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.

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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.

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

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Architect Enrique Norten with a model of Cassa

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

Evan Joseph

Architectural & Interior photographer – NYC

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Chef Laurent Tourondel will open a new flagship restaurant at Cassa Hotel and Residences, the new tower at 70 West 45th Street developed by Solly Assa.

“Looking for a home in Manhattan, Cassa Hotel offered the perfect location and dynamic space for my next gastronomic venture. I look forward to announce the concept shortly,” said Tourondel.

The restaurant at Cassa will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and offers distinct dining areas. Beverage service will also be provided in the hotel’s vertical garden on the ground level.

Chef Tourondel and his team will provide room service to the 165 guest rooms and 57 residences. The hotel also features a private dining and meeting room for 36 on the 10th floor.

“Chef Tourondel’s presence will add incredible excitement for our hotel guests, neighbors and residents,” said Solly Assa, CEO of Assa Properties.

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Assa Properties has officialy opened the doors to an offsite sales office for Galerie 515, Hotel & Condominium Residences, a triking new building soon to rise at the corner of 9th Avenue and 39th Street in a vibrant midtown Manhattan neighborhood.

Located on the tird floor at 630 9th Avenue, the new boutique sales office dramatically showcases Galerie 515’s spectacular residences, exceptional amenities and signature lifestyle elements.

Designed by Costas Kondylis in collaboration with Assa Properties’ award-winning development team, the sleek Galerie 515 will feature 92 elegant condominium residences complemented by a 24-hour doorman and Concierge, valet parking, state-of-the-art fitness center, and a Rooftop Sky Lounge offering stunning views, wet bar, Jacuzzi whirlpool and barbeque area.

Residents can also avail themselves of exclusive hotel amenities and services including 24-hour in-room dining, housekeeping, business services, spa services by Cornelia Day Resort, and a premier restaurant.

The hotel will be operated by West Paces Hotel Group which is managed by a number of former Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company executives including its founder, Horst Schulze, the former President and CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

“Galerie 515 combines innovative design, urban sophistication and an amenity-rich lifestyle,” states Solly Assa, a principal of the firm that bears his name.

“Residents of Galerie will enjoy the best of all worlds – living in the heart of this vibrant, energetic, envolving Manhattan neighborhood while enjoying the ease, convenience and special services that are affored by the chic hotel in the building.” Solly Assa said.

Pre-construction priced from the high – $700,000s, the stylish studio, one-and two-bedroom residences were designed to ensure a complete luxury experience with a Manhattan flare. The residences feature dramatic finishes and appointments throughout. From the wide strip walnut hardwood flooring to the elegant stainless steel hardware, no detail has been overlooked.

When not ordering room service, residents will enjoy the homes’ gourmet kitchens which provide the ideal space for dining and entertaining with a unique combination of walnut and white high gloss cabinetry, white caeserstone quartz countertops with glass tile backsplashes, stylish stainless steel undermounted skins and premium appliances including Liebherr, Miele and Fisher & Paykel. Sumptuous master baths are adorned with exquisite white marble floors and white high gloss Italian wall tile surfaces, Balastina stone vanity counters, a double shower and quality fixtures.

“Galerie 515 adds a new dimension to an area that is rich in cultural heritage and is enjoying exciting new growth and change,” notes Jacqueline Urgo, President of The Marketing Directors, Inc., the building’s marketing and exclusive sales agent.

“Close to the Hudson River Promenade and vibrant Times Square/Theatre District, the location allows residents to enjoy the best of many worlds.”

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.

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