Best Address: A Townhouse at the Dillon
by mike olson
Townhouses living rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that soar up to 13 feet
Years before celebrated structures like the High Line-straddling Standard Hotel and Lincoln Center’s grass-roofed Hypar Pavilion were winning awards, one building in Midtown West received its own accolades from the American Institute of Architects. But what sets this structure apart is not its folded glass façade or angled walls. Unlike other AIA winners, you can actually live in this one. Welcome to the Dillon and its latest contribution to the luxury market, the Townhouses on West 53rd Street.
Nearly a block long and seven stories high, the Dillon is the antithesis of the cookie-cutter condos that have flooded the real-estate listings; it integrates studios, duplexes, penthouses, and these nine townhouses—83 residences in all—into 54 distinctive, sophisticated layouts that have turned heads since sales began in 2010. “Architecturally we are so far ahead of the game in this building,” says Elaine Diratz, managing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. “It is very unique inside and out.”
What makes the Townhouses on West 53rd Street stand apart is a design that is at once traditional and modern, melding high-end urban living with the freedom of suburban real estate. “It’s like living in a home,” says Diratz, “and I think that’s what really attracts people.”
How does the Dillon pull it off? In addition to its own entry court on the street, each of the nine townhouses comes with a private parking space (a $150,000 value that is included in the sales price), accessed via remote control, that lets owners pull right up to their back door.
The ground level boasts floor-to-ceiling windows up to 13 feet high that bathe each unit in light while showing off the fenced private backyard. “They’re a modern twist on the 19th-century townhouses that people have redone,” promises Diratz. “They’re more open with large volume, high ceilings, and 700- to 1,000-square-foot backyards.”
Of course, if a yard is all the luxury buyers wanted they’d be house hunting in Westchester. The Dillon, however, is in the heart of the city, staking a claim in Midtown West, one of the last unspoiled Manhattan neighborhoods that has yet to be overdeveloped. That puts townhouse owners just steps away from the world’s easiest commute to Midtown, a trip to Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center, or a Broadway show and dinner on Restaurant Row.
Unlike homeowners in the suburbs—or even at seven-figure brownstones Downtown—buyers at the Dillon also receive all the perks that go hand-in-hand with condo living, such as a 24-hour attended lobby and state-of-the-art amenities. “You have services from the building, which is totally different from owning a regular townhouse,” explains Diratz. “Here, the condominium is responsible for everything. They take care of the maintenance, and that’s a big attraction. It’s headache free.”
It also means common spaces with modern amenities, including the residents’ lounge with its large back patio, the dining room with catering kitchen (which can be reserved for private parties), and the top-flight fitness center—adjacent to the children’s playroom—that overlooks the garden terrace. Sparing no expense, the Dillon brought in acclaimed interior designer Nina Freudenberger and her company, Haus Interior, to create the interior design of these common areas. “Traditionally we’re more residential designers, so it’s really fun to get these amenities spaces,” says Freudenberger. “The entire building becomes the client.”
When it came time to work on Townhouse 413, a four-bedroom, 2,771-square-foot model unit priced at $4.15 million, Freudenberger took her inspiration from that prodigious backyard. “We wanted to bring the outside into the space,” she explains. “It’s so incredible that this property has multiple stories and this private backyard, so we worked with that.” The result combines natural elements, such as a petrified wood coffee table, with clean, simple lines to create a style that Freudenberger describes as “warm modern.
With a pedigree like this, it’s no wonder that the Townhouses on West 53rd Street are destined for stardom. All of Freudenberger’s work on the Dillon—from creating a design concept and picking out furniture to unglamorous pursuits like manual labor and even ironing the bed sheets— was filmed for a new series, Real Designing Women, slated for HGTV this fall.
It may be helping her make the leap from local to international fame, but there is another reason that Freudenberger, who spends her days in the finest spaces the city has to offer, feels a special attachment to the Dillon. “I’ve seen a lot of places, and these townhouses are absolutely incredible,” she explains. “They have things that are hard to find in a New York City property—the finishes, the windows, that outdoor space. It’s like brownstone living but updated times a thousand. If I could move in right now I would.” 425 W. 53rd St., 212-586-5300
photography by Alexander Severin/Razummedia