Luxury isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind when one thinks of a T.G.I. Friday’s, or an assisted living development for that matter, but the chain restaurant’s midtown location will soon yield the “One57 of Assisted Living.” Bloomberg reports that Welltower Inc., the country’s largest senior-housing owner by market value, teamed up with developer Hines (who is also behind the nearby MoMA Tower) to purchase the site at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue, just a few short blocks from Billionaires’ Row and the prestige of Park Avenue, where they’ll build a 15-story tower “to accommodate wealthy Manhattanites in need of assisted-living and memory-care services.” And wealthy is not an understatement — monthly rents will start at $20,000, and keep in mind that this isn’t covered by insurance.
Welltower Chief Executive Officer Thomas DeRosa explained the logic behind the project: “You take someone who’s lived at 88th and Park their entire life and you, all of a sudden, say I’m moving you to New Canaan, Connecticut, because that’s the closest assisted-living facility I can get you into — that is unacceptable. You will kill that person.”
The developers purchased the two-parcel site for $115 million last month and plan to demolish the T.G.I. Friday’s next year. Most details are still being worked out, but the ground-floor will have retail space that the team hopes “will be a place where residents can mingle with others who live and work in Midtown.” The monthly rent will cover the room, medical care, and food. John Kim, a real estate analyst at BMO Capital Markets, feels the concept is “a little bit unproven,” adding that “there’s going to be a little bit of a learning curve on the demand side to see if residents are willing to pay those kinds of prices.” But DeRosa isn’t concerned. “There is a huge population of people that will need to live in this building who live on Park Avenue. This will be the reasonable alternative. These are people who will have the income. It will not be a hardship for them to pay for this,” he said.
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Neighborhoods : Midtown East