FXFowle Architects’ new luxury condo building at 110th Street and Central Park West, Circa Central Park, paves the way for new development along the greenspace’s northern border—and beyond.
When Bobby Womack sang about crossing 110th Street, he was talking about a Harlem where “pushers won’t let the junkie go free.” The 110th Street of today is for design junkies and will soon boast an 11-story, 38-unit, FXFowle designed luxury landmark that proves otherwise.
Circa Central Park is a conversion you don’t have to feel bad rooting for: Situated at Frederick Douglass Circle, Circa replaces a gas station. “You look at this astounding proximity to the park and can’t believe a gas station stood there,” says FXFowle senior partner Dan Kaplan. “That was all Robert Moses. He insisted on creating this matrix of gas stations every quarter mile.”
With the petroleum depot merely fueling the past, Kaplan sees semicircular Circa as “the missing tooth” to unite the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights and Central Park with aesthetically pleasing architecture. “This isn’t another skyscraper—it’s a building of note,” he says. Which means 110th is the new 86th Street cutoff. (Which became 96th and then 105th.)
“The Upper West Side’s boundaries will always extend north,” says Keller Williams’ Sandy Edry. “When I bought above 86th, people called me crazy. Now the question is: How far will the radius around Circa extend?”
Circa’s $2,100-per-square-foot price point likely will stand alone for a while, as the luxury market is softening. A $3 million three-bedroom, three-bathroom terraced lair with sweeping park and city views readies a market shift, but for real upward changes, says Edry, “wait and look at the next cycle.”
It’s not as if there wasn’t luxury already selling around and across 110th Street, but it just wasn’t in new development. There’s a triplex penthouse at 1485 Fifth Ave. And 119th Street, just below Marcus Garvey Park, listed by Town Residential’s Nicole Hechter (townrealestate.com) for $7.9 million. Edry is also launching a condo building farther north, on Convent and 149th, where units list $850 per square foot.
“This is the Upper West Side decades ago,” he says. “Five years ago, the area couldn’t have gotten more than $500 per square foot. That’s more than a 50 percent increase. Developers are clued in. Once the flag is planted, you’ll see the surrounding prices go up.”
That’s precisely why Circa’s cake-topping Central Park locale is a paradigm shifter. The UWS struggle is real: Demand remains high with supply low. “There’s a limit to what more can go up along the park,” says Town Residential’s Dorothy Sexton. “On Central Park West and Fifth Avenue, the only places to build are where you replace rental buildings. There’s a real lack of threebedroom co-ops for families looking north, and Circa fills that void.”
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