When developer Walker Robinson decided to turn the site of an automobile repair shop into high-end residential condominiums, he knew he was building for a tough crowd in Manhattan's West Chelsea art gallery district.

“It is a more demanding clientele in West Chelsea,” Walker says of the neighborhood where the 11-story 245 Tenth Avenue project is under construction. “These are people who are coming here specifically to buy modern art, so you have to design to a higher standard to appeal to those people.”

To entice modern art lovers, Robinson, senior vice president of Philadelphia-based developer Grasso Holdings, hired Jared Della Valle of Della Valle Bernheimer Architects, a young, Brooklyn-based firm known for its contemporary design.

Della Valle set out to produce his own work of art, designing a building with expansive glass and stainless steel panels stamped with a faceted diamond pattern to reflect sunlight and pay homage to the area's history.

“I looked at the history of great old trains running along the High Line and these images of shifting shapes of the steam clouds generating this pattern,” Della Valle says. “The shapes of the embossing are meant to cast shadows and catch light. It will change throughout the day and through the season.”

The design concept seems to have a following, since the 19 units are selling at an average rate of one per week, Robinson says. The one- and two-bedroom units range from 1,452 square feet to 3,023 square feet and are priced between $1.75 million and $6.2 million. The project is scheduled to open in early 2008.

  • Hannah Real Estate Investors, GlenView Partners, and Stillwater Investment Management are developing GlenView House, a mixed-use community in Stamford, Conn. The project will include 15,000 square feet of retail space and 146 rental units. Amenities will include a pool, clubroom, and fitness center. The project is expected to be complete in the summer of 2008.
  • The Bozzuto Group and the New York State Teachers' Retirement System have formed a joint venture for the development of multifamily real estate properties. The total equity investment in the venture will be $100 million, which, when leveraged, is expected to support the development of approximately $400 million in new real estate assets. The first project: Woodland Park Crossing, a 204-unit luxury apartment community that will be part of a mixed-use town center in Herndon, Va. The apartments are expected to open in the fall of 2008.
  • Ron Hershco and Dean Palinare developing the 303-unit Oro Condominium, which is the first of two planned towers to be built in Brooklyn. The units, which start in the low $300,000s, will feature 9-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Amenities will include a fitness center, indoor basketball/racquetball court, pool, screening room, and a lounge with a wet bar. Tower one, with 40 stories, is expected to be completed in early 2008.