View Full Version : Perry West - 173/176 Perry Street @ West Street - by Richard Meier

January 14th, 2002, 04:38 PM
The view on Perry West (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm) construction in January of 2002.


173 Perry Street (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm) building in January of 2002.


See construction pictures of Perry West (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm) (here in June of 2001).


January 14th, 2002, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the photos. *I like these buildings a lot more then I thought I would. * I think if they used highly reflective "mirror" glass, it would have ruined it, but the clear glass makes it fit in better.

January 27th, 2002, 07:35 PM
Could have been better.

October 27th, 2002, 08:53 PM
The view of the Perry West condominiums (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm) from the West Side Highway in March of 2002.


The view of the Empire State Building (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/esb/default.htm) and Perry West (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm) from Battery Park in March of 2002.


October 27th, 2002, 10:03 PM
New York Water Taxi and Perry West condominiums (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm).


October 28th, 2002, 07:52 AM
Those are some great looking apartments.

November 29th, 2002, 12:10 PM
Nicole Kidman has unloaded her Pacific Palisades home for a price just shy of $11 million - which should come in handy to help pay for her splashy West Village apartment.

"She's been to the Perry St. building quite a bit lately with her decorators," says our spy. Kidman bought the apartment earlier this year for around $8 million.

The former Mrs. Cruise purchased the duplex in the unfinished 4,000-square-foot raw space building architect Richard Meier had originally planned for himself.

One of her high-profile neighbors will be Calvin Klein, who paid a reported $14 million for his 8,000-square-foot triplex. Martha Stewart also has an apartment there, but has put it on the market for about $8 million.

When completed, the 15-story building with two towers will include a restaurant, spa, gym, and full security.

The actress was given sole ownership of the L.A. property as part of her 2001 divorce settlement with actor Tom Cruise. The couple purchased the home in 1990 for about $4.7 million shortly before they were married.

November 29th, 2002, 04:04 PM
NY Times...

Along West Street, A Residential Makeover


JOGGERS may have been the first to know — or to suspect. Roy Liebenthal, a 39-year-old restaurateur, was a jogger along West Street on the lower West Side in the 1980's. Even then, he says, as he ran past dilapidated piers and small commercial and industrial buildings he foresaw a glorious future for residential development on the eastern side of the street.

Glorious may be too extravagant a term to apply to the pockets of residential growth that now dot a long stretch of the eastern edge of West Street. But there is no denying growth itself.

Buildings are increasingly emerging that offer buyers and renters exceptional views directly across West Street over the city's waterfront piers and the Hudson River to the New Jersey shore.

Conversions of loft buildings, and more recently new construction, are occurring not merely south of Canal Street as a reflection of the growth of Battery Park City and city financial incentives, but also in the long stretch roughly from Canal Street to 14th Street.

The first major pocket of gut conversions and new construction emerged in the 90's with the Rockrose Development Corporation's buildings in the meat market district around Gansevoort Street. New pockets have since sprung up in the West Village as residential growth expands from Greenwich Village. More projects are in prospect farther south in the western reaches of the Hudson Square and TriBeCa neighborhoods. Typically, the front entrances are on side streets, and one side of the building abuts West Street.

The stretch more or less coincides with construction work at Hudson River Park, which will provide walking-distance recreational attractions for West Village residents when the reconstruction of three riverfront piers is completed in the spring. The Hudson River Park Trust has already completed a bikeway and walkway along the length of the park, from the Battery to 59th Street.

In the Village area, the walkway runs along the west side of West Street. The trust also maintains the landscaped median on West Street that eases pedestrian street crossing on the busy, and wide, avenue.

"The West Side Highway has become Hudson River Boulevard," said Mr. Liebenthal. He himself bought unfinished loft space in the building at 495 West Street, between Jane Street and West 12th Street in the West Village, three years ago. He has a direct view of the Hudson River and the New Jersey shore from his fourth-floor window.

"You see cruise ships; you see jet skiing; you see powerboat races, kayakers, swimmers, airplanes, helicopters," he said. "It's just a beautiful moving picture."

In August, construction started on a $200 million project in the Hudson Square neighborhood toward the southern end of West Street, covering a 62,500-square-foot block bounded by Washington and West Streets on the east and west, and Morton and Leroy Streets on the north and south. There will be 283 housing units in three buildings. The project is named Morton Square.

One building will be a 14-story condominium on Morton Street. Another is to be a six-story structure on Morton Street with six town houses at the base and loft apartments above. The third will be a seven-story rental on Washington Street. Completion is scheduled for the spring of 2004. Since the side streets and inland avenues have a more residential character than West Street, all the entrances to these buildings will be on Morton Street or Washington Street. But one leg of the 147-unit L-shaped condominium will border West Street and provide 52 apartments with head-on river views. About 12,000 square feet of commercial space will be provided at street level, a third of it on West Street. The developer is the J. D. Carlisle Development Corporation. Costas Kondylis & Partners is the architect.

Many of the tenants who currently live on West Street are in a Rockrose project in the area from Gansevoort to West 12th Street between Washington and West Streets. These blocks were completed in the 90's with 900 apartments, which include 800 rentals in the buildings known as West Coast apartments.

"I rented an apartment trying to get as close to the river in the West Village as I could," said Andrew Stern, 31, who took a West Coast apartment on Horatio Street in October. He has a view of the river from his fifth-floor studio. He said he uses the bicycle and walking path along West Street to go north to the Chelsea Piers sports complex on the river in western Chelsea for recreation and to go south to pick up his car at the Pier 40 garage near West Houston Street. "It's very convenient," he said.

This year two new buildings sprang up in the West Village that enhance the residential look of West Street. These are glassy 15-story condominium towers that the developer Richard Born and his partner, the architect Richard Meier, built at 173 and 176 Perry Street, facing each other at the western edge of Perry. Mr. Meier, the architect for such well-known buildings as the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, was also the architect for Westbeth, the 384-unit artists' housing development on the block between Bethune and Bank Streets and West and Washington Streets. Built in 1970, it was the first new residential project in the modern era to reach as far as West Street.

THE Perry Street condominium's raw space was sold out through the Sunshine Group over a six-month period in the latter part of last year, Mr. Born said. Toward the end of the sales period, prices reached $2,000 a square foot, he said, comparable to what buyers might pay for finished space on Park Avenue. The average price was $1,480 a square foot.

Four buyers relinquished their contracts to the sponsor during the sales period at a profit as high as 50 percent, Mr. Born said. By last summer, sales had closed on all 28 residential floors. There were 22 buyers, some of them taking more than one floor to create duplexes or triplexes.

Most new owners are currently building out their space or making plans to do so, brokers say. Occupancy is expected to start early next year. A few buyers are trying to resell, the brokers said, among them Martha Stewart, who closed on a $6-million 3,000-square-foot duplex penthouse in September. Other celebrity buyers include Calvin Klein, Nicole Kidman and William Joy, the founder of Sun Microsystems.

"We could have built a short, squat building as of right, of which there are dozens in the area, and walked away and made a profit," Mr. Born said. "But we had a vision of something special, looking out on the river, making the most of the light and a 360-degree view." It was expensive to do this. There are more square feet of glass curtain wall in the building than of interior floor area. The curtain wall alone cost more than $100 a square foot, Mr. Born said.

One consequence of the extraordinary level that prices reached in the Perry Street condominium is that land prices for nearby property suitable for development have risen as well. Just south of the Perry Street site, bidding reportedly reached $250 a developable square foot for such a parcel — 12,000 square feet on West Street occupied by Pathfinder Press. "They were looking for $300 a foot," or $23.4 million, to build 78,000 gross square feet of building area, said Charles Blaichman, a co-developer of the Perry Street condominium. "That hasn't been paid anywhere. I think out-of-towners jacked up the price."

Unsuccessful bidders reported that a sales contract was signed for $20 million, or more than $250 for each square foot that can be built, with an unidentified buyer, but parties to the sale declined to discuss it.

The value of the Pathfinder Press property reflects in part the fact that demolition and new construction of a sizable building could begin fairly promptly, without zoning or other complications, developers say. This is rarely the case along West Street. Modest commercial and industrial establishments of yesterday operate on some blocks, and they will not disappear overnight.

November 29th, 2002, 04:05 PM
(Part 2)

For the most part, existing zoning is inconsistent, allowing only light manufacturing or commercial activity on some blocks and residential construction as well on others. Residential builders frequently must seek variances from the Board of Standards and Appeals in order to build. In the meat market district, Rockrose spent five years getting variances for the four of its nine buildings that needed them.

Currently, the developer Stephen Touhey is trying for a variance to build 175,000 square feet of new commercial and residential space on land with West Street frontage off West 13th Street, the site of the former Nebraska Meat Market at 848 Washington Street. At a hearing last November, the application provoked substantial local opposition. Designed by the Paris-based architect Jean Nouvel, the plan called for 34 residential spaces as well as commercial and office space in three buildings. One was to be a 32-story residential tower with a gray corrugated-steel facade intended to reflect the district's industrial tradition.

Subsequently, Mr. Touhey said, he considered building an as-of-right hotel. But that approach has been rejected, and now he plans to be back before the board next month with a revised version of the original plan. In this version an eight-story mixed-use building close to the active meatpacking buildings has been eliminated, leaving the project with no residential component on Washington Street. The interior of the tower has been altered to provide additional square footage by eliminating some double-height ceilings.

But the revision may not end opposition. A number of residents and community groups oppose all new high-rise development in the district. Last week the Albany-based Preservation League of New York, at a press conference joined by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, announced inclusion of the Gansevoort Market area on its annual listing of seven of the most threatened historic places in the state.

Other projects with West Street frontages are in varying stages of planning. At one site, Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a development firm based in Yahud, a town outside of Tel Aviv, owns two connected parcels at West Street and Laight Street, three blocks south of Canal Street at the western fringe of TriBeCa.

Asi Cymbal, the American representative of the company, said the intention is to build a 69-unit condominium in two buildings, one of 13 stories at West and Laight and the other of six stories at Washington and Vestry Streets, connected by an internal corridor. There would be first-floor commercial space and below-ground parking. The architect is Ismael Leyva of Manhattan, with Tsao & McKown, also of Manhattan, as the design architect.

Not far away, the Jack Parker Company has leased a 36,000-square-foot site from Ponte Equities, the investment arm of the younger generation of the Ponte restaurant family, at West, Watts and Washington Streets. Jack Parker has not disclosed its plans either, but the company has a long history of development and construction both in the city and in Westchester. A parking lot and garage occupy its site now, and a variance or zoning change would be needed for residential development.

At Morton Square, the Carlisle Development Corporation was granted a variance after a 14-month process. Representatives of West Village Houses, a middle-income project across the street, protested that the development would lead to displacement of renters in the vicinity through a rise in property values and rents. That argument did not prevail, but the developer did reduce the height of the condominium from 17 stories to 14 and provided a setback at the eighth floor, a recommendation of the Department of City Planning. Sales are to begin in February.

EVEN if zoning allows residential construction, the difficulties of site assemblage impede new development. The owner of many crucially situated underdeveloped parcels in the West Village, the estate of William Gottlieb, has been unwilling to sell any property, developers say. The properties are now controlled by Molly Bender, Mr. Gottlieb's sister. Efforts to reach Ms. Bender by telephone failed.

The Department of City Planning recognized the pressures of growth four years ago in a rezoning action affecting western Chelsea. As part of a broader rezoning, mixed residential and commercial zones were extended along 23rd Street from 10th Avenue to 11th Avenue. Previously, no residential development had been allowed as far west as 11th Avenue.

Now the department is close to reaching the public-review stage for a comprehensive plan for growth in Hudson Square, defined as the area generally bounded by Canal Street and Morton and Barrow Streets and by the Avenue of the Americas and West Street. It is a mixed-use area with recent commercial as well as residential growth. The plan will attempt to accommodate both growth and preservation, said Richard Barth, executive director of the department.

In the meat market district, where the city-owned Gansevoort Market houses about a dozen meat wholesalers and there has been commercial and industrial as well as residential construction, the department has been content to let growth evolve under the existing manufacturing zoning. The number of meat-related businesses has diminished over two decades, the planners say, but those that remain still constitute a major presence. Many of them service high-end restaurants and food purveyors.

Much recent renovation or new construction has been as-of-right and heavily commercial, with an emphasis on retailing. The largest recent new-construction project is an unusual concoction at 415 West 13th Street — 60,000 square feet of space on eight floors rising inconspicuously from the rear of the preserved facade of a three-story building. Only from a distance can the glazed black-brick facade of the set-back tower be seen. "There's a market there for companies in the fashion and media industries," said Bruce D. Sinder, president of Sinvin Realty, the agent for the property. The architect was Selldorf Architects of Manhattan.

Elsewhere near West Street, zoning change is under consideration. "We would like development to proceed pursuant to a plan, not by Board of Standards and Appeals variance," Mr. Barth said. "We're looking at the area from 15th or 16th Street to about 23rd Street. The challenge is, how do you allow residential growth without undermining the arts district that has emerged in that area." Art galleries have multiplied in the area west of 10th Avenue roughly between 16th and 25th Streets.

Robert P. Balachandran faces a different challenge. Mr. Balachandran is president of the Hudson River Park Trust, created by state legislation in 1998 to design, construct and maintain a 550-acre five-mile park along the Hudson from Battery Park to 59th Street. The "parkland" includes 13 public piers and 400 acres of land under water.

"Our challenge is to complete a $400 million capital-construction program," Mr. Balachandran said. Half that money has already been appropriated by the state, and as it is spent, it will add to the recreational facilities available in the area.

In the spring, a segment of the park is to open from Horatio Street to Clarkson Street, a distance of six-tenths of a mile. Three rebuilt piers — Nos. 45, 46 and 51 — will offer a children's playground, a playing field with artificial turf, a half-acre lawn with natural grass and a continuous waterfront esplanade. In the upland area between West Street and the piers, a width of 200 feet in some places, there are to be gardens, benches, lawns and a comfort station.

The park was merely a hope for the future when residential development along West Street got under way in the 90's. The first new-construction project was 495 West Street, nine loft apartments in a 11-story building between Jane and West 12th Street. The developer was Cary Tamarkin.

The project sold out in 1997 at an average price of about $700 a square foot, Mr. Tamarkin said. "It was the record on West Street at the time," he said. "Now the question is whether the Richard Meier project was an aberration at the prices it achieved. I'm not sure that that was a repeatable formula."

West Street is relatively distant from mass transportation, and traffic noise is often intense, Marlene Hartstein, a sales broker with Ashforth Warburg, noted. "But there are people who like less congested areas," she said. "If they have cars or they like to walk along the river, it's an ideal location."

These are advantages that impressed Joe Castaldo, owner of the Style Council, a textile design studio, who was an early buyer in the Meier-designed Perry Street condominium. Mr. Castaldo had aspirations as a developer himself a few years ago, and with a partner, Tom Cody, he had purchased a vacant garage on Perry Street next to the property Mr. Born and Mr. Meier bought.

Mr. Castaldo's plan had been to rebuild the garage building for residential use and then keep one floor for his own apartment. But on the very day he closed, he said, his neighbors' project was announced in the press.

So he has put the vacant garage back on the sales market and also bought the 1,800-square-foot ninth floor in the north tower of the Meier buildings for his own residence. "It's a very open space, like a loft, with gorgeous views," he said. "It's like being on a boat." *

Looking south on West Street toward pair of new buildings designed by Richard Meier on Perry Street.

February 23rd, 2003, 10:01 PM

February 13, 2003 -- MARTHA Stewart may be close to unloading her West Village apartment - and the buyer looks like New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Sources say the CEO of the cellar-dwelling team is bidding on the Domestic Diva's duplex at 173-176 Perry St.
One of the best-known unfinished (and unoccupied) apartments in New York City, Stewart's 4,000-square-foot raw duplex in the Richard Meier-designed building may have been an impulse buy, according to one report. A broker familiar with the apartment said Martha wanted to sell not because of her legal problems but because the place was too small.

"It's very narrow," said the broker, noting that once stairs are installed, the living space would be cut down to 3,000 square feet. Most believe the apartment will fetch somewhere around $6 million.

Actress Nicole Kidman plunked down more than $8 million for her 4,000-square-foot condo in the West Village building, whose residents also include Calvin Klein, Rita Schrager (ex-wife of hotelier Ian), chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and other high-profile types.

The sleek, 15-story, 28-unit building with two towers will feature a Jean-Georges-operated restaurant, a spa and gym, a 24-hour concierge and beefed-up security.

Klein bought the 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse in the south tower - one floor above Kidman - for $14 million back in 2000, before developers Richard Born and Ira Drukier had even broken ground. Stewart's place, which is in the north tower, on eye level with Klein's penthouse, has spectacular views of both the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.

February 24th, 2003, 06:33 AM
Any reason as to why these buildings have attracted so many celebrities?

February 24th, 2003, 09:04 AM
Perhaps only celebrity can afford an apartment in the $8 to 14 million range.

February 24th, 2003, 10:20 AM
I guess b/c it's a prominent location, downtown, entire wall windows.

Plus it's crazy prices are for RAW SPACE. *So all the picky celebs could say they spent a fortune than brought in some famous designer to furnish it and spend another couple mil.

Ahhh... I'm doing something wrong.

April 13th, 2003, 09:16 PM
Empire State Building (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/esb/default.htm), Chrysler Building (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/chrysler/default.htm) and Perry West condominiums (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm).


June 19th, 2003, 08:39 PM
June 19, 2003

Blond Ambition on Red Brick


LATELY, Richard Meier has been reclaiming the rare quality that he started out with. I mean the quality of radiance: the Apollonian virtues of clarity, order, simplicity and light.

Since 1997, when he finally finished work on the Getty Center in Los Angeles, Mr. Meier has been brightening up his repertory with exquisite structures on a smaller scale. The architect's aesthetic approach has not changed. The times have. So has the historical context. A formal vocabulary that once seemed constrained by the dogmas of the International Style now stands for freedom from the woolier rhetoric of the postmodern 1980's.

Nowhere does this shift come into clearer focus than at 173 and 176 Perry Street, two residential buildings Mr. Meier recently completed on the far west side of Greenwich Village. The glass towers, which face each other across the narrow village street, are as handsome to look at as the Hudson River views they overlook from their floor-to-ceiling windows. They catch the light reflected from the water like a pair of frozen fountains.

Early this year, even on cold winter days, sidewalk superintendents could be seen stomping about outside the buildings, as if there were something thrillingly novel about construction in New York. Perhaps some of them were scouting out vantage points for peeping at the boldface names who have signed up to move into the glamorous cages. Most, I suspect, were feasting their eyes on architecture, a genuine novelty to behold rising at any construction site in a town where the art of building still counts in some circles as delinquent behavior.

We like architects more than architecture here. In the last few years, several residential high-rises by star designers have gone up in Manhattan. There is little to say about them apart from reciting their names. On Perry Street, by contrast, Mr. Meier has fashioned work for the historical imagination to feed on. Apart from their intrinsic formal qualities, the buildings reveal how a city goes about constructing a context of time.

From the West Side Highway, the towers create a neo-Classical impression. A modern glass version of an 18th-century European gateway: that's the initial effect. But the symmetrical image is deceptive. In plan, the south tower is more than double the size of its uptown twin. This imbalance recalls the two pairs of asymmetrically sited residential high-rises designed by Mies van der Rohe for Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. So does the waterfront location.

The Perry Street towers are 15 stories tall, with one apartment per floor. Mr. Meier's spare geometric forms knit these perpendiculars into a harmonious composition. The result is two sets of stacked urban stages, each with excellent sightlines: a multiplex for exhibitionists and the voyeurs who adore them.

The structure is concrete, with curtain walls of glass and painted metal. The division is expressed on the exterior by fire stairs enclosed within gray concrete cores. In glass buildings, floor slabs perform the expressive function formerly taken by walls. Viewed through the glass curtain wall, the empty volumes between floors and ceilings become formal elements. So do the curtains, blinds and lighting installed by tenants.

The lightness of the floor slabs and structural columns is further refined by the pristine delicacy of the exterior's white metal frames. Shadow boxes, mullions and railings appear to stretch the glass skin taut against the envelope formed by the slabs. Balconies with tinted blue glass side panels extend the platforms beyond the skin. The south facades mirror each other across Perry Street, uniting the double block.

It strikes me that the towers are a pair of Hitchcock blondes. The white metal framework of their facades is so crisp and pure that the towers could be two twins dressed for First Communion. But inside, fireworks: two towers full of racy Rear Windows. I do believe that's Miss Torso up there, practicing jazz dance right now. Soon to be joined by Nicole Kidman, Calvin Klein, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and I forget the rest. How will they handle window treatments? The world anxiously awaits.

Or, to state the matter more clinically, the subtext of these buildings is the friction between what Beatriz Colomina, a senior professor at Princeton's School of Architecture, has called privacy and publicity: the conflicting desires for refuge and exposure. This is a dominant theme throughout contemporary architecture today. Mr. Meier's buildings may lack the emotional risk-taking we encounter in work by Frank Gehry or Wolf Prix. But their formal understatement heightens the underlying tension between a viewer's inner and outer worlds.

Glass, metal, natural light, white surfaces, orthogonal geometry, solid and void: this basic vocabulary can be found in any number of 20th-century "machine age" buildings. Mr. Meier's formal vocabulary does not, in itself, account for the bold impression the buildings make. Nor can it be explained by some imaginary pendulum shift in public taste from "history" back to "modernity." No one with any taste ever fell for that ahistorical piece of postmodern spin.

On Perry Street, we witness the complex display of actual history at work. We witness conflict, that is to say: the formation of urban context through the contest of ideas.

One of those contests got under way not far from here more than 40 years ago with the 1961 publication of Jane Jacobs's book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." The book was one of 20th-century architecture's most traumatic events. Its impact is still felt in cities across the land.

Greenwich Village was the crucible for some the book's most influential ideas. Ms. Jacobs's vision of the ideal city was inspired by her own block of nearby Hudson Street. West Village Houses, a low-rise complex designed by Perkins & Will in the 1970's a few blocks south, was New York City's first attempt to apply her ideas to planning.

Ms. Jacobs's book was an attack on modern city planning, not on modern architecture per se. Its impact on architecture was devastating nonetheless. One of the modern movement's central tenets was that architecture and planning were indivisible. This fusion allowed modernists to regard their cause as progressive in social as well as artistic terms. It fell to Ms. Jacobs to expose the limits of this claim.

The Radiant City, Le Corbusier's 1925 vision of a city of high-rise towers separated from each other by open parkland, was the central target of her critique. After World War II, this plan became a standard template for urban renewal projects around the country. Its application enabled American architects to perpetuate the self-image of social conscience.

As Ms. Jacobs saw it, modern city plans were not true social undertakings. They were works of art writ large. The Radiant City was a piece of graphic design or sculpture, an aesthetic exercise with little basis in the practical realities of urban life. "A city cannot be a work of art," Ms. Jacobs insisted: this was her book's single italicized idea.

In hindsight, it's clear that the crisis provoked by Ms. Jacobs went far deeper than a conflict over the merits and defects of modern architecture. It involved the crumbling of historicism: the 19th-century belief that each epoch should produce its own distinctive style. Modern architects may have rejected the use of period styles, but they clung to the basic historicist creed. An industrial society should have buildings to match.

By the early 1960's, this idea was in retreat. The historical inevitability of modernism, if not modern architecture per se, was no longer credible. A modern society could live happily without being herded into towers in a park.

Ms. Jacobs had a sound point to make: society and art represent different systems of meaning and value. Still, one of architecture's major functions is to negotiate changing relationships between the two. If the concept of "place" has any meaning, it lies in the vigor with which social and artistic values confront one another in urban space.

Art, moreover, is one of the best techniques we have for apprehending urban complexity. De Kooning, Tinguely, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Twyla Tharp and Spike Lee have variously shown us what kind of artworks the modern city wants to be, or already is. For more than three decades, contemporary artists have held up mirrors to the pluralism of urban life. Yet if we look back at New York's architectural record during the same period, it is fair to conclude that the skyline has suffered more from the absence of art than from the presence of it.

Ms. Jacobs can't be faulted for this. Like Le Corbusier, she was a polemicist who knew how to score points that needed to be made at a particular time. Forty years ago, when she was scoring points against art, she can't have been hoping for the tyranny of petit bourgeois taste that holds New York building and planning in its philistine grip. But look what we ended up with: a city where architecture is routinely denigrated as weird, elitist or avant-garde.

Some may dismiss the Perry Street buildings for not being weird or cutting-edge enough. Compared with Mr. Gehry, Rem Koolhaas or Zaha Hadid, Mr. Meier is indeed a conservative architect. One of the most valuable functions performed by the Perry Street buildings, in fact, is to reinforce the conservative edge of contemporary architecture's range. Beyond that line lie postmodernism, contextualism and New Urbanism. Since these movements presented themselves as anti-architecture, what was the point in conferring architectural status upon them?

By now, it should be obvious that these "isms" have been anti-urban, too. They have obstructed efforts in New York and other American cities to face the challenges of globalization and its impact on urban centers. Last year, for example, New Urbanists almost succeeded in foisting a retro theme park on ground zero. The process of planning the future of the World Trade Center site was irreparably damaged by the energy wasted in that preposterous effort.

A Hegelian might say that Mr. Meier's new buildings are the synthesis of Le Corbusier and Ms. Jacobs. The Radiant City has been scaled down to two towers facing each other across a traditional city street. This assessment would not, however, account for the unique quality of radiance Mr. Meier has achieved in this design. For that, we have to look at the architect's unique relationship to urban history.

WHAT distinguishes Mr. Meier from previous generations of modernists is a shift in ideology. Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe were historicists. They believed that the machine age demanded expression in a particular formal vocabulary. So did second-generation modernists like Gordon Bunshaft, the architect of the Lever House on Park Avenue.

Richard Meier is a formalist. His work reflects the ideology that prevailed in the 1950's and 60's, when the Museum of Modern Art was the supreme arbiter of urbane taste. Mr. Meier may harbor historicist sympathies for all I know. Many architects couldn't get up in the morning if they weren't convinced that their way is the best way for their time. As a formalist, however, Mr. Meier seeks less to express history than to transcend it: to attain a level of geometric abstraction high above the fray.

Mr. Meier makes sculptures in addition to buildings. A group of them will be on display this fall at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, designed by Mr. Meier, as part of an anniversary observation. I would like to see it, to test a theory: the primary function of these artworks is to deceive Mr. Meier into thinking that his buildings are not artworks, too.

Earlier generations of modernists rarely gave themselves permission to reach for the degree of abstraction Mr. Meier has maintained throughout his career. Mr. Meier's trademark white metal panels, for instance, are a far cry from Le Corbusier's raw concrete walls. Le Corbusier developed the potential of new materials and methods. Mr. Meier exploits the capacity of glass to dissolve materiality altogether. On Perry Street, the Corbusian brise-soleil, a concrete sunscreen device for use in tropical climes, has been etherealized into flat metal filigree on the western facades.

Formalism led to a bizarre blurring of the categories of art and architecture. With artists like Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Tony Smith, Sol LeWitt and Dan Flavin, painting and sculpture became almost indistinguishable from design. With architects like Mr. Meier, Peter Eisenman, Mr. Gehry and Harry Cobb, buildings took on the identity of abstract sculpture. Increasingly, the distinctions between the fields came to depend on context: the environments in which objects are presented for our contemplation.

We know that the Perry Street buildings are architecture because they are located on a street and are scaled accordingly. But if we look through the glass walls into the spaces behind them, a very different kind of environment is revealed. It is industrial loft space, the neutral but aesthetically charged environment that became standard for art galleries by the early 1970's. Rather than modernist hymns to machine technology, the towers represent the apotheosis of what the art critic Brian Doherty called "the white cube." That is where their radiance comes from.

As Mr. Doherty pointed out in a seminal Artforum essay in 1976, the aestheticized void of the gallery was a major part of the artistic experience. Surely that's one of the major reasons for the success of the Dia Foundation's new installations in Beacon, N.Y. Warhol's "shadow" paintings, for example, are a function of the industrial space required to show them.

Loft spaces are platforms. They take the place of traditional pedestals. Artworks add to the atmosphere, but a pile of old tires would do nearly as well. Without the platform, the white walls, the track lighting and the volume enclosed within them, the atmosphere can't move in.

In the contemporary city, loft space has acquired a new set of meanings. The reuse of old factories by artists, galleries and the industries that support them epitomizes the current conversion of entire cities from manufacturing to cultural production. Mr. Meier's buildings are monuments to this transformation. The space has become the art. The people inside it, too. Call this workers' housing for a city of culture workers. A place where an overabundance of energy goes into the construction of the self.

Interactive Feature: Richard Meier (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/garden/20030619_MEIER/index.html)

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

June 20th, 2003, 10:40 AM
Has there been any progress with the Pathfinder building? *Didn't some paper mention he might design this new building, too?

June 21st, 2003, 02:22 PM
Richard Meier on tall buildings:

The 21st century should be a century of tall buildings—as was the 20th. Now there is a
hesitation to design an important tall building because of the fear of creating a symbol of something wonderful, which then becomes a target for terrorism. Eventually, I hope and pray this will no longer be the case. But it is going to be difficult, especially at Ground Zero, to design very tall buildings. They could sit empty for quite a while. But, tall is relative. Towers don't have to be 110 stories. Buildings of 50, 60, 70 stories make sense since everything around the World Trade Center site is 55 stories.

November 8th, 2003, 09:10 PM
The view of 176 Perry Street condominium (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm) from Charles Street.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/images/176perry_charles_7nov03.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/perry_west/default.htm)

November 9th, 2003, 01:10 PM
What is the structure on the roof?

TLOZ Link5
November 9th, 2003, 01:42 PM
Currently there is one similar to it on the roof of the Kimmel Center.

God, I wish I had a digital camera. I've been dropping hints to my parents for one for some time now.

November 26th, 2003, 03:03 PM

This week, the developer juggernauts Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias—the team that built the $138 million Grand Beekman at East 51st Street and the $70 million David Rockwell–designed Alex Hotel at East 45th Street—will break ground on the third Richard Meier tower at 165 Charles Street. The building will be complete by spring 2005, and this time Mr. Meier gets to design the shower curtains.

The $80 million project is considerably more ambitious than Mr. Meier’s Perry Street towers. The 16-story building will feature 32 apartments with 11-foot ceilings that will cost approximately $2,500 per square foot. While Mr. Meier designed the Perry Street towers as raw space, he will completely outfit the Charles Street building, designing everything from kitchen space to the bathroom fixtures.

"This will be a different product; they will be Richard Meier–designed homes. This is an architect that designed churches and museums," Mr. Senbahar said. "The interior design is as important as the exterior design."

The building, where apartments will start at $5 million, will feature luxury amenities like a 12,000-square-foot finished cellar, a professional screening room with 36 seats (also designed by Mr. Meier), a 50-foot swimming pool with a cascading waterfall, an exercise room and a wine cellar that can store 360 bottles for each apartment.

"This building is for people who want a unique lifestyle," Mr. Senbahar said.

November 26th, 2003, 03:09 PM
For a monopoly of buildings, Meier is the perfect architect.

November 26th, 2003, 03:20 PM
To give some context, the new building will rise in place of the red-brick building to the right of the Perry Buildings.


November 29th, 2003, 12:48 AM
I've never been to NYC but I read in another post that the area around the Perry Buildings used to be rather seedy and to some extent still is. It's odd to think of Nicole Kidman living in that neighbourhood. Of course, like all the stars, she has lots of homes. I bet she never steps out to the sidwalk. Which is a shame. If I ever go to NYC I'll be sleeping on the sidewalks and would like to meet her.:wink:

November 29th, 2003, 01:16 AM
The area began to change when the Miller Highway was torn down many years ago. Today it is certainly not seedy, and one of the great places to live in Manhattan.

November 29th, 2003, 01:41 AM
A strong piece of advice to anyone that has not been to NYC and do not really know people who have been (especially within the last, oh 10 years, or so)... do not believe much until you see it for yourself.

There are still people that think NYC is some crime infested rat hole. That's, like, sooo 1978, or something.

November 29th, 2003, 09:11 AM
I'm glad to hear Nicole is really living in a nice neighbourhood. I read that Lenny K. has a place across the street but all I see is water in the photos...must own a houseboat.:wink:

November 29th, 2003, 11:06 AM
If you've ever seen Sex in the City, Carrie's house is just up Perry St. from these towers and they often film in the area. Its definitely not seedy anymore.

January 2nd, 2004, 10:37 PM
NY Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/front/
Jan02, 2004

Buy bye?

Nic may punt on $8M pad

The 411


Will Nicole Kidman be penthouse-hopping in 2004?

We hear the statuesque Aussie wants to move far and away from her $8 million, 4,000-square-foot Perry St. pied-a-terre.

It's in the Richard Meier-designed, two-towered condos that also boast such tony owners as Calvin Klein, Martha Stewart, hotel honcho Ian Schrager and Broadway "Boy" Hugh Jackman.

"But Nicole is saying she doesn't want to move in, because the building is too much in the public eye," says our source. "She wants to live somewhere quieter, where she doesn't feel on display all the time."

The "Cold Mountain" star is currently renting roomy digs in Chelsea, where, we hear, Lenny Kravitz has been a frequent visitor. Kidman's last home was his SoHo loft, which the rocker has since rented to pal Denzel Washington.

Despite the hype, Meier's Perry St. palace has not proved to be a happy home for many early buyers. The development has been plagued with construction delays, leaks and talk of a third tower that will block stunning river and city views.

Martha Stewart's 3,000-square-foot duplex penthouse - which she bought for $6 million - is said to be for sale for $7.2 million. And Klein and Schrager never moved in.

At this rate, Kidman might have more privacy if she stays.


Meier is a truly great architect - leaky buildings.

January 2nd, 2004, 10:55 PM
I think that would be attributed more to the construction team...

January 3rd, 2004, 06:55 PM
I think that would be attributed more to the construction team...

Not necessarily. It's the CM's responsibility to make the design buildable. Meier did make many demands on the project team and the site was more problematic than anticipated (as noted in posts to this thread). Overall, the buildings are standouts. They look great. However, I don't understand the "privacy" issues. These are lofts with three walls of glass looking out over a public park. What were they expecting? Calivin Klein's triplex stands out like a sore thumb in the south tower and screams for attention for even the casual passerby.

January 3rd, 2004, 07:22 PM
I think the privacy is more about the celebrity of the buildings. People know DeNiro lives in Tribeca, but unless you know the address, you can't tell where. The worry is about "fans" camping out waiting for you to come out.

February 8th, 2004, 02:31 AM
New York Magazine http://www.newyorkmetro.com/index.htm

Glass Act

One of the first tenants to set up house in Richard Meier’s towers embraces the exposure (most of the time) from his sleek—but luxuriously soft—modernist perch.


As one of the first full-time residents of Richard Meier’s Perry Street towers, Michael Holtz has gotten used to life in the modernist fishbowl. The owner of the Smart Flyer, an upscale travel agency, Holtz can’t compete with his neighbors (Calvin, Nicole) for star status, but his second-floor apartment in the north tower still attracts plenty of attention: “Every Saturday morning, there’s a walking tour of the West Village,” he says, “and I’m sitting at the computer, and everyone’s pointing at me. Sometimes I pull down the shades, but usually I just play along and keep typing. If I had kids or was married, it would be more of an issue. It’s really the ultimate bachelor pad.” Of course, few bachelors live quite so stylishly. Holtz’s decorator, Chris Kraig, formerly of ABC Carpet & Home, has used shag rugs in wool and sisal, as well as pillows in raw silk and felt, to warm up the 1,800-square-foot concrete space, fitted out with American-walnut floors and anigre walls that float free of the perimeter windows and ceiling. “I love architectural spaces,” says Kraig, “but blended with a soft modernism, something tactile.” So no Mies (or even Meier, for that matter) but, rather, furniture that’s a mix of sixties Danish and contemporary Italian. “Michael was moving into one of the premier residential buildings of the last 50 years. The furniture had to live up to the architecture.”

Photo Tour (http://www.newyorkmetro.com/shopping/guides/homedesign/04/glassact/)

Down by the Riverside

World-class architects are bringing high design and higher prices to an industrial-strength swath along the Hudson, west of the Village and north of Tribeca. Is lower Manhattan ready for a megadose of Eurostyle?

By Deborah Schoeneman

On a recent icy morning, a stretch limo glided up Greenwich Street to No. 497, an eleven-story luxury condominium rising behind a dramatically rippled glass exterior—an anomaly among blocks of squat warehouses mitigated only by the occasional café and dive bar. Carlo Salvi, an Italian entrepreneur with wild black hair who owns, among other less glamorous and more profitable companies, half of the modeling agency that reps Naomi Campbell, emerged from the car, trailed by a middle-aged assistant. Salvi is thinking about adding another address to his collection of homes—he’s already staked out Miami, Lugano, and London—so he’s checking out the Greenwich Street Project, where Campbell, Jay-Z, and Isabella Rossellini have toured lofts, and artist Richard Tuttle, among more than a dozen others, recently closed a deal. “I am in New York for only two months a year, so I don’t need a terrace,” Salvi says, surveying the massive wraparound glass balconies of the $6.6 million, 3,600-square-foot penthouse duplex that will be delivered raw. He guesses out loud that it would cost him another $1 million before he’d be finished, especially if he plans to take his broker’s advice to build a central glass staircase like the one in Apple’s Soho store. “I don’t need it, but I’ll buy it if I find a good deal.” Through slanted floor-to-ceiling windows, the unobstructed views of the river and the freshly renovated stretch of the $400 million Hudson River Park below are spectacular, even if a winter storm has turned the landscape into an icy tundra.

There’s a real-estate revolution afoot on downtown’s Far West Side, and it’s a revolution from above. Salvi typifies a new breed of buyers being targeted by ambitious developers who are colonizing the Hudson River shoreline from the western edge of Soho north to the Far West Village. Speculators are betting that these high-end homesteaders will shell out millions for eye-catching architecture, picture-postcard sunsets, and such luxury amenities as resistance pools and guest apartments. The ideal buyer is not dissuaded by the fact that it’s all but impossible to hail a cab on these frigid, windy corners, since he’s likely to have a car and driver idling curbside, not to mention another home at the ready in gentler climes. There are no snobby co-op boards to impress. And let’s face it: The private chef may be the only one prowling the forbidding side streets in search of black truffles or aged Gouda.

The Greenwich Street Project, brainchild of British developer Jonathon Carroll and Dutch architect Winka Dubbeldam, is just the first stop on Salvi’s neighborhood tour. On the same block, the fourteen-story 505 Greenwich Street, which opened its sales office in early January, touts a list of 400 prospective buyers waiting to look at apartments. A dozen blocks north, buyers are moving into Richard Meier’s celebrated twin glass towers at 173 and 176 Perry Street, developed by Richard Born, or eagerly awaiting a third, even more luxurious Meier tower going up next door at 165 Charles Street for developers Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias, who are, like the others, asking $1,500 to $2,500 per square foot for their new digs.

A short walk from the Meier matrix is Morton Square, developer Jules Demchick’s sprawling compound of condos, townhouses, and lofts designed by Costas Kondylis, where buyers as disparate as artist Chuck Close and the teen television-and-tabloid stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will be moving in. And the West Village land rush isn’t over, either: On January 15, the Related Companies (which brought us the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle) signed a deal to develop high-rise condos on the site of the former Superior Printing Ink Company, a 33,000-square-foot lot about four blocks north of the Perry Street towers, at Bethune and West 12th Street. “It’s the last and best remaining site,” boasts Related’s 35-year-old golden-boy president, Jeff Blau.

New Wave: Dutch architect Winka Dubbeldam designed the Greenwich Street Project, with its distinctive wavy-glass façade; 505 Greenwich is under construction (in foreground). (Photo credit: Pak Fung Wong)

The dream these developers and their world-class designers share is the total transformation of the lower West Side riverfront, an area that extends from 14th Street south to Canal Street and from Hudson Street west to the river. Until recently an industrial wasteland a little too far from the cobblestones and quaint townhouses of the West Village and Soho, the area has quickly become a status sphere replete with Park Avenue amenities—and Park Avenue sticker shock. What distinguishes the new buildings beyond their luxe accoutrements is their bold attack on the skyline, bringing airy, spacious, open residential design more typically associated with California and Europe to the banks of the Hudson.

The new condo coast owes its development in part to the Hudson River Park renaissance—Rollerblading! Trapeze school! Kayaking! Jogging trail! But it’s also a consequence of developers running out of commercial buildings to convert in Tribeca and Soho—and being unable, because of zoning, to go vertical in the meatpacking district. New buildings also lend themselves to high-tech amenities and luxury appointments (pet spa, anyone?). Embellish them with cutting-edge, brand-name architecture, and you’ve got catnip for the city’s restless buyers ever in search of the latest trophy home.

“You’re seeing a lot of your typical Upper East Side buyers moving downtown for something hipper, cooler, with better views and new modern buildings,” Blau says. “The people who are buying in this market are used to having their own drivers.”

And they’re willing to pay for parking garages, proximity to the West Side heliport, gyms with spas, and 24-hour concierges in brand-new buildings, rather than conversions of warehouses and factories like their Tribeca predecessors.

The neighborhoods into which they’re moving range from the yuppie-friendly Far West Village at the north end, adjacent to the quaint cafés and chic boutiques that line the narrow streets of the West Village, to gritty pre-gentrification West Soho at the south end, an area almost completely lacking in amenities.

Not surprisingly, current residents are somewhat ambivalent about the impending glamorization of the last stretch of viable real estate along the West Side Highway. High-rise development is allowable only because it’s outside the historic zone, which prompts West Villagers to worry that it will end up blocking the light and air—not to mention their river views.

“The major concern of locals,” adds Arthur Strickler, district manager of Community Board 2, which oversees the Far West Village, “is we don’t want to have our side of the Hudson River mirror the New Jersey side.”

People In Glass Houses: Both developer Jonathon Carroll and architect Winka Dubbeldam plan to live in the Greenwich Street Project. (Photo credit: Pak Fung Wong)

If you’re looking for the man most responsible for luring the chauffeured set to Manhattan’s newest Gold Coast wannabe, look no further than Richard Meier. His name is the mantra uttered by downtown brokers and developers spinning the rationale for charging Central Park prices for Abingdon Square environs. When Richard Born broke ground three years ago on the matching Meier-designed glass towers at the river end of Perry Street’s windy corridor, Martha Stewart, Nicole Kidman, Calvin Klein, real-estate developer Scott Resnick, and Sun Microsystems co-founder William Joy were among the first to spend about $2,000 a square foot for raw space that included concrete floors, de rigueur wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows, and vertigo-inducing terraces. The only boldface name to have moved in so far is Rita Schrager, the former ballet dancer and ex-wife of hotelier Ian Schrager (though Boy From Oz star Hugh Jackman is renting there). But the condo board has already been elected: Resnick, Joy, Ian Schrager, and president Calvin Klein, who has almost finished his $14 million triplex.

Bordered by West Houston Street to the south, Hudson Street to the east, and West 14th Street to the north, the Far West Village—the northern end of the new Condo Coast—is only a few blocks from the area where Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, and Anna Wintour live in nineteenth-century townhouses that have been protected by the Greenwich Village Historic District since 1969. It’s family-friendly, though the riverfront has yet to have a big family presence. Public School 3 and the Greenwich Village Middle School, both on Hudson Street, have some of the city’s highest test scores, and St. Luke’s School is also a desirable private-school option for the deep-pocketed buyer.

Of course, not everyone is convinced that the new development will mesh with the surrounding area. “It’s really a separate neighborhood, it’s so far west,” says hotelier Jeff Klein, who owns a West Village townhouse and midtown’s City Club Hotel. “Two years from now, when Nicole and all of them get out of there, the glamour will be deflated and it’s not going to be as expensive. It’s a very inconvenient area. It’s not a neighborhood, even though two blocks east is great.

“If you look at East End Avenue, that was created as an expensive enclave,” Klein continues, “but the prices per square foot are not as expensive as Fifth Avenue. The more central you are in the city, the better off you are.”

But the riverfront really is pretty central, especially if, like Kidman, you travel by Town Car and helicopter. It may seem like the end of the world—or at least like Jersey City—but there’s actually a dry cleaner and a parking garage on the same block as the Perry Street towers, which are just a few blocks from established shops like Magnolia Bakery, home of the city’s most celebrated cupcake, and around the corner from Wallsé, one of the area’s top-rated restaurants.

“All the old West Village people, like Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel, and Laurie Anderson, come in here, and I hear stories about before that are much different from what I see now,” says Kurt Gutenbrunner, Wallsé’s Austrian chef-owner. “Look at the traffic! When I came here in 2000, I never would have thought Jean-Georges would be down the street, and now he’ll be in the Meier building. I’m not so lonely here anymore.”

Soon he’ll also be joined by the all-star team renovating Le Zoo, at 314 West 11th Street (about three blocks from the Perry Street towers). Mario Batali and Bono are among the backers of the new restaurant, slated to reopen by next spring with chef April Bloomfield, formerly of London’s River Cafe, a posh Italian restaurant.

"You're seeing a lot of your typical Upper East Side buyers moving downtown for something hipper, cooler, with better views."

The dearth of shops and services isn’t the neighborhood’s only obstacle. The Perry Street towers do look lonely from the street, as only a handful of buyers have finished the raw apartments they purchased, and just one, on the second floor of the south tower, has installed the white shades on the floor-to-ceiling windows that are the only allowable treatments to provide privacy. The Rear Window effect already has some buyers backing out of the building. “It’s not very private,” complains one uptown socialite whose new husband bought a Meier loft before they were engaged and has since put it on the market for $2.75 million. “It’s gorgeous, but it’s more of a bachelor pad.”

Brokers—at least those who haven’t scored commissions in the towers—claim that selling unfinished apartments is a mistake, and 30 percent of the original buyers are trying to flip the Perry Street lofts, with unforeseen difficulty. Born counters that only 5 of 23 units are being flipped, and he doesn’t regret choosing to sell the spaces raw. “Very high-end users want to create their own environment, and whatever I would give them would probably not be what they want,” he says. Martha Stewart’s $6 million, 3,000-square-foot duplex sat on the market for more than a year before finally selling last week, and actor Vincent Gallo recently spent $1.6 million for a loft that the previous owner bought for $2 million—and just sold it since he doesn’t want to live next to a construction site.

Eurosmash: Architect Costas Kondylis and developer Jules Demchick created the sprawling, mixed-design Morton Square for mid- and high-end buyers. (Photo credit: Pak Fung Wong)

The third Meier-designed tower will be unveiled next spring, complete with a 35-seat screening room, a 50-foot lap pool, and a ground-level art gallery. Unlike the Perry Street buildings, there will be two apartments per floor, rather than one. The new sixteen-story tower will have 31 apartments, priced at about $2,500 per square foot. Meier is designing everything from the shower curtains to the kitchen sink.

Meier and Senbahar agreed on “an evolution from the Perry Street towers,” Senbahar says, and in deciding to let Meier finish the interior space, the developer is betting he’ll be able to charge up to 50 percent more than the Perry Street prices: “I’ve always believed that the finished product in New York City is a better product, because construction is a tough business.” Prices will start at $4 million and cap at $20 million for the 5,000-square-foot penthouse with 24-foot-high ceilings.

Senbahar closely resembles Morton Square’s architect, Costas Kondylis (who has also designed most of Donald Trump’s condo towers), and somehow it’s hardly surprising that they’re close friends who vacationed together over New Year’s in St. Bart’s. Both are born-to-the-manner Eastern Europeans, but while Senbahar is aiming for the high-end buyer, Kondylis and Morton Square’s developer, Jules Demchick of J. D. Carlisle Development Corporation, have created a compound suitable for middle-to-upper-class residents.

Just a few blocks south of the Meier towers, Morton Square stretches from West Street to Washington Street, with rounded corners that evoke an ocean liner nestled next to the venerable townhouses and shops that line Barrow and Hudson streets. It’s also barely a block from the Archive, a redbrick Romanesque Revival building, constructed in the 1890s as a warehouse for federal archives, that was converted about ten years ago into luxury apartments—complete with a DÂ’Agostino supermarket, a Crunch gym, a dry cleaner, and paparazzi-hounded tenants including Monica Lewinsky.

“Ours is a whole city block,” says Kondylis, who also designed 285 Lafayette Street four years ago, then a pioneering building and still home to such original buyers as David Bowie and Iman. “We took an urbanistic approach. What makes great urbanistic designs is to be contextual. We didn’t just want to drop objects on the site like Meier did.” Which is not to say that Kondylis doesn’t admire Meier’s design: “The standard is now set,” he declares. Kondylis used Meier’s aesthetic for inspiration, as well as the rounded corners of Chelsea’s massive Starrett-Lehigh building, home to the Martha Stewart Omnimedia mother ship.

But Kondylis didn’t copy Meier, much to his developer’s relief. The façade is composed of just 65 percent glass, and the apartments are delivered finished. “We learned from Meier’s mistakes,” says Demchick, who sports a gold pinkie ring. “We’re trying to create substance and security. Floor-to-ceiling windows are not a secure feeling.”

Brokers list Naomi Watts, Stanley Tucci, and Ally Sheedy among the celebrities who have toured the property more than once, and say that Sheedy is moving in, joining the Olsen twins, who bought a $3.5 million condo in lieu of shacking up in a Greenwich Village dorm next fall, when they plan to attend NYU.

Built on a former United Parcel Service parking lot, the development near the north end of West Street includes a fourteen-story condo tower and six townhouses with loft apartments. They’re slated to be ready by next fall. Morton Square’s sales office opened last summer, and about 62 percent of the units, ranging in size from 1,160 to 4,000 square feet, are said to have sold for $1.1 million to $4.25 million.

With its bicycle room and 24-hour valet staff, Morton Square feels more Upper West Side than West Village—which is precisely why artist Chuck Close and his wife Leslie decided to move there from Central Park West. They liked the underground parking garage, since he’s confined to a wheelchair and uses a van for transportation. But to draw buyers like Close, the creative-minded people whom the Far West Village developers are targeting, Morton Square’s developers also commissioned a lobby installation from trendy glass sculptor Tom Patti and plan to add jazzy features like handprint-recognition technology instead of keys to gain entry to the garage.

They also built West Village–style townhouses and downtown-type lofts for people wanting a Tribeca feel—which seems to be working. Andrew Marcus, a 34-year-old single chiropractor, recently bought a $1.85 million, two-bedroom condo. The river views were a major selling point, drawing him from an apartment he owns in Murray Hill. “You can’t beat being on the water,” says Marcus. “Morton Square is unobstructed. Every night you see the sunset over Jersey City. And I don’t think there’s any better place to be than the West Village, for the downtown nightlife and restaurants.”

A River Runs By It: Morton Square looks across the highway to the Hudson and points west. (Photo credit: Pak Fung Wong)

The most isolated part of the Condo Coast is the southern extremity: The Greenwich Street Project and 505 Greenwich—just two blocks east of the West Side Highway and one block from UPS’s not-exactly-eye-candy loading docks and parking lots—are pioneers in a primarily commercial area that optimistic developers and brokers have dubbed West Soho or Hudson Square. Young hipsters pack nightlife mainstays like the Ear Inn, Sway, and Don Hill’s, but there is no bakery, shoe-repair shop, or pharmacy within winter walking distance.

Around the corner from the new towers, the Vendome Group is planning a Philip Johnson–designed tower at 328 Spring Street to replace an earlier proposal that was rejected a few years ago by the Board of Standards and Appeals for being too tall.

The Jack Parker Corporation is also building a rental property on Spring Street. And Peter Moore Associates, an architecture-and-development firm, is working on two eight-story condo towers in West Soho that should break ground next fall on Spring Street and Renwick Street and on Washington Street and Canal. Prices figure to average about $900 per square foot and apartments will feature river views. “I think it’s great that developers recognize that good architecture adds value,” says Moore. “It’s better than all this stuff that looks like Battery Park City. I’m excited about what’s going on down here.”

Across from 505 Greenwich’s elaborate sales office on Spring Street is Giorgione, owned by Giorgio DeLuca (of Dean & Deluca). Sources say neighborhood resident DeLuca is now negotiating to take over the restaurant down the block, formerly known as Spring Street (and before that, Theo), between Greenwich and Washington streets—and to transform it into a restaurant and maybe a gourmet market for all the new high-end residents.

Deluca’s timing may prove better than that of his predecessor Jonathan Morr. The BondSt restaurateur had shown the foresight to shoot for three stars in West Soho with Theo—a well-received restaurant that nonetheless failed—but it turned out to be three years too early, even after its reincarnation as the truffle-heavy 325 Spring Street. “It was meant to be an up-and-coming neighborhood, but it was very, very difficult to get people down there,” says Morr. “It was like going to a different state. But the neighborhood is going to boom because of all these new buildings.”

Jane Gladstein of Metropolitan Housing Partners (Soho 25, the Sycamore), which is developing 505 Greenwich Street with financing from Apollo Real Estate, makes the lobby and courtyard planned for 505 Greenwich sound more like a New Age spa than a condo tower: Architect Gary Handel & Associates’ design features river rock, black bamboo, burnished copper, and Jerusalem limestone. The apartments will be delivered finished, with the obligatory Sub-Zero and Viking appliances, a wine cooler, ten-foot-high ceilings, and a flat-screen color-monitor security system. Prices will range from $770,000 for a 725-square-foot one-bedroom apartment to $3.5 million for a 2,500-square-foot three-bedroom penthouse.

Denise Levine, 48, and her 51-year-old husband, Jay, who both work for Con Edison, recently bought a 1,000-square-foot apartment after renting for four years in Battery Park City, where they liked living by the Hudson River.

“We love lower Manhattan, and here is a building that’s really in the middle of everything,” Denise says. “And I like the idea of a relatively youthful neighborhood. There are also nice restaurants in the area and convenient transportation. I wouldn’t say great, but convenient transportation.” The Levines even like the idea that another building is going up next door and that other condo towers are being built nearby, on the waterfront. “I think there will be more services soon in the neighborhood, more restaurants and delis. And everyone has FreshDirect now, so there’s no need for a supermarket.”

Meanwhile, 37-year-old Jonathon Carroll chose not to have a sales office at all for his Greenwich Street Project. The hip Brit, who made a pile of cash as an investment banker in London, wants to spend his money creating something artistic. With a slight resemblance to actor Paul Rudd, he looks the part of the artsy kid in the pack of silver-haired suits. This is his first development project since hiring Winka Dubbeldam in ’97 to design his massive three-bedroom loft at 50 Wooster Street (also home to Claire Danes and Donna Karan). The loft—which has been featured in photo shoots with Lauren Bush for Town & Country, a Law & Order episode, and a Lenny Kravitz album cover—doubles as his office and features a model of the new building and a sample window in the middle of his living room.

But Carroll’s probably going to sell it and move into the Greenwich Street Project’s penthouse—now that Salvi and Jay-Z have passed.

The building’s 23 units range in price from $2 million for a 2,800-square-foot loft to $6.6 million for the 3,600-square-foot penthouse with its 1,700 square feet of outdoor space. There are two elevators, a gym with a sauna and infinity pool, and a shared courtyard. Though three young families have bought lofts, most buyers, says Carroll, either have grown children or none, like Tom Schaller, a 52-year-old architect who recently bought a 2,800-square-foot loft he hopes to move into this summer, after he’s fitted it out with a massive bedroom and a guest room–art studio. He’s a fan of Dubbeldam’s and wanted to live in a building with what he deemed “real architecture.”

Schaller doesn’t expect any inconveniences or lack of amenities. “It’s not as if I’m moving to Nepal,” he says. “There are a lot of things around. But if I had kids, I might worry about it.”

Carroll says he’s sold about 70 percent of the lofts and doesn’t regret delivering them raw, even though other developers and brokers claim it’s made for slow sales.

“It’s always surprised me that New York is the most heterogeneous city there is, but in terms of where people live, it’s the opposite,” says Carroll, who likes to wear his olive-green raver sunglasses inside the apartment and says he only ventures above 14th Street to shop. “I didn’t want to make decisions on interiors for other people.” Call him earnest or disingenuous, but he also insists that money doesn’t matter. “The apartments are selling,” he says.

“We will be sold out in the next two months.” And he believes luxury buyers want to design their own homes: “People buying more than $3 million apartments want to do it their own way.”

When Carroll first bought the former food-storage lot that would become the Greenwich Street project in 2000, 505 Greenwich had not yet been planned and he hadn’t heard anything about the Meier towers. “People thought I was insane,” he says. “There was nothing there.” Frankly, he wouldn’t have minded if it had stayed that way, especially when the simultaneous construction of the adjacent buildings led to some inevitable complications—broken glass, ensuing catfights—that no one wants to talk about, at least on the record. “I would prefer if 505 weren’t there,” he admits on a recent afternoon, wearing designer army pants from Bergdorf’s. “But I knew something would go up there.”

Although Dubbeldam, who moved to New York in 1990 from the Netherlands to attend Columbia’s architecture school, has designed commercial spaces (notably the now-defunct Gear magazine’s fabulous offices), this is her first residential apartment building. The wavy-glass-curtain wall was a choice that reflects an obsession with both form and function: “I wanted the façade to have more interface with the city,” she says. (The other reason was that, at the time Carroll and Dubbeldam applied for the permits, the city’s building code mandated that a new tower had to have an incline after 85 feet in height. But the code changed between the two buildings’ ground-breakings, so 505 Greenwich is taller and straight. “It’s not fair, is it?” Dubbeldam carps.)

Dubbeldam is also moving from a Soho rental into the building this spring, and three buyers have asked her to design their raw lofts. “I love the new neighborhood,” says Dubbeldam, who found the spot for Carroll after they had unsuccessfully scoured Williamsburg, Dumbo, and the Lower East Side.

“It’s on the edge of everything, but it’s not a hot spot yet. It’s a nice, calm environment, and I can go running on the river.”

While some established area residents may resist having the Marc Jacobs set move in, the high-end developments are indisputably good news for area’s struggling small-business owners. To Javier Ortega, chef-owner of Pintxos, a tiny Basque restaurant right across the street from the two new buildings on Greenwich, the future tenants may as well be free gold. Five years ago, he came from Guatemala and opened the restaurant—but while the place fills up on weekends, he has yet to pack a crowd for a $35 dinner, including wine. Next door is Pao!, a popular Portuguese restaurant that was nevertheless almost empty at lunchtime one recent afternoon.

“Now people are coming in, filling three or four tables and looking across the street and saying, ‘Maybe I’ll become a regular customer,’ ” says Ortega. “This is very good for people like me.”

Can the new upscale owners blend into the neighborhood and, ultimately, bring growth to such an out-of-the-way area? “When I came here nine years ago, people said, ‘You’re going to die.’ Now there are five or six restaurants on the block,” says Don Hill’s eponymous owner, whose popular nightclub is adjacent to 505 Greenwich Street. “But I still don’t think families are going to move into the neighborhood. Whether the edgy artists are going to be able to come out of here, where the rent’s going to be so high, is another story. Rock artists are going to be trust-fund babies.”

Strickler also doubts the waterfront-construction boom will abate anytime soon. “It’s the wave of the future,” he notes. “Ninety percent of the warehouses are all converted already. The only thing left is the empty lots.”

What developers can do is make sure the buildings add stature to the skyline. “For the first time in New York, we finally have a real chance to show off some world-class architecture on our riverfront,” adds Related’s Blau. “It’s up to the developers to keep the bar raised high.”

February 13th, 2004, 01:19 PM
I walked by this morning (2/13/04) on the way to work and snapped a few shots:




You can see foundation work is well under way for the 3rd Perry tower.

February 13th, 2004, 09:42 PM
From the Downtown Express: http://www.downtownexpress.com/
Stated in the article is the purchase for deverlopment of the Superior Ink building. The Westbeth is the yellow building on the far left of the photo above.

Development boom near the river

By Lincoln Anderson

Touting it as the new “Condo Coast,” developers continue to chip away at the old industrial Hudson River waterfront area to replace it with a new “edifice complex” — a string of new designer buildings for an upscale market.

Even as residents and preservationists are rushing to try to landmark the waterfront and Far West Village, news came last week that Related Companies has reached an agreement to purchase the Superior Ink building on a 33,000-sq.-ft. lot at West St. between Bethune and W. 12th Sts., just north of the Westbeth artists housing complex.

In Hudson Sq., Rip Hayman, owner of the Ear Inn building on Spring St., finds all the changes to the west side bewildering, yet is taking things in stride. Around the corner on Greenwich St. two stylish, new, glass-sheathed residential buildings are being completed, the Greenwich St. Project by architect Winka Dubbledam, and the 14-story 505 Greenwich St.

Hayman said local developer Nino Vendome plans to demolish his two-story warehouse building next to the Ear Inn next month to do ground tests for his planned Philip-Johnson-designed apartment tower. Hayman said preliminary tests show bedrock is far down — 95 ft. below the surface — so extensive pile driving will be needed.

Hayman moved into the Ear Inn building in 1973 as a college student. Jokingly calling 505 Greenwich St. “Co-op City South,” he said, “It’s like New York City finally moved into Woho — West Houston.

“Literally, no building has been built around here since 1946,” he said, referring to the U.P.S. building across Houston St.

Hayman finds it hard to see the attraction of the area, wondering, “Why anybody would pay $1 million to live here when you have to walk 10 blocks to get a cup of coffee.”

Up north a little ways, the former Pathfinder socialist press building recently was demolished by developers Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias for a third Richard Meier-designed apartment tower — to complement the two just-completed ones by Meier at Perry St.

Four blocks to the south, the Olsen twins and other celebrity types are getting ready to move into Morton Sq., a sprawling condo complex on West St. built on a former truck lot.

The Superior Ink building deal was first reported by New York magazine.

David Wine, Related’s vice president of residential development, said in a telephone interview, “We’ve contracted to purchase the site. We plan to build a signature residential building. The West Village has been an incredibly vibrant and attractive residential community for a long time. This is obviously one of the last opportunities on the waterfront. It follows in the footsteps of very successful developments in the neighborhood.”

Wine said he couldn’t comment on the project’s design yet or whether it will be 100 percent market-rate rental apartments or condominiums.

“We don’t know anything about the specifics of the building at this point,” he said. “We plan to meet with people in the community as part of the process of developing the property. This has all happened very quickly — this is all very current.”

He declined to reveal the purchase price.

The site has an M-1 manufacturing zoning, which prohibits residential use. Wine said Related would try to get the property rezoned for residential use, though conceding rezoning is a lengthy process. The Superior Ink building, where ink for lithographers and printers is still produced, would not be incorporated into the project but demolished, he said.

While Wine said the new Hudson River Park, the Village segment of which opened over the summer, has helped add to the neighborhood’s allure, he downplayed its effect a bit.

“I think Hudson River Park has contributed to the appeal of the neighborhood,” he said. “I would say Hudson River Park really transformed some of the parts farther to the south. But Westbeth as an anchor — and the side streets — this part of the West Village has always been great.”

Told that residents living behind the Superior Ink building are angry their river views will be blocked and that many Villagers are opposed to high-rise development along the waterfront, Wine said, “I’m sure we’ll be listening to their concerns,” adding, “I’m sure we’re going to hear the concerns of the city.” He declined to say what the concerns of the city regarding the Greenwich Village waterfront might be.

Superior Ink said only their chief financial officer, Harold Rubin, could comment but that he was not available as of press time.

A resident of 380 W. 12th St., a 50-unit, converted former cold-storage building that is eight stories tall — after having two stories added on — said they started hearing talk a few months ago that someone was trying to buy the ink factory. They checked building records, tried to talk to Superior Ink’s owners, but couldn’t find out anything.

Superior Ink’s building is four and a half stories tall; Related’s will surely be taller.

“I’m on the fifth floor and I have a complete view of the river,” said the woman. “And it’s more than that: There’s light and air. Five apartment lines are going to be affected, and the apartments in the middle don’t have windows on the side streets.”

Aubrey Lees, former chairperson of Community Board 2 and current chairperson of the board’s Landmarks Task Force, said saving the waterfront from development will be the Task Force’s top priority when on Feb. 26 they have their first meeting with new Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairperson Robert Tierney.

“We’re trying to impress on Mr. Tierney the importance of preserving the Far West Village and waterfront,” Lees said. “The development is increasing even as we speak. It’s got to be a priority. Everybody’s been talking about it for a while, but now we’ve got to focus on it. I’m sure Mr. Tierney will be receptive about this — he lives in the Village,” she noted.

Tierney, in a statement, said: “Over the past few years, the commission has been working with community groups and local officials in the Village to address preservation interests, such as the Gansevoort Market Historic District, which was designated a few months ago. We are aware of the concerns for the waterfront area and will listen to the task force’s proposal at our next meeting.”

Also, a town hall community forum is planned, titled “Save the Far West Village From Overdevelopment,” on March 10 at 75 Morton St. at 7 p.m. Co-sponsors of the town hall are Board 2, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Greenwich Village Community Task Force and the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront and Great Port.

Zack Winestine, co-chairperson of the Task Force, said it’s crunch time for waterfront.

“I think there’s a feeling among all the activists and all the groups in the Village that this is make or break now,” Winestine said. “We’ve been worrying about the future for a long time — and the future is here.”

Winestine said the Superior Ink building, while not beautiful, is “pleasing” to the eye with its old smokestack, and he feared it will be replaced by “another nondescript tall building.” By the same token, praising the area’s existing income mix, he feared it will be replaced by a homogenous population of wealthy celebrities.

Winestine said they will focus on landmarking the waterfront and Far West Village from 14th St. to Barrow St., where people have recently noticed interior renovations are being done on the old abandoned Keller Hotel owned by the Gottlieb real estate company. However, city records don’t show the Keller as having been sold.

Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P.’s director, said they had been keeping an eye on the Superior Ink site, always fearing it could become a development site.

He said the new designer waterfront buildings are simply in the wrong location, if not downright ugly.

Of Morton Sq., he said, “It’s hideous. Morton Sq. is kind of your worst nightmare of what new development would look like.” Of the Meier Perry St. towers, he said, “Even those who call it elegant architecture would have to admit it looks woefully out of context in the Far West Village — towering over two- and three-story brick houses.”


Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.

February 14th, 2004, 01:48 AM
Getting...angry...can't stand NIMBY ass*oles...so frustrating.

March 10th, 2004, 08:15 PM
March 11, 2004


The Art of Selling Luxury Condos as Art


HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE A new Richard Meier tower, at right in this rendering, is rising on the far West Side.

IZAK SENBAHAR, a developer of luxury condominiums in Manhattan, was commenting this week that neighbors should not complain about a glass tower overlooking the Hudson River that he is planning. It is being designed by Richard Meier for a site just south of the two Perry Street buildings the architect also created.

"Simply by the fact that a new building by Richard Meier is being sold there, values will go up," Mr. Senbahar said. "Do you want to have a printer next to you or another high-class pure Richard Meier building next door?"

Before he could continue, he was interrupted by Louise Sunshine, one of New York City's most aggressive promoters of high-end real estate. "No, don't say 'high class,' " she said. "Say 'work of art.' "

In the latest marketing ploy for high-priced condos, Ms. Sunshine is trying to give real estate the cachet of fine paintings or sculpture. She plans to market the 31 apartments in the new Meier building, which broke ground in December, as "limited edition" residences. To underscore the point, Mr. Meier has commissioned clear acrylic models of the apartments — which he will sign and number to give buyers as a closing gift.

It's an all-out effort to associate the prosaic arena of real estate with the flashier art world. Ms. Sunshine is doing everything but selling Andy Warhol-style images of Mr. Meier on the Internet: a gallery opening, a brochure designed by Massimo Vignelli and, for preferred customers, tours of a warehouse where Mr. Meier keeps models and sculpture.

Mr. Meier called the marketing approach "flattering" and indicated he thought it appropriate. "There are not that many apartments like it," he said, in a conference room at his offices on 10th Avenue.

Tomorrow, Mr. Senbahar and Ms. Sunshine will inaugurate their campaign with a party for those attending the Armory Show, one of the world's largest art fairs, which opens tomorrow in Manhattan. The crowd, which is promised to include only 20 real estate brokers out of the 350 people invited, can sip cocktails in the Charles Street Gallery — essentially a glorified real estate sales office, which contractors were scrambling to finish just days ago. On display will be renderings of the new Meier building and seven of the acrylic models.

In addition, Mr. Meier, who has previously designed only 18 single-family houses, has agreed to display models of some of those rarities at the new "gallery," along with selections from his sculpture collection.

The marketing pitch is part of Ms. Sunshine's broader attempt to link real estate and art in the minds of wealthy buyers. As part of a campaign to which she has given the slogan "Great Homes and Great Art Live Together," she has enlisted gallery owners willing to lend artworks to display in unsold apartments or in advertisements.

In the case of Mr. Meier, Ms. Sunshine said she is showcasing the new building amid examples of his past work to attract "Richard Meier devotees." She said she believed such buyers would pay a premium to live in an apartment designed by the architect of the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona.

Mr. Senbahar, who with a partner, Simon Elias, is spending $100 million on the tower, plans to ask at least $2,500 a square foot, more than double the $1,268 average per-square-foot price for luxury real estate in Manhattan in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Miller Samuel Inc., a New York-based appraisal firm.

With its glass facade, the new building, which is scheduled to be finished in March next year, will share an aesthetic with the two Meier towers on Perry Street. But where apartments in them were sold as raw space for buyers to customize, the new building has interiors and fixtures designed or selected by Mr. Meier.

The bathrooms, for example, will have sinks and countertops of Surell, a synthetic material that can easily be molded, unlike the traditional marble or limestone chosen by architects in luxury buildings. "It is like lacquer, but smoother," Mr. Meier said, stroking the surface of a black lacquer conference table he designed. "It is not quite as cold as stone."

He has also designed common amenities for the building, including a 50-foot pool, a fitness room, a wine cellar and a screening room with the same chairs he designed for the Getty Center.

Mr. Meier is not, however, customizing each apartment. And because the building bears more than a slight resemblance to its two neighbors to the north, some local critics question how unique the new units are. "It seems a little ironic that these are being sold as limited edition Meier originals when it is now the third of the same tower, more or less," said Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which believes that the Meier towers do not fit in with older buildings in the neighborhood.

For some in the art world, the marketing pitch seems disingenuous. "This is really stretching it quite a ways," said Richard Gray, an owner of the Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago and New York and the former president of the Art Dealers Association of America. "It's advertising license. I don't think it has the attributes that allow it to be seriously considered as a rare work of art."

But others saw it as a clever way to package Mr. Meier's work as a brand that some luxury home buyers will covet. "It's not just about buying the building but the entire aesthetic and atmosphere," said Toshiko Mori, the chairwoman of the Harvard Design School.

Other developers have selected star architects to design their condominiums. At Beacon Court, a tower being built on top of the new Bloomberg headquarters, the developer, Vornado Realty, has retained Cesar Pelli; RFR Davis, which has developed condos at 425 Fifth Avenue and the Impala on East 76th Street, hired Michael Graves.

With prices in Manhattan skyrocketing, buyers expect more glamour in their homes. "Little by little, the bar keeps being raised," said Adrienne Albert, president of Marketing Directors, which helps developers sell high-priced real estate. "In order for people to understand if that's the right building for them to live in, they expect it to be more and more interesting and exciting."

For Ms. Sunshine, who learned her trade as an apprentice to Donald Trump, the pitch for the new Meier building fits with her idea that real estate and art make natural partners. In a coming ad for a penthouse at the Time Warner Center, for example, she will use digital images of a Willem de Kooning painting, a Matisse sculpture and a 19th-century African sculpture, all borrowed from C&M Arts, a Manhattan gallery.

Robert Mnuchin, the owner of C&M, said it was like "creating a mini-exhibition." Ms. Sunshine said she hoped to install art in other apartments she is trying to sell, including perhaps Mr. Meier's.

For now, she said, he is the only architect getting the full star treatment. Although she represents Mr. Pelli's Beacon Court, for example, there are no plans to sell limited-edition Pelli apartments or to open an ersatz art gallery in his honor.

Mr. Senbahar, the developer of the new Meier building, said most buildings do not qualify as art. "You can't give it a couple of bricks and two windows and call it art," he said.

A selling point is that Mr. Meier has designed the kitchens, at back, right, and the pool, far right.

The architect, Richard Meier.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

TLOZ Link5
March 10th, 2004, 08:29 PM
If ever there was proof that architecture is returning to New York City, Perry West is it.

March 10th, 2004, 09:01 PM
It's nice, but not as elegant as Perry West. Somehow, three doesn't look as good as two.

I was hoping for something related, but different - a little disappointed.

March 11th, 2004, 06:33 PM
I'd hate to be in the middle tower. You have paid through the nose, and now your Northern and Southern exposures are the architectural equivalent of looking into a mirror.

March 12th, 2004, 12:04 AM
Maybe if it was black, it would look better, not so redundant.

TLOZ Link5
March 12th, 2004, 01:09 AM
Hooray. Now it's Perry-Charles West.

I have to agree that this is going to look a little boring where the original two were a major statement.

April 24th, 2004, 10:56 AM

Meier as the new Moses: Villagers ratchet up anti-development fight

By Lincoln Anderson


Vowing to stop the building juggernaut that seemingly overnight has reshaped the Far West Village waterfront into the new so-called “Gold Coast,” over 250 residents joined politicians and preservationists in a rally last Sunday against overdevelopment.

The demonstrators gathered on Charles St. by the construction site of the third luxury apartment tower on the waterfront designed by famed architect Richard Meier. The two other 16-story, Meier towers, with green-tinted glass and white metal, as the third will have, flank Perry St. The $5 million and $6 million condos offering sunset views of the new Hudson River Park have been scooped up by the likes of Calvin Klein and Martha Stewart.

“These people don’t want to make a profit — they want to make a killing,” Stu Waldman, of the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront, told the crowd.

Although the challenge seems daunting — five more high-rises are reportedly in the works within the 12-block area — Waldman recalled past battles where Villagers fought the power and, against all odds, won.
“Forty years ago, we took on Robert Moses. He was supposed to be unstoppable,” Waldman said, referring to the planning czar’s urban renewal and highway schemes that would have decimated and divided the Village. “Thirty years ago, we took on the governor and the mayor and we defeated Westway…. Greenwich Village is once again pissed off!”

Turning arch developer Donald Trump’s “Apprentice” catchphrase around, Waldman warned, “I have two words for you, developers — You’re fired!”

“How many people here think Morton Sq. is a contribution to the neighborhood?” Zack Winestine, co-chairperson of the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, asked of the new 14-story, 283-unit residential development at Morton and West Sts.

“Boooooo!” hooted the protesters.

“The reason this neighborhood is so hot is because people have fought for 40 years to keep it low scale,” Weinstein said. “The developers are profiting from the hard work of this community — and they’re giving nothing back.”

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, stressed it’s been 35 years since the 1969 designation of the Greenwich Village Historic District, and that the wait to expand protections to the Far West Village has been more than long enough.

The area targeted for historic district designation runs from Horatio St. — the southern boundary of the newly approved Gansevoort Market Historic District — to Barrow St., and west of Washington and Greenwich Sts. — the eastern border of the Greenwich Village Historic District.

On the median across West St., a young Libertarian from the Lower East Side drew protesters’ wrath as he shouted into a bullhorn and held a sign reading “Let People Develop Their Land And Lives.” He claimed to be there on his own, but someone at the rally said he knew him and alleged having recently seen him with some developers at Lotus nightclub.

Led by Berman, State Senator Tom Duane and Councilmember Christine Quinn, the rally made its way down Washington St. to Weehawken St.

“Mayor Mike, we can’t wait! Save our neighborhood before it’s too late,” they chanted.

A small historic lane with 19th-century houses and former stables, Weehawken St. was once a market area for goods ferried from New Jersey. Like the rest of the former Village working waterfront, it could potentially be razed at a minute’s notice for new development.

After the protesters had funneled into the one-block-long street, from which the Meier towers were still clearly in view above the low rooftops, Berman reminded everyone the next action will be a rally on City Hall’s steps on Sun., May 23, at 2 p.m.

People filled out red postcards to Mayor Bloomberg; Robert Tierney, chairperson of the Landmarks Preservation Commission; and Amanda Burden, chairperson of the City Planning Commission. These were collected in garbage bags and will add to the over 1,500 postcards already sent to City Hall urging that a combination of landmarking and zoning protections be quickly extended to the Far West Village.

Berman said the City Hall demonstration is “to bring the message home that we will not rest until our neighborhood is protected. We are going to keep it going.

“Without landmarking changes, without zoning changes, this could be another Meier tower — like the one you see in the distance,” Berman warned.

“Booooooooo!” answered the crowd.

Said Duane, “The reason that people love living in Greenwich Village is because it’s low rise and low scale. And if they don’t act soon, they’re going to destroy Greenwich Village.”

The Villager is published by
Community Media LLC.

April 24th, 2004, 11:20 AM
^What a load of crapola from a news rag known for such. :roll:

April 24th, 2004, 12:45 PM
Is this the same group that kept putting up roadblocks to the Hudson River Park development?

April 24th, 2004, 12:54 PM
In the village its always the same small group of "activists" living in their rent controlled apartments with too much time on their hands that are against everything. Definitely BANANAs as oppossed to NIMBYs.

Meanwhile Tommy Duane is busy handing out "perks" to them from his subsidized home in Penn South. Its loathsome IMO and I'm generally considered to be pretty far left.

TLOZ Link5
April 24th, 2004, 12:55 PM
Is this the same group that kept putting up roadblocks to the Hudson River Park development?

People actually do that?

April 24th, 2004, 02:33 PM
Meanwhile Tommy Duane is busy handing out "perks" to them from his subsidized home in Penn South. Its loathsome IMO and I'm generally considered to be pretty far left.

I believe supporting open development is more of a leftist philosophy. Just because it’s the village, doesn’t mean the mindset is overwhelmingly liberal, in this case its self-serving conservatism.

April 24th, 2004, 02:44 PM
I'm not going to go against the very people that Live there and don't want to see it overdeveloped just for a so-so building by an architect with a famous name. I'm surprised at his lack of creativity for building #3.

April 24th, 2004, 07:52 PM
I believe supporting open development is more of a leftist philosophy. Just because it’s the village, doesn’t mean the mindset is overwhelmingly liberal, in this case its self-serving conservatism.

While you a right that it is self-serving conservatism, it has been experience that the little group in the village that is always protesting something are self-identifying as far left and see this "crusade" as the moral equivalent of being against the was in Vietnam.

I'm not going to go against the very people that Live there and don't want to see it overdeveloped just for a so-so building by an architect with a famous name. I'm surprised at his lack of creativity for building #3.

While I agree the building is just so-so, I am less convinced that it is anything more than a vocal minority that doesn't want to see it built. I am sure the majority is perfectly fine with it.

April 27th, 2004, 05:21 PM
Richard Meier Designing Another Luxury Tower on New York's Hudson River

April 27, 2004

Images Courtesy Richard Meier & Partners

Fresh off the completion of his luxury condominiums on Perry Street along the Hudson River, Richard Meier is planning a similar luxury hi-rise on New York’s western waterfront.

The new 16-floor, 31 unit condo tower, at 165 Charles Street, will very closely resemble the architects’ designs at 173-176 Perry, just down the block. Both will be tall, minimalist luxury buildings made primarily of glazed glass and steel. Unlike those in the other project, Meier will also be designing the 11 to 22 foot tall interiors for these buildings. This means elements like leather seats similar to those Meier designed for the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The tower’s ground floor will also feature over 1500 square-feet of commercial space.

"Charles Street gives us the opportunity to further develop and evolve the design of my first two towers," says Meier. "It’s like music. One note is nice, but as you add notes you can create something different." Completion is scheduled for Spring, 2005.

Sam Lubell


April 27th, 2004, 06:03 PM
Gotta love that penthouse. :)

TLOZ Link5
April 27th, 2004, 06:31 PM
So long as they can be distinguishable. And I'm glad that there will be retail space.

May 10th, 2004, 11:31 AM
Rich and famous fall out of love with the 'Faulty Towers' of New York

By Charles Laurence in New York

(Filed: 09/05/2004)

Draped in glass with a soft aquamarine tint, and commanding uninterrupted views of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, the twin towers on Manhattan's waterside Perry Street should rank among the most desirable homes on earth.

The towers were designed by the leading architect Richard Meier, and a who's who of the rich and famous - including Calvin Klein, the actors Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and the disgraced home guru Martha Stewart - rushed to buy flats at $1,000 per square foot.

Martha Stewart paid $6 million for two floors of the north tower
Klein, the designer, paid $20 million (£11.2 million) to buy and decorate a three-floor penthouse in the south tower, making him the biggest investor in the project. Before signing the cheque, he even went up in a helicopter to check out his views.

For four years the apartments have been the talk of the town, ever since New Yorkers driving past the towers on the banks of the Hudson first saw their revolutionary glass "curtain" walls, and wondered what it might be like to live with the glitterati in such a place.

Yesterday, they got an answer when the new issue of Vanity Fair landed on the news stands with a shocking headline: Faulty Towers.

There is, it turns out, a giddy price to pay for architectural fabulousness and social prestige. The monthly service charge for doormen and cleaning has recently doubled from $2,000 to $4,000 (£2,200) - a significant increase even for multi-millionaires.

Worse still, the very fabric of the glass-clad apartments appears to be failing. According to the increasingly irritable apartment owners, the ceilings leak, the heating fails and the balcony floors buckle. Perhaps inevitably, lawyers are said to be circling, ready to deal with residents' grievances. As if Ms Stewart, who paid $6 million (£3.3 million) for the top two floors of the north tower, did not have enough to cope with after her recent conviction for obstructing justice, she has also suffered flood damage.

In a recent rainstorm, the magazine claims, her balcony overflowed, sending water cascading down the tower. Six levels below, Joe Castaldo, owner of the Style Council textile company, discovered that his expensive rosewood floor was so badly damaged in the downpour that it had to be ripped up and replaced. Some apartments are already on to their third new floor, the magazine claims.

"You won't believe what's going on in these buildings. It's a microcosm of everything ugly in human beings - beautiful, beautiful architecture desecrated by scandal, greed and gluttony," Vincent Gallo, the film-maker and actor, told Vanity Fair.

The towers were developed by the team that made a fortune in the 1990s with a series of Manhattan "boutique" hotels.

"It felt like Star Trek: you know, going where no man has gone before," said Richard Born, one of the developers.

Yet the excited owners were later taken aback to discover that the building's plumbing was set in concrete. They could not so much as move a sink or a bidet without drilling a hole in their downstairs neighbour's ceiling.

When Michael Jackson, the British-born head of Universal Television and former chief executive of Channel Four, wanted to do just that, Mr Gallo - whose own apartment was newly decorated - firmly said "No". Many other residents have taken the same line.

Paul Sinclaire, a friend of Calvin Klein, was the first to move in and had to walk a plank over an open drain to reach his door. When winter came, he discovered that the builders had forgotten to fit wall insulation. It was so cold that he "could not get out of bed".

According to Vanity Fair, he was offered a discount to move temporarily into a hotel. While he was there, he says, someone stole his watch and television set. He also discovered that the building's doorman had been charging curious tourists to tour his home.

Mr Castaldo recalled how he stood by his glorious glass wall one morning, admiring the rain streaming down it like a waterfall - and then reaching out a hand to discover that the water was flowing inside. "I fail to see how this is not going to go before Attorney General Eliot Spitzer," he said, referring to the legal official responsible for property laws and disputes.

The problems continued. A gunman who has never been caught began taking potshots at the towers. Though the glass panels cracked, bullets did not penetrate them.

It was enough to make even the most modest of homeowners complain, and the residents of the Perry Street towers are hardly that.

Many had already made exceptional demands of the developers. Kidman, for example, begged them to install a secret passage between her apartment and the parking garage next door so that she need never appear in public. The request was turned down.

Ms Stewart demanded that a special area be designated where her limousine drivers could wait for her. She, too, was refused and is now trying to sell her penthouse for $7.2 million. As for Klein, he has allegedly been pushing for doormen to be armed, for staff to wear designer uniforms, and for the gym to be moved to create more space for residents' mailboxes. Mr Gallo told the magazine: "I do object if Calvin suddenly wants an armed doorman, and I'm supposed to pay for it." Other concerns sound more petty. There have been complaints, for example, that Rita Schrager - the former wife of the hotelier Ian Schrager - has defied house rules that preserve the uniform appearance of the glass walls by hanging up white curtains.

More and more original residents are moving out. According to estate agents, they may sell in disgust but they should make a profit. The design of the buildings still mesmerises New Yorkers, and the value of the apartments is assured.

"The waterfront is becoming the new Fifth Avenue," confirmed Ron Teitelbaum, an estate agent. Some comfort, at least, for the disgruntled Perry Street residents.


May 10th, 2004, 01:03 PM

As if performance is defined by the waterfront as a stage... :roll:

May 10th, 2004, 01:59 PM
Hold on- I have to go shed a tear for them.

TLOZ Link5
May 10th, 2004, 03:52 PM
I'm most disturbed by the gunman. :shock:

May 10th, 2004, 05:37 PM
Hold on- I have to go shed a tear for them.

C'mon, they may be rich, etc. but to pay all that money and get shit is not right. I hate lawsuits, but these developers need to have their hand forced if they don't ante up. A friggin' $1,000/ft. for windows and concrete, it better be perfect.

May 10th, 2004, 07:04 PM
The article is in error.

It's $2000/sq ft. :P

May 11th, 2004, 12:40 AM
I kinda thought that, since many areas of the city avg. that per sq. ft.


May 27th, 2004, 07:54 AM
165 Charles Street is still a Meier building and probably better than we all thought:


June 7th, 2004, 11:33 AM
June 6, 2004


After Next-Door Angst, Sales Begin at New Meier Tower


THE celebrity occupation of the green-glass condos designed by Richard Meier at West and Perry Streets has proceeded with a pleasing and well-documented Sturm und Drang.

Now that a third, nearly identical but larger building is rising just to the south, designed by Mr. Meier and paid for by a rival developer, you might say that in the world of star-powered architecture, if it's worth overdoing, it's worth doing over.

The new tower at 165 Charles Street will be slightly taller and wider than its two neighbors, and the apartments will cost about 25 percent more, ranging from $1.15 million for a 682-square-foot studio to $18.5 million for the duplex penthouse, all 4,551 square feet of it.

The difference is that the new tower will have interiors designed by Mr. Meier, down to their polished wenge wood floors, while the Perry Street condos were delivered to buyers like Calvin Klein, Nicole Kidman and Martha Stewart as raw space.

In the five weeks since state approval of the new project's offering plan, the Sunshine Group, exclusive marketing agent for the 16-story tower, has sold 9 of the 31 apartments.

That includes the studio and several two- and three-bedroom units.

The developers, Izak Senbahar, 45, and Simon Elias, 47, refused to name the buyers.

When the new tenants move in next May, they will have access to amenities not available to their next-door neighbors, such as a pool and wine storage units whose 5.65 square feet can be had for $30,000.

For some time, the low, steady rumble of celebrity umbrage-taking has emanated from the Perry Street towers, where the famous are famously unhappy and the prospect of the view-gobbling parvenu soon to be looming to the south is just another irritant added to a laundry list of plumbing glitches and neighborly rows.

Mr. Senbahar told how, last Christmas on the beach in St. Bart's, he ran into the restaurateur Phil Suarez, who owns the Perry Street apartment below Ms. Kidman. "He said, `You're blocking my view,' " Mr. Senbahar recalled. Mr. Senbahar shrugged. "It's New York. If you want somebody not to block your views, you've got to buy the whole town."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

June 7th, 2004, 11:54 AM
When the new tenants move in next May, they will have access to amenities not available to their next-door neighbors, such as a pool and wine storage units whose 5.65 square feet can be had for $30,000.

I wonder what Calvin Klein, Nicole Kidman and Martha Stewart (She doesn't have to think too much) think about this. :roll:

TLOZ Link5
June 10th, 2004, 03:02 PM
The first floor of 165 Charles is up.

June 10th, 2004, 03:11 PM
I was pretty surprised to see that it is a different developer, using the same architect, asking for the same style, but upping the ante on amenities. There's some genius in that plan.

June 10th, 2004, 03:37 PM
About a month ago, I was driving my friend's car (1991, Lexus) and I stop at west st and charles st (the light just turn yellow) just to look at the constructuin and the other new buildings when a Coca-Cola truck came behind me and hit me on the rear of the car.

Was it my fault? or the Coca-Cola truck drivers looking at some girls (or guys) running in the park and not paying attention. :roll:

June 16th, 2004, 02:04 AM
Stern interesting webpage of 165 Charles St.

June 17th, 2004, 10:01 PM
Discussion of 165 Charles Street will continue in this thread (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?p=37129).

June 22nd, 2004, 11:17 AM
Richard Meier Project Reportedly Hit With Delays
Timing One of Biggest Risks in Buying New

By Melissa Dehncke-McGill
June 2004

One of the biggest risks of buying into a new development is timing.

Projects can be delayed by months or years, and in some cases people buying into new developments have to move twice because the building isn’t ready.

The Richard Meier towers at 173-176 Perry Street might be the most prominent current example of this problem, as the project is beset with reports of construction delays and water leaks.

Martha Stewart, Nicole Kidman and Calvin Klein are all reportedly looking to sell their unoccupied units in the building.

"They had this great concept to build an incredibly dramatic space that would be sold as rough space to let the buyers finish them. But they had to cooperate with each other, for example, in going through the ceiling for plumbing," said Lynn Sullivan of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy. "It was a great idea in theory that hasn’t been nearly as great in practice."

Now with Meier’s third building going up at 165 Charles Street, the space will be completely finished, with the architect doing everything right down to the door knobs.

For new construction, buyers have learned the hard way that any number of complications can arise. A tough winter can cause building delays. In an older building undergoing a gut renovation, delays can crop up because the construction crew doesn’t know what it will find.

Resale buyers don’t face the same prospect of move-in delays. "If it’s a resale, there is a closing and it cannot vary by more than 30 days," said Helene Luchnick of Douglas Elliman.

But there is still the return on investment to consider when buying into a new development - even the Perry Street towers.

Stewart paid $6 million four years ago and is now asking $7.2 million for her unoccupied penthouse. Klein’s vacant triplex has undergone a bigger markup, with an asking price of $19.5 million, up from the $14 million he paid for it in 2000. Kidman hasn’t officially listed her property yet.

Copyright 2003-2004 The Real Deal.

June 22nd, 2004, 12:09 PM
Martha Stewart, Nicole Kidman and Calvin Klein are all reportedly looking to sell their unoccupied units in the building.

I hate to say it but once they are gone the magic is gone for the building's prestige.

June 29th, 2004, 05:17 PM
They will soon have a new perfect sister:


September 6th, 2005, 11:13 PM
September 7, 2005
Showmanship Yields to Elegance

SOMETIMES the best way to move forward is to revisit the past. Sometimes the loudest statements are the quietest ones, made without undue fuss, in precise gestures. At his new restaurant, Perry St., Jean-Georges Vongerichten circles back, shuts up and cooks, electing earnestness over irony, controlled flourishes over cluttered frippery. In doing so he gives fresh currency to his stature as one of the most talented chefs at work in this country. He also gives his doubters, who had grown legion, reason to believe.

For all his accolades and wealth, Mr. Vongerichten at this moment has something to prove, and Perry St. is more than just another potentially lucrative application of the Jean-Georges brand. It's a studied retreat from, and maybe even an act of amends for, the high-concept flamboyance of 66, Spice Market and V Steakhouse, the New York restaurants he opened between 2002 and 2004.

All three have their significant merits and pleasures - or at least the first two of them do - but they rely as heavily on the novelty of their overarching conceits (Chinese goes sexy, the steakhouse does sarcasm) as they do on what happens in the kitchen. It was Jean-Georges the high-wire entrepreneur more than Jean-Georges the culinary genius who sired them. They have vacuous showmanship in their DNA.

Perry St. doesn't. This one is from the heart, not the head. And while it is undeniably flawed and surprisingly inconsistent, it's cause for celebration, chiefly because it marks Mr. Vongerichten's return to the straightforwardness of Jo Jo, which he opened in 1991, and of his flagship, Jean Georges, which came along in 1997.

Not since then has he produced a New York restaurant as tidily reflective of his culinary strengths and sensibility as Perry St. The expertly orchestrated interplay of flavors and yin-yang balance of effects in many of the dishes here are classic Jean-Georges, as are the clarity and lightness of his sauces and broths, which cast the stocks of previous eras as lumbering dinosaurs.

For much of the summer the restaurant served as an amuse-bouche a version of gazpacho made with raspberry, cucumber, red and orange bell pepper, ginger, red wine vinegar and olive oil, discrete beads of which floated like a shiny archipelago on a ruby sea. The sweetness of the fruit set the stage for, then ceded it to, the sourness and gentle heat of other players, which arrived as a second wave, a delayed epiphany. The transition and contrast were transfixing.

Mr. Vongerichten has mastered what might be called time-release gastronomy. An appetizer salad of frisée, goat cheese and pickled peach nailed a sweet heat that traveled a path similar to the gazpacho's: a cool front followed by a spike in the temperature, this time courtesy of crystallized wasabi.

But sometimes a single sensation slowly intensified. An appetizer of bluefin tuna in a fried crust of Japanese rice crackers came with a salmon-colored, scallion-studded mayonnaise flavored with dashi, sriracha and various citrus juices. The controlled fire sparked by the scallions and sriracha blazed stronger in the middle of each bite than at the beginning and stronger still at the end. But it never singed.

Roasted chicken rested in a broth made from chicken wings smoked with hickory, mesquite and cherry wood. The smokiness of that potion expanded with - and even within - each bite, and was cleverly offset by sweet kernels of fresh corn.

The restaurant's ambience is as pruned of needless embellishment as the food. Perry St. has been decorated in a sleek contemporary vein and a subdued palette of white, beiges and grays, neither of which competes with the charmed setting. Located on the ground floor of one of the new West Village high-rises designed by Richard Meier, the restaurant has views of the Hudson River, the joggers and cyclists on its edge and, at dusk, the setting sun. Imagine some palm trees in the foreground and this could be coastal California. It feels that fixed on a watery horizon, that luminous and laid back.

It also feels easy and easygoing, and in that sense represents another considered attempt, in these less formal times, to preserve the core pleasures of fine dining while jettisoning much of the ceremony and some of the expense. So there is ample elbow room and attentive service but only one type of bread and butter at the beginning, only a token cluster of petit fours at the end, and - an informality too far - brown paper place mats on the tables. It takes little time to peruse the concise wine list and almost none to absorb the menu: eight appetizers, eight entrees and five desserts. Given the winnowed options, there are too many disappointing dishes. An heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad was beautiful to behold but merely pleasant to eat. Steamed black bass was dressed in a basil vinaigrette so tart it suggested some kind of accident behind the scenes. So I tried this entree again on a subsequent night: still too tart, though appreciably less so.

Other dishes also varied from visit to visit, the ginger vinaigrette on poached lobster proving sweeter one time than another, the dill broth around a gorgeous crop of summer vegetables proving sharper. Although Mr. Vongerichten's condominium apartment is just upstairs on the seventh floor and he has been spending much of his time in the kitchen here, it could use more discipline.

But when Perry St. scores, it scores much, much bigger than most restaurants, and it scores on Mr. Vongerichten's instinct for flavor and texture combinations, his usually keen sense of equilibrium and of course his recruitment of traditions and ingredients from Asia, which seduced him before others.

He tempts yawns by including grilled beef tenderloin among the entrees, but then sends it to the table with an onion jam and a sour cherry mustard that was like a less zingy horseradish sauce, a less cloying steak sauce. It was just right.

In dish after dish, he let crunchiness frame succulence or thrust creaminess into relief. It happened with that tuna appetizer and with an appetizer of red snapper sashimi, the soft petals of fish hooded with strands of deep-fried snapper skin, fleur de sel, Thai chili pepper and lemon, which served as a counterpoint to a pool of olive oil below the fish.

It happened as well with my favorite of the desserts, a bowl of chocolate pudding distinguished by a cover of crystallized violet and a pedestal of chocolate sponge cake. Johnny Iuzzini, the pastry chef at Jean Georges, shares credit with Mr. Vongerichten for the last act of a meal at Perry St., a finish that was usually happy and never histrionic, much like everything that preceded and surrounded it.

Mr. Vongerichten has chosen a new tower of spare elegance in which to settle down - in more ways than one. He's back from the carnival. It's a welcome homecoming.

Perry St.


176 Perry Street (West Street), West Village; (212) 352-1900.

ATMOSPHERE About 55 well-spaced seats for dining, plus separate bar and lounge areas, in a sparely elegant, lulling room with a subdued palette, lots of light and views of the Hudson River.


RECOMMENDED DISHES Frisée salad with pickled peach and crystallized wasabi; red snapper sashimi; black pepper crab dumplings; rice cracker crusted tuna; crunchy rabbit; chicken in smoked chicken broth; grilled tenderloin; chocolate pudding; berry soup with Champagne.

WINE LIST International and relatively concise, with many affordable bottles.

PRICE RANGE Appetizers, $10.50 to $15; entrees, $22 to $38; desserts, $9.

HOURS Noon to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. daily, beginning Sept. 11.

RESERVATIONS For prime dinner times, call exactly a month in advance.

CREDIT CARDS All major cards.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Entrance, dining room and accessible restrooms at street level.

(None) Poor to satisfactory
* Good
** Very good
*** Excellent
**** Extraordinary
Ratings reflect the reviewer's reaction to food ambience and service, with price taken into consideration. Menu listings and prices are subject to change.

September 6th, 2005, 11:49 PM
^ I wonder if you can get take-out if you live in the towers?

January 22nd, 2006, 06:32 PM
Discussion of 165 Charles Street will continue in this thread (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?p=37129).

Best thing Meier has done in awhile - he has finally dropped the same five old moves he 's been using for decades and tried something trully modern and elegant (even if absurd - ie; west facing all glass facades!).

January 22nd, 2006, 06:33 PM
^ I wonder if you can get take-out if you live in the towers?

take-out girls, I'm sure - they would make great bachelor pads!!!!!!!!

January 25th, 2007, 02:31 AM
these buildings do look nice from the river...

April 22nd, 2007, 09:58 PM
Pool reflections in front of Perry West towers.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/211/469272541_544129db1e_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/groups/a/)

April 23rd, 2007, 10:40 AM
Very nice...I didn't even know the reflecting pool was there.

April 23rd, 2007, 12:39 PM
Looking at the broader, pnoramic pictures I can't help but notice that teh brick buildigns that frame the new towers lend an air of history and 'New York'-ness. I think if you had a whole shoreline of glass towers it would look banal.

July 10th, 2007, 06:23 PM
According to neighborhood talk, Molly Bender (administrator of the Gottlieb estate ...see below) just passed away at 84. Gottlieb reportedly has not been renewing any leases for a while. Seems like something is brewing....Does anyone know more????

(http://www.observer.com/node/42325) $100 Million Grandmama Rules Greenwich Village Empire
While William Gottlieb, the well-known Greenwich Village and meatpacking district landlord, was driving around the neighborhood in his old, battered station wagon and conducting his tough negotiating sessions in local diners, his older sister was in the office making sure the bills were paid on time.
Mollie Bender, 77, had been her brother's constant office companion for most of 20 years, helping her brother collect rent checks and attend to the details of his 100-building empire. With Gottlieb's death on Oct. 5, that entire empire and its related holdings–estimated at anywhere from $100 to $300 million–is about to pass to his older sister. After a brief but bitter first-round probate battle involving another Gottlieb sibling and the sudden emergence of a will, Surrogate Renee R. Roth of County Surrogate's Court in Manhattan signed an order on Nov. 18 designating Mrs. Bender administrator of the estate. The will, still to be probated, names her sole heir. That makes Mrs. Bender, a petite, soft-spoken grandmother of three, responsible for William Gottlieb Real Estate, one of the largest real estate empires in Manhattan, bigger in acreage than the holdings of Samuel Lefrak or Donald Trump, according to Andrew Gerringer, a broker for Douglas Elliman....
see also....
Bill Gottlieb's Secret: Developers Descend on His Vast Village Empire

August 23rd, 2007, 09:03 PM
... Molly Bender (administrator of the Gottlieb estate ...) just passed away at 84.

... Does anyone know more????

Gottlieb family feuds over estate

NY DAILY NEWS (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/08/23/2007-08-23_gottlieb_family_feuds_over_estate.html)
Tracy Connor
August 23rd 2007

A family feud has erupted over the billion-dollar estate of property mogul William Gottlieb, who left 150 buildings in Greenwich Village and Chelsea when he died seven years ago.

The eccentric investor's sister, Mollie Bender, had control of the vast holdings, but she died last month.

Now there's a legal battle brewing that pits Bender's son, Neil, against his own sister, Cheryl Dier, and her son, Michael Corbett.

While Neil Bender inherited the Gottlieb portfolio from his mother, Dier and Corbett got nothing.

They have filed suit in Surrogate's Court contesting the will and alleging that Neil Bender used "undue influence" to persuade his mother to disinherit them.

A spokeswoman for Neil Bender called the claim "absolutely ludicrous and categorically untrue."

"Sadly, it is not surprising that they are resorting to spreading lies about their own family for personal gain," the spokeswoman, Lin-Hua Wu, told the Daily News yesterday.

"Cheryl and her son have had a strained relationship with Mollie, [her husband] Irving and Neil for many decades, and their behavior was a great source of pain and sadness throughout her life," Wu said.

The dispute involves a number of historic buildings - including homes linked to writers Dylan Thomas and Henry James, and the triangular Northern Dispensary on Waverly Place, where Edgar Allan Poe was once a patient.

© Copyright 2007 NYDailyNews.com.

August 24th, 2007, 09:36 AM
Gottlieb family feuds over estate

They have filed suit in Surrogate's Court contesting the will and alleging that Neil Bender used "undue influence" to persuade his mother to disinherit them.

© Copyright 2007 NYDailyNews.com.

What - in the name of legal mumbo jumbo - is undue influence.

August 24th, 2007, 10:23 AM
A family fights over the soul of Greenwich Village

NY DAILY NEWS (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/08/24/2007-08-24_a_family_fights_over_the_soul_of_greenwi.html)
August 24th 2007

It's the latest bitter inheritance battle to befall one of New York's most notable families but it is not all about cash - it's also about historical preservation.

That's the claim being made by a relative of the late William Gottlieb as she battles her own brother over who should manage the treasure trove of properties he left behind.

Gottlieb's niece Cheryl Dier, joined by her son Michael Corbett, says she wants to fulfill the eccentric investor's dream of providing for the poor, using his billion-dollar fortune.

She claims West Village heirlooms like the Northern Dispensary on Waverly Place have fallen into disrepair since Gottlieb's estate was inherited by his sister Mollie Bender in 1999.

In trying to stake a claim to the properties, Dier is battling her brother Neil Bender, who inherited Gottlieb's estate when their mother Mollie died last month.

The portfolio of properties - estimated to contain about 185 buildings - were valued at $1 billion in 2000 and inherited by Mollie when Gottlieb died in 1999.

"Many of these buildings today are not up to code, the Northern Dispensary should never again be an eyesore to the community," Michael Corbett said.

"This heated battle should have been averted," he said. "Uncle Billy and Grandma Mollie both wanted the family to be together."

Mollie managed the assets with Neil. Dier and Corbett have filed suit in Surrogate's Court contesting the will and alleging Neil Bender used "undue influence" to persuade his mother to disinherit them.

Lin-Hua Wu, a spokeswoman for William Gottlieb Real Estate, rejected the claim that Mollie Bender could be influenced, calling it "completely ludicrous and categorically untrue."

"Only in the past year did she agree to a six-day-a-week work schedule, which she kept up until the time of her passing," the family wrote in a memorial to Mollie.

Andrew Berman, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation executive director, has been following the fate of the Gottlieb family buildings over the years.

"Yes, there have been some serious concerns about the possible deterioration of some very important historic buildings that the Gottliebs owned," he said.

"But there has also been some renovation and rehabilitation work being done to restore the buildings."

The buildings in the family estate include homes linked to writers Dylan Thomas and Henry James as well as numerous sites in the historic Gansevoort Market District.

© Copyright 2007 NYDailyNews.com

September 6th, 2007, 10:44 PM
What we are hearing is..... That 100's of Gottlieb leases are ending, and so far they've refused to return any calls, period..... no leases are being renewed and long-time tenants are getting bills for doubled rents (and more)....looks like a wholesale plan to force tenants out of their buildings has started.....

September 6th, 2007, 10:57 PM

What - in the name of legal mumbo jumbo - is undue influence.

According to the eight edition of Black's Law Dictionary undue influence means coercion that destroys a testator's free will (this being the mother) and substitutes another's objectives in place. In other words they are suing on the premise that Neil Bender forced his ideas upon their mother's free will of choosing what she wanted to write in her will. I hope that answers your question.

September 21st, 2007, 10:09 AM
Stop the Gottlieb rent hikes! :eek:
Yes, we can help you. Please forward the document(s) of the rent increase notice, your name/number, and names and numbers of any other tenants so we can call you as soon as possible. Please also fax the rent increase document to 212-563-7199.. just press 'send' if the voice machine picks up or email SaveTheVillage@aol.com

September 23rd, 2007, 10:22 PM

September 24th, 2007, 12:41 AM
And the new neighbor ...



http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon11.gif http://wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif

September 24th, 2007, 07:23 AM
^ Fabulous.

Literally the stuff fables are made of.

September 24th, 2007, 08:12 AM
How ironic that in a neighborhood so recently animated by a spirit of épater les bourgeois, the new bourgeois huddle in steel and glass egg crates teetering over a noisy 6-lane highway, épating is reduced to planting a giant Popsicle within egg-throwing distance, and the real Bourgeois has fled underground (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10965 (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10965)). And, of course, it will probably be even more obscenely expensive to live in the Popsicle than in one of the egg crates.

September 24th, 2007, 05:07 PM
I love this.

And today we've reached a point where both of these approaches are valid if they are done well.


September 24th, 2007, 08:19 PM

Great photo BR.

April 14th, 2008, 10:13 AM
The Gottlieb property, probate & preservation saga continues (and a long and fascinating saga it is) ...

A family fights over the soul of Greenwich Village

It's the latest bitter inheritance battle to befall one of New York's most notable families
but it is not all about cash - it's also about historical preservation.

... the late William Gottlieb ...

The Tightwad’s Legacy

Photographs by Marvin Orellana. Collage by Abby Clawson Low

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/realestate/keymagazine/406estate-t.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=gottlieb&st=nyt&oref=slogin)By ANDREW RICE
Published: April 6, 2008

THE KELLER HOTEL, an old seaman’s inn, has seen a few tides come and go. An Irish coal merchant constructed it in the late 1890s along a salty stretch of the Greenwich Village waterfront, at a time when the docks there were some of the busiest in the world. During the Depression, the Keller served as a flophouse for out-of-work sailors, who boozed and brawled in its ground-floor saloon. As the decades passed and economic forces pushed ships toward other ports, the West Side docks rotted, the Village deteriorated and a new clientele moved into the Keller. By the 1980s, the city was housing indigents upstairs, while the downstairs tenant was a gay leather bar, reputedly New York’s oldest. Then, in 1985, a real estate investor named William Gottlieb purchased the property for $1 million. That’s when things started to get weird.

Some people pass almost unnoticed through life, only to become legends once they’re gone — symbols of New York’s mythic past when all the neighborhoods had character, all the rents were low and all the landlords knew their tenants’ names. Bill Gottlieb died in 1999, but residents of Greenwich Village talk about him to this day, retelling tales that get more colorful with each passing year. A rumpled, elusive fellow who would walk the streets carrying shopping bags stuffed with cash and documents, Gottlieb spent decades quietly amassing an empire of run-down tenements, abandoned warehouses and weedy vacant lots. The properties cost Gottlieb little, but they could now be worth as much as a billion dollars altogether as the grimy neighborhoods where he shopped for bargains have long since given way to a landscape of luxury lofts and pet-grooming salons. Gottlieb’s approach to real estate was to buy a building and hold on to it at minimal expense, instituting a sort of nonaggression pact with his tenants: he wouldn’t ask for much rent if they didn’t complain about broken doorbells or wheezing boilers. So as the waterfront underwent its own transformation, the Keller Hotel just sat there, a dilapidated Renaissance Revival vestige.

By the time of Gottlieb’s death, there were no more indigents residing at the Keller. When the leather bar shut down, the building was boarded up. It became one of those haunted structures surrounded by urban vitality that cause puzzled passers-by to stop and stare. The Keller sits on a stretch of West Street between 1 Morton Square (where the Olsen twins own a penthouse) and three diaphanous buildings designed by the famed architect Richard Meier. “It’s this horrible eyesore, and yet I have to think that it has to be one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the neighborhood,” says John Attalienti, a financial consultant who lives next door at 130 Barrow Street. “I mean, unobstructed river views.”

New York’s professional speculators have also noticed. They all want a piece of Gottlieb’s portfolio, which amounts to more than 100 buildings spread across a three-mile swath of Manhattan: from Henry Street on the Lower East Side, where his estate owns a six-story tenement with a storefront Pentecostal church, to the velvet-roped environs of the meatpacking district, where it is landlord to numerous nightspots. Some of Gottlieb’s eclectic holdings are architecturally notable, like a few carriage houses along the cobblestone lanes of the West Village and the Northern Dispensary on Waverly Place, a wedge-shaped landmark where Edgar Allan Poe reputedly once received treatment for a head cold. Others, like a tiny corner parking lot on Prince Street, are the sort of blank spaces that make imaginative real estate developers giddy. “What a great treasure trove of undeveloped sites,” says Alf Naman, who builds residential projects downtown. “Those are properties I’ve coveted for years.”

Even after Gottlieb’s death, however, his heirs wouldn’t listen to offers. “They told me that to them, ‘sell’ is a four-letter word,” says Cary Tamarkin, an architect and developer. Historic preservationists have appreciated that intransigence; over the years, they came to see Bill Gottlieb as a sort of cheapskate savior, whose hands-off management style saved many buildings from insensitive renovations or outright demolition. Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, once said that Gottlieb was possibly “the biggest preservationist in the history of the West Side.” But he was also a secretive businessman, careful to conceal his true intentions, and that inscrutability seems to run in his family.

In 2004, five years after Gottlieb’s death, with no fanfare or public announcement, workmen began showing up at the Keller Hotel. They would come and go at odd hours, sometimes in the middle of the night. Neighbors noticed they spent a lot of time inside a garage adjacent to the hotel. A building permit taped to the Keller’s door said it was being renovated as a 20-unit apartment building. At long last, it seemed, the Gottlieb family was getting into development.

One morning, Regina Joseph, another resident of 130 Barrow Street, was startled to hear a loud drilling sound emanating from next door. Then a crack appeared in her ceiling. Joseph called the city buildings department, and the agency’s emergency-response team came to inspect. Joseph and the city inspector walked to the garage and peered through a round hole. They could see that, without proper permits, the construction workers had opened an enormous gash in the wall that separated the garage from the hotel. The buildings department issued a stop-work order but ultimately allowed work to continue.

Since then, Greenwich Village has been rife with theories about what was happening at the Keller Hotel and why it has now sputtered to a stop. Some speculate that the Gottlieb family ran out of money for the project. Some doubt that they were really behind it at all. The construction at the Keller has fueled rumors about changes coming to other Gottlieb buildings. Tenants complain that apartments are left empty and that management is refusing to renew leases. In keeping with longstanding custom, no one from the William Gottlieb Management Company responded to many interview requests made for this article. “We’ve been requested by the Gottliebs not to give out any information about the project,” Michael Devonshire, an architect that the family has hired as a consultant, said in a voice mail message. “As you can imagine, they’re a little gun-shy.”

“It’s a huge neighborhood mystery,” Regina Joseph says. “It just makes you wonder what is really going on and who’s in charge.”

THE THREE-STORY town house at 136 Bank Street is covered with ivy vines, and the coat of white paint on its old wooden front door is cracked and peeling. Pasted beneath its buzzer is a large stenciled G, a remnant of the man who bought the place in 1972, for $37,000, and resided there until he died. The neighborhood changed all around him — a house two doors down sold last year for $4.5 million — but Bill Gottlieb remained a local curiosity up to the end. Gottlieb liked to call himself “the Big G.” As with all outsize figures, you have to sort the truth from folklore. “Didn’t he live in his car?” one downtown broker asked me. Posthumously, Gottlieb has been cast as a real estate genius blessed with uncommon prescience and a sentimental investor in a vanishing culture of bohemianism, but it’s far from clear that he ever intended to play either role. Many who knew the man suspect his ramshackle fortune was actually a product of parsimony and plain luck.

“I’m from the island,” Gottlieb used to say when introducing himself. “Coney Island.” He was born at the height of the Great Depression. His father ran a restaurant and didn’t own much of anything. “One of my favorite stories about Billy,” says Don Gabay, a lifelong friend of Gottlieb’s who is a partner in the law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, “was a meeting at the seller’s attorney’s office, an old-time Wall Street-type firm. We would meet in their mahogany-paneled office, and Billy would come in, in his broken-down clothing and probably a shopping bag carrying his files — that’s typically Billy — and during a lull in the conversation, the two lawyers are talking to each other and one lawyer is saying to the other, ‘his country club’ and ‘his golf club,’ and he’s telling him, ‘Oh, at my club we do this and that.’ ” Finally, Gabay recalls, Gottlieb silenced them with a stickball reference: “At my club we can hit three sewers.”

Gottlieb’s first job in real estate was as a leasing representative for a brokerage firm belonging to Harry Helmsley, then one of New York’s largest property owners. At night, Gottlieb took classes at Brooklyn Law School. With a little seed money from his sister, Mollie, and her husband, Irving Bender, who owned a bar called Poor Joe’s, Gottlieb started buying buildings.

Working on commission, Gottlieb had struggled as a salesman, but he took note of how Helmsley, a legendary skinflint, made his money — by buying buildings and slashing their operating expenses. Later in life, he liked to say that Helmsley had taught him another important lesson: never sell. When Gottlieb started acquiring buildings in the 1960s, the city was slouching toward bankruptcy. Gottlieb trolled for distressed sellers and reeled in properties at foreclosure auctions.

Often, he’d revive a building’s cash flow by installing a restaurant in its ground-floor commercial space. Many of these he ran himself. A place on Bleecker Street was called Gottlieb’s; a Chinese restaurant was named for an Asian woman he was dating at the time. He and a subsequent girlfriend, a Jamaican, opened a string of Caribbean eateries. Though Gottlieb kept a paper-strewn office on Hudson Street, he preferred to work out of back rooms at the restaurants, serving drinks and inventing dishes when he wasn’t closing deals.

Gottlieb was heavyset and invariably dressed in wrinkled pants and an old golf shirt, which some people suspected he seldom changed. He wore big, black-framed glasses and carried a pendulous chain of keys. During the 1970s, Gottlieb used to outfit his orange Volkswagen Thing with loudspeakers and drive it through the Village, blasting disco music. Later on, he trundled around in a green station wagon with a busted heater and a broken window, sometimes stopping to offer lifts to his tenants.

“A lot of people refer to him as an eccentric,” his friend Gabay says. “I don’t think he was an eccentric. Maybe they call him eccentric because he could afford so much and chose to live simply. To me, that’s not an eccentric. He knew who he was. He didn’t have to pretend or show off.”

Bill Gottlieb never married or had children. Friends say the passion of his life was not money, but ownership. “He was a collector of buildings,” one associate says. Thomas Elghanayan, the president of Rockrose Development Corp., sold an entire block in the meatpacking district to Gottlieb in 1986. “Back in the early, early days, he owned a building on West Street that had a restaurant in it called the Inca,” Elghanayan recalls. “If you wanted to talk to Gottlieb, he was the bartender. Otherwise he was impossible to get ahold of.” The city had imposed development restrictions on an entire block of meat lockers that Rockrose owned along Gansevoort Street, and Elghanayan was willing to unload them at Gottlieb’s $2.5 million price. Today Gansevoort Street is lined with bistros. A comparably sized building on nearby Washington Street sold for $28 million six months ago, though it was not encumbered by the same development restrictions.

“If you saw him walking down the street, you would have thought he was a homeless guy, a bum,” Elghanayan says. “He was almost like a comical figure. But a good guy, a straight shooter, smart — and he actually had great foresight.”

In 1999, Bill Gottlieb, still a year short of 65, seemed to be embarking on ambitious plans. He filed for permits with the city buildings department, indicating that he finally intended to refurbish the crumbling Keller Hotel. He also fixed his sights on a large piece of property: a row of warehouses along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets, adjacent to a derelict elevated railway track known as the High Line. Another bidder, Alf Naman, thought he had a deal for the site, but Gottlieb made a stealthy approach to the sales broker. “He just kind of swooped in,” Naman recalls. The price, several million dollars, was high by Gottlieb’s standards, but he could see how the meatpacking district was gentrifying. He told friends he figured this was his last chance to buy a property like that.

A month after the 10th Avenue deal closed, Gottlieb collapsed at his company’s office on Hudson Street after complaining of dizziness. He died a few days later of complications from a stroke.

For all his canniness when it came to real estate, it soon became evident that when it came to preparing for one future eventuality, Gottlieb had been extremely shortsighted. “I know that he went to several law firms and got advice on a will,” says Earle W. Kazis, a friend of Gottlieb’s from the days when they both worked for Harry Helmsley. “But he never proceeded, because he wasn’t willing to pay the fees.”

There actually was a will, as it turned out — a simple, four-page document prepared in 1972, back when Gottlieb was just starting out, that would become the crucial piece of evidence in a long court battle for his immense fortune. But in the beginning, there was nothing but confusion, an empty space left behind by his death — and into that void rushed a fractious cast of would-be heirs.

Gottlieb’s sudden death left his business in chaos. His older sister, Mollie Bender, had worked in his office for years doing clerical work during the day and cooking Gottlieb’s dinner in the evening. But not even she could make sense of his disorganized office. Mollie was named co-administrator of the estate, along with her brother, Arnold, who lived in Florida. Mollie’s son, Neil, quit his job at a mortgage brokerage and took a desk at Gottlieb’s company. “I went to my mother’s side,” he testified at one of the many court proceedings that ensued. “My uncle was dead.” Her other child, Cheryl Dier, came up from Maryland with her husband, Jerry, a lawyer, who was soon working for the estate as a paid consultant.

Within three weeks of Gottlieb’s death, according to court documents, the family was fighting. Arnold showed up at the Hudson Street office in the company of his lawyer, and a melee ensued. Mollie claimed that the lawyer punched and kicked Cheryl and struck her husband. (In a New York Observer article at the time, the lawyer disputed that he struck anyone.) Then Mollie filed papers in the city’s Surrogate’s Court, which handles estate cases, claiming she’d made a discovery in her brother’s cluttered office: that musty 1972 will. Mollie stood to inherit everything.

During this period, Mollie began to rely heavily on Neil, according to those who had dealings with the estate. Like his uncle, Neil Bender had a law degree, but he’d never passed the bar. His youthful passion was rock music; he followed bands and shot concert films on his Super 8 camera. Neil worked for Bill Gottlieb for a short time when he was younger, but according to friends and family members, he didn’t get along with his uncle. Records show that between the late 1980s and mid-1990s, Neil Bender defaulted on several loans, twice pleaded guilty to drunken-driving charges and had a tax lien placed on him by the I.R.S. Though he got a job at a mortgage brokerage that sometimes did business with Bill Gottlieb, he closed only about two dozen deals in a decade of work for the firm. Earle Kazis told me he urged Gottlieb to rehire his nephew on several occasions, if only to assure that there would be a clear successor within the family, but Gottlieb always refused. “He’d say, ‘No, I’ve had it with Neil,’ ” recalls Kazis, who has had his own falling out with Gottlieb’s heirs.

Because Gottlieb hadn’t prepared his estate, his family had little shelter from inheritance taxes. Mollie and Neil Bender held meetings with a half dozen Midtown law firms, hiring and firing several as they worked their way through the probate process. Ultimately, the family was able to work out a settlement with the I.R.S. over the estate-tax bill. The assessment, which stood at $50 million in 2004, is being paid in installments over 15 years.

The settlement of the tax matter did little to repair the embittered relationships within the Gottlieb clan. Cheryl Dier watched with resentment as her brother, Neil, installed himself in the real estate office. In a court filing related to the subsequent estate dispute, she complained that his growing influence represented a “bold and brazen attempt to steal the identity of William Gottlieb.” In other court papers, Dier claimed her brother insisted on situating his desk so that he could maintain eye contact with Mollie Bender, in order to exercise “mind control.” Three months after Gottlieb’s death, Dier sent an angry letter to her mother, calling Neil a “rude and nasty dictator” and demanding to be paid $100 an hour for her help around the office.

“Yes, money does strange things to people,” Dier wrote, “and if they do not know how to handle it, it can destroy them.”

Dier’s husband, Jerry, an attorney who specialized in defending indigent criminals in Washington, D.C., had seen a huge increase in his income since he started billing the estate. But in June 2000, his consulting agreement was terminated. A year later, Cheryl Dier filed for divorce. By this time, her parents were sending her tens of thousands of dollars for living expenses. In court papers, Jerry Dier claimed his wife had told him that she was seeking the divorce only because her family was demanding it as a condition of her inheritance. Jerry Dier fought a long court battle to force Neil, Mollie and Irving Bender to give depositions. Then, in November 2004, Cheryl Dier abruptly fired her attorney and turned on her parents. The Diers have since dropped the divorce case. Neither of them would comment for this article.

Then another family member entered the fray: Michael Corbett, Cheryl Dier’s son from a previous marriage. He had his own grievances. Corbett was raised by his grandparents at the Bender family town house on Bethune Street. After Bill Gottlieb’s death, he claims, his uncle Neil forced him out. In court filings related to the Gottlieb estate, Corbett further claims that his uncle tried to give Mollie and Irving Bender the impression that his wife, a Broadway actress and an astrologer, had a criminal past, and says that Neil Bender instructed his grandparents not to pick up the phone unless it rang a coded number of times.

Last June, Mollie Bender, who was 85, fell and broke her hip. On June 23, while in the hospital, she signed legal papers requesting that her son be appointed administrator of the Gottlieb estate. Shortly afterward, she was brought home to her apartment. When Michael Corbett and Cheryl Dier tried to visit her there on June 30, they were barred from entering by security, according to their signed affidavits. They went back the next day, in the company of the police, but Mollie Bender was sleeping and couldn’t be disturbed. She died later that day.

MOLLIE BENDER LEFT a will, which was prepared in 2005. It unambiguously disinherits her daughter, leaving everything to her elderly husband and her son. Nonetheless, Cheryl Dier, who is 58, and her 38-year-old son, Michael Corbett, brought separate challenges to the will in Surrogate’s Court and have argued for Neil Bender’s disqualification as executor on the grounds of incompetence. (Bender, through Kekst and Company, a public-relations firm specializing in “crisis management,” declined to comment for this story.) Neil Bender has hired several of New York’s most prominent estate attorneys to defend his claim. None of them responded to requests for comment. In legal filings, however, they claim Dier is “spiteful” over her disinheritance.

Corbett, a personal trainer, previously worked for Bill Gottlieb as a restaurant manager and as a disc jockey at a family-owned roller rink. In the dispute over the Gottlieb fortune, he has tried to cast himself as the champion of the public interest. Corbett and his lawyer, Carl J. Mayer, held a press conference in August in front of the Northern Dispensary and have since been pressing their campaign on a Web site named savegreenwichvillage.com (http://savegreenwichvillage.com/). Citing evidence of more than 500 outstanding housing violations against Gottlieb properties, Mayer calls Neil Bender “derelict in the management of these properties.” A spokeswoman for Bender’s company says the city’s records are out of date, while his attorneys suggest in their court filings that Corbett has a crasser motive for challenging his uncle: money. Corbett, they contend, is merely trying to force his uncle to accept an “extortionist demand” for a settlement.

They point to an e-mail message in which Mayer said his client would drop the lawsuit in return for $50 million. “If this estate is worth a billion dollars,” Mayer responded in an interview, “a $50 million offer is wholly reasonable. But the other side just won’t negotiate.”

Whatever Corbett’s motives, there is considerable concern among residents in buildings owned by the estate. On February 21, State Senator Thomas Duane’s office and the Metropolitan Council on Housing, a tenants’ rights organization, held a public meeting for Gottlieb tenants in the basement of a church on Thompson Street. More than 100 worried people bombarded the organizers with complaints about rats, bedbugs, broken front doors and unreturned phone calls. The people sitting next to me had no heat, while the people in front of them were broiling at night. Joe Catron, a Metropolitan Council employee, asked the audience, “How many of you have faced problems with lease renewals?” Almost every hand shot up. Gottlieb tenants say that once vacated, empty apartments in their buildings are not being filled, while many storefronts have stood vacant for months. (A spokeswoman for William Gottlieb Management said the company “is actively maintaining or improving all of its properties, and we respond to requests for service and other issues in a timely manner.”) After the meeting officially adjourned, Corbett, a slender man in a dark, baggy suit, gave an emotional speech, his voice cracking and the tendons on his neck bulging as he read aloud a letter from an unsettled tenant. “They want everyone out!” he shouted.

Empty buildings would make renovation or sale easier. “A building that’s vacated is worth 30 to 40 percent more than one that isn’t,” says Leonard Steinberg, a broker who works downtown for Prudential Douglas Elliman. Neil Bender’s filings in Surrogate’s Court place the current value of the Gottlieb portfolio at $135 million — an average of a little more than $1 million a property, an absurdly low appraisal by the standards of the Manhattan real estate market. Real estate professionals say the true sale price of the estate would surely be much higher, even in a depressed market. According to Steinberg, condos in Greenwich Village are still fetching more than $1,500 a square foot, and land for new construction is extraordinarily scarce. “There is no property in the Village,” says Vals Osborne, senior vice president at Stribling & Associates. “There is nothing, nothing, nothing.”

On the other hand, some say the estate’s holdings may have lost considerable value in recent years, because zoning changes and historic-district initiatives have put tight use-and-height restrictions in place. Edward Baquero, a managing partner of Coalco, a development firm, looked into purchasing the estate back in 2000. “It was interesting at first,” he says. “But when I drove around and looked at some of the sites, I realized that only a handful of them were desirable. But today, you know, those properties may look very different.” Taking all the portfolio’s warts into consideration, Baquero still says that he believes an investor would pay $700 million for all the properties. “And I wouldn’t fall off my chair if it’s a billion,” he adds.

The most valuable properties are probably the meatpacking district warehouses Gottlieb bought just before his death. One of them burned down a few years ago, and the others are in a state of disrepair, but the site sits next to the High Line — now being turned into a park — and across the street from a gargantuan half-built hotel called the Standard, New York. (Four years ago, the group developing the Standard, led by hotelier André Balazs, paid $25 million for the land on which it sits.) There are other interesting pieces: a charming riverfront building on West Street that once held a gay bar called the Ramrod; an assemblage of deserted structures between Downing Street and West Houston, right across from the Film Forum; and a number of properties on the Lower East Side, where gentrification and lax height restrictions have given rise to condominium skyscrapers.

Some smallish Gottlieb parcels would be precious to builders who are trying to assemble large blocks of land for development. Building around the Gottlieb family is notoriously frustrating. Michael Romanoff, a meatpacking district developer, says that for years he has been trying to talk Neil Bender into selling a building the estate owns adjacent to some of his property on West 13th Street. “He doesn’t respond, he doesn’t answer phones, he doesn’t communicate,” Romanoff says. Peter Moore, an architect who recently spent $34 million for three properties surrounding a Gottlieb tenement on West Street, described a similar experience. “We would like to buy the Gottlieb site, but that doesn’t seem to be possible,” Moore says. “I guess when I pass from this earth and I’m hopefully in heaven, maybe I’ll run into Bill and we can do a deal up there.”

Despite Bender’s reputation for intransigence among developers, he does seem to want a seat in the clubby world of New York real estate. He attended the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual banquet, a $900-a-plate networking event, in January. “I think his attitude is going to be businesslike,” says a friend of Bill Gottlieb’s who still talks with Neil Bender and who declined to be identified because he wanted to preserve the relationship. “Everybody thinks they should be doing something. Everyone thought that Bill should have been doing something 20 years ago. Now something is happening, but it’s a surprise. They’ve got us lulled, those Gottliebs.”

IF NEIL BENDER has big plans for the properties, he’s not talking. At least not now. But there are hints lurking in public places. The Gottlieb estate for years waged a fight in the City Council and the courts seeking to have the development restrictions removed from its properties on Gansevoort Street, a change that would have allowed a developer to build office space. (A court ruled against it in 2006.) Recently, Neil Bender hired a Williamsburg architectural firm with a background in green development. He has been meeting with the architects about the stop-and-start renovations at the Keller Hotel. They’re also designing a building for a smidgen of waterfront land at West 12th and West Streets. The architects would not comment, but evidence filed in connection with a 2006 lawsuit between the estate and John Chen, a structural engineer who once worked on the project, reveals plans for a six-story luxury residential building named the Inca, after the restaurant Bill Gottlieb once ran on the property.

Earlier this year, demolition crews began taking down the old Inca building, only to inexplicably stop halfway. Cary Tamarkin, who is putting up a residential building next door, has watched the progress, such as it is. “They take out a couple of bricks every couple of days,” he says. “They’re bizarre.”

A recent ruling by the Surrogate’s Court judge Renee R. Roth could begin to resolve the disputes. In mid-January, she heard arguments over Neil Bender’s petition to be named administrator of his uncle’s estate. Cheryl Dier, a slim, dark-haired woman, stepped forward to accuse her brother, who was not present, of mounting a “hostile takeover.” But in February, Roth issued a ruling that gave Neil and Irving Bender control of the estate. In a statement released by his public-relations firm, Neil Bender said he hoped the favorable ruling would allow him “to continue focusing on the business.” Michael Corbett, however, has pledged to appeal. “This will go on for a very long time,” says Carl J. Mayer, Corbett’s lawyer. “If anybody is thinking of developing this area, bulldozing it over with another high-rise in the Village, I don’t think they’re properly analyzing the litigation.”

ON BARROW STREET, people still wonder about the Keller Hotel. “It was totally, totally mysterious,” said Katy Bordonaro, a neighborhood activist, as we stood across the street from the partially renovated flophouse one recent afternoon. Local preservationists were somewhat comforted when the city designated the building a landmark last March. A death announcement for Mollie Bender, published in The New York Times, said the project is supposed to be completed by the end of this year. Yet Bordonaro told me that there had been only sporadic activity.

“There’s still a lot of us who remember it when it was the Keller Hotel,” says the Barrow Street resident Regina Joseph. “When the West Village actually had pockets of seediness.” Joseph, one of the founders of Blender, the music magazine, used to buy cigarettes at the Keller’s downstairs bar. She is now a part-time writer, art curator, branding consultant and diet guru. “If it wasn’t for William Gottlieb, the West Village would all be covered in ugly glass Meier towers,” she continues. Scuzzy as the Village sometimes was, Joseph misses the time when it was a place of oddity and transgression and a little danger. “It was not this shiny, glossy, hedge-fundy neighborhood back then,” she told me. “That building is one of the last remnants of that world.”

Andrew Rice is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 13, 2008

An article last Sunday about the Greenwich Village real estate investor William Gottlieb misspelled the middle name of a poet who was treated in a dispensary that Gottlieb came to own more than a century later. He was Edgar Allan Poe, not Allen.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

April 14th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Bill Gottlieb's Properties

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/04/04/magazine/20080406_GOTTLIEB_GRAPHIC.html)
April 4, 2008

By the time Bill Gotlieb died, he'd bought up scores of properties in Lower Manhattan.

The properties: An INTERACTIVE MAP (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/04/04/magazine/20080406_GOTTLIEB_GRAPHIC.html) by ADDRESS

104 E. 10th St.
107 Norfolk St.
113-115 Perry St.
117-119 Perry Street
126 Elizabeth Street
131 Rivington St.
139 Perry Street
160-162 Waverly PL.
162 Eighth Avenue
165 Waverly PL.
172 Attorney Street
173-175 Christopher St.
177 Christopher St.
211 Seventh Ave.
220-222 W. 10th St.
222-224 W. Houston St.
22-26 Little West 12th S
226 W. Houston St.
228 W. Houston Street
235 W 12 Street
24 Bethune St.
26 W. 11th St.
274-276 Mott St.
278 Mott St.
28 Jane St.
28 W. 11th St.
322-324 W. 11th St.
327 Bleecker St.
343 Bleecker Street
345 Bleecker St
345 W. 12th St.
358 West St.
359 Bleecker St.
366 W. 12th St.
39 Little West 12th St.
394 West St.
396 West St.
4 Eighth Ave.
405 W. 14th St.
407 W. 14th St.
408 W 15 Street
409-411415 Bleecker St.
417 Bleecker St.
46 Gansevoort St.
46-48 Downing Street
50 Ganesvoort St.
510 Greenwich St.
52 Gansevoort St.
53 Little West 12th St.
53 Pitt St.
544 Hudson St.
546 Hudson St.
55 Greenwich Ave.
551-553 Hudson St.
557-579 Hudson St.
615 Hudson St.
64 Delancey St.
755-759 Washington Stree
79 Horatio Street
809-813 Washington St.
88 Clinton St.
90 Bank St.
9-19 9th Avenue
962 First Ave.

April 14th, 2008, 10:54 AM

I respectfully suggest a new thread, joining together various posts on the Gottlieb holdings. Perhaps it should be placed in the Real Estate forum. It could be titled something like:

The Estate of William Gottlieb - A New York Saga of Property, Probate & Preservation in Downtown Manhattan

A search of thread turns up Gottlieb-related articles HERE (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/search.php?searchid=1610059) & HERE (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/search.php?searchid=1609845)

March 17th, 2010, 05:06 PM
here is a video showcasing a (very white) Penthouse triplex unit for 25m

December 26th, 2010, 09:52 AM

Kennected1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kennected/5272305317/sizes/l/in/photostream/)


Kennected1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kennected/5272305317/sizes/l/in/photostream/)