Creating Legacy Landmarks: Renderings vs. Reality

Location, timing and the team—these are the key ingredients that JDS Development Group considers when deciding to take on a new project. Founder & Managing Partner Michael Stern discusses the company’s main projects and strategy.
Michael Stern, founder & managing partner, JDS Development (Image courtesy of JDS Development)
Michael Stern, founder & managing partner, JDS Development (Image courtesy of JDS Development)

JDS Development Group is always striving to push the boundaries for design and architecture. Whether in New York City or Miami, the team ups the ante for luxury residential or mixed-use projects. With several unconventional projects underway, Multi-Housing News wanted to reveal more about the company’s tendency toward creating landmarks and how it manages to deliver projects that totally mirror the architect’s renderings.   

Founder & Managing Partner Michael Stern says that one of the company’s strategies is to invest in strong and desirable markets, with high potential. “We often find potential that others have missed, whether it’s forgotten structures, historic and challenging builds, up-and-coming neighborhoods or difficult assemblages,” he told MHN.

One of the company’s most recognized projects is 111 West 57th Street, a New York skyscraper, located in Central Park. Developed in partnership with Property Markets Group, 111 West 57th Street is a mix between the original 1925-built Steinway building designed by Warren & Wetmore and a new 1,400-foot tall condo tower. SHoP Architects designed the new structure that is set to feature 60 apartments and 33 storage units. The slender high-rise is scheduled to welcome its first residents early next year. Another well-known JDS project is Baltic, a 43-unit boutique condominium building in Brooklyn. The 11-story property, completed late last year, totals 59,000 square feet.

Luxurious living in NYC

Stepping outside of standard design boundaries in 2018 brings a lot of challenges like logistics and integrating the new development into the neighborhood and surroundings. “Design can bring a breath of fresh air, provide context to the neighborhood, set the tone for transformation and more. We look to create legacies with our buildings and take into consideration that we have a huge responsibility to the city’s skyline,” said Stern.

Some of the toughest design tests appear when working on restoration projects such as Stella Tower in New York City. Originally designed in 1927 by Art Deco architect Ralph Walker, the property—a former telephone building—was transformed into a condominium offering 51 residences. Developed in partnership with CetraRuddy, Stella Tower now includes several safety systems, high-speed elevator cabs and new oversized windows.

In another collaboration with SHoP Architects, JDS brought to life a luxury community of roughly 800 units that includes an iconic skybridge connecting two towers along East River. American Copper Buildings in Manhattan are a precise reproduction  of the architect’s rendering and is already open for leasing.

Miami: The place to experiment

Monad Terrace
Monad Terrace

While development in New York is mostly limited to adaptive reuse projects or transforming historic structures, Miami offers other types of opportunities. Ground-up construction is more flexible in terms of design and architecture, so JDS is currently building a 59-unit unique luxury community in Miami Beach. “We tapped Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and it’s unprecedented in terms of architecture and design in that market,” Stern said. Monad Terrace is the first condo project in the city to be built above revised flood and sea level elevations.

Miami’s oceanfront has extremely limited new supply. JDS partnered again with Property Markets Group to deliver 95th On The Ocean, a luxurious seven-unit property that faces the Atlantic Ocean. Each residence includes a two-car subterranean parking, a panoramic rooftop deck and glass-enclosed private elevators.