The Real Deal “Hell’s Kitchen condo sells out – again”

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505 West 47th Street finds new buyers to replace purchasers who backed out during the downturn

By Adam Fusfeld

For the second time in five years, the same Hell’s Kitchen condominium has sold out. The building’s exclusive sales agent, Blu Realty Group’s Vince Rocco, told The Real Deal a buyer closed last week on a one-bedroom apartment at 505 West 47th Street. The unit, which sold for $790,000, was the last available apartment at the 108-unit condo.

Developed by Parkview Developers, the condo first launched sales in October 2007, and by the following July, Rocco, then with Halstead Property, had contracts signed for every unit. His work there was done – or so he thought.

Over the next three months, the economy crashed and 50 buyers backed out of their contracts. While Parkview went to court to battle those buyers, who recouped their deposits after lengthy litigation by using the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act to support their claim, Rocco went back to work to re-sell those 50 units.

With construction on the building completed, Rocco and colleague Shane Shimon moved into an on-site sales office and began marketing the units at the same price point — about $1,050 per square-foot — that was set prior to the crash.

“The prices set in 2007 were under-market,” Rocco said, adding that “$1,050 a foot for new development, when $1,250 to $1,400 was the norm, was unheard of. That’s what got us attention at first, and allowed us not to slash prices afterwards.”

The relatively inexpensive asking prices were a result of the Hell’s Kitchen location, Shimon said, which was still in the process of gentrifying and still had something of a seedy reputation in 2007. The second sales push was far more time consuming than the first. Rocco and Shimon sold about 30 units in 2010, 16 in 2011, and four this year, after Rocco and Shimon moved from Halstead to Blu, where Rocco heads the new Riverside Boulevard office.

The building’s 108 units ultimately sold at a blended average $1,036 per square-foot, the sales team said.

Ian Reisner, a managing director of Parkview who also developed the nearby Out NYC hotel, said selling out the building after so many fits and starts was a “major relief,” even as he was confident that the neighborhood continued evolution would ultimately ensure success.

“As a gay developer, I was able to anticipate the gay community moving from Chelsea to buy in Hell’s Kitchen,” he said. “Yes, I predicted the gentrification of Hell’s Kitchen,” he added. “And yes, I was right.”