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
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
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
Photo via Le Travelist
Aby Rosen’s plans to update the Four Seasons has been squashed by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. According to Crain’s, the only upgrade that received a nod from the commission was a request to change the carpet. Bigger renovations, like replacing a non-original fissured glass partition with planters and to replace a fixed walnut panel between the public and private dining rooms with a movable one, were all rejected. “There is no good reason why they should make these changes,” said Meenakshi Srinivasan, the commission’s chairwoman, Crain’s reports. “There’s no rationale. The space could function perfectly well without these changes, so why do it?”
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After several weeks of back and forth on whether or not the new owner of 190 Bowery, Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty, would keep its iconic graffiti, it’s now official that the historic Germania Bank Building will remain in all its tagged glory. As Yimby reports, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the proposed restoration and conversion to an office building with ground-floor retail. The plan, conceptualized by preservation architecture firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners with the help of MdeAS Architects, “calls for restoration of metal gates, wooden doors, stained glass, and other elements, but not removing the graffiti or cleaning the façade.”
More on the approved plans here
Photo via Le Travelist
As you probably already know, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the NYC landmarks law. And one of the ways the city is marking the historic event is with an exhibit at the New York School of Interior Design called Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Landmark Interiors, which focuses on some of the 117 public spaces throughout the five boroughs that have been designated interior landmarks. In conjunction with this exhibit, Open House New York recently hosted an interior landmark scavenger hunt (for which 6sqft took eighth place out of 40 teams!), which brought participants to designated interior spaces in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn over the course of seven hours.
One of the spots we visited was the Four Seasons restaurant inside the famed Seagram Building. Through our scavenger hunt challenges here, we learned just how groundbreaking this restaurant was for its innovative design and role as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot. But the Four Seasons, despite its landmark status, is facing an uncertain future.
Learn about the past, present, and future of the Four Seasons here
Those who have been mourning the loss of 190 Bowery to the clutches of the rich can breathe a slight sigh of relief. Just a month after having some of its graffiti removed, the WSJ reports that the former Germania Bank—and former home of photographer Jay Maisel—has just inked its first lease. The tenant, “a company made up of agencies representing creative professionals in the industry of luxury and fashion image-making” has signed on for nearly 30,000 square feet and says that it will maintain all of the building’s historic touches, from “its marble wash basins to the graffiti covering the lower part of the facade.”
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Image courtesy of Lori Zimmer
We all knew this day would come. 190 Bowery is currently undergoing a deep cleaning as its new owners prime it for its next life as a luxury mixed-use condo/retail development.
One of New York’s most mysterious buildings continues to come further into light, now with a brand new marketing video (h/t EV Grieve) that not only shows us images of the building completely graffiti-free, but how its former owner, photographer Jay Maisel, had set up his work and living spaces. The three-minute video offers up a fly-through tour of the home, focusing in on just how spectacular and well-kept the interiors are. There are stunning shots that zoom in on the ornate moulding, others that zip through the vault, and close-ups of the iron work that adorn the staircases and elevator—in addition to a slew of other incredible details. The walls are also covered in Maisel’s modern works, which juxtapose nicely with their historic setting.
Maisel purchased the 72-room, 35,000-square-foot building—originally built in 1898 as the Germania Bank—for just $102,000 back in the ’70s, calling it his family home and studio for decades. The photographer inked a deal to sell the home last year to developer Aby Rosen and recently filed records show that he received a whopping $55 million for the six-story structure. Rosen is currently marketing the building as a retail-condo development.
[Via EV Grieve via Popular Photography]
Video by Digital Destinations