SALES BEGIN AT GRAMERCY PARK CONVERSION

CRAINS - New York

SALES BEGIN AT GRAMERCY PARK CONVERSION
June 1, 2010

Sales begin at Gramercy Park condo conversion Demand said to be strong at land-marked building with 51 units and keys to park; prices range from a $484,500 studio to a $5.5 million three bedroom with views. By Amanda Fung Sales at a rental-to-condo conversion at a landmarked building on Manhattan's Gramercy Park quietly got underway last week and developer Mann Realty Associates expects to receive approval for the conversion later this month. Just last month Mann won approval for its conversion of the Apthorp, the well-known west side apartment building in which it is a part owner. For the past 90 days, only current rental tenants of the pre-war Gramercy Park building were offered an opportunity to purchase apartments at the 51-unit 36 Gramercy Park East, according to Carol Friedman, senior vice president of Nest Seekers International, which was retained to be the building's exclusive sales and marketing firm. So far there are about three or four contracts signed, just a few shy of the 15% required for the state attorney general's office to declare the condo plan conversion effective, she added. The deadline date is June 26 and once the plan is declared effective, buyers can begin scheduling closings. “We will have no problems. I am absolutely confident that the plan will be declared effective,” said Ms. Friedman. “The market is picking up and we have the demand.” Approximately 21 apartments will be on sale. Just three are currently on the market and three more will be released this week. Starting prices for a studio is $484,500, a one-bedroom is $1.2 million and two bedrooms run near $1.3. For two bedrooms facing the park, the starting price is $3.8 million and for three bedrooms facing the park, it is $5.5 million. Apartments range in size from 485 square feet to 2,300 square feet, and all come with a key perk—access to the gated Gramercy Square Park across the street. Brokers say the price range for the apartments is reasonable for the building's location, adding that aside from Ian Schrager's 50 Gramercy Park North, 36 Gramercy Park East is the only condo facing Gramercy Park. “The building itself is special and beautiful with its architecture and old world elegance,” said Ms. Friedman, adding that amenities like concierge service, off-site storage, on-site cold storage and a bicycle rack will be added to the building. Currently there are 15 rent stabilized tenants, one rent controlled and one life tenancy resident at the building. The plan is to eventually convert the entire building once those apartments become market rate over time. Last month, after an extensive review, Mann's other major condo conversion in the city--the Apthorp--was approved with some stipulations by the attorney general's office. After a legal battle with its partner on the project, Mann stepped down as Apthorp's manager last year.