The Western Edge of Hell’s Kitchen Goes Residential

A rendering of Oskar, a rental building with a terra-cotta facade at 572 11th Avenue, at West 43rd Street.

It is still a good place to service cars and ship packages. But with gathering speed, the western edge of Hell’s Kitchen is going residential, and in the process, it is becoming New York’s latest industrial district to reinvent itself.

Apartment houses with rentals and condos are now rising between 10th Avenue and the West Side Highway, in the West 40s and West 50s. Developers are betting that the area can overcome its reputation for being far from subways and lacking stores, and become a more typical neighborhood.

“I’ve got to tell you, I don’t mind the changes at all,” said Juan Rosado, a salesman with the real estate brokerage Citi Habitats. He grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and now lives in a three-bedroom there.

Although he admits that the boom has resulted in too many blocked-off sidewalks, Mr. Rosado, 40, said the situation is preferable to when he was growing up in the 1980s, when 11th Avenue was “very dangerous.” He added that in later decades, the area was unappealingly sleepy.

Of the big-name developers investing in the neighborhood — a list that includes TF Cornerstone, the Elad Group and Taconic Investment Partners — perhaps the most notable might be the Moinian Group. It has helped shape the look of the modern Far West Side.

A pair of existing Moinian towers on West 42nd Street form a sort of bookend of the area. There is Atelier, a condo at No. 635 with 469 units, and Sky, a rental at No. 605. The developer believes Sky’s 1,175 apartments to be the most packed into a single high-rise in the country.

Soon joining Atelier and Sky around the corner will be Oskar, a rental building with a terra-cotta facade at 572 11th Avenue, at West 43rd Street. A far smaller undertaking, it has just 164 apartments, from studios to three-bedrooms, across 13 stories.

But what Oskar may lack in scale it makes up for in style. It was originally designed as a condo, a generally more luxurious property type, said Joseph Moinian, the firm’s chief executive. Despite the change in use, which gives the developer more “longevity” at the site, the building’s design was never downgraded, Mr. Moinian said. Finishes like Caesarstone kitchen counters were retained, he said, adding, “the quality is very, very high.”

Amenities will include an airy second-floor lounge with a 100-inch television over a wide fireplace and access to an adjacent landscaped terrace. For a fee, residents will also be allowed to use many of the amenities at the nearby and well-appointed Sky, including its basketball court, spa and pools.

The building is named for Oskar Brecher, the Moinian Group’s former development director, who died in 2016. In mid-January, Oskar had not yet set specific rents, as it won’t open until the spring. Mr. Moinian said that studios will likely be about $3,000 a month and one-bedrooms about $4,500.

In the broader Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, west of Eighth Avenue, studios average $2,700 a month, according to data, while one-bedrooms average $3,400.

Of Oskar’s apartments, 46 will be available at below-market rents for those who are eligible based on their incomes. Those affordable units were required because the $180 million project is benefiting from state bond financing.

Mr. Moinian and other developers in the area have been helped by rezoning. In 2011, the city approved a plan to allow more apartments on the blocks between 10th and 11th Avenues, while permitting bigger industrial buildings between 11th and 12th Avenues. But because of lingering effects of the last recession, brokers say, residential development has been scattered until now.

Oskar’s site previously held the Market Diner, which opened in 1962 and closed in 2015. It was one of a handful of diners that once sparkled amid the area’s brick factories and warehouses. Most are now gone.

Other projects in western Hell’s Kitchen that are part of the recent surge include 535 West 43rd Street, a 280-unit dark-brick complex from a team that includes DHA Capital. This apartment house, which welcomed renters in 2016, was built on the site of parking lots. Studios at the building were listed this month for prices starting at $2,800. The building has a gym, a pet spa and two roof decks.

And last year saw the opening of Frank 57 West, a 10-story, 65-unit rental at 600 West 58th Street, with one- to three-bedroom apartments, from the Durst Organization.

Frank is clustered on the same block with earlier Durst rental projects like Helena 57 West and Via 57 West. Frank can also seem to represent an extension of the collection of apartment towers that have bloomed in recent years just to north, on West End Avenue, which is what 11th Avenue turns into north of West 59th Street.

But if West End enjoyed buzz before, 11th Avenue might be next. Standing tall on the skyline is the Max, a rental from TF Cornerstone that is under construction at 606 West 57th Street. Set to open this spring, the 1,028-unit complex will become New York’s second largest residential building, the company said, second only to Sky. (Silver Towers, a rental complex on West 42nd Street, which opened in 2009, at the edge of the neighborhood, has 1,359 apartments, but in two connected high-rises.)

The Max is named for Max Elghanayan, son of the TF Cornerstone co-founder Frederick Elghanayan; Max Elghanayan died earlier this month. The Max will also have a school, a spokesman for TF Cornerstone said.

Continuing south, there is 525 West 52nd Street, a two-towered complex from Taconic Investment Partners and Mitsui Fudosan America, with 392 apartments, including market-rate and affordable units. The building, which also has 35,000 square feet of amenities, opened last June.

Condos, more rare in a somewhat untested market, are also going up; Charlie West, a 123-unit version from the Elad Group and Mi&Co, which has its main entrance on West 43rd Street.

Although this project was unveiled in 2014, it is not expected to open until 2019, according to Michael Lorber, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, which is handling sales. It sits atop railroad tracks, on a platform, and next to a rental-car office. In early January, the least-expensive one-bedroom was $1.85 million. Affordable units are also part of the mix.

In comparison, in the entire Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, one-bedroom condos list for an average of $1.34 million, including existing units and those in new buildings, according to StreetEasy data.

Less far along appears to be 615 10th Avenue. It is a block-wide project between West 44th and West 45th Streets, where there was once a gas station. Here, an 82-unit building is planned in a seven-story building, according to public filings. Target said that one of its stores will occupy the building’s storefront, with about 29,000 square feet, and will open in 2019, a Target spokeswoman said.

A Target store would be a major change for this area. Though 10th Avenue has many restaurants, there is just a smattering of retail offerings west of this busy thoroughfare. An exception is Gotham West Market, an enclosed food hall at 11th and West 44th Street that has Japanese, Mexican and Chinese food in a casual setting with industrial décor. It sits at the base of Gotham West, a nearly full-block apartment complex that opened in 2013.

More common are car dealerships, including showrooms for Volkswagen; Audi; BMW; Jaguar; and Mercedes-Benz, which is at Mercedes House. This 863-unit development at 550 West 54th Street from Two Trees Management welcomed its first renters in 2011 and was an early luxury development.

Other business in the area include a UPS facility, at 11th Avenue and West 43rd Street, and several television studios. Ad agencies have also arrived in recent years.

A Lexus showroom will be razed to make room for a 225-unit condo. The condo, at 646 11th Avenue, will have an auto dealership at its base said Scott Shnay, a principal at CBSK Ironstate, the development entity behind the project. Mr. Shnay said he hopes to finalize the purchase of the site this summer.

Separately, a Lexus dealership at 11th Avenue and West 56th Street is being demolished to allow for a new 83-unit, 35-story condo from a partnership of Sumaida and Khurana, a Manhattan-based firm, and Leny Group, of Israel.

Amit Khurana, a founding partner of Sumaida and Khurana, said he hopes to begin sales in spring 2019. He added that the area, north of Hudson Yards, is distinctive enough to warrant its own name, “Hudson West.”

“New York is a city where neighborhoods evolve, and a transformation can happen so quickly,” Mr. Khurana added. “It can just take a few years, with a few developers and a few new buildings.”

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