By Steve Cutler

New York Living
May, 2004

The past two years have been kind to renters, who have seen rents drop, brokerage fees disappear (a.k.a., paid by owner) and lease-signing incentives, such as bonus free months, abound. Landlords, suffering increased vacancies, had become very flexible indeed.

The drop in demand for rental apartments was in large part connected to
a resounding clamor for ownership, based on low mortgage rates. Says Esther Muller, consultant to developers, “As long as interest rates stay
as they are, anyone who wants to stay in the city finds a way to purchase
an apartment.”

“The market for sales in New York City is shocking,” says Yuval Greenblatt, vice president at Douglas Elliman. “We see it on a day-to-day basis: overbidding, multiple bids. Everyone who puts an apartment on the market gets a minimum three or four bids. I hear some of these prices and I’m like, ‘no way, not in that building.’”


But the sustained ferocious activity in home sales has been working lately to bolster the rental market. After a soft fall season, rentals picked up early this spring. Inventory is becoming absorbed. “The sales market is so high,” says Greenblatt, “people are beginning to take it easy – they’re renting. And people selling in this hot market have to stay somewhere. A good portion are renting, at least temporarily.”

Incentives are starting to fall away in prime areas. New buildings, especially those in developing areas such as Midtown West, still offer two free months, but rents are heading up. They’re off the peak of the market,” according to Greenblatt, “but they’ve come back strongly. When you get closer to the summer, which is the rental season, you’ll see rents start to climb again. Anything priced well rents quickly.”


The best deals in luxury rentals lie on the 40s and 50s on the far West Side. There’s a new building going up on every street corner on Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, each offering over-the-top amenities as well as promotional incentives.

The Upper East Side is another area offering appealing deals. “The Upper East Side has the greatest supply with the least demand,” reports Greenblatt. “Ten years ago, everyone wanted to live on the Upper East Side, the West Side was secondary, and Downtown was the last option. Now it’s flipped.”

Inventory below 23rd Street is virtually nil, except for the Financial District, which is booming with new construction. And Chelsea, one of the city’s hottest areas, has steadily added apartments in luxury high-rises along Sixth Avenue and on 23rd Street.


While inventory has begun to move more quickly and at higher rates than a year ago, rents are still off their peak of three or four years ago, when, recalls Muller, “People used to take apartments sight unseen. They’d say, ‘oh, don’t even show it to me. I’ll take it!’”

The new rental buildings are more spacious, beautiful and amenity-rich than ever. And when interest rates start to move up, rents could return to sky-high levels. It seems now – right now – is the perfect time to rent.


Hampton Court
333 East 102 Street

Here’s an image most New Yorkers thought they’d see: a white-glove building above East 96th Street. To help skittish tenants get used to the idea of moving to this newly developing part of town, the building runs a regular shuttle to the subway stop on 86th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Built in a “U” shape around a beautifully landscaped garden, the eight-story Hampton Court contains 228 one- to three-bedroom apartments, many of which provide a garden view. The units have kitchens with wood cabinets
and granite countertops, marble bathrooms, individual security systems, hardwood parquet floors and water filtration systems. The building features a fitness center, children’s playroom, attended garage, in-house valet, 24-hour doorman and virtual concierge service.

$1,300 to $3,200

Leasing Office:


The Grand Tier
1930 Broadway

It’s no mystery that a luxury rental building in this location, the first to be built in 20 years, would command the highest rates in the city, as much as $32,000 per month. Standing on Broadway opposite Lincoln Center, The Grand Tier lies in the heart of one of the most sophisticated cultural enclaves in the world, an increasingly upscale neighborhood that glistens with cosmopolitan elegance.

Scheduled for leasing in early summer 2004, the building has 229 units on 30 floors, including one- to four-bedroom apartments, some with terraces, as well as penthouses and duplexes.

The Grand Tier features an onsite parking garage, fitness center with
gym, 50-foot lap pool, children’s playroom, tenant lounge with full kitchen, conference room, sun terrace, valet and virtual concierge service.

The apartments have black granite countertops and floors in the kitchen, marble baths, nine-foot ceilings, individual security systems, parquet floors and washers/dryers.

$3,000 to $32,000

Leasing Office:


The Marc
260 West 54th Street

Standing 48 stories above Eighth Avenue, the Marc raises the bar for luxury lifestyle in a rental building in Midtown West. Residents enjoy access to the on-premises Marc Club, which includes a cinema room for private screenings, business center, conference room and an exclusive residential lounge and café, all surrounded by a landscaped 10,000 square-foot sundeck. The health club includes a pilates studio and massage room. Valet parking is available round the clock.

The 393 residences feature floor-to-ceiling windows with mini-blinds; maple parquet floors; climate controls in every room; cherry kitchen cabinets; mahogany granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and sinks;
and two-tone Italian marble bathrooms with Kohler fixtures.

Studios from $2,385

1 BR from $2,795, and

2 BR from $3,835.

Promotional incentives are available.

On-Site Agent: The Marketing Directors


400 West 55th Street

The Nicole is the newest addition to the Gotham Organization’s portfolio of luxury rental buildings in Midtown Far West, which includes the Atlas, Foundry and New Gotham. Like its siblings, Nicole emphasizes lifestyle, offering personalized concierge service and fun social events like wine tastings and sushi nights.

The lobby in the new Costas Kondylis-designed, 19-story building has a sleek, modern fireplace, which is reflected in a water-filled stone cistern.
The walls are carved from rich ebony.

Amenities include a private fitness center, lounge with kitchenette and
tree-filled garden terrace with wood deck flooring and limestone walls.

Nicole’s 149 apartments, many of which enjoy soaring views from floor-to-ceiling corner windows, offer applewood kitchen cabinets, white granite countertops and stainless steel appliances; oak parquet flooring; Kohler
and Moen bathroom fixtures; and high-tech wiring in every room.

Net effective rents, after promotional incentives:

Studios from $1,790,

1 BR from $2,026,

2 BR/2 Bath from $3,895

Leasing Office: 212.430.3700


The Crest
63 Wall Street

Just down the block from the New York Stock Exchange, The Crest is an
ultra-luxury rental residence immaculately reconstructed from a landmark neoclassical-style edifice built in 1929. The dramatic two-story entrance
is finished in polished limestone, maple, and black granite and original
details have been preserved, including wood and stonework and stained glass windows.

Soaring 37 stories high, the building has 476 apartments, each with high ceilings, granite kitchen countertops, maple and etched glass cabinetry, marble bathrooms with Watermark fixtures, generous closet space and parquet floors. Some units feature setback private terraces.

The 10,000 square-foot great room features a health club, theater-quality screening room, billiards room, library, game room and wireless Internet access. The building contains an onsite garage, business center, conference room and sundeck with expansive views of both rivers and Lower Manhattan. Valet and shoeshine service are offered.

Occupancy is set for June, 2004. As an opening incentive, The Crest will move you in for free, packing and transporting your belongings. Two free months are offered on new leases.

Net effective rents, after two free months:

Studios from $1,538,

1 BR from $2,074,

2 BR from $3,000

Promotional incentives are available.

On-Site Agent: Citi-Habitats

Leasing Agent: 212.344.6363

Liberty Plaza
10 Liberty Plaza

Liberty Plaza is said to be the first building in the Financial Center constructed exclusively for residential tenancy – not a commercial
conversion. Just three blocks from Wall Street, the tower offers views
of the South Street Seaport and the East River.

The 45-story building has 287 one- and two-bedroom rental apartments, some with terraces. The units feature black granite countertops and floors; marble baths with shower tubs; nine-foot ceilings; hardwood parquet floors; washer/dryers; and half-floor windows that rise to the ceiling.

Amenities include a fitness center with gym, children’s playroom, 50-foot
lap pool and saunas; tenant lounge with full kitchen for special events; conference room; and sun terrace. The building has a water filtration
system, indoor garage and elegant lobby with wood paneling, marble
floors and a domed ceiling.

$2,400 to $7,300

Leasing Office:

2 Gold Street

The 51-story 2 Gold Street will tower over the historic Golden Hill area of the Financial Center. Developed by Rockrose Development Corp., the building is scheduled for completion in spring 2005. The building will be surrounded by a landscaped plaza containing original artwork. The lobby and common area are designed by the Rockwell Group.

Tenants will enjoy a 3,000 square-foot fitness center, landscaped roofdeck; enclosed solarium with fireplace, wet bar and kitchen, club lounge with billiards; wide-screen TV and wireless internet, and a game room.

650 units are offered in studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts with extra-large windows, stainless steel-clad appliances and granite countertops.

Leasing Office:

The Highline
765 Washington Street

A new luxury rental building in the most sought-after neighborhood in the city, the Highline is sure to fill quickly. Tall by West Village standards, the 11-story Highline offers 68 studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and two floors of loft units with oversized windows and 11-foot ceilings. Many of the units have unobstructed views of the Village, city and Hudson River.

The apartments feature maple kitchen cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, parquet floors and individually-controlled heat and air conditioning. The building has an onsite parking garage, a half-acre of landscaped outdoor space, and a designer lobby with terrazzo floors, hardwood accents and etched glass.

Net effective rents, after promotional incentives:

1 BR from $2,263,

2 BR from $3,461

On-Site Agent: Citi-Habitats


600 Washington Street

Washington Street is suddenly buzzing with new construction – compared to the rest of the West Village, that is. Located just one block from the Hudson River Esplanade, this seven-story rental building offers 136 units equipped with custom wood strip floors, wall-to-wall windows, granite countertops, double-hung closets and elegant baths finished with polished marble.

The building has a landscaped reflection garden designed by Oehme,
Van Sweden & Associates, private cardio-theater fitness center and
24-hour concierge.

Studios from $1,880,

1 BR from $2,790,

2 BR from $3,950

Leasing Office: 212.675.7700

Avalon Chrystie Place
29 Chrystie Place

With its first phase scheduled for completion in 2005, this ambitious AvalonBay Communities project will bring luxury rental housing to the nondescript enclave at East Houston between Bowery and Chrystie
Streets – the intersection of NoLita, the East Village and the Lower East Side. AvalonBay has 32 rental complexes in New York City, including the pioneering Riverview in Long Island City, Queens. This is their first in Manhattan.

The entire project will consist of three apartment buildings, plus a fourth one dedicated to affordable housing, as well as 138,000 square feet of retail space and a 40,000 square-foot community center.

Chrystie Place will offer 361 studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and will contain 90,000 square feet of retail. Rents have not been set yet, but the company is taking names for a priority waitlist.

The Aston
800 Sixth Avenue

The latest residential giant on Sixth Avenue serving wildly popular and ever expanding Chelsea, The Aston soars 38 stories high, offering panoramic views from all of its apartments. Designed by Costas Kondylis, the building has a maximum of eight units per floor, each with corner-to-corner, floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the cityscape in two directions.

The apartments have bamboo plank flooring; Maplewood custom kitchen cabinetry, white granite countertops and Kohler fixtures; multi-media outlets
in every room; elegant bathrooms with cherrywood vanity and stainless steel sink; and washer/dryer in the three-bedroom units. Loft residences have
16-foot ceilings.

The Aston’s entrance has a dramatic two-story atrium and glass awning and the lobby is finished with polished walnut, brushed metal inlays and elegantly backlit onyx slabs. The second-floor gallery offers a health club with pilates equipment; outdoor patio and bocce court; two tenant lounges with a pool table, library, large screen TV and bar, and a business center.

Net effective rents, after promotional incentives:

Studios from $2,100,

1 BR from $2,835,

2 BR from $4,745, and

1 BR lofts from $3,091

On-Site Agent: Citi-Habitats