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Twilight of the Starchitected Condo

Duck and cover! A shock-and-awe Friday bombshell from the Wall Street Journal frags our reality with this newsflash: starchitected condo buildings around NYC aren't selling like hotcakes. Er, in fact, some really aren't selling very well at all:

1) "[A Related Cos. exec] says apartments at the undulating glass tower, designed by architect Charles Gwathmey, are worth their prices. But just one condo has sold since September, leaving 15 of the 39 units empty ... Astor Place turned over an empty apartment to Esquire magazine last November for 20 days. The unit, listed at $12.5 million, got a lavish, full-page photo spread in the monthly. It's still on the market."
2) "After two years of high-profile promotion, the newest Manhattan tower by Richard Meier ... has sold just 15 of its 31 units (not counting five bought by its developers)."
3) "Two years ago, developer Frank J. Sciame hired Pritzker Prize-winning Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to create one of the most highly stylized apartment houses ever envisioned for New York. The building in lower Manhattan would consist of 10 cube-like apartment units, each 45 feet high, cantilevered one atop each other around a central axis. Yet none of the units?asking $29 million to $45 million each?has even received a bid, let alone sold, says Mr. Sciame, and construction hasn't started."
4) "Not all celebrity-architect buildings have been slow to sell. [Robert A.M.] Stern's prewar-style apartment house on Manhattan's Central Park West is more than 50% sold after just two months on the market. Elsewhere in New York, apartments at a building that's a collaboration between the French architect Jean Nouvel and hotelier Andre Balazs went on sale two months ago and buyers already have signed contracts on 31 of its 40 units, its developers say."

Impacting, developing, crying, weeping, wailing, etc, &c., etc.
· The Architect May Be A-List, But the Condos Aren't Selling [WSJ]

BONUS: Explicate this line, if you will: "Phillip Johnson and the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron ... have been hired for condo buildings in Manhattan." Could they, by any chance, mean the late Philip Johnson, who's likely beyond the whole hiring grind by now?

BONUS x2: While we're on the fact-checking kick, a commenter points out that Calatrava (aka "The Spanish Conquistador") hasn't yet taken home a Pritzker?unlike a fair number of the other boldface names dotting the article.