AKA Central Park
on E. 58th St
With N.Y. as their base, AKA Hotel Residences
upgrades the model for the long-term stay
BY WENDY ILENE FRIEDMAN turn-key units designed to feel like a
home with high-end hotel amenities.
or Korman brothers Larry, Brad- Spotting an upward trend in the ex-
ley and Mark, spotting real estate tended-stay market segment, the broth-
opportunities is in their blood. ers set out to acquire properties they can
Steven, their father, can rightfully convert into spaces that rival luxury ho-
take credit as the inventor of tels for long-term guests. They look
flexible-term housing. for buildings in prime locations that
In the late ’60s, while managing the contain unique amenities, have condo-
Plaza apartments in Pennsylvania, one of minium-quality construction and spa- and financial industries, so major cities AvroKO, Studio Intramuros and in-house
the four-generation Korman Communi- cious floor plans. like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Wash- Nicholas Cardone. For each property
ties residential buildings, the senior Kor- “Not easy to find,” says Bradley who ington and Chicago are high on their list Korman envisions a sanctuary — a place
man had difficulties renting the circular handles financing and acquisitions. The for expansion. to get away from the frenetic pace of city
building’s pie-shaped apartments on a end result, though, are condo-quality For now, the group owns and operates life where “everything is geared around
year-long basis. So what did he do? His accommodations with finishes like four buildings throughout the city in lo- a good night’s sleep.” His philosophy in-
entrepreneurial spirit took over and he Waterworks fi xtures, Bosch appliances cations near the United Nations, Times volves two words: tranquility and seren-
struck a deal with a national furniture and Sony electronics. Square, Sutton Place and Central Park. ity. Korman consulted the New York
chain, furnished the units and marketed “We are not looking to operate budget They anticipate buildings in Brooklyn, University sleep school to develop the
them as temporary-stay apartments. He hotels. Rather we look to buy properties Tribeca, Chelsea, uptown east and west optimal sleep environment. He special-
recognized that people in transition, like that have the unit size of an apartment or and near Wall Street. orders “REM” mattresses exclusively
during a divorce or job relocation, needed condominium with the amenity package Their goal is to maintain an 85% oc- made for AKA by Sealy. The scent of
space on a monthly basis. of a five-star hotel,” says Bradley. cupancy rate. To achieve that, they adjust soothing aromatic essential oils continu-
“Out of a mistake my father saw oppor- New York is the core city for the group, pricing given the time of year and eco- ally permeates the air.
tunity,” says Larry, who with his brothers and they consider holdings in other cities nomic circumstances. Average monthly “There is an ethereal quality we want to
decided to take their father’s concept a based on their relationship to the Big rates run $265–$625 per night. capture when you enter the space,” he says.
step further and set up AKA hotel resi- Apple. A large percentage of AKA’s busi- When developing a space, the group Here’s a rundown of their local
dences — boutique hotels that combine ness is generated from the entertainment collaborates with various designers, like properties.
The lobby at AKA Central Park Exterior of AKA Times Square AKA Times Square kitchen
old and new
Left, the exterior of AKA Sutton Place looks like a prewar apartment house.
Above, the indoor swimming pool looks like nothing else in the neighborhood
PHOTOS COURTESY AKA
AKA CENTRAL PARK Above, exterior of AKA United Nations has
42 W. 58th St. international appeal. Left, the Zen garden at
the UN property, and, below, a living room
At this location, Korman says, “they
struck lightning with the entertainment
industry.” Because of its low-key envi-
ronment, many producers, directors and
celebrities have stayed for periods of time.
AKA has a relationship with the Tribeca
Film Festival and Silvercup Studios,
so they are often full to capacity with
industry people. Kirsten Dunst and Ryan
Gosling set up shop there when filming
“All Good Things.”
The flagship building of the AKA
collection, the 134-unit Central Park
location contains artwork and design el-
ements from some of the world’s preemi-
nent artists. The location offers studios
and one- and two-bedroom suites. General manager Jenna Arin says AKA Williams. “It was neglected and in during home renovations. She recom-
The penthouse unit was designed by Times Square caters to a theater lifestyle awful shape.” mends AKA for anyone undergoing
Joan Pierpoline of Studio Intramuros. that includes late morning housekeeping AKA gutted the 95-unit space and construction in their home.
Guests are greeted by a large steel bar for late-to-bed producers and actors. rebuilt a luxurious, discreet spot where “It made me feel like we still had a
that opens to the main living area with The 109-unit landmark building was visiting dignitaries and business consul- home when ours felt like a bomb hit it,”
views of the Steinway Building. The ex- built in the late 19th century and convert- tants come for months at a time. she said, adding that the staff was beyond
pansive high-design all-stone shower ed into studio and one- and two-bedroom The minimum length of stay is 30 days; accommodating, even helping her move
with sitting bench looks out to the wrap- suites by AKA over the last few years. the average stay is 90 days. Costs run boxes when her home was ready.
around terrace. The spaces have a loft-like quality and $9,000-$12,000 per month depending on Rates start at $325–$625 per night de-
“The penthouse at AKA is my gem in provide a good sense of what it feels like the time of year and suite. pending on room type and season. With
the sky when I am in NYC,” says film to live in New York. Williams says each AKA building a 60-day average stay, general manager
icon Diane Keaton. The top-floor pitch-roofed duplex once has its own special part. At the United Jennifer Adair says, “it’s nice because we
housed former Secretary of State Mad- Nations building, it is a rock tranquility are able to really get to know our guests.”
AKA TIMES SQUARE eleine Albright. garden in the back. The location is free of neighboring
123 W. 44th St. buildings, so spaces have unobstructed
Located in the Theater District, AKA AKA UNITED NATIONS AKA SUTTON PLACE views and receive sunlight throughout
Times Square receives many interna- 243 E. 46th St. 330 E. 56th St. the day. The two-bedroom penthouse has
tional guests along with theater people, AKA’s initial foray in New York City, The Sutton Place is the smallest AKA a glass-enclosed solarium where guests
like Broadway producer Floyd Mutrux. the United Nations site was built in the building, with 76 one- and two-bedroom can enjoy the city night and day.
Mutrux insists on AKA Times Square mid-1980s. AKA purchased and reno- units. Neighboring resident Allison On the lower-level spa and fitness
whenever he is in town working on a pro- vated the structure in 2004. Julius, owner of Maison 24, a boutique center, an indoor pool is set at a constant
duction; he’s here now for his new show, “You should have seen it when we and online retailer of home goods, stayed 96 degrees. Massage therapists can be
“Baby It’s You!” first got it,” says general manager Barbara at AKA Sutton Place for several weeks arranged for guests.