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After juggling ideas for the future of Downtown office buildings,multifamily keeps winning out. Consider the Woolworth Building and 70 Pine, both landmarked office buildings where recent owners considered mixes of hotel and residential. Now, part of the Woolworth will become condos, and 70 Pine is headed for luxury apartments.
Brad Gerla, 2011
CBRE Downtown office guru Brad Gerla tells us the top 30 floors of the Woolworth—which recently sold to Alchemy Properties, British and Israeli investor Marc Schimmel, and WeWork founder Adam Neumann for $68M—is a "spectacular" tower for conversion to residential. Not only is the space already vacant, but the previous owners got permission for a separate entrance for residents. That makes a conversion relatively easy, he says.
Woolworth Building
Brad says the space could have demanded pretty sweet rents if it remained office, too. But now, some lucky luxury condo owners will be able to say, "I live in the Woolworth Building."
Kenneth Horn
Alchemy Properties president Kenneth Horn tells us the Woolworth's sellers, The Witkoff Group and Cammeby's International, also considered hotel and apartments over the past 10 years and have done demo work already. Good thing, since his firm wouldn't have been interested if the space wasn't already vacant, he says. The plan now is to spend another $80M to $90M to convert it to three-, four-, and five-bedroom luxury condos, starting in eight months. Kenneth tells us the icon cost $13M to build in 1913.
70 Pine St, New York, NY
Brad says there's more opportunity for residential conversions Downtown, where that sector's vacancy is low and demand keeps increasing as neighborhood amenities accumulate. He points to 70 Pine St (above) as another example. The former AIG HQ sold to a South Korea investment bank, which planned residential, and then to Metro Loft Management, which intended to convert it to a hotel and apartments. Once again, multifamily won out, though, and Rose Associates is at the helm, planning luxury apartments.