1049 Fifth Avenue

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1049 Fifth Avenue, New York City, NY

1049 Fifth Avenue

1049 Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan
Building Information
Developer Heller Macaulay Equities, Inc.
Architect Costas Kondylis
Number of Units 45
Number of Floors 23
Year Built 1928
Construction Method Concrete
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1049 Fifth Avenue, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Over 30 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R10
Title of Land Condominium



1049 Fifth Avenue had a rocky journey to becoming condominiums, as it fell victim to the financial crisis and stock market crash of the late 1980s. Nevertheless, the building persevered, and even managed to overcome the fact that it is technically not located on Fifth Avenue, and yet 1049 Fifth Avenue still enjoys the prestige of this famous address.

Beginning life as the Adams Hotel located at 2 East 86th Street, the building spent over half a century in this occupation before being purchased with the intent to convert the hotel into condominium apartments, a rarity at the time in the neighborhood of the Upper East Side.

Developer Jack C. Heller

This conversion did not go smoothly, as the original developer eventually declared bankruptcy as a result of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the stock market crash of 1987. The building was sold to developer Jack C. Heller, and Heller proceeded to spare no expense during a three year renovation of the building. Opening in the mid-1990s, 1049 Fifth Avenue broke real estate records of the time for the prices of its units, ultimately proving the project’s critics wrong. In a piece for New York Magazine, real estate expert James Austrian called the renovation crazy, but in the end, Heller’s gamble on luxury, modern condominiums with a Fifth Avenue address worked in his favor.


Located just off on Fifth Avenue on East 86th Street, 1049 Fifth Avenue finds itself in the neighborhood of the Upper East Side, and specifically along the stretch of Fifth Avenue known as Museum Mile. Stretching from 82nd to 105th Streets, Museum Mile is arguably considered one of the densest cultural arrangements in the world.

Located along this stretch are nine different museums, with one additional one located just north at 110th Street. They are, in ascending order, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd Street), the Goethe-Institut New York/German Cultural Center (83rd Street), the Neue Galerie New York (86th Street), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (88th Street), the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts (89th Street), the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (91st Street), the Jewish Museum (92nd Street), the Museum of the City of New York (103rd Street), the El Museo del Barrio (105th Street), and the Museum for African Art (110th Street).

In solidarity with one another, these museums host the Museum Mile Festival every year in June with the aim of increasing awareness of their facilities and programs, as well as increasing visitation numbers. Held every year since 1979, this annual festival shuts down Fifth Avenue along the borders of Museum Mile.[1]

Residents of 1049 Fifth Avenue are within walking distance of numerous shops, restaurants, and transit options, and therefore car ownership is not required to complete their daily errands. Additionally, Central Park, one of the world’s most famous urban gardens, is located just across the street, giving residents access to hundreds of walking, jogging, and biking trails.[2]


The Adams Hotel was constructed between 1927 and 1928. Originally, it had the address of 2 East 86th Street in the Upper East Side. After over 50 years operating as a hotel, the building was purchased by developer Gerald Guterman in the mid-1980s, and he began the building’s conversion into condominiums by buying up the apartments that were occupied by long term tenants. The financial crisis on the late 1980s put a halt to these renovations. Guterman was forced to declare bankruptcy and ultimately, he was forced to sell the building.

In January of 1990, the former Adams Hotel was purchased from Guterman by the development company Heller Macaulay Equities, Inc., with Jack C. Heller as the principle. The building sold for $38 million, and Heller would ultimately put an additional $47 million into completing the renovations to the building. While Heller tried to purchase the neighboring William Star Miller House, this bid was eventually rejected, and Heller continued the project with the Adams Hotel building alone.

The renovations commenced in 1990, and after extensive work that updated nearly every aspect of the building, the condominium residences were completed in 1993. Famed architect Costas Kondylis was the architect for the conversion, with the design firm of Cullman & Kravis providing the interiors.

Notable during this time was Heller’s request to the Manhattan Borough President’s office to change the official address of the building from 2 East 86th Street to 1049 Fifth Avenue. This request was approved, and the change of address went into effect in 1991.[3]

Layout and Features

The setback design in the building

Standing 23 stories, 1049 Fifth Avenue was converted from hotel rooms into luxury condominiums in the early 1990s. These apartments were on average around 2,000 square feet, with the penthouse apartments reaching sizes of up to 4,600 square feet. The majority of these units are multiple bedroom layouts, with only a mere four apartments having less than two bedrooms.

The original conversion of the building created 54 apartments, although this number has since been reduced to 45. The building also holds a couple of smaller staff apartments that were offered on a first come first serve basis when the apartments first went on the market. The specific features and finishes within this building will vary from unit to unit due to owners’ decorating tastes, but many of the apartments have large terraces, balconies, wood burning fireplaces, and stunning views of Central Park.

The exterior of the building is clad in a beige brick material, and the exterior design features several setbacks that provide for the building’s multiple terraces. During the conversion into luxury condominiums, the entrance and the exteriors of the lower floors were redesigned. In particular, the western facade was altered to provide for more windows, and subsequently more views of Central Park. While these renovations resulted in many alterations to the building, the exteriors of the upper floors retained several gargoyle ornamentation.[4]

Floor Plans

A selection of floor plans is presented.


Residents of this building enjoy luxurious white glove service, including:

  • Doorman
  • Concierge service
  • Elevator porters
  • Cold storage
  • Personal storage facilities
  • Bike room
  • Laundry facilities[5]


1049 Fifth Avenue Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No

  • This building allows rentals, pied-a-terre, and sublets.
  • There are no age restrictions in this building.
  • This building is pet friendly.


Both the construction and conversion of 1049 Fifth Avenue occurred long before the modern awareness of sustainable living and green initiatives.

As a result, this building is not designated as a green building, as it has not achieved any LEED certifications at this point.

Should residents wish to help improve the building’s overall sustainability, they can do so by participating in the city’s recycling programs, and by ensuring that only environmentally friendly and non-toxic materials are used for renovations to their apartments.

Energy efficient appliances can also be added to apartment updates, and given the building’s proximity to public transit routes, residents have little need to use a car, thus reducing their carbon footprint.


Former resident Rush Limbaugh
  • When the apartments in 1049 Fifth Avenue first hit the market, their price per foot was a record high for New York City. The building’s sales later went on to set records in the city in both 1993 and 1994.[6]
  • 1049 Fifth Avenue has the distinction of being called a Fifth Avenue building without actually being located on Fifth Avenue. In fact, the building’s original address when it was operating as the Adams Hotel was 2 East 86th Street, as the building is located down the East 86th side street and is separated from having Fifth Avenue frontage by the William Starr Miller House. At the time of 1049 Fifth Avenue’s conversion into condominiums, the developers appealed to the office of the Manhattan Borough President to be able to use Fifth Avenue in the building’s title on the basis that all floors above the seventh floor enjoy unobstructed views of Central Park. This request was granted, with the change of address coming into effect in the Spring of 1991, and the developers later used this to their benefit in their marketing campaign.
  • Former resident Rush Limbaugh put his penthouse apartment in this building up for sale in March 2010 as a form of protest against the high taxes levied against wealthy residents of New York State. The apartment later sold in July of 2010.[7]
  • Professional poker players Beth and Daniel Shak were once owners in this building.[8]
  • Billionaire Michael Jaharis has been an owner in this building.[9]


  1. Wikipedia - Museum Mile, New York City
  2. Walk Score
  3. Wikipedia - 1049 5th Avenue
  4. Cityrealty
  5. Streeteasy
  6. Wikipedia - 1049 5th Avenue
  7. Curbed NY
  8. Curbed NY
  9. The Real Deal

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