Developer Adam Gordon, whose Madison Development is behind condominium project 54 Bond Street, made his fortune converting old properties into self-storage units. Now, the investor is going back to his roots in a move to capitalize on the boom in luxury property prices.
Gordon plans to convert an existing 11-story storage building at 305 East 61st Street into a high-end personal and art storage facility tailored to the Upper East Side luxury residential market and art galleries on the 57th Street corridor, he told The Real Deal.
He is partnering with investment firm EMS Capital on the project. EMS snapped up the 72,000-square-foot building, on the corner of Second Avenue, for $28 million in December 2012. The company recently brought on Madison to spearhead development.
“It’s going to be a totally revolutionary brand of storage that will never have existed before,” Gordon told The Real Deal. “This will be an extension of a personal closet or gallery space or wine storage, especially after what happened with Winecare Storage and that whole debacle. You could only pull this off with a unique piece of real estate on the Upper East Side.”
Winecare Storage, a Chelsea-based storage provider for owners of fine wine collections, went bankrupt last year and has so far been unable to return 27,000 cases of valuable wine to its clientele, according to news reports.
Residents of luxurious neighborhood buildings like 432 Park Avenue and One57 will be able to swing by the new facility during business hours without an appointment, whether it be to pick up a dress, a painting or a bottle of wine they’ve stored there.
“If someone has a bottle of Lafite or a Mondrian, it would be as comfortable here as any place they might keep it in their apartment,” he quipped.
But does demand exist for such a facility? Some brokers were skeptical.
“Most of my clients really want the storage in their own building,” said Michelle Kleier, star of “Selling New York” and chief of boutique brokerage Kleier Residential. “Even storage in your own building is like the place of no return. Once it goes down there, you may never even look at it again. If it’s in another building all together, that’s worse.”
But others were on board.
“I think it’s brilliant,” said Michael Graves, a luxury residential broker at Douglas Elliman. “A lot of people like to rotate their art collections, for example. Most of the storage facilities that come inside these Upper East Side co-ops cannot handle the scope of what these collectors keep, whether it be wine, art or other valuables like jewelry.
“If the facility were high-tech, high-security and engineered to protect the life span of specific valuables; there will be high demand by collectors of art, wine and other valuables requiring special care. But the security and service level will need to be extremely high,” he said.