Ack! The Ackerman Institute, an Uptown Stalwart, Buys Downtown

The Ackerman Institute's longtime home.

The Ackerman Institute’s longtime home.

Change can be therapeutic: seeking a different perspective, simplifying one’s life, moving to a new part of town.

The Ackerman Institute for the Family‘s impending move isn’t really a happy occasion. The famed family and couples therapy center needed to learn how to live within more modest means after it lost $3.3 million in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But we certainly hope that the Institute can move past its former financial traumas and embrace the life that it is living now. A life that will, by the looks of it, be lived downtown in the Flatiron District.

The Institute has just just purchased two commercial condo units at 936 Broadway, according to city records.

The Institute listed its 10,000-square-foot townhouse for $16.9 million 2009 and has an agreement to sell its longtime home at 149-151 East 78th Street to Spruce 317 West 77th Street and 78 RPM Owner LLC.

The Ackerman Institute's new home?

The Ackerman Institute’s new home?

City records show that the Ackerman Institute paid $5.78 million for building unit No. 200 and $1.9 million for No. 301, for a total of $7.68 million. The Institute did not return a call looking to confirm whether this address will be its new home.

That might seem like a lot of dough until you consider that the Ackerman Institute will likely get something in the $16 million to $17 million range for its Upper East Side manse.

The sellers of the two units were Bielow Realty Corp. and 3rd Floor BWY, LLC. Conceivably, the Institute could be buying commercial condo units for another purpose, but a source tells us that the townhouse sale agreement stipulates that the Institute be out by October 2013, so they do need to move somewhere very soon.

Moreover, Spruce 317 West 77th Street and 78 RPM Owner LLCs just closed on the two townhouses next door, so they may be eager to start doing whatever they’re going to do with their 57-feet of street frontage and more than 40,000 square feet of air rights.

kvelsey@observer.com