Spectacular town houses capture city's imagination

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2005, 12:00am

The New York luxury market is certainly serving up some eye candy in terms of design.

David Childs' Time Warner Centre may have added a new set of twin towers to the skyline around Midtown Manhattan, but one project that has really caught the imagination is by Santiago Calatrava - who also designed the permanent transit hub at the World Trade Centre site.

His audacious design for 80 South Street comprises 10 cube-shaped units, each consisting of four storeys, stacked on top of each other.

Rumours are flying around New York suggesting that the penthouse of this startling building is set to sell for about US$5,000 per sqft - or between US$50million and US$59million - considerably more than the $970 per sqft average in Manhattan. Of the 10 units, the cheapest is rumoured to be priced at US$29million.

The four-storey cantilevered 'town houses in the sky' are set to feature grand living rooms with double-height ceilings, a four- to six-room option with six bathrooms, gourmet kitchen and private interior lift. A spokesman for developer Frank Sciame said the prices would be confirmed in an announcement about the project to be made this week, which was also set to quash speculation that construction of the spectacular building was mired in financing difficulties.

Halstead Property chief economist Gregory Heym said: 'I've heard some stories, but I don't know. You hear reports about it all the time.'

Adding to the maelstrom of speculation were reports that Sciame apparently sold the land to another developer for US$34.5million in March this year, with an eye on buying it back in time for construction, which is earmarked to begin next March.

Prospective tenants were asked to each pay a 25 per cent deposit before construction started.

Those that do will know that their home will be the most daring addition to the Manhattan skyline since the gargantuan twin towers of the World Trade Centre, which were destroyed by the September 11 terrorist attack.