New High-End Rentals and Condos Coming to Murray Hill

Murray Hill, long known as a go-to rental area for postgraduates, is going through some growing pains. With several new rental and condominium buildings popping up, along with continuing restoration work at
the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, the once-peaceful eastern Midtown enclave is quiet no more.

“We all notice the difference,” said Barbara M. Sagan, an associate broker at Corcoran Group who has lived in the area for about 25 years. “It was once sleepy, but now all you notice are the bulldozers and you say to yourself, ‘Oh my goodness, another building.’”

Like other new residential towers scattered throughout the city, the recent crop of Murray Hill buildings offer amenities and features designed to keep residents in the building once they are there.

The finishing touches are being made at House 39, a 37-story glass tower at 225 East 39th Street, where studios to three-bedroom units can be rented for $3,300 to over $10,000 per month when leasing begins later this month.

Handel Architects designed the building, while David Rockwell, who is responsible for the look of many restaurants, hotels and nightclubs, was brought in by the developer, Fisher Brothers, to add some flair to the common spaces.

Mr. Rockwell, who last year won a Tony Award for scenic design of a musical for “She Loves Me,” said he used natural materials so residents would feel “calm after coming in from the hustle and bustle.”

There will be indoor and outdoor fire pits, hot tubs, a hammam, an arcade with Skee-Ball, shuffleboard and a bocce ball court, as well as a rooftop pool with cabanas and grills.

“The apartments are simply designed, but as you get closer to the front door, the personality of the building becomes more assertive,” he said.

Winston C. Fisher, a partner at Fisher Brothers, said he saw a market for an amenity-rich residential tower as the Midtown South office market took off in recent years.

“We saw another influx of young workers in the area,” he said. “And nothing beats walking to work.”

The American Copper Buildings at 626 First Avenue, where two towers are connected by a skybridge with a pool, is scheduled to open in March. Rents for studios, one- and two-bedrooms will start at $2,830, $4,550 and $6,650, respectively. There will be 34 three-bedrooms available later, according to the spokesman for the developer, JDS Development Group. And construction is finishing up on a 23-story building with about 100 rental units at 237 East 34th Street.

The area has also become popular with empty nesters and young families, according to Ms. Sagan of Corcoran. She said many of her older clients like to test out living in the area by renting for a year or two before buying.

One option for buyers will be the Lindley, a 20-story condominium building going up at 591 Third Avenue. Prices will start at under $1 million for the 74 studios to three-bedroom units, according to Scott Shnay, a principal of SK Development, one of the developers of the building.

“There’s good indication that the area is starting to turn into a 24/7 neighborhood,” he said. “During the day, it’s not as quiet as it used to be when everyone left for work.”

In a few years, there will also be rentals and condos available at 685 First Avenue, a 566-unit building designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier.

By Kaya Laterman, The New York Times

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