding that the DNY had no legal “standing” to sue, even though she conceded that its case to block the move “may have some merit.”

James said that under city rules, only a disappointed, losing bidder for the Radisson shelter-management contract could sue to stop the move. But since the city immediately turned the contract over to nonprofit Project Renewal, which also manages other hotel homeless facilities, there were no other bidders — thus making the deal an illegal fait accompli without public review and beyond legal challenge, according to the plaintiffs.

The drama might be in the bottom of the ninth, but don’t be surprised should it go into extra innings.