432 Park Avenue
With the Luxury Market plateauing in New York, my calendar has become full with catered sushi lunches, Mojito Monday's and private hard-hat tours up breezy construction elevators to view "the best views in the world" from the world's riskiest developers and Pritzker winning architects.
800' above street level it is hard to imagine a traffic jam, but that is in a sense what we are experiencing at the moment, with a slew of ultra-luxury, ultra-view high end condominium towers being built across the city, many within a few blocks of each other- each competing for the same pool of multi-millionaire and billionaire buyers. They include One57, 220 Central Park South, Central Park Tower, 53 West 53, 111 West 57th, 520 Park Avenue and 432 Park Avenue, the tallest residential structure not only in New York but in the Western Hemisphere.
Of all the stories associated with the financing and construction of these, you'd be hard pressed to find a more interesting protagonist than Harry Macklowe. 432 Park was borne out of a shotgun marriage between Macklowe and his creditors/co-developers CIM after losing the GM building to Mortimer Zuckerman amid the financial collapse in 2009. Macklowe had paid $440 million for the Drake Hotel in 2006 and razed it a year later to make way for the skyscraper, but after his post recession fall needed help to bring his dream to fruition. It took many ups and downs to finalize his vision for the tower, but 432 Park was finally completed 11 years later.
Macklow's chosen architect for the tower Rafael Viñoly said that he was devoting himself to a building marked by clarity and elegance — “Not all gold and glass, like Donald Trump”. The result is a simple yet powerful asymmetrical concrete square tower interrupted only by 10'x10' panes of triple paned glass and empty "wind floors" every 12 stories that allow the wind to pass through without affecting the building.
Having sold and visited in dozens of new construction condos over the past 15 years, there are a few things about 432 that I found uncommon and noteworthy.
The first is the entrance, which feels more like something from Los Angeles than New York to me. There is a flat marble portico driveway /walkway that prefaces the lobby. It's quite nice and is bound by tasteful landscaping marking the entrance to the property.
Next is the lobby, which is refreshingly clean and simple. The 20' Ceilings and huge archways and art installations give it a sense of presaging something big - very "Oz-like"
Next are the passenger elevators, which surprisingly have a a comfortable cushioned bench to rest on as your zoomed up 1,000 feet give or take to your apartment. The last time I moved this fast vertically was in the Twin Towers many years ago on my way to The Greatest Bar On Earth (GBOE).
The apartment interiors are refreshingly neutral and thoughtful as well. 15' ceilings and 10' x 10' windows let in an abundance of light and make for spectacularly open views. Solid hardwood oak floors in either natural or a dark stain provide sound footing. Doorways that near 9', central heating and air with recessed duct work, Motorized shades in every room and cozy breakfast bars are included in most kitchens to start your day "above it all" in a very literal sense.
The three full floors of amenities seem almost too rich for a building that is maybe 20% occupied at the moment, but they are impressive none-the-less and reflect the level of detail and design you would expect for residences starting at $10,000,000 and up.
There is a resident's lounge, private restaurant, wine cellar, fitness center with pool, private movie theatre and onsite parking coming in 2018.
While the building's architecture and larger than life profile have provoked equal amounts of praise and outrage, it's not too hard to see that one day in the future when all of the uber-tower hubbub has settled down, that Mr Macklowe has not just built another wealthy enclave for the successful few but has added to the New York skyline a tower that fully represents its author.
There are many with the means to buy anywhere that would still prefer a Park Avenue address over lets say a West Chelsea address, and for those that will be actually living in their purchases, 432 provides the opportunity to not just be above it all, but be a part of it all -New York, NY.