architect moves from Tribeca loft to East Side apartment, newsworthy for Wall Street Journal

even if it was 5 years ago
To be fair to the Wall Street Journal, yesterday’s photo feature about a "young architect" who moved from "a dramatic home: a 1,900-square-foot Tribeca loft with prismatic glass sliding doors that could open to create one enormous room" to "a two-bedroom on the 27th floor of one of two 1966-built modernist black towers across from the United Nations" was focused on the new space, rather than the "news" that they had moved uptown from down five years ago. Of course, I was hungry for details about that "dramatic" loft with "prismatic glass sliding doors" that they left.

But for all the drooling over the "new" space, there are precious few photos and not a lot of detail about the space. They are probably the only owners at UN Plaza with "bluish grey-painted hardwood floors", though others may have "an all-white galley kitchen". Note that the kitchen is not otherwise described, and has only a single, angled photo. What’s so special about that?? (I suspect there is something special, but that spare description and single photo does not make me salivate.)

what about that dramatic loft?
There is no public web access to the listing description for the loft they sold in 2005 to move uptown, but the listing description in the inter-firm data base omits the prismatic glass sliding doors (odd, that):

Rare corner 1875sf+/- full floor loft (formerly artist Barnett Newmans studio) w/ 100ft. of large windows offering open views north & west & stunning light. This real find ( by architect Andre Kikoski, one of New York magazines 10 to watch) features 2 bed/2 baths, Master Bedroom w/ 20 wall of Poliform lacquer closets lined w/ lux Italian Walnut; French Limestone and quartzite mosaic Master Bath w/ central stereo, double shower, Lefroy Brooks soaking tub, double pedestal sinks designed by Architect Sir Norman Foster, all w/ Lefroy Brooks fixtures: Real cooks kitchen w/ Italian Walnut Poliform cabinets, jet mist granite, Subzero Fridge, 2 Subzero wine coolers, Wolf gas range w/ grill, large island w/ ample storage; Premium lighting fixtures; central stereo system throughout; 11-12 Ceils, C/AC, W/D. This designer home skillfully combines true loft openness w/ all creature comforts. New keyed elevator, basement storage, common roof deck.

The surviving floor plan shows a Long-and-Narrow footprint graced by the long north wall with 8 windows. I don’t believe that the prismatic sliding glass doors could really open so much as to create "one room" (per the Journal), as those doors make up just one wall of the master suite and the second bedroom, both of which lack windows but would get light through the prism from the north windows across a 5′ 5" wide gallery from the bedrooms. The combined living area + kitchen + dining area was an extremely bright 17 x 35 foot rectangle at the corner of White Street and Church Street, with west and north walls that are nearly all windows, and Empire State Building views.

You can’t see the old listing photos, but I can. The color scheme was completely different in the loft than in the UN Plaza apartment, with walnuts and maples and a similar dark finish on the floors; while the celling and some walls were white, there was a dramatic accent wall the length of the kitchen / living room back wall that reads as or orange-


red. A fair amount of furniture moved from the loft uptown, including that walnut and steel dining room table with the 4 inch trough for sea shells and crystals. Bummer: no old listing photos of those prismatic glass doors.


sold that loft

on May 26, 2005 for $1.775m. As much as I complain about the ‘quality’ of Manhattan real estate data these days, it used to be much worse: that May 2005 deed did not hit city records until September 2006! And our data base (still) has only an "estimated" price rather than a confirmed closing price for this transaction.

family friendly

The architect alibis the move with "[w]e really wanted this to be a place for family". I suspect that this means two things, apart from the obvious convenience of living near their son’s school: split bedrooms and more room for the son to play without being in the main living area.

Note that they two bedrooms in the loft are side-by-side and that they both had a long wall of sliding glass doors … not the best arrangement if privacy and sound transfer are issues. In the new (very large) apartment, the bedrooms are in opposite corners.

I am pretty sure that the new apartment is 3 floors below and with the

same foot print


this one

. Note that the master bedroom dimensions match the description of


son’s bedroom in the Journal, and that taking down the walls of the third bedroom not only can "create more openness" but would create a 12 x 22 ft master suite a long, long way from the son’s room. That’s family friendly!

moving uptown, in more ways than one

The loft downtown was in a five unit coop with no amenities other than a common roof deck, with relatively high current maintenance of about $2,500/mo. In the new apartment, they have truly luxury amenities, current maintenance of around $3,000/mo, plus utilities of around $1,000/mo, plus a window-washing fee of about $50/mo. Movin‘ on up, indeed!

Interesting, however, were the relative values in 2005 (monthly costs aside, which is a lot to push aside, I know). They sold the 1,875 sq ft loft for $1.775mm and bought the larger apartment in a full-service building with river views for "about $1.6mm".

2007 at 35 White, not 2005

An archive is wonderful thing! I actually mentioned the sale of this young architect’s dramatic loft in 2005 (noting the Barnett Newman connection) when I hit the loft immediately underneath on September 26, 2007 in

you want an authentic loft? 265 Water + 35 White qualify, both new(ish)

. I waxed then about how authentic and gritty the 3rd floor was (before seeing pix), with a wonderful view.

The amazing thing about this loft, however, is its serendipitous location looking northwest over the corner of the very wide Church Street and White Street (just east of the Tribeca Grand hotel and just south east of the old AT&T headquarters), with open views of the Empire State Building.

Part of its authenticity — to me — is the gritty location. This part of Tribeca is like a peninsula. The hotel and the huge AT&T Building, the wide Church Street (terminating in 3 blocks at Canal Street), and the even wider (beginning of) Sixth Avenue cut off this block from the main parts of Tribeca to the west.

Nothing "uber" about it, and I am not ignoring the finishes, but this is a classic Tribeca loft. It is all about The Space.

That one sounded as though it may have been in roughly similar condition to the 4th floor ("impeccably designed"; description, floor plan, but only 1 pic


) when sold by the young architect in 2005, but it sold at Peak pricing, $2.35mm in January 2008. That sale must have involved quite a tussle: the ask was $2.1mm and it took only 26 days to find a contract 10% above the ask.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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