Despite Price Hike, Gramercy Park Property Sales Brisk

April 26, 2011

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — Gramercy Park real estate seems to be defying gravity.

The white terra-cotta neo-Gothic building facing the eastern corner of Gramercy Park — the last of this exclusive area's buildings to offer rentals directly on the park — turned condo last year.

It has since seen prices increase roughly 18 percent, and that hasn't seemed to hurt sales.

More than 50 percent of the units that hit the market at 36 Gramercy Park East have closed or are in contract, according to Carol Friedman, senior vice president at Nest Seekers International, the sales and marketing firm for the building, which targets an international audience.

Of the 19 buyers, eight were already market-rate tenants living in the building — residents were offered first dibs at buying apartments. Many of the others are from around the world, including England, Italy and Asia, Friedman said.

"International people understand the building," she said. "It has a European flavor and charm. You feel very special when you walk into the building. It can not be duplicated in its grandeur."

The condos range from $1.3 million for 1-bedroom units, to $5.9 million for a 3-bedroom.

Prices went up, Friedman said, due to demand and the increasing cost of renovations. In upgrading the building, the façade's gargoyles remained intact, as did the apartments' classic herringbone floors. Modern upgrades include marble kitchens and bathrooms.

Built in 1908 by nationally-recognized architect James Riely Gordon as a co-op, it became a rental after the Great Depression in the 1940s. It was once home to famous actors John and Ethel Barrymore and Alfred Ringling of the popular circus, and apparently is still home to some stars, but Friedman wouldn't disclose their names.

"It's a quiet building of understated elegance," she said. "We never give away names."

The project's developer, Mann Realty Associates, was behind the controversial condo conversion of the Apthorp on the Upper West Side until being forced out of its managerial role in 2009, according to reports.

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