Can You Afford Me Now: Converting an Old Telephone Tower Into Ornate Luxury

picture 71 Can You Afford Me Now: Converting an Old Telephone Tower Into Ornate Luxury

Walkin' on the West Side. (Bing Maps)

Big red is turning into big green!

Verizon has cashed in over $800 million in properties since 2005 because its office spaces have become obsolete in the era of wireless technology. The properties have been flipped for multiple uses—including a Mercedes Benz showroom—but the old central offices are proving themselves to be perfect for developers, the Times reports.

The 23-story pre-war Art Deco building at 212 West 18th Street in Chelsea, more commonly known as Walker Tower, was partially sold off by Verizon. Verizon will remain as a tenant, but only for floors 2 through 7. Floors 8 through 23 will be turned into 53 condominium units.

The development company is not letting any square inch go to waste in the prewar building and is pouring upwards of $200 million into the project:

The developers say they are sparing no expense in the furnishings and finishes. The 12- to 15-foot-high ceilings will be coffered. Radiant heat will course through French-oak herringbone floors. Washing machines and dryers won’t be stacked, as in many buildings, but will sit side by side, in individual laundry rooms.

It’s hard not to be enamored by its high ceilings, ornate entryways, and pre-war charm, but the price tag is quite grounding:

When the sales office opens this spring, condos are likely to cost about $3,000 a square foot — double the going rate in the neighborhood, brokers say — and as much as $10,000 a foot for the eight penthouses, said Shaun Osher, the founder of the Core Group NYC, which is handling sales. With an average size of 3,000 square feet, a typical unit might cost $9 million.

But forget the pricetag. Just look out your massive pre-war windows with beautiful views of Midtown and you’ll forget that your pockets are empty.

mewing@observer.com