Don’t think they’ll be letting him off the hook any time soon. Read More
This Modern World
If there is one thing the fashion and interior designer, author, artist, real estate developer and all around composition maven Bradley Bayou understands, it is symmetry. Symmetry, his artist’s statement says, is the one scientifically-proven “timeless evolutionary trait for sexy.” (For the record, the Observer has yet to hear the term “sexy” uttered in the context of lab work.) The trait naturally figured in Mr. Bayou’s 2006 fashion manual The Science of Sexy, and it was no doubt on his mind when he and William Morris Endeavor board member and Hollywood super agent Mark Itkin, went real estate shopping recently in Chelsea. The townhouse they settled on at 353 West 20th Street—for $4.95 million, about a half million less than the $5.5 million ask—does not immediately suggest sexiness. But then, Mr. Bayou is good with makeovers.
Have you admired, in passing, Israeli developer Erez Itzhaki‘s luxurious Modern 23 condominium building at 350 West 23rd Street? Do you covet its Daniel Goldner design—its modernist grid of black brick, perforated metal and glass? Are you a fan of organic finishes and flowing spaces? And are you perhaps looking for something similar in lately effervescent Chelsea to rent, or perhaps even to buy? Well, you are in luck. Mr. Itzhaki announced completion today at 138 West 19th Street of Modern 19, which, he told the Observer, will much resemble the earlier construction. But depending on your flexibility on the issue of rent/ownership, it may be luck of a particularly heartbreaking kind. Mr. Itzhaki has not yet decided whether to lease or to sell the six floor-through units in the new boutique building, which he intended originally as a rental.
We would be writing this post around brunch-time, five mimosas deep, but apparently that is illegal now. (Also, office etiquette or whatever.) Read More
How’s this for drunk driving? Read More
Just when we were starting to think that every Walker Tower unit might be claimed by a movie star, music mogul or finance titan cloaked in a bland-sounding LLC—the developers go and sell an eighth-floor unit to a pair whose names have a good deal more cachet in philanthropy and social advocacy circles than in the Hollywood Hills or on Wall Street. (Though they’re no strangers to such tony precincts.) Former NAACP president Bruce Gordon and his wife, Tawana Tibbs, have just bought a three-bedroom unit at 212 West 18th Street for $7.17 million, according to city records.
Housed on the top floors of 30 West 22nd Street for nearly 20 years, the Van Alen Institute, an organization dedicated to advancing innovation in architecture and design, began to imagine a more accessible space on the 1,620-square-foot ground floor of its Chelsea location.
Earlier this year, the organization launched an international design competition, which was narrowed down to 24 and then three
teams. The jury settled on a plan proposed by Collective-LOK, which will allow the space to take on a variety of uses through a “screenplay” design. Construction is expected to begin in April of next year with a September 2014 opening planned.
David van der Leer, executive director of the Van Alen Institute, and Jon Lott, architect with CLOK, spoke to The Commercial Observer last week about the plan’s unique design components and flexibility.
There are so many unexpected problems that can arise during major renovations—interior demolition work reveals not only water damage, deterioration, rot, asbestos, rodents but, as Penn South recently discovered, hoarders.
Elderly hoarders at the affordable housing complex in Chelsea, which is undergoing a massive project to replace its heating and cooling systems, are costing the co-op a staggering $40 million, according to DNAinfo. And that’s in addition to the $100 million that the complex is already spending on workers and materials.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The Observer has had visions—visions opulent and terrifying, and terrifying in their opulence. On Wednesday night, as a chilly drizzle began to fall, we descended on—or rather, ascended in—212 West 18th Street, the one-time home of the New York Telephone Company, which has been lately re-imagined as an art deco sheath for 47 luxury condominiums.
Named for Ralph Walker, its much celebrated architect, Walker Tower will soon open its doors to residents, having sold all but four units—one of which is the would-be downtown record-breaker Penthouse 1, priced at $55 million. (For the budget-conscious, there remains one condo available for $8.25 million.)
In New York, the commonly accepted wisdom is that art galleries tend to gravitate to gritty up-and-coming areas thick with bohemians, artists and hipster hangers-on. But a new study released by the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate claims just the opposite: Galleries open in high-end Manhattan neighborhoods that house the kind of wealthy consumers likely to buy art, not the people making it.
“These findings counter the common and somewhat romantic perception that galleries locate in gritty artist communities,” assistant professor Jenny Schuetz, who co-authored the study with Lusk Director Richard Green, wrote. “Similar to jewelry, furniture and antique districts, most galleries cluster near affluent potential art buyers, rather than the artists themselves.”
The neighborhood profile that attracts art galleries, the study asserts, “is consistent with luxury retail.”