Sheldrake

Genesis of a Luxury Condo

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IN the beginning, there were Lots 16 and 17, as designated in the Battery Park City master plan. Then Lots 16 and 17 became One River Terrace. One River Terrace begat Aquaterre. Aquaterre became One Rockefeller Park. One Rockefeller Park begat Riverhouse, One Rockefeller Park. Then the marketers rested and said it was good.

Such were the permutations that went into the marketing and naming of Riverhouse, a 31-story condominium under construction at the northern end of Battery Park City, across the street from the riverfront Nelson A. Rockefeller Park. Sales began last month, and the project is scheduled to open next summer.

As the building was being planned, the developer, the Sheldrake Organization, received informal permission from the office of the Manhattan borough president to use One River Terrace as an address and filed papers with the attorney general’s office listing the building as the Aquaterre. Now, Sheldrake is planning to ask the City Council to designate an adjacent street, known as Little Vesey Street, as Rockefeller Park Place.

Perhaps a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but developers with many millions of dollars on the line worry that the name and identity of a building can mean the difference between a sluggish sellout and quicker, more sumptuous profits.

At Riverhouse, the identity crisis continued, participants said, almost until the promotional materials went to the printer.

The challenge was in finding just the right name for a glass-walled building along a park and a river, with a pool, and a wall-size fish tank in the lobby. It would be near fashionable TriBeCa and in Battery Park City, once a dowdy stepdaughter in the condo market but where prices on new condos projects have risen in the last few years.

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