PROJECT COST: $119 million

Since the long steep plunge of 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been confidently on the rise for over a year, gaining more than 60 percent since its lows. The top banks in trouble just two years ago are this year posting record profits. To celebrate this financial exuberance, enter the Setai: a 31-story luxury condominium tower complete with lavish spa, optional butler and maid service, and a Michelin-rated restaurant inside a former office building at 40 Broad Street.

The Setai
Photo by Peter Rymwid
The Setai

"It's 100 steps to the stock exchange. It's the only five-star residence in the Wall Street area," said very matter-of-factly Steven Alessio, president and CEO of Sweet Construction Corp., the general contractor on the project. "It's good for brokers."

The flash animation on the website is slightly more gushing: "there's no word for it in english. PERHAPS BECAUSE NOTHING LIKE IT HAS EVER BEFORE EXISTED."

No expense has been spared in the $119 million conversion, completed in April. The building has been gutted entirely-finishes in the 167 apartments have been replaced with wood, stone and tile flooring and appliances are all top-of-the line stainless steel. Five floors have been added on top, their glass walls a stark contrast to the stone facade of the original building. The opulent 12,500-sq-ft SHO Shaun Hergatt restaurant boasts a 30-ft end-grain Brazilian walnut bar, terrazzo floors, infinity edge fountains and mother-of-pearl table tops. The restaurant's dishes themselves resemble avant-garde architecture. There are not one but two spas, one for the public and one for residents only, and a library, residents' lounge, screening room and optional wine storage. The rooftop has a fireplace, an outdoor whirlpool and cabanas.

The building's location in the heart of the financial district and along Broad Street, which was closed after the attacks of Sept. 11, meant that security on the street was rigorous: the team had to coordinate daily with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, New York Stock Exchange Security, and Downtown Alliance for clearance.

But the biggest hurdle was not the construction nor the logistics of building in a sensitive area.

Much like Wall Street, the Setai's history has been up-and-down. Originally begun in 2006, the project ran into trouble with only 20 percent of the condos completed by the time the original general contractor was removed in late 2008. Sweet Construction took over the project in early 2009. It took close coordination to remove all the violations and correct site logistics.

"The developer and bank threw off the job for nonperformance," Alessio said. "The hardest part was finding out when it was left off. It was in a poor state when we received it-a lot of stop-work orders and violations with the department of buildings."

Key Players

Owner: Zamir Equities LLC, New York
General Contractor and Construction Manager: Sweet Construction Corp., New York
Architect: C3d Architecture PLLC, New York
Civil Engineering: Stanley Goldstein Associates, New York
Structural Engineering: Stanley Goldstein Associates, New York
MEP Engineering: T/S Associates, New York
Electrical: SJ Electric, Inc., Lynbrook, NY
Plumbing: Par Plumbing, Lynbrook, NY
Plastering: Sor-Mal Plastering Construction Corp., New York