The only real estate investor who flips vintage local properties outfitted with, say, reflecting ponds and bamboo walls, but who also flips massive thickets of self-storage spaces, and has been called “dreamy” by Gawker, is Adam Gordon. “I told my wife that before we were married,” he said this week about the blog’s compliment. “It may have closed the deal.”
They met when he opposed her application for a restaurant on Bond Street: “She got a much a better location, which turned out to be Double Crown,” the new colonialism-inspired eatery on the Bowery that just got two stars from Frank Bruni.
Mr. Gordon knows the neighborhood. Late last month, he listed the excruciatingly beautiful Bouwerie Lane Theatre at Bond Street and the Bowery with Corcoran’s Robby Browne. He’s asking $36 million, though only a year and a half ago he paid $15 million for the white, Corinthian-columned, 134-year-old castle, “one of the most sophisticated cast-iron buildings,” the trustworthy AIA Guide to New York City says.
Late last month, the same broker listed Mr. Gordon’s mansion at 26 West 76th Street, with a 1,900-bottle wine cellar, for $25 million. He bought it in 2006 for $5.8 million. (When asked if he was listing anything else for the client, Mr. Browne said he had a Jane Street townhouse on the market for $6.65 million; Mr. Gordon said the place does not belong to him, though he is listed as the owner on recent renovation permits.)
Either way, the two bigger properties, $61 million combined, are enough to make one wonder if Mr. Gordon is having a fire sale. “No, no, no, no,” he said matter-of-factly. “We’re always buying, redeveloping, building, selling. This is our process!”
The columned Bond Street building, once a Ulysses S. Grant–era savings bank, has been about four-fifths renovated. Besides ground-floor retail space, there are two full-floor apartments and a penthouse triplex, which will go on the market as individual listings early next year, when the construction is done.
Then again, Mr. Gordon and his wife may move into one unit. “I try to have an inspiration, and this was ‘grand decay.’ It would be the kind of place your uncle might have had if he came from Italy—Florence!—and ran low on money in the ’70s, but had great taste and wonderful historic pieces.”
Renovation costs, he said, will run higher than $10 million.
Nearby at 41 Bond Street, he’s waiting for financial markets to “regain a pulse” before he builds an eight-story, eight-unit condo with a limestone facade, white bronze shutters and big steel windows. But he’s not worried. “The people who are flowing into a lot of these properties are still extremely wealthy, and if a guy was worth $160 million and now he’s worth $110 million, that’s still plenty,” he said. “He just needs to get off the dime and feel that he’s going to get a fair deal.”