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Carter's View

The developers of the 50-unit condominium project known as Sundari Lofts & Tower that had been planned for 158 Madison Avenue have retained Massey Knakal Realty Services to sell the project whose site has been cleared.

Last August, Thorwood Real Estate LLC, a joint venture headed by Joseph Sitt, the president and chief executive office of Thor Equities LLC, and Andrew Heiberger, the president of Buttonwood Real Estate LLC and the former founder and president of CitiHabitats, announced the project, which is located between 32nd and 33rd Streets.

The project has a "T"-shaped plan and plans drawn up by Ismael Leyva called for a 20-story building with balconies staggered above the five floor on Madison Avenue from the south to the north at the top.

"Sundari" is a Sanskrit word for "beautiful" and the plans called for an Asian-style lobby and a garden with a waterfall. The project also was to have a fitness center with a 58-foot lap pool and apartments would have had ceilings of 9 feet to 10 feet eight inches, washers and dryers, free-standing Starck soaking tubs, Sub-Zero refrigerators, Miele dishwashers, mahogany floors, green onyx vanities, and Viking ranges and ovens.

Most apartments would have had balconies or terraces and there was to be a 24-hour concierge, keyed elevators, bicycle storage and individual storage units. Penthouse units would have outdoor hot tubs.

The project is on the same block as 325 Fifth Avenue, a 40-story mid-block tower now nearing completion.

An article by Dakota Smith in the June 29, 2006 edition of The New York Post, quoted Mr. Heiberger as stating that "With land in the immediate area trading for around $400 per foot, we were impressed with the profit we could make without constructing the project. The article noted that Buttonwood Real Estate paid around $11.37 million for the site in early 2005, adding "That's about $160 a square foot for the lot."

The article, however, also stated that Buttonwood "is going ahead with its design plans for Sundari Lofts & Tower, presumably in case no deep-pocketed buyer steps forward."

John F. Ciraulo of Massey Knakal told today that the asking price for the property, which also has the addresses of 19 East 32nd Street and 22 East 33rd Street, is $30,500,000. He said that the site now contains 81,249 "buildable" square feet. Mr. Ciraulo said that Massey Knakal began marketing the property two weeks ago.

The site was formerly occupied by a utility substation that at one time served as Andy Warhol's studio.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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