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Manhattan is overflowing with iconic,landmark skyscrapers that have conspired to create one of the world’s most recognisable skylines as well as one of the most popular investment locations. According to JLL, New York was on the receiving end of US$21 billion in global investments in 2017 (behind London and Los Angeles), and just like how Brexit is having no impact on London (yet), current American politics haven’t hurt the Big Apple. “New York is an anomaly in a lot of ways,” posits Shaun Osher, founder and CEO of New York brokerage Core Properties. “Yes, [the US] is having a PR problem but New York is one of the few truly global cities. The majority of [activity] in Manhattan is buoyed by the local market, so we’re not really reliant on the global market to drive our absorption and pricing. It’s kept us insulated from downturns in the market, mortgage rates, bad PR and other things happening locally that may have a negative influence.” That’s good news for the newly launched One Wall Street, the latest high profile development from Macklowe Properties—they of the towering 432 Park Avenue—arguably one of the city’s most exciting in a decade. 


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Still Loving NY

Despite an apparently unwelcoming administration in Washington, New York continues to function outside of, or contrary to, prevailing winds. The message from the federal capital has not deterred international investors from buying in one of the most diverse locations in the world. Aside from stellar shopping, dining, culture, education and business culture—in more parallels, rivalled only by London—New York’s investment fundamentals remain as strong as ever. Lower Manhattan’s population has tripled since 2000, thanks to fresh transit infrastructure (subway, bus, ferry, bike routes), and as JLL Hong Kong’s head of international residential, Mandy Wong, notes, though Wall Street is synonymous with banking and finance, US$30 billion in reinvestment into the downtown core has attracted 800 start-ups, media, and creative industries to the area. With them has come a young, trendy population that has redefined the stuffy neighbourhood. 


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“This demand has encouraged a range of different developers to launch new residential projects in the area,” says Wong of the sparkling investment argument. “One Wall Street is a pioneering development in the neighbourhood, equipped with comprehensive facilities and located just a stone’s throw away from the New York Stock Exchange. We are very optimistic about the potential returns that could be achieved through this project.”

Core’s Osher concurs, stating Lower Manhattan is currently the buzziest district in the city—ahead of hotspots like Harlem and Brooklyn, with its ultra hip Williamsburg and Park Slope. As Osher notes, downtown planning is more comprehensive, and the concentration of offices exists no where else. Average asking prices for new condominiums south of 14th Street is sitting at roughly US$4 million (HK$31 million) rooted in demand. Osher admits choosing a home is personal, but the activity around One Wall Street is all trending up—and it’s a rare project offering entry prices well below the average. “This is now the most exciting neighbourhood in New York from a residential standpoint, and I can say this will be the pinnacle of all residential buildings, the trophy building, in this prime location,” he declares.


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Historic Value

Investment value aside, One Wall Street is the most architecturally exciting project to emerge in Manhattan in the last decade. Located on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway (does it get more New York than that?), the Art Deco tower was originally built for Irving Trust in 1931. Designed by architecture titan Ralph Walker, the father of the early 20th century New York cityscape, it was home to the Bank of New York until Macklowe bought it in 2014 and recruited SLCE Architects to adapt the building for residences and limited retailing (Whole Foods Market is already slated for three storeys). Hildreth Meière’s fully restored floor-to-ceiling mural in the former Red and Gold Banking Room will be the jewel in the the building’s retail space crown.

“When you look at the building from the outside now, it’s […] predominanty unchanged. Inside it looks like Swiss cheese,” describes Chris Brill-Edwards, executive vice president of development for Macklowe. “When you think about the way an office building is utilised, it has a much higher density of people, so there were 38 elevators, and all of those are coming out. All the staircases are coming out, and all of the mechanical spaces, and they’re all being reconfigured for residential use.”


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The conversion of the tower into residences means gutting the interiors, bringing elevatorshafts inside, making better use of windows and engineering new infrastructure that holds up to current luxury residential standards. Nonetheless, SLCE is retaining many of the Art Deco details and highlights, including the original main entrance—concealed since 1963 when the annex was built which is Walker’s signature setback— making for light-filled homes and staggered terraces, generous ceiling heights, and accent tiling. The residences themselves will feature materials like French oak, Calacatta marble and Travertine stone, with integrated European kitchens and custom designed bath fixtures in two design motifs, designed by ASHE + LEANDRO and MdeAS. The building will also feature 100,000 square feet of amenties in its The One Club, including a 25-metre swimming pool, function spaces, lounges, a state-of-the-art gym, all with views of New York Harbour, designed by Deborah Berke Partners. 


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When complete in 2020, One Wall Street will comprise of 566 studios to four-bedroom units, ranging in size from 688 to over 3,000 square feet. The as-yet unpriced penthouse will clock in at roughly 12,000 square feet. Prices begin at approximately US$1 million (HK$7.8 million). For more details refer to 1wallstreet.com, or contact JLL at irp.hk@ap.jll.com.