A stroll north through the heart of the Upper West Side, an area chock-full of handsome prewar properties, will eventually lead you to a largely landmark-free zone where newer buildings abound.
And this northernmost stretch of the neighborhood spanning 96th to 110th streets —let’s call it the “Upper Upper West Side” — now has a collection of new residential projects in the pipeline that will give it an even fresher look.
One of them is 15 W. 96th St., where plans were filed in December for the construction of a 22-story building with apartments and community space, with SLCE Architects serving as the architect of record.
The application is still pending and other information is scant, but project developer Sackman Enterprises — its reps declined to comment for this story — will reportedly put up 16 condos there.
Plans are also pending for the addresses spanning 59 to 63 W. 104th St., where property owner Harry Tawil aims to deliver a seven-story, 34-unit project that will likely house rentals, other reports say. Progress appears to be afoot, as demolition permits were approved in July for the existing structure on this lot, city records show.
Despite the Upper West Side’s years-ago rise to residential prominence, industry sources say this 15-by-7-block stretch has long been overlooked by developers, simply because it’s not within the prime south-of-86th Street zone. But following the 2007 arrival of Extell Development’s Ariel East and Ariel West condos — located at 2628 Broadway between 99th and 100th streets and 245 W. 99th St., respectively — the neighborhood began to change, bringing more residential and commercial options along the way.
Especially now, developers look to this sub-neighborhood for opportunity. Lured by available space, they’re placing bets that buyers want a piece of an area that only continues to grow.
Judging by local prices, their projections seem solid. Median asking prices in this zone rose nearly 9 percent to $899,000 from 2013 to 2014, according to StreetEasy data. Meanwhile, median sales prices climbed nearly 6 percent to $844,500 in the same period.
“The whole stretch between 96th and [Columbia University] has improved over the past decade … I remember years ago there was hardly a decent store in the area,” says Mark Moskowitz, president and CEO of Argo Real Estate, which is developing the CetraRuddy-designed rental-to-condo conversion of Rosario Candela’s 360 Central Park West at 96th Street, where sales of 13 units launched in June with prices from $3.59 million. There are 126 units total, and all will eventually go condo. Moskowitz adds, “[It’s] previously a no-man’s land that’s waking up at the moment.”
The retail offerings here are indeed evolving — and that’s a big plus for buyers. The mixed-use five-building Columbus Square complex, which in 2009 brought a Whole Foods Market at 97th and Columbus, was a major milestone.
“The development was designed with a substantial below-ground vault to accommodate both retail and parking, and was among the first of its kind in Manhattan to [house] big-box stores,” says retail whiz Faith Hope Consolo, of Douglas Elliman. “That’s when the floodgates opened to national brands.” Current names here include HomeGoods, Michaels, Sephora and T.J.Maxx.