LIVIN' IT UP DOWNTOWN
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|The $3M redesign of luxury apartment REIT UDR's first Manhattan property, 10 Hanover Square (purchased from The Witkoff Group last spring), is almost done. On Friday, we visited UDR NY construction manager Constantine Koukoulis and concierge Hal Shaw at the Wall Street-area building. UDR now also owns 95 Wall St nearby, 21 Chelsea, Rivergate on 34th Street, and, in a 50/50 JV with MetLife, the five-building Columbus Square (97th to 101st Street). Ten years ago, Wall Street was empty after 6pm; now it's a vibrant combo of residential and commercial, says Constantine.|
|Proof of the neighborhood's popularity: UDR's Randi Donovan, who manages the property, says it was 95% leased when UDR bought it and now is at 99%. More telling, rents rose during that time, too: August year-over-year rates are up 10% to $3,300, she says, attributing it to UDR's upgrades and a broader tenant pool, from college grads nabbing jobs in finance and residents from elsewhere in Manhattan seeking Downtown's lower rents.|
|BG Studio's Francesca Bucci and Hans Galutera, whom we snapped at lunch at STK in Midtown on Thursday, handled the common-area design when Witkoff converted the former Goldman Sachs office into residential seven years ago. Then the duo retooled their own work for UDR. Turns out a former high-profile office building has a lot to offer residents, such as high ceilings.|
|Goldman Sachs also had upscale common-area materials in place, so BG Studio could keep costs down by bringing in wooden wall panels and lighting to complement existing elements instead of starting from scratch (a new swatch of flooring in place of the old escalator, above). Hans tells us his company has also worked on Hakimian's 184 Lexington, the Madison Green condos near the Flatiron, and Milstein and Roseland Properties' Liberty Luxe and Liberty Green in Battery Park City.|