The Real Deal New York

Developers’ latest tactic to woo buyers? History lessons

Companies behind condo conversions are having architectural historians give their buildings more context
May 25, 2018 08:11AM

Woolworth building and Kenneth Horn

Developers are turning to history to attract buyers to their condominium conversions, asking architectural historians to help give more context to their buildings and the architects who designed them.

The Chetrit Group, for instance, commissioned writer Thomas Mellins to delve into the history of its building at 49 Chambers Street, which was originally built in 1912 for the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, according to the New York Times. Architect Raymond Almirall designed it with an H-shaped footprint to help light and air reach deep into the building and an extremely detailed large banking hall.

Mellins has given presentations on the building’s history to potential buyers and brokers. The 99-unit condo building has prices starting at about $1.7million.

Some developers are dealing with buildings whose well-known history is already part of the package, such as the Woolworth Building, where Alchemy Properties is converting the top 30 floors into 33 condos. Prices start at about $4 million.

Alchemy president Ken Horn told the Times that about half of the project’s potential buyers are interested in the building’s history, which was designed by architect Cass Gilbert.

The building’s conversion includes “the Pinnacle,” a 9,710-square-foot penthouse that is on the market for $110 million. If it sells for anything near this price, it would easily break the record for Downtown. [NYT] – Eddie Small