Slow Sales at 455 Central Park West are No Shocker

Much has been written about 455 Central Park West, which is a developer’s bold attempt to make a top-shelf condo building out of a cancer hospital next to the projects on 105th street.

(A big article in New York, for instance. One nice tidbit: that article says the towers of the building were made round so that germs couldn’t hide in the corners.)

Today there’s news that sales of the premium condominiums have been slow.

I don’t think this surprises anyone.

It’s a shame for the developer that Columbia University–which bought a lot of units in the building–didn’t spring for the whole thing. There is no question that the project is beautifully designed and features stunning views and amenities. But even with that, the asking prices have been insane,  considering the building sits directly in front of the Lincoln housing projects and is quite a distance from transportation and a lot of the amenities of the Upper West Side.

Even on the building’s official website, the guide to the neighborhood curiously includes no attractions at all–other than a middle school–within two blocks of the development, but sees fit to highlight such attractions at the Jewish Theological Seminary on 122nd or Zabar’s way down on 80th street. In Manhattan, five blocks is a long way to walk for a coffee shop. But on this map, Zanny’s at 108th and Columbus is the closest one that gets any attention–all of which inadvertently confirms the notion that this development is on something of an island.

Perhaps the site is jinxed. It was once a sanitarium, and many have failed trying to build there–many were stalled in planning for various reasons. The current developer is a pioneer, but like those who settled in the wild west, he is likely to experience plenty of obstacles before convincing many others to "settle" there–at least at those prices.

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