Chelsea lately: Elite Avenues School sparks a spate of new, family-sized condos

The cafe at Avenues
The cafe at Avenues

Developers are getting schooled. Since Avenues — a private, for-profit school at 259 10th Avenue — opened in 2012, brokers said they’ve seen an uptick in demand for three- and four-bedroom apartments from parents whose kids attend the school.

“When you have little ones, to throw them in the stroller, walk them to school and get to work is like a dream,” said Mara Flash Blum, a broker at Sotheby’s International Realty who recently toured the 1,600-seat school, which serves pre-K through ninth grade.

Real estate brokers are keen to form relationships with the school. Avenues even hosted an event last year for brokers looking to guide families weighing education — and living — options in the city.

Developers are banking on Avenues, too. Cary Tamarkin’s 15-unit condo at 508 West 24th Street, which is nearly sold out, has only three-bedrooms. One was recently snapped up by a couple with a two-year-old, whom they want to send to Avenues in a few years, Tamarkin said. She’ll be joining the likes of Suri Cruise, who reportedly attends the school. (The building’s remaining units are priced between $4.15 million and $12.5 million.)

With Avenues’ tuition topping $40,000 a year, the parents can generally afford luxury pads, said Flash Blum, adding that many are trying to get in before prices shoot up in the neighborhood. That’s especially true since rumors are circulating that the school — which currently has a line of limousines outside at the end of the day — will open a new high school facility.

“When you develop a project, you have to think about who the buyer’s going to be,” Tamarkin said. “Now it’s all geared towards families.”

Apartments at another upcoming project by Gale International, at 21 West 20th Street, are also large, with units starting at 1,300 square feet. The project, which is under construction, has three units currently for sale, ranging from $13.25 million to $35 million. Other projects are in the planning stages.

The school has begun to tie together a neighborhood that is still somewhat fledgling, said Tim Crowley of architecture and development firm Flank.

But West Chelsea has a ways to go before it can catch up to other family-friendly neighborhoods, said Claudia Saez-Fromm, a broker with Town Residential and one of the founding families of the Avenues School.

“The infrastructure in Chelsea is really not there yet,” said Saez-Fromm, who lives in the neighborhood. “There’s some things for kids to do but nowhere near as much as in Tribeca. If I want to take my daughter to the Dance Factory, I still have to go all the way down to Tribeca.” — Katherine Clarke

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Average January rents

Studio         $3,102
1 bed           $3,902
2 beds         $6,488
3 beds         $10,062
> 3 beds      $12,560[/column]

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Average January sale price

Studio         $821,123
1 bed           $1,000,400
2 beds         $2,752,804
3 beds         $4,058,978
>3 beds      N/A[/column]

Source: StreetEasy

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