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Touring Ben Shaoul’s ‘attainable’ Upper East Side condos

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The 33-story building comes with 156 apartments that range in size from studios to three-bedrooms

It’s been more than six months since sales launched at the rental-to-condo conversion 389 East 89th Street on the Upper East Side, and as of two weeks ago, about 40 percent of the building’s 156 apartments had already sold. Developer Ben Shaoul largely attributes this to how accessible the building has been to prospective buyers.

By that he means the fact that the development team created eight model apartments in the building—his largest such undertaking, and one that has had a tremendous payoff, according to the developer. "You want to give yourself every opportunity to make a first good impression on the buyer," he explained.

Shaoul recently took Curbed on a tour through some of these units. Accompanying him was interior designer Paris Forino, whose namesake firm transformed the building from its original iteration, designed by Ismael Levya Architects and constructed in 2002.

Today, the units at the building vary from open lofts to three-bedrooms, and prices range from $815,000 to $3 million, a price point that has been identified as "attainable luxury."

Some of the highlights of these apartments include white marble countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen along with Miele appliances; medicine cabinets in the master bathrooms that come fitted with illuminated mirrors that were designed by Forino’s firm; a powder room with Portuguese limestone floors; and white oak flooring in the most other parts of the apartment. Ceiling heights in the units vary from 8.8 feet to 10.5 feet. The largest of the apartments measures about 1,582 square feet.

"When we’re designing places uptown, we have a different style then if we’re designing downtown," Forino said. "I think people like this referencing of historical styles more here, so we kept that in mind while creating the woodwork, providing a bit of mosaic floors [in the bathroom], and the custom vanity."

The project came about after Shaoul purchased this building, which was then a rental building known as Post Toscana, and its sister building in Gramercy called Post Luminaria for a combined total of $270 million. Shaoul said there were certain limitations while working on a conversion, but there were several positives as well, most notably the quick turnaround, and the fact that there are fewer unforeseen circumstances when it comes to construction.

"Conversions are often seen as a step child, but buyers who come to this building don’t even know it’s a conversion," Shaoul said. "They think it’s a new building."

The plethora of amenities at the building were about a month away from completion when Curbed toured the model units. When complete, the building will have a furnished and landscaped garden terrace, a rooftop terrace with multiple entertaining areas, a fitness center, and a children’s playroom. The first set of residents will begin moving in later this year.