The New York Times profiles 20 East End Avenue

September 29, 2014

BY: The New York Times | ALISON GREGOR

Scaled-Down Luxury on East End Avenue

Montroy Andersen DeMarco is serving as Architect-of-Record; designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

The philosophy behind 20 East End Avenue, a classically featured gray-brick apartment building taking up residence near such distinguished edifices as Vincent Astor’s 120 East End Avenue, is that you don’t have to own a 20-room apartment to live as though you do.

Designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, which also designed the neo-Classical 15 Central Park West, 20 East End Avenue will squeeze 43 apartments, including two penthouses, two duplex townhouses and a maisonette, into a 17-story building on the corner of East End Avenue and 80th Street, scheduled for completion the summer of 2016. While the apartments will be graciously sized by today’s yardstick, with the standard unit 2,800 to 3,000 square feet, they will not be the mammoth 20-room apartments of the Gilded Age, said Edward Baquero, the president of the Corigin Real Estate Group, the developer. The Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group plans to begin marketing the apartments this fall.

“We wanted to be authentic to the idea of a prewar-inspired apartment house,” Mr. Baquero said, “but very few people in the world can afford those 20-room apartments, which probably have their own sauna, their own wine cellar, that sort of thing. So we made our units smaller, more affordable, more reasonable, but the building has amenity spaces that are really designed to be an extension of your home.”

The apartments, which will range from two to six bedrooms and have 11- to 12-foot ceilings, will have price tags starting at about $4.5 million, ranging up to more than $20 million for the penthouses, which will be about 5,900 to 6,300 square feet. The top penthouse will have a terrace of more than 4,000 square feet overlooking the Upper East Side and the East River.

Some of the amenities will be on the second floor overlooking East End Avenue, including a capacious wood-paneled library with a book collection on the history of New York curated by Mr. Stern, along with a separate billiards room, private poker room and bar, Mr. Baquero said.

Other amenities will be below the lobby and include a wine cellar adjacent to a wine-tasting room with a kitchen that could also be used for dinner parties; a 3,000-square-foot gym with shower rooms and a spa; and space for storage and laundry rooms. The interiors of the building, along with the amenities and their furnishings, were all designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects.

Small touches have been added to encourage residents to use the amenities as an extension of their home. For instance, each family will receive a locker on the second floor for storing bottles of wine or cordials, Mr. Baquero said.

Another unusual touch at 20 East End Avenue will be a motor court, entered from 80th Street through an arch under the building; this will enable residents, who will be greeted by staff, to unload their cars off the street. Only a handful of buildings in the city have them, including the Apthorp and 15 Central Park West on the Upper West Side.

Twenty East End Avenue also will have a conventional entrance off the avenue leading into an octagonal lobby with a 12-foot Venetian plaster ceiling and a patterned floor in white marble and limestone. A grand blackened-steel staircase will have a three-story bronze hanging light fixture in the center.

Residences, many with private entrances off the elevators, will have white oak hardwood floors stained dark walnut and interior doors. Some homes will have private gardens, gas fireplaces, or some of the last wood-burning fireplaces approved by the city, Mr. Baquero said. (The building of fireplaces was banned by the city as of July 1.) Kitchens will have marble countertops and Gaggenau appliances, and each marble master bathroom will have a separate water closet and polished nickel fittings.

The classic design of 20 East End Avenue, with dozens of setback terraces with limestone balusters, bay windows, stone arches and Juliet balconies, harkens back to an era before World War II. It will join a handful of similar buildings constructed recently, many on the Upper East Side, that evoke the prewar era and may have the success of 15 Central Park West to thank.

Mr. Stern chuckled at the suggestion, and said that 20 East End Avenue “belongs to a continuous language of architecture, and a particular New York version of the language, of New York apartment-house architecture.”