The most expensive apartment building in Harlem (an $8 million penthouse was one of the record sales) is a good example on how condo living can get complicated for buyers if the developers do not have vision over their desire to make a large profit. Case in point is the retail space on the the ground floor of 111 Central Park North, which has been empty for quite some time and has finally opened up a Subway chain sandwich shop. Its next door neighbor is a deli that is new and modern but far from any luxury aesthetic.
The folks who spent millions on their condos are now worried that the large corner retail space in the building will go to McDonald's since they are at the mercy of the building's owner on all decisions pertaining to the ground floor spaces. Worried that the big M's arrival might portend even further downward property values in the building, The Post reported in August that there have been talks among residents of the building to pool their money and to rent out the ground floor corner space of the building as storage. This scenario mirrors what happened to the star architect-designed Phillip Starck condos in Chelsea, which indeed got a McDonald's on their ground floor.
In our opinion, this wildly successful, height-of-market building could add to its value if the developers worked with local businesses on rent discounts to provide the right type of institution at this corner of the park. Instead of a super-luxe McDonald's, a local restaurant such as Sylvia's could be a great gateway for visitors coming into Harlem. Of course, there would have to be rent incentives and maybe lower rent than expected. At the end, it would increase the value of the building and dress up the surrounding area, but maybe that's too much to ask for if there is a profit loss. Photos by Ulysses