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Setai Hotel and Condo

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Gwathmey-Siegel & Associates


400 Fifth Avenue @ 36th St








RC frame


The Setai is unlike many of the new residential buildings coming to market. Although contemporary, the design brought in many historical elements so the building fit in more comfortably with other properties in the neighborhood, including the Empire State Building, Bob says. This included a historical reinterpretation of the building's limestone base (pictured), which includes three separate "zones" topped with a cornice, like other nearby buildings.

Tower Diplomacy! Setai Fifth Avenue Whets International Appetite
By William Alden, June 24, 2010

At the launch party for the Setai Fifth Avenue Residences, Robert Siegel searched his suit pockets for a business card.
"I just went to Japan, where everyone has business cards with different languages on two sides. You trade cards before you even talk," he said, turning out empty pockets. "I'm a terrible businessman."

Mr. Siegel, co-founder of architecture firm Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, was being modest. He designed Setai Fifth Avenue, a luxurious 60-story half-hotel, half-residence, whose sales officially kicked off Wednesday with a party on the 24th floor of 55 East 59th Street, the offices of Setai Fifth's developer, Bizzi & Partners. Gesturing toward a series of poster boards, Mr. Siegel explained how light reflects off the windows of his creation.
"It's beautiful and wonderful," he said. "It doesn't reflect at you. It's in all different directions, a modeling effect."

The structure is intended to be something of a contemporary classic. Since the historic Tiffany building is across the street, Setai Fifth's developers and architects were required by law to work closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure, essentially, that the Setai building be as beautiful and old-fashioned-looking as its surroundings.
"We were required to produce a design that was 'distinctive,'" Greg Karn, a Gwathmey Siegel architect who worked on the project, said. "From our perspective that was great. It allowed us to really push our thinking."

In an alcove off the party's main floor stood a model of the new building, complete with tiny people, cars, trees and deck chairs. Near the model was the bar, where the drink of the evening was, of course, the Setai: passion fruit juice, prosecco and cassis. Waiters swooped about, offering trays of pepper foam in crunchy spoons, foie gras with pistachios, lobster and cherry tomatoes in blue corn baskets and, later, mini chocolate-shelled ice cream cones.
Near the model, two Douglas Elliman brokers were giggling. Sherri ("Just call me Sherri Baby") Shang was telling Taryn Hammond about how basketball star LeBron James had looked at one of her exclusives, at 25 Columbus Circle [clarified]. Ms. Hammond rolled her eyes.
"Three weeks ago she had no idea who LeBron was," Ms. Hammond said.

Ms. Shang ignored the dig. She already has a list of clients interested in the new Setai building. All of them are Chinese.
"I represent mostly Chinese buyers. They pay in cash. And I translate," Ms. Shang, who is herself Chinese, said. "They love the Fifth Avenue address."

Ms. Hammond speculated that foreign buyers will probably outnumber domestic ones. Despite the building's amenities, which include a spa, a salon and a restaurant, the location—really, the address—will be the selling point.
"Foreign people go for something like this. They want that Fifth Avenue address. They want to go home and say, 'I bought on Fifth Avenue.'" Ms. Hammond said. "To me, that's not my thing."

Ms. Hammond's theory held water. Russia, Japan and Italy (in addition to China) were represented at the event. Natalia Dolinsky, a broker with A&I Broadway Realty, said her Russian clients love the address. Russians also recognize the name of Bizzi & Partners, the developer, which recently completed the Marina World Tower in Sochi.
"I think they've been selling overseas more than here," Ms. Dolinsky said.

Back at the bar, Ms. Hammond expounded on the building's appeal in foreign markets, saying the Setai brand is as attractive as the building's address. "It means luxury. It has amenities up the—I hate to say up the yin yang," she said, nodding toward Ms. Shang, who laughed. "But it means quality."





The Setai Fifth Avenue, located at 400 Fifth Avenue, is set in the vibrant heart of Midtown Manhattan. Above the five-star, internationally acclaimed hotel resides a residential tower topped by 2 stunning Penthouses, that is changing the landscape of luxury condominiums in Manhattan. The exterior of the building, designed by Gwathmey & Siegel, features a stainless steel crowned rooftop, uniquely angled windows and a classic limestone base.

At The Setai Fifth Avenue, there are many different unit types to consider purchasing, from one-bedroom to towering Penthouses with panoramic New York City views. Residents at The Setai Fifth Avenue are able to take advantage of all of the hotel’s luxurious services. Amenities include a private residential lobby entrance off Fifth Avenue (attended around-the-clock), concierge services, Fitness Center with Technogym equipment, maid and valet services and 24-hour security staff.

The 11th floor Leisure Lounge with indoor & outdoor settings is exclusively for residents. The outdoor space includes outdoor seating with two gas fireplaces, while the indoor space includes an indoor gas fireplace, pool table, flat screen TV with surround sound system and a bar/pantry for private functions. The Setai Spa, with 11,500 square feet of space, includes an Aqua grotto, ice cave, plunge pool, Hamam and experiential showers.


The Setai Fifth Avenue’s central location as the hub of Manhattan ensures its guests easy access to all of New York’s unique neighborhoods and districts. Nearby Bryant Park, the luxury shoppes of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and the midtown Theater District are short walks from the condominiums at The Setai Fifth Avenue.

The historic Midtown neighborhood of The Setai Fifth Avenue is home to many of New York’s finest landmarks, including The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, The New York Public Library and Grand Central Station. Midtown Manhattan is where business, culture, shopping and theatre combine to make it an exciting destination. Nearby Broadway Theater, unparalleled luxury shopping, the understated charm of Bryant Park and the natural expansiveness of Central Park, the world’s most exciting sports teams and most delicious food – all of this makes New York City the most beautiful, impressive and thrilling city on earth. The experience of exploring and discovering New York City is captivating, whether you’ve been here for a day or a century.


New Luxury Tower Tries to Lift Neighborhood


The developers of the Setai Fifth Avenue are attempting something next month that many say could be beyond the towering building's reach: selling a luxury property in a neighborhood filled with souvenir shops and takeout food.

Italy's Bizzi & Partners Development, which spent $656 million to build the 60-story building, has high hopes for the hotel and condo at East 36th Street that's scheduled to open for hotel guests on Nov. 1. Critically acclaimed chef Michael White is opening a Mediterranean restaurant at the hotel and European sports celebrities have already snapped up units.

The building's one-bedroom condo prices begin at $1.7 million and the top-priced penthouse is available for $17 million. But to get those prices, some brokers say, the Setai must almost single-handedly reshape its neighborhood's image.

Landmark buildings such as the former home of jeweler Tiffany & Co., TIF -0.72% designed by McKim, Mead & White, are in the area, as is the Empire State Building. But the neighborhood is often associated with tourist groups and crowded pubs at happy hour.

"The prices are out of line with the neighborhood," says Jacky Teplitzky, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman. "People spending that amount of money want to be next to high-end shopping and good restaurants."
Executives at Bizzi predict the Setai will change the neighborhood's character. "It's a location that should improve," says Chairman Davide Bizzi. "We are helping with that."

The development—which includes 184 condos and a 214-unit hotel—appears to be off to a good start. Nearly half the Setai's condos are in contract, most of them all-cash deals to overseas buyers, the developer says.
The buyers include soccer stars Kaka of Brazil and former French national team captain Patrick Vieira. The units in contract have sold for between $2,000 and $2,300 a square foot, Bizzi officials say.

But some brokers who deal with foreign buyers question how much demand there will be at those prices.
"If they were closer to $1,600 a square foot, I would bring some people to see it," says Giampiero Rispo, a New York broker who works with Europeans seeking Manhattan property.

At the same time, financing to buy apartments in condo-hotel projects remains challenging, even for buildings like the Setai where the hotel and condo are distinct properties, according to mortgage brokers. That's largely because Fannie Mae tends to frown on any combination of hotel and condo, and Fannie's preferences remain the de-facto standard for many lenders, brokers say.
Steven Della Salla, director of development at Bizzi, says the Milan firm focused initially abroad where its name and the Setai brand are established. In New York, "no one knows us yet," he says. Bizzi plans to open a marketing office at the Setai Fifth Avenue next month and begin outreach to local brokers and buyers with events in November.

Even skeptics say the Setai Fifth Avenue brings some pizzazz and offers breath-taking views. The building, designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates, has a limestone facade at the base and an illuminated stainless steel crown. Each condo has angled floor-to-ceiling windows that open at the bottom and create a diamond effect when viewed from the street.
It wouldn't be the first luxury building to mark the beginning of a neighborhood's transformation, though it usually takes a number of years. In the late 1990s, when the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York opened just north of Columbus Circle, the area was a relatively barren frontier between Midtown and the Upper West Side.

But today, following the development of the Time Warner Center residential towers and the elite condominium 15 Central Park West, the area now commands some of the city's highest prices. The Time Warner Center also brought new shops and fine dining to the neighborhood.

Copyright WSJ 2010