Ritz-Carlton cuts ribbon on North Hills condos

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After more than eight years and many changes, RXR Realty cut the ribbon Monday at North Hills’ landmark Ritz-Carlton Residences.

“This place is about to set a new standard for quality of living on Long Island,” RXR Chairman and CEO Scott Rechler said.

The development, slated for 244 luxury condominiums, is Ritz-Carlton’s first property on Long Island and its 47th residential development, said John Hearns, the renowned hotelier’s vice president for global residential operations.

About a dozen people have moved into the project’s first phase of 124 condominiums since last month, RXR sales and marketing project manager Emily Bock said. More than 100 of the units has been sold, RXR project manager Joe Graziose said.

The opening comes just more than two years after the Uniondale-based developer started construction on the project after buying the property off the Long Island Expressway’s South Service Road in late 2007.

“When you do something that hasn’t been done before, it takes a lot of time,” Rechler said.

The level of luxury amenities and services Ritz-Carlton offers make the development unique not only in North Hills but across Long Island, Rechler and Hearns said.

The hotelier also has specific standards for fixtures building materials, Rechler said.

RXR has seen “incredible” demand for the condos from buyers across Long Island since it broke ground as people seek a blend of an urban and suburban living environment, Rechler said.

“Here we’re creating this urban, super-luxury-type-quality project, but in the middle of suburbia,” he said. “And I think that appeals to a lot of residents of Long Island at this point.”

The developer originally planned for 60 rent-to-own condominiums to account for the previously uncertain housing market but ended up selling all of them, he said.

The units range from $1.2 million to $5 million in price and 1,533 to 3,824 square feet in size, the developer has said.

The 2008 financial crash dried up investment and delayed the project, leading RXR to undertake a major redesign and include features that have proven popular, including a clubhouse that will open this summer, Rechler said.

Final changes to RXR’s plans for a second phase of 120 units will go before the Village of North Hills Board of Trustees on May 18.

Rechler commended the village and Mayor Marvin Natiss for being “willing to roll up their sleeves” and work with the developer on changes to the project.

While Monday’s opening was cause for celebration, Graziose said, there is still much work to be done to get through the second phase. Rechler said RXR plans to break ground on phase two by the end of the year.

“What I say to my colleagues, my construction people, my engineers, my sales team — enjoy this hour and a half, because when we get back to the office … we’ve got a lot, a lot of wood to chop,” Graziose said.

Bock said the residents who have moved in are very happy and are already getting to know each other.

“We’ve had our first proposal in the building, we’ve had a baby being born, so the community aspect is already starting,” she said.

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