Rental Building Lets Tenants Control Manhattan City Skyline

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Residents of a new luxury building in Queens will be able to control the city’s skyline with the touch of a button.

The Durst Organization’s 958-unit residential apartment building at 29-59 Northern Boulevard, dubbed Sven, in Long Island City is offering residents the chance to illuminate the tops of some of the city’s tallest towers — like 1 World Trade Center — through an app called Spireworks.

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The app was founded by Mark Domino, the son-in-law of Douglas Durst, whose real estate portfolio’s lights could be controlled by Spireworks. These include the 300-foot spire at One Bryant Park in Midtown, One Five One and Sven itself.

“It’s a milestone for Spireworks to be part of this innovative residential program at Sven,” Domino told Commercial Observer. “It’s a win for Spireworks and a win for the Sven residents.”

Tenants at Sven will receive a membership to Spireworks, which launched in 2017 and raised more than $100,000 for charity last year with public events, where, for a donation to a COVID-19 relief fund, public users can control the lights as well.

The app has 30,000 users and is normally invitation only — a policy that’s only grown more restrictive since a Tinder user posted a profile seeking to pay $1,000 for a free membership.

“We grew to a certain point until I would dare say some entrepreneurs started to try [to make a] small business out of selling our invites,” Domino said. “Now we look more to our existing members, with remaining invitations, [and we’re] very cautious of course.”

The light program isn’t the only amenity at Durst’s residential tower. Residents willing to pay the $2,950 to $6,000 per month cost of a Sven apartment have access to studios for yoga, pilates and boxing, a two-level library, a conference center, coworking space and a poker lounge, according to Durst. Of the 958 units, 288 are income-restricted.

Domino, who also serves as the digital director at the Durst Organization, was excited to partner with the residents of Sven, which soft-launches its leasing on Monday.

“We’re getting a lot of requests for accounts and we’re working on some kind of way to accommodate the interest,” Domino said. “I want people to be able to enjoy this.”

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.