Reading the Room: Sales launch at “Library” condo

Serhant tapped for sales of 11 units at redeveloped book repository

Ryan Serhant and the Library (Getty, Donna Dotan / DD Reps)
Ryan Serhant and the Library (Getty, Donna Dotan / DD Reps)

Living in a library sounds like a bibliophile’s dream. Now, some may get that chance — sort of.

Sales start today at a condo that was once the Downtown branch of the New York Public Library. The brokerage Serhant is leading them for developer Horizon Group.

Appropriately called the Library, the luxury residential building at 61 Rivington Street is welcoming buyers as they return to the Lower East Side: Transactions in the neighborhood are up about 117 percent from a year ago, when Covid was depressing the market, according to data from Serhant.

“The consumer demand has been pushing us very strongly to get this to market,” said Sean McPeak, who is co-leading the Library’s sales. Though several factors were at play when deciding the timing, he said employees’ returning to the office has worked in their favor.

But Billionaires’ Row, this is not. Unit prices range from $1.25 million to about $2 million, less than nanny flats cost in Manhattan’s priciest buildings.

The project has been in the works since about three years ago, McPeak said, when David Marom’s Brooklyn-based Horizon purchased the building. Serhant was tapped last fall.

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The redeveloped library has historic roots. It was built in 1905 by McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the original Penn Station, the Brooklyn Museum and the Washington Square Arch.

Its transition into a residential building isn’t its first reincarnation. The building became a dance hall and restaurant in 1950 and later the Church of Nazarene.

At six stories, the Library houses 11 residences with one to three bedrooms, including two duplexes with private outdoor space and two penthouses.

Three floors have the original Classical Revival facade while the rest feature contemporary glass. Brittany Marom Interior Design and Issac Stern Architects worked on the building’s designs.

The building was home to the city’s first open air reading room, a space that grew in popularity following the 1918 pandemic. This new rendition features a rooftop space for residents in the reading room’s honor.