At the Cassa Hotel and Residences at 70 West 45th Street, 17 of the 57 residential units have already been sold, according to developer Solly Assa of Assa Properties.

Five or six buyers have bought more than one unit, with plans to combine them; one buyer purchased four units, and two other buyers bought three each. Assa said he anticipated buyers’ plans to combine the units to make larger apartments and designed the building with that type of flexibility in mind.

Solly Assa said the concrete exterior, with wider and skinnier windows along the façade, was designed to accommodate the combined duplexes and triplexes desired by his clients.

Construction on Cassa has not yet been completed, but the building is keeping pace so far with its $90 million construction budget.

assa_and_cassa

Advertisements

Architect Enrique Norten, developer Solly Assa and other luminaries turned out this week for the launch party for Cassa, a condo and boutique hotel at 70West 45th Street.

Architect Nancy Rudd, co-principal of Cetra/Ruddy Architects and designer of the project with Norten’s firm, Ten Arquitectos, told in May that the building would be constructed economically. The project include 57 residential units and 165 hotel rooms. Below are some photos from the party, held at 1140 Avenue of th Americas.

Cassa’s condominium units re now in pre-sales.

assa_and_norton

Norten (right) with developer Solly Assa, co-founder of Assa Properties

Cassa-party

Architect Enrique Norten with a model of Cassa

norton_and_cetra

Norten (left) with architect John Cetra, a founding principal of Cetra/Ruddy

Evan Joseph

Architectural & Interior photographer – NYC

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Assa Properties – Cassa Hotel and Residences.

For Solly Assa, real estate has never been a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Instead, he has a long-term commitment to the industry. “Reak estate is not a short-term business,” Solly Assa declares. “You don’t [succeed] by buying [a property] today and selling it tomorrow, like in the stock market.”

Solly Assa is the owner of Assa properties, a developer of residential, retail and commercial properties. The firm made a recent addition to its portfolio with Cassa Hotel and Residences in New York City. The building, designed by Enrique Norten and TEN Arquitectos and CetraRuddy, features 57 residences and 165 guest rooms. It spans 170,000 square feet and stands 48 stories.

Solly Assa himself created the concept for Cassa, which takes its name from “casa,” meaning “house” in Spanish. “It is a hotel and it is a residence,” Solly Assa says. “We’re creating this lifestyle right in the middle of Manhattan.”

cassa1

Unique Style

“We tried to capture the best posible product,” Solly Assa says with pride. For instance, past the building’s reception area, visitors can find a catwalk suspended over a restaurant that will lead them to a vertical garden, which provides a natural feel to the development.

Cassa’s hotel rooms are furnished with leather seating, ottomans and black leather studded headboards. The walls feature the work of abstract impressionist photographer Irene Mamiye.

Its baths incorporate Duravit fixtures and feature Italian bath products from Angelo Caroli. In addition, the residential units get scenic views of such landmarks as the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty.

Additionally, Cassa has three fully furnished penthouse units with such features as Brizo faucets, which are known for their form and quality of performance, Solly Assa says. “A sensory light experience is at its finest with the Lutron Lighting Control System, augmenting illumination at varying degrees,” Solly Assa says.

“An entire floor with additional loft space, the penthouse includes stunning skyline views of Manhattan – overlooking Times Square, unobstrucred looking east to the Chrysler Building, and the sightlines reach as far south to the Statue of Liberty,” Solly Assa says.

cassa14

Assa’s Forte

Based in New York City, Assa Properties has developed and invested in residential, retail and commercial properties for more than a decade. Solly and Isaac Assa founded the company in 2000 and since then, the company has acqured more than 3 million square feet of assets in the United States and Mexico.

Assa Properties began by acquiring buildings in New York City, including 743  Fifth Avenue and 6 Times Square. “We’re opportunistic owners,” Solly Assa says.

A property such as Cassa falls within Assa’s comfort zone of maximizing properties to produce the best possible producto. “Our forte is to find the best possible location, and the position the asset in order to capture the market.” Solly Assa says.

cassa21

Wide Open

The Northeast market is improving, Solly Assa reports. The company survived difficult times in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and, thankfully, the last year has been less challenging, Solly Assa Says.

“Thank God those days are behind us,” Solly Assa says. “More people are gaining the confidence to buy again.” As a result, Solly Assa sees a strong future for Assa Properties. ” We’re a growing company,” Solly Assa declares, adding that the company plans to expand through joint ventures. “We’re open to new opportunities all the time.”

cassa6

Room service on demand from a celebrity chef. A maid to make the bed with fresh linens every day and leave a chocolate on your pillow at night. An 11,000-square-foot spa an elevator ride away. All yours with the purchase of a luxury condo.

Nearly a dozen projects in and around New York City that offer perks like these have recently opened or are nearing completion.

For buyers, the concept of a home with all the comforts of a hotel may seem like paradise. But hotel services don’t come cheap: the developers of condo-hotels plan to charge as much as 20 percent more per square foot than high-end competitors that don’t have hotel partners.

And along with room service can come hotel-like bills, not to mention higher monthly maintenance fees. Financing can also be more difficult to secure; banks are leery of lending money for what could appearto be strictly investment property.

That is an open question, and one that hinges as much on the hotel business as the broader real estate market. Hotel occupancy has been steadily increasing in recent months, with 89 percent occupancy in August and an average room rate of $227, according to NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization.

But that is far from the more than the $300 a night commanded by hotels before the economy faltered. There is also more competition now. In 2010, 21 hotels have opened, or will, across the city; that adds more than 6,700 rooms.

Of these projects, at least 10 include condominiums.

It is too early to draw any conclusions about their viability. Some have sold below initial expectations, while others have increased their prices since coming on the market. Prices for units in condo-hotels range from $300,000 to more than $18 million – $680 per square foot to nearly $4,000 – with yet more properties in the pipeline. The various projects are aimed at a wide range of consumers, from Manhattanites who are downsizing in cost but not comfort, to foreigners for whom New York is a good buy right now.

But in their scale and ambition, which real estate experts say is unlikely to be matched in comming years now that financing is so hard to shake loose, the condo-hotels are already having an impact. Brokers and developers say some strictly condominium projects are stepping up ammenitites partly in response to the condo-hotel phenomenon.

Solly Assa, the owner of Assa Properties, which developed the Cassa Hotel and Residences in Midtown, said that although the mainly foreign buyers at his property were willing to pay $950,000 to $18 million for the condos, they were looking to save money on carrying costs. So the Cassa will offer many of hotel amenities “à la carte” instead of including them in the common charge. The lower monthly fees, starting about $1,200, are one reason the apartments have sold quickly, allowing Solly Assa to raise prices three times already, Solly Assa said.

Of the 57 residences for sale, 40 are in the process of closing, Solly Assa said.

“We understant that it is a new era” Solly Assa said.

cassa

Cassa by Assa Properties

January 10, 2013

The Deal Occupying the top 20 floors of this soaring modernist tower in Midtown are 57 highly designed residences that range from $968,000 studios to three-bedrooms to a $20 million penthouse. Yes, it has a fitness center, 24-hour doorman and concierge service, but it’s the refined details – Brizo faucets, Lutron lighting systems, Bluestone countertops – that really make these sky-high pads tops. At night, the lights of Times Square and the Theatre District provide a kaleidoscope of twinkling below, while New York’s many skyscrapers bring the drama up to eye level.

Bonus. Late night bites are a must at the American brasserie being opened off the lobby by Laurent Tourondel in early September.

cassa22

Manhattan is a standout when it comes to glancing heavenward to take in the looming facades and cronical shapes of its skyscrapers, many of which sprung up during the Art Deco era. When choosing a hotel, it makes sense to opt for the one with amazing views of the city’s blockbuster vistas.

cassa12

The Chrysler Building holds sway over the views from many of the rooms at Cassa Hotel and Residences, by Assa Properties, CEO Solly Assa; which was designed by architect Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos and CetraRuddy. The obelisk-like exterior rises above 45th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, a stone’s throw from Times Square and the Theater District. Though the city is an irresistible draw, during those days or nights when an excursion seems like too much work. Restaurant 1945 and lounge with an attendance provide all the entertainment a sawy soul could desire.

Especial Nueva York

January 10, 2013

Es fundamental para el éxito de un viaje a Nueva York alojarse en el lugar correcto que esté cerca de las principales atracciones, Cassa Hotel and Residences, de Assa Properties compañía de Solly Assa, posee una ubicación privilegiada en la calle 45 en Midtown Manhattan, cerca del bullicio de Times Square, y del maravilloso mundo de las compras de clase de las avenidas Quinta y Madison, bajo las brillantes luces del distrito de Nueva York.

cassa2

La atención del personal es excelente, todas las atracciones de la ciudad están cerca y es una de las zonas más seguras de la ciudad, lo que te permite moverte por las noches sin problemas.

Cuenta con 165 elegantes habitaciones y 53 residencias, todas las habitaciones de los huéspedes son espaciosas y están dotadas de un equipo reproductor de MP3 y una pantalla plana de televisión de 42″ de alta definición para hacer más placentera la estadía.

Recomendamos visitar su sitio web http://www.cassahotelny.com, donde encontrarás toda la información necesaria, además gran parte de su personal domina el idioma español, muy importante para comunicarse en nuestro idioma.

En fin… la vida son tres días y ya pasaron dos, el que nos queda sin duda debemos utilizarlo para conocer Nueva York, la ciudad de todos los sueños y la que jamás te va a desilusionar.

Charly Vatt

Casa Mia

January 10, 2013

cassa8

Cassa Hotel and Residences (above), by Assa Properties which CEO is Solly Assa, within walking distance of Fifth Avenue shopping and the Theater District, offers buyers of its 57 studio, one – and two – bedroom apartments the best of both worlds: the convenience and amenities of a hotel, including a fitness studio, 24-hour doorman, concierge and restaurant run by Chef Laurent Tourondel; and the privacy and spacious layouts of a condominium. Studios are priced from about $1 million, one bedrooms from about $1.2 million and two bedrooms from about $2.6 million. The crowning glory is the fully furnished, full-floor penthouse, available for ¢20,332,000.

Cassa Hotel and Residenses by Assa Properties, 70 W. 45th St.

Given its experience developing residential, office and retail projects in New York, it made sense that Assa Properties would look to Manhattan when it turned its attention to hotel development. Assa’s first hotel, a mixed use project called Cassa Hotel & Residences, opened in August on West 45th St., off Fifth Ave. in midtown. the firm’s second project, the Galerie Hotel, will also combine lodging and residential, and has begun construction on West 39th St. & Ninth Ave. with the doors expected to open in mid-2012.

The decision to undertake the firm’s first hotels in New York wasn’t a difficult one, explained president and CEO Solly Assa. “New York is the world’s number one destination. People come here from all over the globe. The strength of New York comes from a range of resources – from tourists to business travelers drawn to the financial markets,” Solly Assa said.

Solly Assa’s faith in the durability of that market may have been shaken during the industry downturn in 2008-2009, but Solly Assa’s seeing a significant rebound in 2010.

cassa3

“There’s a sence of normalcy returning. We knew the New York market pretty well from our other project, which has certainly been a benefit,” Solly Assa said.

Financing has continuaed to be difficult, however. One advantage is that many other projects weren’t able to get financing, so their start dates have been put on hold. “Consequently there won’t be a lot of new competition coming on the market in the next few years,” Solly Assa added.

The Cassa Hotel & Residences consists of 165 hotel rooms at the base of a 48-story tower with 57 condominium residences occupying the top 19 floors. Enrique Norten of Ten Arquitectos, based in New York and Cuernavaca, Mexico, was the chief architect with New York-based CetraRuddy providing support.

“I had always had an interest in creating a lifestyle hotel, and the location makes it even more desirable,” Solly Assa said. “Furthermore, it was always part of the plan to develop a mixed-use project. From a financial perspective, the residential component helps the hotel component and vice-versa. From a lifestyle perspective, it just gives a lot more value to both the hotel and the residences. The residents can take advantage of the hotel services and the sponsor is able to provide guests with a higher level and wider wariety of amenities.”

cassa5

The conmominiums are wholly owned and do not participate in a hotel rental program when the owners are away. Owners are welcome to live in their units 365 days a year. Assa describes it as a condo with hotel services.

Similarly, owners are welcome to lease their units on their own. Or Assa Properties can assist in the leasing process. Owners may take advantage of the hotel amenities, but they pay a la carte fees for the privilege. The cost of the amenities is not built into the project’s maintenance charges. “It’s part of the lifestyle proposition. ‘You want an amenity, you can have it. If you don’t want it, that’s alright too’.”

Solly Assa never really considered the condo hotel model, where the owners own the hotel rooms and are only allowed to occupy them a certain number of nights a year. The remainder of the time, the units are available to be rented as hotel rooms, which in theory generates a regular stream of revenue for the owner.

cassa12

Many hotel condos have become troubled over time. “There have been a lot of cash flow, what someone buying a condo hotel unit can reasonably expect when it comes to a return on investment,” Solly Assa said. “It’s not a business model we would recommend.”

With the Galerie Hotel, Solly Assa looks forward to joining the growing number of hotels that have opened on the Far West Side in the 20s to the 40s in the past few years. Much of the area was formerly the Garment District, which has been contracting as manufacturing jobs moved offshore. Today, the neighborhood is known as either Chelsea North or Times Square South.

The number of Galerie hotel rooms and condominium units hasn’t yet been finalized. Amenities will include a rooftop bar and lounge.

A second-generation developer, Solly Assa started acquiring residential, office and retail properties in the U.S. and Mexico in 2000. The firm started focusing on the New York market two years later. The portfolio currently consists of more than three million square feet of property.

As the lodging industry continues to rebound, Solly Assa said he is eager to line up additional hotel projects. But he is proceeding with caution. Both the Cassa and the Galerie are new construction, but Solly Assa is not adverse to acquiring existing hotels and either operating them under their present brand in place or converting them to another brand or operating them as an independent.

“We’re opportunistic,” said Solly Assa. “And you bring opportunity to the table by being flexible.