Tribeca building owner aims to double money

<i>Former church listed for $18 million two weeks after being purchased for half that</i>

From left to right: Michael Kirchmann, Maria Pashby, Joanna Pashby, interior of 177 Franklin Street; facade 177 Franklin Street

The new owner of a former church-owned site in Tribeca has listed the property for $18 million– twice as much as he paid for it two weeks ago.

Corcoran agents Maria Pashby and Joanna Pashby listed the seven-story loft building at 177 Franklin Street three days ago, as first reported. City property records posted today show that Glad Tidings Tabernacle sold the building on June 13 for $9 million to a company affiliated with architect Michael Kirchmann.

Kirchmann is the founder and CEO of Soho-based architectural and planning firm Global Design Strategies, and co-owner Praxis Development. He told The Real Deal he plans to either flip the property or develop it through Praxis into a townhouse or into three or four very high-end luxury duplex condominiums.

The 1890, 25-foot masonry building is in the Tribeca West Historic District, which was designated by the city as a landmark area in 1991.

Broker Karen Dome of Justdan Realty represented the seller, while Peter Comitini, a senior vice president at Corcoran Group, brought the buyer in the sale, Comitini said.

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The sale appears to represent a financial blow to Glad Tidings, based near City Hall, which bought the property in January 2008 for $11.5 million, city records reveal. The church had sold its former home, a Romanesque Revival building at 325-327 West 33rd Street, for $31 million.

It then filed plans for a one-story penthouse addition, façade improvements and a six-foot tall cross, Downtown Express reported in 2009, thought the construction were never completed.

Kirchmann, through his 177 Franklin Street Developments, signed a contract to buy the building in February and closed earlier this month, the city documents show.

The difference between the sale price and the asking price is not simply a much-improved market, Kirchmann said. He spent money finishing up construction — now virtually complete — and clearing mechanic’s liens and building violations.

“We brought it back to a point where it is actually tradable,” he said. His asking price is about $1,450 per square foot. “The repositioned property is being presented to the market as a flexible offering.”

Carl Keyes, president of Glad Tidings, did not respond to a request for comment.