For $11M, former firehouse can become single-family home

By Candace Taylor | October 19, 2010 04:00PM

Also available: Townhouse of onetime NFL President David Seldin for $22.9 million

From left, first two photos: 113 East 90th Street; second two photos: 131 East 64th Street

The Corcoran Group has a hot new listing.

A former firehouse at 113 East 90th Street is on the market for $10.995 million.

Currently occupied by the Allan Stone art gallery, the red-brick building is listed with Maria Manuche, a senior vice president at Corcoran. Manuche took over the listing from Warburg’s Richard Steinberg, who pulled it off the market in early October, according to Streeteasy.com. Steinberg had listed the property at $11.75 million.

The 25-foot-wide structure was built in 1877 to battle fires on nearby farms, explained Claudia Stone, the director of the gallery, who has researched the history of the property.

The 100-foot lot, located between Lexington and Park avenues, holds two buildings separated by a square courtyard. The front building was where the fire engines were parked, Stone said, and the smaller, two-story rear building housed the horses who pulled the engines.

When the art gallery moved in and started renovating the space, they found old call sheets in the walls, detailing the blazes that the firefighters attended and what caused them, said Stone, the daughter of gallery founder Allen Stone.

Sometime in the 1930s, the home was purchased and converted into a private home by William Sargent Ladd, a doctor and an active member of the American Alpine Club. Ladd used the former stable for his mountaineering library, Stone said, and deeded the property to the club upon his death. The building served as its headquarters until 1993, when the club decided to sell the building and relocate to Golden, Colo. When the art gallery moved in, Stone said, they found that the building’s original wide double-doors had been covered up.

“We restored them, because they’re terrific,” she said. While there’s no fireman’s pole, “a lot of what’s here is original to the building.”

The gallery is located in the main building, but uses the stable for occasional museum-style exhibitions, she noted. When the building is sold, the gallery most likely will move, Stone said, since the location is a bit “off the beaten track” for an art gallery these days.

Still, “it’s very charming,” she said.

The new owners can convert the high-ceilinged space into a single-family mansion, or continue using the bottom floors for professional space, the listing says.

“It’s definitely a fabulous property,” Manuche said.

A townhouse at 131 East 64th Street owned by sports executive David Seldin hit the market yesterday for $22.9 million.

Seldin is the former president and COO of the Jacksonville Jaguars football team. Seldin, who at the time was the NFL’s youngest president, was instrumental in helping bring the NFL team to Jacksonsville in the 1990s, beating out Baltimore and St. Louis, according to press reports from the time. He resigned as president of the Jaguars in 1997, but remains a limited partner in the franchise. He later served as president and COO of New York Sports Ventures, a firm which owned the NHL’s New York Islanders. He is now is president of the consulting firm Catalyst.

According to city documents, Seldin purchased the house for $5.8 million in 2006. He then hired Manhattan-based Siris/Coombs Architects to restore the limestone façade and gut-renovate the interior of the house, according to listing broker Christopher Infante, a senior vice president at Corcoran, who has the listing with fellow Corcoran broker Leighton Candler.

Siris/Coombs created a six-story atrium and distinctive curved stairway with an oval-shaped skylight at the top, though there’s also an elevator. The basement was deepened to make room for a 40-foot lap pool and a 1,500-bottle wine cellar. Two roof terraces are joined by a copper “penthouse” structure, Infante said.

“Probably what is most unique is that there are strategically placed windows and skylights throughout the house,” Infante said. That, combined with the use of Brazilian cherry and mahogany, creates “a warm natural feeling,” he said, adding: “It’s sort of Frank Lloyd Wright-ish.”

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