The Real Deal New York

Swedish photo center “pics” 281 PAS

Fotografiska signs a lease for entire 45K sf at Aby Rosen's building
By Rich Bockmann and Mark Maurer | July 27, 2017 07:00AM

Aby Rosen and 281 Park Avenue South

Aby Rosen’s focus on finding the perfect tenant for 281 Park Avenue South has paid off.

Fotografiska, a Swedish center for contemporary photography based in Stockholm’s artsy Södermalm district, inked a lease to take the entire 45,000-square-foot building also known as the Church Missions House, sources told The Real Deal.

It appears to be the first location outside Stockholm for the photo center, which has exhibited works from artists such as Annie Leibovitz and David LaChapelle. Fotografiska’s lease at RFR Realty’s six-story building will include space for a restaurant.

A spokesperson for RFR declined to comment.

The deal puts an end to Rosen’s search to fill the unique, and what some described as problematic, building. The art buff bought the property at the corner of East 22nd street in 2014 for $50 million from the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

The 19th-century building, which the city designated a landmark in 1979, was originally built as a church, and features an extravagantly detailed façade, stained-glass flourishes and gabled windows.

It also has ceiling heights that vary from floor to floor, and sources said the characteristics that make it a unique piece of architecture also made it challenging for traditional office tenants.

RFR had reportedly been seeking $125 per square foot in 2015, but sources said the figure may have fallen to somewhere around $100 per square foot.

Rosen will often find tenants for his properties from within his social circles. He recently signed a lease with the fashion retailer Totokaelo for shy of 9,000 square feet at 190 Bowery.