In a move that is sure to break the hearts of all extremely wealthy Tribeca househunters, 144 Duane Street, the incredibly-renovated six-story Tribeca building that can only be described as a loft mansion, has entered into contract.
The Civil War-era limestone-faced mansion was formerly a shoe factory, but has since been given a stunning glassy renovation. The staircase—once described by Curbed’s Joey Arak as a “staircase that looks stolen from an Apple Store”—is what first draws your eye, with its sleek black finish and blue glass steps. But the property also features a roof deck and skylight on the sixth floor, not to mention a basketball court in the basement. (Theater renovation, anyone?)
The property’s owner is mysterious (calls to downtown brokers yielded no leads—Douglas Elliman’s Leonard Steinberg, who shares the listing with Hervé Sénéquier and Yoko Sanada, is playing his cards close to his chest on this one), and is identified only as 144 Duane Street Corporation. But whoever they are, they’ve owned the building long enough that we found no property transfer deed in city records.
Last year the asking price was bumped up from $45 million to $49.5 million, coinciding with the New York Post reporting that “one unnamed West Coast-based Facebook insider has flown to Manhattan twice” to look at the property. (You can fly into Manhattan?! Did we miss the paving of Central Park into a runway?) The owner’s triplex at the top of the building was also once on the market for $30 million (to rent it, you would have had to pony up $100,000 a month), and the second-story unit was asking $19,500.
We aren’t exactly sure how big the building is—the Douglas Elliman listing cites both 23,100 square feet and a roomier 30,000 of “usable interior space”—but either way, the price per square foot is not absurd for the neighborhood and the quality of the renovation, done in 2001 by Tribeca-based Studio Rivelli Architects. Brokers we spoke with differed on whether it was cheap enough to be scooped up by a developer—it’s nearly maxed out its zoning, and is in an historic district anyway, so adding floorspace seems unlikely—but we heard that the current owner has an approved offering plan for the building, should the buyer want to take it condo.
“It was kicking around for a long time,” said Elliman broker Bruce Ehrmann, who is not associated with the listing. As for its $49.5 million price tag, “it’s just astounding what’s going on in Tribeca,” he said. (Manhattan Transfers readers may recall that a penthouse on Beach Street just recently traded for nearly twice its 2010 price.) “People have been saying that for a decade and a half, but it’s a whole new level. I remember when the highest thing—it wasn’t that long ago—was $30 million,” he said, referring to the Sky Lofts penthouse (now asking $44 million).
The market is undoubtedly hot, but the real question is: will it beat out the penthouse at 56 Leonard, which is reportedly in contract for $47 million? And if it does, will the owner use it as a record-busting single-family mansion, or will it be carved up into more reasonable condos?