Construction Update: 500 West 21st Street

500 West 21st Street500 West 21st Street

Excavation is underway at the site of Sherwood Equities’ future 500 West 21st Street, which will be yet another uber-luxury residential building abutting The High Line. With only 32 units, some measuring more than 4,000 square feet, the luxury development will fit right in with its High Line neighbors; of the projects now under construction, it most closely resembles Tamarkin’s 508 West 24th Street in terms of size and potential for sky-high pricing.

The New York Times has the full rundown on the development, as well as renderings of the project, which was designed by Kohn Pederson Fox. The high-profile firm is certainly demonstrating is diverse range of aptitude, given KPF is also responsible for the Hudson Yards towers, which will ultimately define 500 West 21st Street’s northern views. Permits for construction were originally filed last December, but approval was granted this past June – work on the 8-story structure should proceed quickly, given its relatively small size.

Renderings of 500 West 21st Street paint a very pretty picture, though given the building’s expected prices, that should come as no surprise. The exterior is dominated by casement windows, which are becoming the norm among new luxury construction in Manhattan, particularly along The High Line; this is another feature 500 West 21st and 508 West 24th Street will share. Both buildings harken back to mid-century aesthetics, though 500 West 21st is decidedly more contemporary in its inspiration. Unlike 508 West 24th’s exposed concrete, 500 West 21st will employ a limestone facade, though both developments will likely be architectural dimes.

Beyond the windows and cladding, the overall geometry of 500 West 21st Street is definitely varied, but given the building’s large plot size – it will stretch the entire block, from 20th Street to 21st Street – the symphony of right angles will serve to diminish any potential monotony inherent to ‘square’ construction. Indeed, tastefully placed balconies and terraces will also enliven the structure, allowing for an abundance of greenery; it seems as though KPF carefully considered the building’s location, as the design respects and reflects The High Line whilst effortlessly integrating the project into its West Chelsea surroundings.

Neighborhood luxury buildings have been selling for astronomical prices, and with 500 West 21st Street’s high-profile design, sales could easily exceed 100 11th Avenue’s average of $2,500 per square foot. New York’s super high-end market is on fire, and unprecedented demand from foreign buyers could easily drive prices at 500 West 21st above the $3,000/SF mark, especially with completion over one year away. Chelsea’s average prices do not and should not apply to construction adjacent to The High Line, which is rapidly becoming an unparalleled oasis of early 21st-century starchitecture, completely unrivaled in New York, North America, and – perhaps – the entire world. Dubai and Shanghai may have supertalls and megamalls, but The High Line and its vicinity exemplify the importance of quality when it comes to contemporary design, which is something the aforementioned cities generally lack.

Sales will be handled by Corcoran Sunshine and are expected to begin shortly, with occupancy slated for late 2014.

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