A mere decade ago, frantic crosstown thoroughfares like 14th Street, 23rd Street and even 57th Street were not yet the apple of any residential developer’s eye. If not out of sight, they were out of mind because of their traffic, noise and commerce.
Luxury development stuck to the avenues, park-view sites or classy corners; privacy and quaintness were the selling points of narrow side streets with one-way traffic. Home sweet home did not apply to the two-way corridors.
But lately it does.
There has been a sea change in attitude, in part because of the scarcity of available sites and the insatiable demand for upscale apartments, both among opportunity-driven developers and discriminating buyers and tenants. Now new construction on major thoroughfares at all points of the Manhattan compass is viewed as both feasible and profitable. Build it right, brand it appealingly, and it will sell.
When I originally purchased the 350 West 23rd Street site for the development of Modern 23, brokers told me it would be a problem because of its location on a major thoroughfare,” said Erez Itzhaki, who built the 15-unit condominium there about five years ago. The projected problems related to a marketing strategy for the units did not materialize. “We initially had concerns, but it became a very profitable project for us,” he said. “As a developer, it’s a winning situation because you have the ability to build retail on the ground floor, which is the equivalent of having two penthouses to sell.”