The Real Deal New York

International Center for Photography focuses on 250 Bowery

Institute to pay $23M for retail condo at VE Equities building

January 26, 2015 12:40PM
By Rich Bockmann

250 bowery

From left: 250 Bowery and an exhibition at the International Center of Photography

Relocation plans for the city’s preeminent photography museum have come to light, as the world-renowned nonprofit is taking aim at a $23 million retail condo across the street from the New Museum.

The International Center of Photography, which was reported last year to have found a new home in an undisclosed building on the Bowery, is looking to purchase a retail condo at VE Equities’ 250 Bowery.

The center, one of the most renowned institutions dedicated to the art form, is attempting to reinvent itself in the digital age at the same time as it is relocating from its home at 1113 Sixth Avenue, the Durst Organization building it has operated out of for more than 20 years rent-free.

The New York Times reported last year that the organization had found a new location on the Bowery near the New Museum, though ICP executive director Mark Lubell declined to comment on the specific location or price at that time. On Jan. 9, however, the ICP filed an application for tax-exempt financing to help fund the $23.2 million acquisition of an 11,009 square-foot retail condo at 250 Bowery, the VE Equities’ luxury-condo building that launched sales in 2012.

“Relocating the museum facility to an owned site will improve the institution’s balance sheet, increase the sense of institutional stability and help attract additional major support,” the center wrote in an application to Build NYC, a local development corporation that provides access to tax-exempt bond financing for city economic-development initiatives. “In addition, this move to the Lower East Side is expected to resonate with the ICP’s audience and increase repeat visitation.”

The seller appears to be the Des Moines, Iowa,-based Principal Financial Group, which paid $15.4 million last spring to buy an 85-percent stake in the retail condo, according to city records. Principal Financial bought the majority stake from David Edelstein’s Tristar Capital, which bought the condo for $15.98 million back in 2013.

The ICP expects to close on the deal in mid-February and open its doors in September following a Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed build out.

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