Akelius planning to overhaul Fiorella La Guardia’s former home

Swedish firm acquired building for $44M last year

Kunal Chothani and 1274 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)
Kunal Chothani and 1274 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

Akelius Real Estate Management is adding 16 new apartments to an East Harlem rental building where the late New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia once resided.

The renovation, which will not add square footage but will increase the number of apartments from 54 to 70, is described in Department of Buildings filings as “converting 15 apartments into 30 apartments.”

The U.S. arm of Swedish investment giant Akelius acquired the 56,700-square-foot building from SL Green Realty and Stonehenge in a $44 million all-cash deal last year. The building is home to a mix of free-market and rent-stabilized tenants.

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The building, at 1274 Fifth Avenue facing Central Park, was built in 1924. La Guardia resided in the building for eight years of his mayoral tenure, which lasted from 1934 to 1945.

The six-story building previously had nine tenements per floor, while the new configuration will include 11 to 13 apartments per floor as well as a new apartment in the basement, according to the filings. Mancini Duffy is the architect of record.

Roger Akelius, a best-selling writer of technology and finance books in Sweden, founded Akelius Residential Property in 1994. The company’s New York operation was launched in 2015 under Kunal Chothani. The company initially targeted heavily rent-stabilized buildings in Brooklyn but has increasingly added market-rate units in a flurry of Manhattan acquisitions.