5.10.2012

New York Daily News: Harlem becomes magnet for wealthier New Yorkers

Luxury penthouse in One Museum Mile goes for $3.1 million – a sign of things to come

 

NICO ARELLANO/CORE Penthouse at 1280 Fifth Ave. that sold for $3.1 million.

There goes the old neighborhood.

Apartment prices are on the rise again in Harlem as the historic area increasingly becomes a magnet for wealthier New Yorkers and topnotch attractions like the Museum for African Art.

A luxury penthouse in One Museum Mile — the same building at 1280 Fifth Ave. that houses the museum — just sold for $3.1 million. And developers say it’s a sign of things to come.

Museum President Elsie McCabe said this will be good for Harlem. “No housing was lost, no one was displaced here,” she said. “This only adds housing to the neighborhood and brings a higher-income demographic that increases the local diversity.”

More importantly, McCabe said, “it adds a cultural context this part of the city has never seen before.

“Museums are economic engines,” she said. “We expect more than 630,000 visitors in our first year of operation. This will bring money in from outside the community, the city, and country.”

But not everybody is thrilled by the transformation taking place in what many consider the nation’s preeminent African-American neighborhood.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito warned it could embolden local landlords to drive up rents. “Those prices are sheer madness,” she said.

The One Museum Mile building, in particular, is a “sore spot,” she added.

“That building was originally slotted for education purposes, then the museum became community space for the luxury condos.”

What Harlem needs, Mark-Viverito said, is more affordable housing.

Good luck with that.

The newly purchased penthouse, which sold for around $1,767 per square-foot, didn’t shatter selling price records. But it’s leading a trend.

The Central Park Conservancy found that home values around 110th St. jumped 39% from 2007 to 2012.

“The restoration and ongoing maintenance done by the Conservancy has had something to do with the real estate renaissance taking place on the north end of the park,” says Doug Blonsky, president of the Central Park Conservancy. “With the Conservatory Garden and Harlem Meer, it’s become one of the best sections to live on the entire park.”

The price per square foot record puts the area on the same playing field as Chelsea, the East Village, and parts of the upper West Side.

One Museum Mile, located at the northeast tip of Central Park, has more in common with the multimillion-dollar prewar co-ops 20 blocks south than its neighbors. The price per square foot for the sprawling three-bedroom, three-bath doubles and triples current sale prices in and around El Barrio and Central Park North.

Designed by 15 Central Park West architect Robert A.M. Stern in conjunction with Andre Kikoski and SLCE Architects, the building boasts stunning views of Central Park and one of the highest rooftop pools in the city. Its swank common areas include a gym, children’s playroom, teens lounge, catering kitchen and formal dining room on Central Park, plus a 24-hour doorman and on-site parking garage.

Opera singer Kathleen Battle and several NFL stars are among the well-heeled homebuyers who have been spotted touring the building. “That pool and roof are incredible,” says Walt Frazier 3rd, son of the Knicks basketball great, who is a Keller Williams real estate agent. “There isn’t another building like it in Harlem.”

CORE CEO Shaun Osher said nine contracts have gone out to buyers in recent weeks.