The Capitol at Chelsea New York Architecture Images-Chelsea

Capitol at Chelsea


Costas Kondylis & Associates, PC


776 Sixth Ave. at 26th St. 




Late Modern (International Style III)  


Height: 398 ft (121 m) 37 floors, 387 apartments


Apartment Building




The Capitol at ChelseaThe Capitol at Chelsea


Contentiously built on the site of the landmarked Coogan Building.


June 15, 2001

Residential Real Estate: In Old Flower District, a New Luxury Building

Housing continues to sprout in Manhattan's former flower district. Now nearing completion is a 39-story rental building that is the tallest and among the largest in the area, which stretches along the Avenue of the Americas in the 20's.

Called the Capitol at Chelsea, the building at the northeast corner at 26th Street contains 387 studio-to- two-bedroom apartments atop 83,000 square feet of retail and office space on the first four floors. On the east side of the building, there will be a 50- foot-wide plaza with additional stores.

The $140 million building, at 55 West 26th Street, replaces the Coogan Building, which was long used as loft space though it was constructed in the mid-1870's as a racquet club.

The Capitol joins two other buildings of rental residences, with a total of 591 apartments, that opened in the last 18 months between 24th and 27th Streets on the Avenue, as well as a number of other rental and condominium projects built recently in Chelsea.

Residential brokers said the appeal of the area is partly due to geography. "It is equidistant to Midtown and the financial district," said Brian G. Edwards, director of leasing at the Halstead Property Company, a Manhattan brokerage firm.

At the Capitol, 26 percent of the units have been rented since leasing began at the start of this month, according to Marketing Directors Inc. of Manhattan, the project's leasing agent. Adrienne Albert, the company's president, said that in that time, the company has raised the monthly rents on some units by about 4 percent. The apartments range in size from 403 to 1,231 square feet and currently rent for $1,935 to $5,430 a month.

The developers of the Capitol are the Witkoff Group of Manhattan and the Adell Corporation of Greenwich, Conn., which took an early gamble on the potential of the former manufacturing district and was instrumental in rezoning the area for residential use. Leonard Adell, the founder of the Adell Corporation, started to assemble parcels along the Avenue of the Americas in the 1970's. Attempts by the Adell family to obtain a rezoning of the area in the late 1970's and early 1980's failed, but in 1995 the area from 24th to 31st Streets along the Avenue was rezoned to allow residential use. By then, however, "it was a poor real estate market," said Matthew G. Adell, the company's president and Leonard's son.

In 1999 Matthew Adell, in partnership with the Witkoff Group, bought the three sites his father had assembled between 25th and 28th Streets. Matthew Adell said his company "never strayed from the concept of providing housing on the Avenue, which is still in short supply."

As for his partnership's building being the third to open despite his company's role in bringing about the zoning change that made residential development possible, Matthew Adell said, "We never saw it as a race, and now there are such advantages as having more density in the area and it becoming more of a neighborhood."

Amy T. Witkoff, senior managing director at the Witkoff Group, said the Capitol was the first new-construction residential project for her company. The Adell-Witkoff partnership built the Capitol on the first of its three parcels, sold another, and will develop the third for residential use. The Capitol, clad in burnt orange and red brick, with plum brick and ornamental stone accents, is designed "to fit in the area and not look like it is transplanted from the Upper East Side," said Costas Kondylis, its architect. He said that its rounded corners echoed the older structures in the area, including the Flatiron Building, and that its four-story base is similar to those in buildings in the Ladies' Mile Historic District.

Inside, Mr. Kondylis gave the building a contemporary, rotunda- shaped lobby and designed the apartments to break from what he called the cookie-cutter layouts of many new buildings. To that end, the rooms are wide and boxy rather than narrow and deep, and instead of having only straight galley kitchens, many are U-shaped or have islands.

Most units have bay windows that provide views in more than one direction. Two apartments per floor are in the rounded portion of the building, giving them pie-shaped living rooms with two windows.

The building's amenities include a rooftop deck and a laundry room, though the larger apartments include washers and dryers. There will also be a health club and an underground garage for 92 cars.

Initial occupancy is to start in August, Matthew Adell