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Chetrits plan rare, new Manhattan townhouse

The Chetrit Group filed plans last week to build a single-family, ground-up development on a vacant lot squeezed between two long-empty hospital buildings that it’s also redeveloping in Hell’s Kitchen.

One of the firm’s principals, Joseph Chetrit, filed plans on June 1 for an 8,925-square foot, five-story home at 422 West 52nd Street, between Ninth and 10th avenues, city Department of Buildings records show.

The Chetrit Group — an active developer of residential and hotel projects — is currently building more ground-up, single family Manhattan homes than any other developer in the city. In addition to the Hell’s Kitchen home, the firm is also building three other townhouses on the Upper East Side. It’s unclear how much the firm will list the homes for once complete, but other similar-sized, newly-built homes have sold for as much as $2,200 per square foot, which would put the price as high as $19.6 million.

Since 2007, there have only been 12 new-construction, single-family homes that developers and owners have filed applications to build in Manhattan. So far this year there have been two applications for new Manhattan single-family homes that are not connected to larger developments, DOB records show. In 2011, there were four applications, including an application filed in November for a 13,440-square-foot, five-story home at 48 East 82nd Street — the largest townhouse submitted for approval since 2007. The owner, according to DOB records, is Credit Suisse executive Robert Jain.

Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of residential appraisal firm Miller Samuel, said new townhouse construction is unusual in Manhattan.

“You really aren’t seeing [much] single-family, new construction. It is fairly rare. You are seeing gut rehabs every day, but new construction — you are not,” he said.

The Real Deal reviewed monthly new-building application reports going back to 2007, isolating filings for 1-, 2-, and 3- family structures, and removing projects with more than one unit. In addition, an unknown-but-small number of developers filed plans for townhouses that were part of larger projects, such as Superior Ink’s townhouses on Bethune Street or the three townhomes at 22-26 Downing Street in Greenwich Village that were built together by one developer. DOB did not classify those projects under the 1-, 2-, and 3- family building type. Officials at the agency could not immediately explain why.

While there are, of course, many townhouses in Manhattan, the vast majority of them are old buildings such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s house at 17 East 79th Street or conversions, such as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s firehouse conversion at 84 West 3rd Street.

At the Hell’s Kitchen site, the Chetrits partnered with Tessler Developments to buy the empty lot and two large former St. Vincent’s hospital buildings with the address 415 West 51st Street, in December 2007 for $84.73 million. Tessler Developments CEO Yitzchak Tessler told The Real Deal that his company is no longer involved with the project.

Chetrit Group is converting the two existing, seven-story buildings into a total of 215 apartments, DOB documents show. Architect Karl Fischer is designing both the larger buildings and the new five-story townhouse.

The Chetrits are also moving forward with three large, single-family homes on the Upper East Side, at 110, 114 and 118 East 76th Street. The three attached buildings with the original facades from now-demolished 19th-century row houses are each larger than 11,000-square feet.

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