Which Big NYC Developer Is Back?
Seven years after selling its domestic portfolio to Mack-Cali, Gale International has let the clock tick down on its five-year non-compete and spent two years readying its first US project. 21W20 goes vertical in two months.
Stan Gale Jr. (whom we snapped at his 540 Madison office) tells us his company’s homecoming will be its smallest project yet and miniscule compared to the cities it’s been building from scratch in Asia like the 100M SF Songdo International Business District (including the Northeast Asia Trade Tower, South Korea’s tallest at 1,001 feet) and the 140M SF Meixi Lake District in China. 21W20 in the Flatiron is just 13 units (nine two-bedrooms, two penthouses, and two duplex penthouses). Stan says that’s on purpose, as the team wanted to take their time and prove themselves to the market.
The band is back together with Danny Kim (whom we found with a model of the new project), Stan Sr., and Kyle Stokkers back from Korea, Joe Peters returning from Grand Rapids, and Stan Jr. from Shanghai. With Bob Knakal’s help, they ID’d this site at 21 W 20th St and in January ’13 bought it from Extell. It's 25 feet wide, and Gale also acquired the air rights to cantilever the penthouses another 75 feet over the neighboring parking garage for floors 11 through 15.
Stan Jr. and Danny tell us Gale is pouring the foundation now and has sold six of the two-bedrooms. Penthouse sales will launch early in 2015, and the 15-story building will be ready for occupancy in a year, incorporating much of the tech Gale mastered by building 20,000 smart homes in Korea, as well as storage units, bike storage, a zen garden, and a courtyard (rendered above). The team is looking for its next project—anything value-add. They’re not limiting themselves to NY, but there’s a good chance it’ll be here. They only just got home, after all. (We miss NYC after one day in New Jersey. Imagine five years in Asia.)