Durst Tops Out on Rare UES Rental Tower

The Observer


Laura Kusisto

Great views of the Park are much-talked-about and rarely achieved. And so with a mixture of awe and schadenfreude, The Observer went near the top of Durst Fetner Residential’s new 42-story tower, and looked clear across the sparkling vista of Central Park on a spring morning.

Durst and Mount Sinai topped out on one of the only new rental towers on the Upper East Side this morning, the somewhat under-the-radar 1212 Fifth Avenue.

The glass Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed structure was not without early controversy, as community activists called for affordable housing and residents of the neighborhood’s dowager co-ops complained that it would resemble the unsightly mole on the landscape that is the Annenberg Death Star. Say what you like about imposing glass condos piercing the skyline, it’s pretty hard to top that as blights on the landscape go.

Mount Sinai sold some of the development rights to Durst-Fetner, and the 233-unit tower with 20 percent dedicated to affordable housing, as per the tax credit, is now expected to be completed by spring 2012. Units are expected to rent for around $60 a foot, or $3,500 a month for a one-bedroom.

The most powerful people in real estate have been on something of a residential tear of late: They’ve bought a distressed site at Sixth Avenue and are working on the BIG-designed pyramid on 57th Street. Well, at least with this project moving along smoothly, they’ll finally provide a home for all those high-brow co-op board rejects.