Image: Before the 2005 sale
It’s been two-and-a-half years since developer Aby Rosen of RFR Realty scooped up the former Germania Bank Building for $55 million. He bought it from photographer Jay Maisel, who in 1966 turned the then-abandoned landmark into his own private 72-room mansion. After removing the Nolita building’s iconic graffiti last summer, Rosen is now all systems go for his conversion to an office building with ground-floor retail. As the Post reports, Seattle-based fashion retailer Totokaelo (who counts among its designer offerings Acne Studios, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander and Proenza Schouler) signed a lease for 8,918 square feet at street level. However, the deal only covers early fall through March 2018 for a large-scale pop-up store.
All the details ahead
Big-time real estate developer and man about town Aby Rosen has put his extravagant Upper East Side townhouse at 16 East 78th Street on the market for $19,950,000, a good deal more than the $8.4 million he paid for it back in 2004. According to LL NYC, the listing comes just a week after his other nearby home at 5 East 80th Street, which he’s rented for 15 years for nearly $23,500 a month, narrowly escaped the auction block. Rosen expressed interest in buying the property, which could be why he’s decided to part ways with this residence. Listing photos show the art collector’s impressive contemporary collection, as well as the full-full master suite, roof deck, and garden.
See it all right here
The 21st century incarnation of the iconic Four Seasons restaurant set to open at 280 Park Avenue will bear no resemblance to the original, beyond the famous name and the sign that fronted the “Mad Men”-era power lunch spot in the Seagram Building, according to the restaurant’s co-owner, Julian Niccolini. The New York Post reports that the team behind the “new” Four Seasons–Niccolini and partner Alex von Bidder, the Bronfman family, landlord Steve Roth of Vornado and representatives of landlord SL Green Realty–approved the new restaurant’s design, by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld, last Friday.
A new femininity for the three-martini lunch?
On Saturday night, after what seems like an eternity of speculation followed by lamentation, the iconic Four Seasons hosted its last dinner. Last summer, Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen of RFR Realty chose not to renew the iconic restuarant‘s lease, and even before this, he faced criticism when he removed Picasso’s largest ever work, Le Tricorne, from the space. But despite the constant contention, the developer is speaking out, hoping to get a little credit for the work and money he has put into the office building.
“I see myself as a custodian,” he told the Times, referring to the fact that it costs RFR an estimated 20 percent more to maintain the landmarked structure than it would a typical tower of the same size and age. But experts say this is par for the course when one willingly purchases a designated building, which Rosen did in 2000 for $379 million.
Rosen breaks down the specifics
The Wright auction house is gearing up for the July 26 auction of kitchen and dining room items from the iconic Four Seasons restaurant. As 6sqft previously reported, news that the restaurant would decamp from the building surfaced last summer, when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen did not renew the lease for what has been seen as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot for the last decades of the 20th century since it opened in 1959. The restaurant’s interiors feature custom designs by Pritzker Prize-winner Philip Johnson and furniture, tableware and other modernist treasures by the likes of by Seagram Building designer Mies Van der Rohe, Hans J. Wegner and others and custom-made Knoll furniture.
With an emotional forward by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, the auction catalog offers a preview of items up for auction with estimates. Included will be banquettes designed for the space by Philip Johnson Associates, Eero Saarinen Tulip stools, chairs and tables from the bar of the Grill Room, pans, flatware and dishes created for the restaurant by Ada Louise and L. Garth Huxtable and more.
Take a look at the items in the Four Seasons auction
The Four Seasons: Photo via Le Travelist
News of the iconic restaurant’s impending demise surfaced last summer, as 6sqft previously reported, when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen did not renew the lease for what has been seen as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot for the last decades of the 20th century since it opened in 1959. The restaurant’s interiors feature designs by Pritzker Prize-winner Philip Johnson, furniture, tableware and other items by Seagram Building designer Mies Van der Rohe, Hans J. Wegner and others and custom-made Knoll furniture.
Those items will be included in the 500 lots headed for auction on July 26. Dezeen highlights critics’ frustration at what Aaron Betsky, leading US architecture critic and dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture rues as the dispersal of “one of the rarest phenomena in Modernism: a place where the architecture, the furniture, the table settings, the service, the food, and even the clientele was of a piece.”
Find out more about why critics are so upset by the auction of the iconic restaurant’s interiors
Despite its interior landmark status and role as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot, the Four Seasons has been facing an uncertain future for the past year. In May, a small victory was had when the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected Aby Rosen’s plans to re-conceptualize the Philip Johnson-designed space, but it was short-lived, as Crain’s now reports that the Four Seasons will close its doors on July 16th after serving New Yorkers since 1959. Rosen did not renew the lease and plans to replace the restaurant with what will be considered a more “hip” eatery. As the Post shares, of-the-moment restauranteurs Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick (of the Major Food Group and trendy restaurants like Parm and Dirty French) signed to take over and partner with Rosen, who will increase the rent to $3 million a year.
The full story here
190 Bowery getting a bath; photo via Bowery Boogie
Though the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a proposal to restore the former Germania Bank Building at 190 Bowery with its controversial coat of graffiti intact, the on-again-off-again spray paint layer looks to be on its way out according to onlookers (h/t Bowery Boogie). Power-washing and a “paint-removal system” are reportedly underway, disappearing decades of scrawl.
Refresh your memory on what’s in the future for 190 Bowery
EDITOR’S NOTE: An RFR Realty representative reached out to Curbed to say that 190 Bowery is NOT for sale. The listing is not current and will be removed from Cushman & Wakefield’s site.
It seems like the saga of 190 Bowery is never going to be over. As you’ll recall, photographer Jay Maisel turned the former Germania Bank Building into his own private mansion and lived there from 1966 until February of this year, at which time he sold it to developer Aby Rosen of RFR Realty for $55 million. Like we previously said, “Since that time, it’s been all eyes on Rosen. Is he removing or preserving that iconic graffiti? What the heck happened with that ‘public’ art show inside the building?”
And though the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved plans in May for a restoration and conversion to an office building with ground-floor retail, it now seems that Rosen may be getting cold feet. Curbed reports that he’s taking offers for 190 Bowery in what looks like a very high-profile flip attempt.
See what the listing has to say
- Keith Haring’s six-story Statue of Liberty mural is going up for auction. [NYP]
- Turns out there is some validity to the “Whole Paycheck” nickname for Whole Foods. The grocery store has been overcharging for pre-packaged foods. [Gothamist]
- Past and present: Manhattan Beach’s “Apartcot” bungalow colony. [Brownstoner]
- According to an interview with real estate investor Aby Rosen, when Jay Maisel moved out of 190 Bowery, he left behind a 26-year collection of Playboy and Hustler magazines, as well as a collection of 5,000 screwdrivers, all lined up. [New Yorker]
- The creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo has passed away at age 79. [Guardian]
Images: Whole Foods (L); 190 Bowery (R)