Location: 55 Hester Street btwn Essex/Ludlow
Size: 11 stories, 27 one- and two-bedroom units
Prices: $625,000 to $1,049,000
Architect: Jung Wor Chin (note: web designers should avert their eyes)
Sales & Marketing: Leon Tsoi at Kinyu Realty
Lowdown: The Hester Street site that used to be home to the historic Gertel's bakery (before it was demolished under shady circumstances) is still a hole in the ground. Next door at 55 Hester Street, well that's a different story. We've occasionally kept an eye on the 11-story building?a "vertical extension," in DOB speak, of a razed tile warehouse?that's risen on the spot, and a spot check reveals that the mid-block tower is now ready to go. Er, like what you see?
This is one of those blocks on the blurry Lower East Side/Chinatown DMZ, and it shows. Banners hanging on the building are in both English ("Luxury condo for sale") and Chinese, and the Hester Condominium website?a delightfully low-budget affair?has writing in both languages, though it does say the building is "located in a colorful hot and trendy area on Lower East Side." We're used to Chinatown buildings being wrapped in mystery, and this one's definitely going the under-the-radar route: The listings aren't even on StreetEasy!
More weirdness: None of the apartments are bigger than 810 square feet. Does this make prices a bit out of whack? Maybe there are gardening enthusiasts out there willing to spend around a million bucks on tiny condos with terraces that are nearly as big as the apartments themselves. Do check out the floorplans. According to the website, the units feature "stainless steel appliances, oversized windows, oak wood floors, video intercom system and individually controlled heat and A/C units." Broker Leon Tsoi told us the ground-floor retail space is still on the market, but it won't be a restaurant, or, we imagine, a bakery trafficking in traditional Jewish delights. Here are the asking prices: