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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chelsea new development tour is an industry hit

200 11th AvedowntownIn West Chelsea on Wednesday, the new residential developments, close to the High line, opened their doors to the brokerage community for an extra long, 4 hour, open house tour. It was a big hit with the brokers, hundreds of whom were seen brushing shoulders with gallery hoppers, and making the rounds at all of the sales presentation centers. It was like an open air mall for some of the most luxurious & priciest homes on the planet.

It demonstrated great cooperation among these competing projects to gain mind share, as it recognized the contribution that the agents make to the business of selling real estate in Manhattan everyday too. A full afternoon and then some, was spent by the staffers coddling, feeding and kibitzing with the agents. Most of them that I spoke with really liked the leisurely pace, which at the same time was a very efficient use of their time in learning about the offerings.

The tour was designed to peak interest for seven buildings, some brandishing architectural pedigrees like Nouvel and Selldorf, going up in the area from 19th Street to 25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues; creating a district of glass curtain walled modernism, rising up around Frank Gehry's iconic IAC headquarters. With the transformation of the High line finally underway, and a concentration of architecturally significant, luxury residences rising, a glossy new neighborhood is beginning to form. It is characterized by these typically smaller boutique buildings that offer large spaces and design style as standard equipment. Each one has to offer something special to draw people to this far west enclave, blocks away from subway lines and with an emerging infrastructure of parks an amenities that are still a couple of years away.

100 11th AveThe district's art scene was visibly bustling too, in part due to the accommodating weather. I got to take in Tom Otterness' massive bronze sculptures at the Marlboro Gallery on the ground floor of the West Chelsea Arts Center; where on the 19th Floor, the sales office for 200 Eleventh Avenue was offering the last few lofts from $6 million to approximately $17.5 million, overlooking the construction site which has direct river views.

One hundred address numbers downtown, Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue will rise at the site just north of the Gehry building. It's curtain wall of asymmetrical glass panels has been much talked about. Also on the tour were Chelsea Modern, 520 West Chelsea, loft 25, 245 Tenth Avenue, and 459 W18th. The tour was a repeat of one held in June, and was organized by Core Group's Emily Beare who commented that, "The majority of sales agents really had no idea how West Chelsea was shaping into one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the city....We decided to make this tour a fall festival and each sales office was affiliated with a gallery. We each offered fall inspired food and invited everyone to tour the different gallerys next to our sales offices". Congratulations to all the cooperating developments on one of the most successful open house tours I've seen recently.

Updated October 20th, 2007

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