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Setai Will Change The Neighborhood’s Character

The developers of the Setai Fifth Avenue are attempting something next month that many say could be beyond the towering building’s reach: selling a luxury property in a neighborhood filled with souvenir shops and takeout food.

The Setai Fifth Avenue, above with Empire State Building at left, opens its hotel Nov. 1. A condo unit, right; developer Davide Bizzi.Italy’s Bizzi & Partners Development, which spent $656 million to build the 60-story building, has high hopes for the hotel and condo at East 36th Street that’s scheduled to open for hotel guests on Nov. 1. Critically acclaimed chef Michael White is opening a Mediterranean restaurant at the hotel and European sports celebrities have already snapped up units.


The building’s one-bedroom condo prices begin at $1.7 million and the top-priced penthouse is available for $17 million. But to get those prices, some brokers say, the Setai must almost single-handedly reshape its neighborhood’s image.


Landmark buildings such as the former home of jeweler Tiffany & Co., designed by McKim, Mead & White, are in the area, as is the Empire State Building. But the neighborhood is often associated with tourist groups and crowded pubs at happy hour.

“The prices are out of line with the neighborhood,” says Jacky Teplitzky, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman. “People spending that amount of money want to be next to high-end shopping and good restaurants.”

Executives at Bizzi predict the Setai will change the neighborhood’s character. “It’s a location that should improve,” says Chairman Davide Bizzi. “We are helping with that.”

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