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249 East 50th Street (Compass) 249 East 50th Street (Compass)
The pandemic and accompanying economic slowdown led to construction delays on the new condominium at 249 East 50th Street, but construction reached full height in 2020 and was completed earlier this year. Most recently, closings have commenced at an average price of $1,423 per square foot. This comes in slightly below the local average of $1,633 per square foot (figures per CityRealty data), but buyers are taking notice of the (somewhat) approachable prices and central location – a significant number of units have closed, and there is only one publicly listed unit for sale, a one-bedroom asking $1.395 million.
Lutece restaurant Manhattan Interior images of Lutece via Bowery Boogie
249-East-50th-Street The unadorned lot line wall facing Second Avenue is disgusting
The closings represent the latest chapter in the site’s lengthy history. In the 1950s, James Beard and Andre Surmain taught cooking classes in the drawing room of Mr. Surmain’s townhouse on the site. Mr. Surmain later turned it into Lutece, a haute cuisine restaurant that was long considered one of the finest restaurants in the country. According to Mr. Surmain's obituary, the interior donned tapestries, gold damask drapes, a Victorian fireplace, a mural by Jean Pages, and Baccarat crystal stemware. Appearances in films like Wall Street, Crossing Delancey, and The Prince of Tides would further cement it in the imagination of mainstream America.
The restaurant closed in 2004 following a drop in tourists and tightening dining budgets after 9/11. Cornerstone Property Group assembled Lutèce's former cooking-school building with the adjacent walk-ups at 251 and 253 holding restaurants Leopard and Kate Kearney's. The properties were sold in 2006 for $13.6 million and financing was obtained from Lehman Brothers in 2007 for, of course, a residential condo. Plans stalled in the wake of the Great Recession, but the assemblage returned to the market in 2011, this time as a development site with 51,000 buildable square feet. A consortium of Chinese families bought the site for $17 million in 2014 (h/t The Real Deal), and the condo plans stuck this time.
The assemblage was located in two separate zoning districts, which led to Issac & Stern designing two separate portions that form an L shape around a garden and inner court. The western portion is seven stories high, and the eighth through fifteenth stories have only one unit per floor. The two sections are united by a limestone-paneled facade with large windows.
Midtown East condos
NYC condos
249 East 50th Street
249 East 50th Street
249 East 50th Street
Interiors feature massive windows, high ceilings, wide polished wood floors, stacked washer/dryers, and generous storage space throughout. Kitchens come outfitted with custom cabinetry and high-end stainless steel appliances by Bosch and Liebherr. In addition to the garden, amenities include an attended double-height lobby, a gym, bike storage, and a roof deck.
While Lutece is no more, residents still enjoy access to a plethora of restaurants and cuisines nearby. They also enjoy easy access to Trader Joe’s Bridgemarket, the 57th Street Whole Foods, a number of embassies and consulates, and a number of public transportation options.

Moreover, it has taken shape amidst a building boomlet in recent years. Up the street, a portion of the historic Waldorf Astoria hotel was converted to The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, a collection of condo units with access to exclusive amenities as well as the hotel’s legendary services and amenities. New construction residential offerings include The Centrale and the Foster + Partners-designed Selene.

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