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“We were the architects years ago when the building was done as rentals, and we were recently hired to convert the space into condos,” explained Rick Eng, Project Architect from Stephen B. Jacobs Group of New York, NY. “The goal was to update the space using more trendy materials, including stonework for the kitchens and baths.”
To convert the rental units to condominiums, the developers did not alter the layouts or number of units, but just improved upon what was already there. The project involved 147 kitchens, which were all designed with 3-cm-thick slabs of Golden Vyara Juparana granite countertops with full-height backsplashes. According to principal architect Andi Pepper of Andi Pepper Interior Design, “the sandy color of the granite relates to the honey colored wood floors in the kitchen.”
Furthermore, the master bathrooms are characterized by spa-inspired designs and feature 18- x 18-inch porcelain wall and floor tiles, mahogany wood vanities with Bianco Gioia marble countertops and white porcelain undermounted sinks.
“The South Star Condominium project is another important testament to our success in supplying granite slabs and tiles to a significant number of important construction projects in Manhattan,” said Babu Reddy, President of Hindustan Granites. “With our showroom and warehouse locations in Brooklyn and Long Island, we are able to quickly respond to the needs of our partners for all their natural stone requirements.”
“We have worked in close coordination with Foro Marble to meet all their slab requirements in a timely manner, and also ensuring that the quality and color of slabs remained consistent through the entire scope of this project,” added Prakesh Doddahosahalli, General Manager of Hindustan Granites.
According to Joan Guido of Foro Marble Co., which served as the stone fabricator and installer for the project, the apartments are selling very quickly. “We are working weekends to keep up with the installations, so that each unit is completed in time for the new tenant to occupy,” she said. “Everything about the design of the apartments is first rate.”
Guido explained that the kitchens feature an average of 70 square feet of granite per unit, including countertops with full height complementary backsplashes, as well as “pass throughs” with an island-like counter extending into the adjoining living room area. “The colors and shading of the granite countertops complement the wood tones and enrich the décor,” she said. “The soft colors make the room light and airy almost to the point that you could forget you are in the heart of Manhattan, and think you are in the midst of a cooling, clean oasis.
“We have been involved with many large building projects like this one - custom fabricating and installing granite countertops,” she continued. “However, there is a different air about this project. There is a congenial, happy momentum that makes the ongoing tasks work better and smoother.”
Guido went on to say that Beni Construction, which served as the general contractor for the project, was one of the best firms Foro Marble Co. had ever worked with. “They are always cognizant of the labor intensity involved with cutting and installing stone,” she said. “They are always ready to lend a hand and make it better.”
The South Star Condominiums include approximately 300 units, which range in size from 300-square-foot studios to 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom spaces, and they all have 11-foot ceilings and tall double-paned windows, while about 30 units have private terraces.
“We’ve had great feedback from the owners/developers of the building, who are really happy with the surfaces,” said Pepper, adding that the project is expected to be completed later this year.