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Walk-In Closets Not Enough? Luxury Condo Brings In Saks Consultants

By Amy Zimmer | January 10, 2011 4:03pm | Updated on January 11, 2011 6:21am
Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue
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courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — Yoga studios, golf simulators, roof decks and film screening rooms are commonplace nowadays in Manhattan’s new luxury apartments. But how many buildings pair residents with Saks Fifth Avenue style consultants who will give them closet evaluations?

There’s only one right now: The Sheffield.

The West Side building is hitching itself to the quintessential East Side brand making it the first luxury building to have an exclusive partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fifth Avenue Club.

The partnership kicks off in February with a matchmaking event where condo owners will be paired with their own personal consultants, who will hand-select the latest trends and give make-up consultations, personalized fittings, catalogue shoes and accessories and evaluate closets.

Wouldn't someone dressed by a Saks Fifth Avenue consultant look good in this living room at the Sheffield?
Wouldn't someone dressed by a Saks Fifth Avenue consultant look good in this living room at the Sheffield?
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courtesy of the Sheffiled

“Who doesn’t know Saks? It’s a recognized retail icon. And the theme for the building is ‘Sheffield style.’… We have couture residences, a couture location,” Jacqueline Urgo, president of The Marketing Directors, which has been doing the sales and marketing for the Sheffield in March.

The Sheffield, located at 322 West 57th Street, has had a tattered recent history.

In 2007, as the once-rental buiilding was going condo, tenants accused then-developer Kent Swig of exposing them to unsafe construction conditions.  When they staged a protest outside the building, Swig hired a marching band to drown them out.

The Sheffield57, as it was then known, was foreclosed on in 2009 and bought for $20 million by the Fortress Investment Group. Swig paid $418 million for it in 2005, and at that time it was the priciest residential real estate sale in U.S. history (soon overtaken by Tishman Speyer's $5.4 billion purchase of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in 2006).

Since re-launching the building and lowering prices from roughly $2,100 a square foot to $1,500, the Marketing Directors firm sold more than 80 apartments — residences now range from $700,000 studios to $7.6 million four bedrooms.

More than 250 of the nearly 600 condos had been sold previously, Urgo said.

Dorothy Somekh, a real estate broker who moved into the building a year ago, was excited about the new department store partnership.

"I love Saks," she said. "I shop there all the time."

During the off-season, she stores her Saks-bought mink coat at the Fifth Avenue flagship.

"I could use somebody to come over and tell me what to throw out of my closet," she added.

Lisa Bruni Vene, assistant general manager of the Fifth Avenue Club, said several of her regular shoppers mentioned they had coincidentally looked at apartments at the Sheffield.

“We’ve had quite a few of our clients who’ve told us that they were looking at apartments there,” she said. “We’re kind of the best kept secret of New York, so it’s exciting to have this kind of partnership.”

Will Saks team up with other buildings?

"I think we’re using this as a test run," Bruni Vene said.