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See Inside the Future Tallest Tower of the Flatiron District

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All photos by Will Femia

Many in the real estate industry consider developer Ian Bruce Eichner's name to be a "portentous omen" that foretells bad things for the market, but Eichner himself holds no such negative thoughts. In fact, the developer is downright jovial and very optimistic, especially when talking about his new projects in New York City—both of which will be the tallest buildings in their neighborhoods. In Harlem, 1800 Park will tower over its neighbors, and in the Flatiron District, the glassy, top-heavy, Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed tower at 45 East 22nd Street will sore to 777 feet. Of the latter, Eichner says, "It is the best building I have ever been associated with professionally." Eichner's enthusiasm for the development was clear during a recent tour of the sales gallery, which features a fully built-out kitchen, living room, and three bathrooms to showcase the custom finishes by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.

[The kitchen and living room of the model unit are approximately the same size as a two-bedroom on the west side of the tower.]

Eichner began compiling the property and development rights for 45 East 22nd Street in 2010, after a failed bid to take over One Madison—which his building tops by 150 feet—, the neighborhood's current tallest building. Because the actually lot is so narrow, buckets of development rights—he purchased eight different sets—were necessary for Eichner to go tall. The result is a building that is just 75 feet wide at the base, but 125 feet wide at the top.

In choosing an architect for the project, Eichner says he "hosted a little design competition." When he visited KPF's office to discuss their proposal, they put 21 different designs in front of him. "It showed me that they spent a very significant amount of time and money on this," says Eichner. "It was very clear that they really wanted to do this." Eichner pretty much immediately picked the design for the building. "I had not seen anything like it before," he says. He was particularly intrigued by the cantilever.

[Renderings of 45 East 22nd Street.]

The biggest change to the design came at the base of the building. KPF originally proposed all glass, but Eichner showed them around the neighborhood and pointed out that no other building has a glass base, other than One Madison. He wanted something more contextual. "We spent two months discussing the bottom," says Eichner. "I wanted the base to bear a relationship to the street and the neighborhood."

[The base of the model on the 3D model.]

The result is a five-story rusticated granite-clad base that Eichner describes as "very 19th century" and is made from same type of stone used for the historic U.S. Custom House (now the Museum of the American Indian) in the Financial District. The stone used at 45 East 22nd comes from a quarry in China, but according to Eichner, KPF's "stone consultant" determined that it is the exact same stone as the Vinalhaven granite found in Maine. KPF sent two people to China to oversee the cutting of the granite, as each piece for the building is hand-chiseled and numbered according to its exact placement in the facade.

For the interiors of the 83 apartments, the design team took a similar 19th century-inspired approach. New developments are "mostly dominated by a contemporary influence," says Eichner, and he didn't want that. As with the exterior, Eichner has bold praise for the interior. "We've created a set of interiors that no one in the city has."

To juxtapose the sharp angles of the building's facade, MBDS incorporates a series of soft curves inside the apartments—corners of walls, counter edges, moldings, and cabinet hardware are all rounded. All of the finishes were designed to give the sense that the apartments are someone's private, custom-built home, rather than run-of-the-mill condos.

[The model has grey floors, so the light and dark options are displayed here.]

Thus, buyers have a choice of three different stains for the hardwood floors and kitchen cabinets, and all of the bathrooms feature completely different tiling and fixtures. The team thought that most young people would choose the lighter color floors and cabinets, and that Europeans—who they thought would be a big buyer pool for them—would like the grey floors. "I have no idea why we decided that," says Eichner. It ended up not mattering because most of the buyers are locals. The project is currently 25 percent sold, and the mix of buyers, according to Eichner, is representative of the diversity of the offerings, which range from one- to four-bedrooms. So far, they have sold at least one of everything. Prices started at $2.5 million, and the biggest penthouse is expected to list for more than $40 million. There are only two units per floor, as well as eight full-floor apartments and a couple duplexes.

All home owners have access to a set of amenities that includes a 54th floor club lounge. "You can live in the cheapest one-bedroom facing a brick wall," says Eichner, "and invite all of your closest friends here and no one will know." To showchase the multiple amenity floors, miniature models were created for each level.

· All 45 East 22nd Street coverage [Curbed]
· 45 East 22nd Street [official]