Robert A.M. Stern will lead the transformation of the historic Belnord into condos

April 5, 2017

The conversion of the historic Belnord into luxury condominiums is moving forward, with the property expected to be brought to market as early as the third quarter of the year. This morning, HFZ Capital announced they have tapped starchitect Robert A.M. Stern to helm the transformation, which would turn approximately 95 rental apartments in the full-block, 1908 building at 225 West 86th Street into fully converted and reimagined apartments. In all, the limestone-and-brick structure currently maintains 213 rental units.

HFZ purchased the property from Extell in 2015 for $575 million, and as reported by Bloomberg, an offering plan was filed with the New York attorney general’s office in the spring of 2016 to reveal a $1.35 billion sellout (roughly $3,000 a square foot on average; among the highest-ever on the Upper West Side), with two-bedrooms going for over $3 million, three-bedrooms priced between $4.4 million to $7.3 million, and a seven-bedroom apartment asking $18.4 million. Whether those figures will change with nearly 4,300 newly-developed condos expected to oversaturate the market this year is not yet clear, but HFZ seems undeterred by outside threats. “There is no competition for us,” said HFZ head honcho Ziel Feldman to Bloomberg. “Nobody’s replicating the Belnord. They can’t afford to replicate the Belnord.”

He added, “If I want to live on the Upper West Side, and I want to live in the finest building and I can’t afford necessarily to be on Central Park in projects that are selling at $8,000 to $9,000 a foot, I’m going to be at the Belnord.”

213 luxury condos are the end goal, and in a statement released today, HFZ said that “the elements” of the new plan would be revealed in the third quarter of this year when the units are slated to come to market. Bloomberg writes that HFZ will continue to convert each rental apartment as they become vacant. The building notably also maintains a number of rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments.

On being awarded the project, Robert A.M. Stern said in a statement: “It is a privilege to be able to be part of the reimagined Belnord, the grandest of New York’s turn-of-the-twentieth-century full square block courtyard buildings and a building I’ve long admired. The Belnord has great bones and we’re giving it a top-drawer restoration, preserving its original charm, but with a few nips and tucks for security and accessibility already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission; creating a new fitness center; and then transforming the apartments to suit 21st-century living.”

HFZ notes that the conversion is the first of a historic full-block apartment house for Robert A.M. Stern, who has more than a handful of ground-up luxury constructions under his belt, including 15 Central Park West, 70 Vestry and 220 Central Park South.


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