Recently, we’ve – intentionally – been focusing on commercial real estate issues connected to sustainability. But one luxury, residential condominium project that we’ve followed relatively closely here at gbNYC is back on our radar screen for a couple of reasons.
Developed by Anbau Properties and designed by BKSK Architects, the 16-story, 34-unit 124 West 23rd Street is nearing completion and, according to a recent press release, will seek LEED Gold certification for its efforts. Back in 2008, in the middle of the market meltdown, we noted Anbau’s closing on an acquisition and construction loan for the project from Bank of New York Mellon. Located between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the brick and terra cotta 124 West 23rd Street – dubbed the Citizen by the developer – features high ceilings, open floor plans, and a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, along with full-floor penthouses. Amenities are rather spartan but do include a gym, bike storage, and a 24-hour concierge. Although hard construction costs aren’t available, Anbau did pay $19 million to close on 124 West 23rd Street’s 55,000-square-foot parcel. Pricing will range from $650,000 studios to $4 million for the penthouse.
Anbau is no stranger to green design, nor to engaging BKSK: together, the parties completed the 16-story Harsen House at 120 West 72nd Street during the summer of 2008. Green design elements (which we also expect to see at 124 West 23rd Street) include hot water radiant heat, FSC-certified oak floors, ducted kitchen hoods which ventilate air directly outdoors, and energy-efficient, floor-to-ceiling windows. (You may also recall that BKSK designed the Queens Botanical Garden Visitor’s Center- New York City’s first building to earn LEED Platinum from USGBC.)
Still, although the project remains slated for completion later this year, as recently as last month Anbau found itself in the middle of a legal dispute over its workers’ access to the two adjacent properties (a frequently litigated issue in New York construction law). According to the Real Deal, Anbau had spent over six months trying to negotiate a license agreement with the adjacent owner and offered to pay a monthly licensee fee. In a complaint filed in New York County Supreme Court, “those efforts have resulted in nothing but unreasonable and outrageous demands from [the adjacent owner] and his counsel which have thwarted any chance for reasonable agreement.” Whether the lawsuit holds up the project – or its LEED aspirations – remains to be seen, but we’ll keep an eye out here at gbNYC.