Luxury rental signals transformation of upper West Side
As mom and pop shops head out, hedge funders and fashionistas no longer call the area “uncool”
BY JASON SHEFTELL
May 11, 2012
The Windermere at 666 West End Ave., is undergoing great change.
If you want proof the upper West Side is the most changed neighborhood in New York City, peek your head into the Windermere, a rental upgrade on 92nd St. and West End Ave.
For years, the building was a poor-condition rental with tired hallways and a magnificent lobby hidden under years of neglect. Now, the gray and maroon marble shines, the golden brass doors are polished, and the plaster moldings on the ceiling are as perfectly hand-crafted as the day the hotel was built in 1926. Upstairs, the musty hallways disappear floor by floor, replaced by dark corridors that resemble a boutique hotel.
A few blocks south on 88th St. and Broadway, a Brooks Brothers just opened. Mom-and-pop shops are gone. Chic boutiques and fine dining serve a new breed of upper West Siders who summer in Southhampton rather than Riverside Park. On the buy side, the Laureate at 78th St. and Broadway has seen more than $350 million sold in the past 18 months. Hedge-funders and fashionistas no longer call this neighborhood “uncool.”
“The entire area is transforming,” says Brown Harris Stevens Select Marketing managing director Shlomi Reuveni, the exclusive agent at the Laureate and in charge of leasing at the Windermere.
“People moving to the upper West Side want an elevated lifestyle. They want amenities, services and shopping. It still has a very strong sense of community, but newcomers want more. That was the idea here. We want to give them what no other building nearby can offer.”
The Windermere has an indoor pool, a large children’s playroom, a concierge, a spa with treatment rooms and locker rooms, yoga space, a full fitness center and two rooftop decks with a garden, a terrace and a lounge.
In all, this might be the most radical transformation yet of a prewar apartment building, mirroring in some ways the conversion of 15 Broad into a chic condominium and the Stanhope into Fifth Ave. palaces.
“You just don’t have a prewar building with these kind of amenities,” says Reuveni. “You get the best of both of worlds: incredible history and solid building with modern design. We’ve already rented three four- and five-bedroom apartments priced at $10,000 to $16,000.”
Units at the building range from $2,200 for studios to $16,000 for four- and five-bedroom units. Reuveni, whose group doesn’t take on run-of-the-mill projects, says the building’s owners could have just done a normal conversion without amenities and still gotten high rents, but they wanted something special.
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