Even from a glance at its facade, you could guess that 508 LaGuardia Place is a unique and historic structure. Located within the South Village Historic District, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation called it “perhaps the finest example of industrial architecture of the late 19th Century in the South Village.” The available 5,000 square-foot, four bedroom upper triplex would be well-utilized as a live/work space, suitable for “tech or fashion companies to use as a work space that impresses.” And you may indeed need startup funding to swing the $30K per month rent.
The Romanesque Revival-style building has a history of creative residents that parallels the neighborhood’s evolution through the second half of the 20th century. Built in 1891 as the H. H. Upham Company sign factory, the story of 508 LaGuardia Place is the story of Soho and Tribeca through the years when artists and photographers worked and lived in cavernous former factories and warehouses and did the heavy lifting required to carve out amazing spaces for themselves.
As reported by TheRealDeal, the sign factory closed at the end of the 1950s. Beginning in the ’60s, the building’s next owners were Life magazine photographer Leon Kuzmanoff and his wife, who renovated the former sign factory to create a live-work loft with 30-foot-ceilings that were perfect for a photography studio. The building was sold upon Kuzmanoff’s death in 1999–which was about the time the neighborhood in its current form began to take shape.
The now-pricier triplex was, for the next seven years, the rental home of internationally renowned Swiss harpist-turned-fashion photographer Markus Klinko, better known as co-star of the Bravo TV reality show “Double Exposure.” As Klinko’s budding photography career blossomed, stars like Jennifer Lopez were often spotted heading inside for photo shoots.
When Klinko moved uptown, the triplex became home to Swedish fashion designer Johan Lindeberg, founder of clothing label J. Lindeberg, during whose tenancy the loft made the cover of the book “American Fashion Designers at Home.” Another reality show production company was the next tenant, followed by, fittingly, a mortgage firm. The building’s longtime owners say it’s an ideal live-work space due to its size and dramatically-configured spaces that make it perfect for photographers and film folks.
The building’s owner explains some of the home’s more dramatic attributes including “an 8-foot-by-10-foot glass opening in the floor below the skylight, now covered with a glass panel. In the days when the space was a factory, signs were hoisted down to the ground through similar openings in each floor. Now it’s purely for dramatic effect.” Anyone standing in the–impressively large, cheery and sufficiently modernized–first-floor kitchen and looking up can see the skylight 40 feet above.
On the same floor as the kitchen are two large bedrooms; the one pictured looks emphatically decorated, baroque and possibly cozy–but not especially loft-like.
But it’s definitely an exception; up a flight of stairs is a vast 2,000-square-foot loft space, lit from above by the aforementioned skylight, with 30-foot ceilings, arched windows, and the building’s original exposed brick.
There are a total of four bedrooms and four baths, which look thoroughly contemporary in wood, marble and glass, with recessed lighting, a rain shower and modern chrome hardware.
On the third floor are more rooms and a wrought-iron staircase that was salvaged from a bank by the first non-industrial tenant, leading to a private 1,600 square foot roof deck offering amazing views of a very 21st century downtown cityscape, including One World Trade Center. The apartment overlooks the modernist sculpture in the courtyard of New York University’s I. M. Pei-designed, landmarked Silver Towers complex. And you’re near just about every downtown neighborhood, which means the best of the city is at your feet, in your shopping bag, or on your plate.
Though this address undoubtedly commands a premium price, some might suggest that if it were two blocks in any direction it might be better-placed; it’s a bit of a tweener spot, across from the aforementioned NYU University Village building, crowded with college pubs and a steady flow of tourists, but fortunately surrounded by some of the most beloved parts of the Village and the best shopping and model-spotting streets of Soho and Tribeca.
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Photos courtesy of Prime Real Estate.