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Thread: Woolworth Building - 233 Broadway - by Cass Gilbert

  1. #181
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Etchings by Carl Albert, 1938:

    New and Old New York from the foot of Dey Street




    Produce Exchange on Barclay Street at Midnight



    *

    .Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by lofter1; January 27th, 2012 at 07:21 PM.

  2. #182

    Default Top Floors of Woolworth Building to Be Remade as Luxury Apartments

    August 7, 2012

    Top Floors of Woolworth Building to Be Remade as Luxury Apartments

    By MICHELLE HIGGINS

    The Woolworth Building is about to have another defining moment. The uppermost floors of the neo-Gothic tower that once stood as the world’s tallest skyscraper will be turned into about 40 luxury apartments as part of a $68 million deal made final last week. Only if the Chrysler Building or Empire State Building were to be remade into condominiums could buyers hope to live in a more iconic New York tower.

    An investment group led by Alchemy Properties, a New York developer, bought the top 30 floors of the landmark on July 31 from the Witkoff Group and Cammeby’s International, which will continue to own the lower 28 floors and lease them as office space.

    The agreement promises to reinvent the tower — telescoping up at 233 Broadway between Park Place and Barclay Street — as one of Manhattan’s most sought-after addresses, adding yet another chapter to the history of this Cass Gilbert-designed monument to Frank W. Woolworth and his five-and-dime empire. The building, which cost Woolworth $13.5 million in cash, was completed in 1913 and remains a signature element of the city skyline.

    “It’s very exciting for us,” said Kenneth S. Horn, the president of Alchemy Properties. “We’ve done a lot of historic buildings in the city, but this is ‘the mama,’ as they say.”

    Apartments will begin at 350 feet above ground level, offering panoramic views with ceiling heights of 11 to 14 feet. The condos are expected to be completed by 2015.

    Penthouses in the building once called the “Cathedral of Commerce” will be among the highest-altitude residences in the city, soaring above 700 feet. A five-level penthouse of around 8,000 square feet will be housed in the copper-clad cupola that tops out at 792 feet. Originally designed as a public observation area, the cupola has a wraparound outdoor deck reached by a private elevator.

    An abandoned 55-foot-long basement swimming pool, once part of a health club said to be used by Woolworth himself, will be restored as an amenity for residents. A new entrance on Park Place will serve residents with an elevator bank separate from that used by office tenants in the lower floors.

    “Not many people in the world would get to say they live in the Woolworth Building — one of the city’s most recognizable buildings,” said Andrew Gerringer, the managing director of new business development for the Marketing Directors, a New York development, leasing and marketing company. “I think they’re coming on the market at the right time to do this.”

    The trick to a successful conversion, he said, will be designing appropriately sized apartments for the downtown market despite the constraints imposed by the building’s infrastructure.

    The project will cost approximately $150 million, including its $68 million purchase price, according to a spokesman for Alchemy Properties. Although apartment prices have not been set, they may sell for as much as $3,000 a square foot. The penthouse at the pinnacle could command more.

    By comparison, the average price per square foot of apartments sold in the second quarter of 2012 in the Woolworth Building’s ZIP code — 10007 — was $1,250, according to data from Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm. Mr. Gerringer described $2,000 a square foot as “the new normal for iconic buildings,” noting that the Woolworth tower apartments will begin on higher floors than most traditional prewar buildings. “You’re already raising the bar to begin with, ” he said.

    In 1998, the Witkoff Group and Cammeby’s International formed a partnership to buy the Woolworth Building for $126.5 million. They at one point considered remaking the tower as office space with country-club exclusivity. As part of that plan, the top 25 floors — each within the range of 3,500 to 8,000 square feet — were gutted. They have been vacant for several years.

    There has been much speculation over the years about potential buyers, ranging from Italian businessmen to an Israeli investor group. In the end, four serious buyers looked at the property, according to people familiar with the deal who asked not to be named.

    The deal has been kept quiet since April, when negotiations began. But after it was finished, Mr. Horn, of Alchemy Properties, said, “I walked out of the signing and said, ‘Did this really happen?’ ”

    Nothing Alchemy has done quite compares with the challenge of transforming a signature piece of Manhattan real estate into residences, but the physical size of the project, at roughly 100,000 square feet, is similar to other developments the group has handled. “It’s our sweet spot,” Mr. Horn said.
    Alchemy has developed 30 properties in the New York metropolitan area, and most of its residential projects have been boutique buildings with just a few dozen apartments.

    Even owners of newer neighbors that tower over the Woolworth Building seem in awe of it. Bruce Ratner, the chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the 870-foot residential rental at 8 Spruce Street designed by Frank Gehry — currently the city’s tallest residential building — marveled at the view of its shorter neighbor from a penthouse window at the Gehry building recently.

    “The Woolworth Building is what is really extraordinary,” Mr. Ratner said in an interview. “What I always say to Frank is that this building dances with that building.”

    Alexei Barrionuevo contributed reporting.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/re...gewanted=print

  3. #183
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Any bets on what astronomical price this Wooly PH will command?

    Penthouses in the building once called the “Cathedral of Commerce” will be among the highest-altitude residences in the city, soaring above 700 feet. A five-level penthouse of around 8,000 square feet will be housed in the copper-clad cupola that tops out at 792 feet. Originally designed as a public observation area, the cupola has a wraparound outdoor deck reached by a private elevator.

    [...]

    The project will cost approximately $150 million, including its $68 million purchase price, according to a spokesman for Alchemy Properties. Although apartment prices have not been set, they may sell for as much as $3,000 a square foot. The penthouse at the pinnacle could command more.

  4. #184

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    I'm feeling some deja vu about this for some reason. Is this the first time in history that plans were revealed to put residential on top of the Woolworth building?

  5. #185

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    Just prior to 9-11 there were plans to convert the building to Condos. Shelved soon after.

  6. #186

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    Nope, this has been planned for some time now. Next year is the tower's 100 year anniversary by the way.
    I hope they they don't turn off the exterior lighting -the Downtown skyline will be really dead without it.

    Photos of the old observation deck. Wish they'd open it one last time before privatizing it. One last hurrah before the deck at 1 WTC opens.


    curbed



    curbed



    curbed



    curbed



    curbed
    Last edited by Derek2k3; August 7th, 2012 at 10:13 PM.

  7. #187
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Let's put a tower of condos on top of the deadening One Police Plaza. And get rid of the 70's prison between it and the Federal Court House. Two big ugly piles that wouldn't be missed and their demise would open up some amazing possibilities.

  8. #188

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    They should reopen the deck to public. Observation decks are sadly lacking in today's Manhattan, yet judging by the astronomical popularity of the ESB and 30 Rock, they're sure to have long queues for the small "boutique deck" on top of Wooly. They can even charge ridiculously high prices and get away with it due to high demand.

  9. #189
    Senior Member DUMBRo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Let's put a tower of condos on top of the deadening One Police Plaza. And get rid of the 70's prison between it and the Federal Court House. Two big ugly piles that wouldn't be missed and their demise would open up some amazing possibilities.
    To think that they turned half of lower Manhattan into a Walmart parking lot just to fill it with these dreadful structures. It's like a New Haven urban renewal district plunked down in the heart of one of the greatest cities on earth.

  10. #190

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    Is the dead zone between Police and Confucius plazas proof that the terrorists won?

  11. #191
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Domesticating the Cathedral of Commerce with Luxe Condos

    by Branden Klayko

    (see article for more photos)

    New York City’s nouveau-tall skyscrapers, like the Christian de Portzamparc-designed One57 which recently topped out at 1,004 feet, have been wooing the world’s richest residential buyers with unimaginable amenities and floor-to-ceiling glass. But if you interested in an address that redefined tall—one hundred years ago—your options are more limited. Now, developers Alchemy Properties have acquired the top 30 floors of the iconic Woolworth Building in Lower Manhattan, the world’s tallest structure when it opened in 1913, with plans to build 40 super-luxury residential units in the sky.

    The Cass Gilbert-designed Woolworth, dubbed the “Cathedral of Commerce,” held the world’s tallest designation at 792 feet for a whopping 17 years from 1913 to 1930 when the Chrysler Building took the reigns, and it still holds its own on skyline of Lower Manhattan. The New York Times reports that the first new condos will begin at 350 feet above Broadway and a five-story penthouse in the building’s copper-clad crown—once a public observation area—will bring new meaning to majestic living. But then again, the only downside of living in the Woolworth Building might be not having a view of the Woolworth Building.

    With 40 units distributed over 30 floors, the project may not be increasing the city’s density by any appreciable level considering a single luxury residence could hold quite a few micro-apartments currently in discussion for Manhattan’s east side. (In fact, AN has estimated that in the same 30 floors, one could likely fit over 600 efficient 250-square foot micro-apartments.) Telescoping floors range in size from 8,000 to 3,500 square feet as the tower rises, but the height won’t be the only soaring aspect of the building. According to the Times, unit prices will top $2,000 per square foot, up from a neighborhood average of $1,250 per foot last quarter.

    If this news is an indicator that the economy of Lower Manhattan has finally, once-and-for-all rebounded, it might not be long until another luxury building rises next door to the Woolworth in a pit slated for an even-taller Robert A.M. Stern-designed hotel and condo tower.


    The Woolworth Building’s spires today (left) and in 1932 (right).
    (Tony Hisgett/Flickr and LeslieJones/Boston Public Library/Flickr)

    Between 1977 and 1981, the Woolworth Building’s glazed terra cotta facade underwent a restoration by the Ehrenkrantz Group, when 26,000 damaged pieces of terra cotta were replaced with architectural precast concrete and nearly 40 percent of the entire facade was touched up. While putting together a slideshow of the building past and present, AN uncovered this photo of two steeplejacks precariously clinging to one of the building’s four turrets, which reminded us that those turrets have been covered over today. Take a look at more photos of the Woolworth Building in the slideshow below.


    Woolworth Building compared to an ocean liner. (WorldIslandInfo.com/Flickr)

    http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/44119

  12. #192
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    That is not just an observatory, its an art exhibit in the air.

  13. #193

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    I guess it will have to wait for some future adaptive reuse, but I wish someone would correct the improper renovation that replaced terra cotta tiles on the tower.

    The concrete-fiberglas fiber tiles are a failure. They have aged to a different color, especially noticeable after it rains. The concrete tiles absorb water.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jsoS9mifsI...Woolworth7.JPG
    Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; August 9th, 2012 at 10:43 AM.

  14. #194

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    That observatory is worthy (pun intended) of most balconies and observatories on the tops of grand old Gothic cathedrals. With some basic maintenance it could become a fantastic public space. As a private penthouse, the combination of height, location, and historical detailing will be unmatched in the entire city, if not the world.

  15. #195

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    Like so many other now hidden jewels in the city, it used to be a treat to walk into a place like Woolworth and just look around, without being screened, or questioned, or asked to leave.



    More at Scouting NY.

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