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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

The Ritz Plaza, 235 West 48th Street

Between Broadway & Eighth Avenue

81
Carter Horsley
Review by Carter Horsley
Carter Horsley Carter B. Horsley, a former journalist for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Post. Mr. Horsley is also the editorial director of CityRealty.com.
 

This huge luxury rental apartment building at 235 West 48th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue was an important precursor to the spectacular renaissance of Times Square in the mid- and late-1990's.

Erected by Jason Carter in 1990, this 479-unit, 44-story slab tower added a luxury residential component to this very active commercial district east of Eighth Avenue.

It is known as the Ritz Plaza and was designed by Schuman Lichtenstein Claman & Efron.

The building is owned by Stonehenge Partners Inc., which is headed by Ofer Yardeni and Joel Seiden, whose Manhattan properties include 20 and 41 Park Avenue, 10 Downing Street, and The Olivia on West 33rd Street.

While the World Wide Plaza, a mixed-use project on the west side of the avenue two blocks to the north, was the most influential development in the area, this project helped stabilize the area and demonstrate that it was a viable environment for luxury residences.

It is surrounded by the city's theater district and there are many restaurants nearby.

Despite its proximity to Times Square, the street is fairly quiet and its mid-block location affords many excellent views.

Bottom Line

A large, mid-block, full-service rental tower very close to Times Square.

Description

In most other neighborhoods, this would be a highly visible tower, but its mid-block location is a bit overshadowed by several major Times Square skyscrapers. It is distinguished by a very attractive base with multi-paned windows, some of which are octagonal. The building has many corner windows and many balconies that have nicely curved railings. 

The building has a steeply sloping entrance marquee and sidewalk landscaping.

Amenities

The building has a health club and pool, an attended garage, a 24/7 doorman and a concierge, valet service, a 44th floor sundeck and video security.

It has excellent bus service nearby and subway stations are only two blocks away. 

The building is pet friendly and there is a live-in superintendent and a laundry.

Apartments

Most apartments have balconies and pass-through kitchens. 

Some apartments are furnished and rented by Oakwood Worldwide, which in 2012 bought the ExecuStay corporate housing brand from Marriott International Inc. 

The penthouse is a two-bedroom unit that has a 5-foot-long entry foyer that leads to a 21-foot-long living room and an enclosed kitchen, both of which open onto a 45-foot-long terrace.  The master bedroom has a five-sided balcony. 

Apartment 43B is a two-bedroom unit that has a 7-foot-long entry foyer that leads to a 22-foot-long living room with a five-sided balcony and an open kitchen. 

Apartment 16C is a one-bedroom unit that has a 6-foot-long entry foyer that leads past a pass-through kitchen to a 16-foot-wide living room with a corner window and a five-sided balcony. 

History

An December 25, 1988 article by Thomas L. Waite in The New York Times noted that "to pile 500,000 square feet of floor space on a 24,000-square-foot mid-block lot where Mama Leone's once served heaps of pasta, Jason D. Carter had to turn to his neighbors, the O'Neill and Ritz Theaters."

"After buying the restaurant site for $15 million, Mr. Carter paid each theater $4 million for 80,000 square feet of air rights," the article said, adding that the developer also agreed to renovate 129 apartments in Harlem "in return for city tax abatements worth $12 million."

A September 29, 1991  article in The New York Times by Alan S. Oser said that Mr. Carter "started a career as a commercial broker 17 years ago by walking to work from his aparatment in a plywood shack at the endge of a third-floor tennis court at 410 East 54th Street," adding that "he built the shack himself as a studio apartment" and that "for most of the two years he lived in it he made more money as a tenis pro than as a leasing agent."

"The seed that gave rise to the Ritz Plaza," Mr. Oser wrote, "was planted in 1981, when Mr. Carater bid successfully at a city auction for a theater at 225 West 48th Street. The Shuberts had opened it as the Ritz in 1928. It evolved into the Robert F. Kennedy Theater for Children and a television studio before the city foreclosed. The theater's ununtilized development rights appealed to Mr. Carter, but not to the competing bidder, Jujamcyn Theaters. Its representatives were apparently unauthorized to compete to the $1.6 million level at which he bought the property. Even before the closing, however, Jujamcyn had agreed to buy the theater from Mr. Carter at his bid price. Then, as partners, they rehabilitated it as the Ritz Theater in 1982. Seven years later Jujamcyn did more restoration and reopened it with a new name, the Walter Kerr."