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Unfinished business

More than $560 million in sales and 12 price amendments up . . . in six weeks. Welcome to the new pre-construction frenzy.

The building is 150 Charles St., a 91-unit, 16-story, ground-up condo that’s currently pouring its foundation. Since the development went on sale in February, its Douglas Elliman marketing team has signed contracts on more than two-thirds of its residences — at prices upwards of $3,000 per square foot — including one of two penthouses, which was on the market for $34 million.

This is what happens when new elite housing stock — residences at 150 Charles come in more than 75 different layouts — is built in the West Village.

“There’s limited supply and increasing demand” in the NYC market overall, says Tricia Hayes Cole, executive managing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. And the West Village, “happens to be in a sub-market where there is even less supply . . . It’s a limited opportunity, so they’re coming in and snapping up units.”

Indeed, 150 Charles is just the latest in a line of ultra-luxury new construction developments that have conga’d their way through the West Village, breaking records and selling like wildfire. The neighborhood’s introduction to high-end new construction and starchitecture came by way of the Richard Meier buildings, which appeared on Perry Street in 2002. They were followed by 165 Charles St., also by Meier. After that came 385 W. 12th St., One Jackson Square and Superior Ink.

“Last year there was 130 W. 12th St. That sold quickly. A couple years ago it was Superior Ink, and now 150 Charles is the new guy in the neighborhood,” Cole says.

What all these buildings have in common is not only their level of luxury, but also the scale of their units.

“The West Village has been coveted for decades, and the issue has been that there haven’t been enough big, loft-like products to serve the needs of the demographic,” says Wendy Maitland, senior managing director of sales for Town Residential, which has done multiple deals at 150 Charles. “What [developer Steven Witkoff] did with 150 Charles is he created large loft-like spaces with high ceilings and amenities.”

Layouts at 150 Charles go from one- to six-bedrooms, 1,400 to 5,800-plus square feet. The amenities include park-like green space and a club level with a 75-foot lap pool and hot tub.

“Not only do we have units with up to six bedrooms, but we planned our project so we could do combos,” says Steven Witkoff, chairman and CEO of the Witkoff Group. “Where we anticipated combinations, they have all combined. Those asking for larger apartments are all families.”

Also contributing to the fast sales pace in these buildings has been the dearth of competition. It’s so difficult to develop in the West Village that new buildings appear one or two at a time, lessening competition.

“It’s hard to find development sites, and that’s the challenge; there is no vacant land, so you’re acquiring other buildings and doing gut rehabs,” says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

Cole is selling the other newly released condo development in the West Village. Really, the only other.

The Printing House is the redevelopment of 100 of the original homes in 421 Hudson St. — converted into condos in the late ’80s — into 60 loft-style apartments. The development consists of a main building and two townhouses and three maisonettes with entrances on the mews behind the property. Units will range from 900 to over 3,300 square feet in the main building. The townhouses will be larger.

If early interest is any indication, it’s likely that the Printing House, which just started sales, will wind up with a feeding frenzy of its own.

“We’re up to about 1,000 inquiries,” says Cole. “A market is in an equilibrium if there is six to nine months supply, now in the West Village there is 3 1/2 months of supply. There are 77 residences that are listed, and last year the market absorbed 265 units, so you can sell out what’s available in 3 1/2 months. The market is very under-supplied; it’s the tightest in the city.”

The Printing House is priced more modestly than 150 Charles, with opening numbers ranging between $1,750 to $1,800 per square foot. But as Cole notes, with so little product in the area, comparisons are difficult.

“There’s no direct comparable, but the pricing in the Village has been consistently strong and increasing,” Cole says. “The last 12 months in the West Village, residences from brand-new glass towers to resales have been trading from $1,800 to $1,900 a foot, and the newer things are well north of $2,000, but we wanted to go out to the market and see how it’s received.”

As for what’s next, there isn’t much on the horizon: 130 Seventh Ave. South is reportedly slated for development into a seven-story condo building. And Maitland says that Town has something forthcoming in the area, but not of the scale of a 150 Charles — though she does say it will be new-construction and “of that echelon.”

And interest will only remain high.

“The area has only gotten more desirable with the Hudson River Conservancy and with Pier 40,” Maitland says. “Bleecker Street went from little mom-and-pop shops, anchored by Magnolia Bakery, to Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, every major label angling to get a spot between Bleecker and Eighth Avenue. There’s Cole’s, David Rabin’s restaurant. There’s something about the West Village, including the light, that’s just different.”

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