Norman Foster Building Blue Chip Tower Amid Chelsea Galleries

One of the buildings changing the visual landscape of Chelsea, and causing rents in the area to bubble, is the Norman Foster-designed residential tower at 551 W. 21st Street, right down the street from Casey Kaplan Gallery (which is moving to the Flower District). It’s also the building that Lisa Spellman’s 303 Gallery will be moving back into when it’s complete in 2015.

The building is one of four Manhattan towers designed by Foster that are either under construction or on the cusp of breaking ground, according to an article in the New York Times, which examines the moment that Norman Foster is currently having in New York. Also in the works by the Starchitect are two more condominiums at 50 United Nations Plaza and 610 Lexington Avenue, as well as an office tower at 425 Park Avenue.

At 551 West 21st Street, a 19-story condominium at the West Side Highway that overlooks the Hudson River, units (there are 44 in the building) are going for roughly $3,000 a square foot, with a two-bedroom starting at $7.25 million, and about half of the apartments in the building are already under contract per the developer, SR Capital. The apartments will be decked out with things like windows trimmed with gold-colored metal, white-oak herringbone floors in the living rooms, and marble counters in the kitchens. There will also be some over-the-top penthouses, like the $50 million penthouse in the Chelsea condo featuring a 61-foot sky pool nestled in a private outdoor 4,000 square-foot terrace overlooking the Hudson (a relative bargain considering the pool-equipped penthouse at 50 UN Plaza is asking $100 million). The penthouses will also come with separate service entrances, wood-burning fireplaces, and 12-foot ceilings. They will also have loggias.

Foster was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1999 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990. His firm’s most well-known work in New York is the stainless-steel-and-glass Hearst Tower on Eighth Avenue.

About those crazy penthouses that will grace his developments in Chelsea and 50 UN Plaza, Foster told Curbed, “We are working with sympathetic developers who are wishing to push the boundary… I think it’s a reflection of the fact that New York is such an extraordinary phenomenon. It’s on the move.”


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