Since the 18th century, winter gardens — cold-weather conservatories — have graced aristocratic European estates. Now, with the chill approaching, developers in Manhattan are tapping the best designers, botanists and landscape architects money can buy to bring the concept to their towers.
At the historic Waldorf Astoria (which now includes 375-unit luxury condo towers, with prices ranging from $1.7 million for a studio to $18.5 million for a four-bedroom, via Douglas Elliman Development Marketing), designer Jean-Louis Deniot is creating more than 50,000 square feet of Art Deco-inspired amenities. Naturally, those include an indoor, poolside winter garden, which features potted Kimberly Queen ferns from Australia, golden evergreens and pothos.
“The winter garden is filled with lush plants — a place to hang before, during and after a splash in the Starlight Pool,” Deniot says. “You can relax, take in your surrounds and sip on a martini.”
On the Upper West Side, HFZ Capital Group and Westbrook Partners tapped renowned landscape architect Edmund Hollander to restore and winterize the famed outdoor courtyard at the Belnord. The full-block, 1908-built Italian Renaissance building boasts a 22,000-square-foot landmarked courtyard, centered around a Vermont marble fountain. Hollander’s team filled the garden with hardy boxwoods, hollies and hellebores, which bloom in January. Prices at the building range from $4 million for a two-bedroom to $11.4 million for a five-bedroom, with Douglas Elliman Development Marketing.
53 West 53 took a more vertical approach to the winter garden concept. The developers tapped green-haired French botanist and inventor of the vertical garden, Patrick Blanc, to design two large, year-round gardens that will frame a 65-foot indoor swimming pool within the tower’s 17,000-square-foot wellness center. It will host 3,600 unique plants, including creeping figs, Zanzibar gems, aglaonema “Maria,” “My Special Angel” begonia, and cryptanthus “Black Mystic.”
Prices at the building start at $3.4 million for a one-bedroom and go up to $63.8 million for the penthouse. Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group is representing the 1,050-foot tower.