Natural wood windows and moldings are a welcome rarity in an era when white trim work and floor-to-ceiling glass walls are ubiquitous in upscale luxury condo developments across New York City. The Fitzroy, a brand-spanking-new 14-unit Art Deco-inspired boutique building in Manhattan’s swanky Chelsea neighborhood, aims to wallow in the Jazz Age cool of yesteryear.
At first glance, one could be mistaken for thinking the building is a renovated Victorian factory, rather than the ground-up new construction it actually is. Instead of the dull, mass-produced towers that make up much of today’s Manhattan skyline, The Fitzroy’s warm colors, detailed craftsmanship and an organic take on construction (natural elements — wood, copper, clay) are the chic order of the day. This painstaking attention to detail includes 5,600 hand-forged terracotta blocks with 500 unique types made at Boston Valley Terra Cotta in Buffalo, New York. The tiles sheathe the exterior of the building and give it a pleasantly weathered patina.
The Fitzroy was designed by the acclaimed architecture and design firm Roman & Williams, whose work includes the Ace Hotels in New York and New Orleans, The Standard Highline and Highline in New York, and the private residences of Ben Stiller and Gweneth Paltrow. The building’s location opposite the ever-popular High Line parkway and near to the burgeoning Hudson Yards development contributes to the premium pricing of the casually posh condos. Of course, Old School elegance and bespoke craftsmanship in one of the trendiest parts of Manhattan comes with a price. The nine remaining units range from just over $5.9 million for a 2,300-square-foot, two-bedroom spread to a humbling $21 million for a full-floor residence of more than 4,500 square feet with four bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and two private terraces.
Inside, chevron pattern oak floors, 11-foot-high ceilings and master baths with copper soaking tubs are like stepping into a time machine — one could almost imagine hearing Dizzy, Bird and Miles playing at club around the corner. But the fitness center, climate controlled storage bins, and a landscaped roof deck with snazzy outdoor kitchen will have you jumping into Marty McFly’s modified DeLorean, landing back in the present day.
During the pandemic, New York’s high-priced luxury apartments have proven about as popular as a bikini in the North Pole. Still, developers are hoping that once the pandemic finally subside and Gotham whirs back to life, the long-lasting appeal of the residences will usher deep-pocketed buyers their way. “We are anticipating that we are on the edge of a movement that’s going to be a backlash to that [curtain wall buildings], to bring back a type of craftsmanship that speaks to the human nature of architecture as opposed to the machine and technology nature of architecture,” said Antonia Devine, the project manager at JDS Development Group who worked on the Fitzroy. Let’s hope she’s right.