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The Do-Over: 5 Historic NYC Buildings Transformed For A New Use

New York City is home to some of the most flashy, attention-grabbing new buildings in the world. But there is also major capital being thrown at older buildings to reshape them into fresh, new offerings for buyers and renters.

Bisnow took a look at some of the ways New York's historic buildings are being re-created for the modern market.

Terminal Stores

Terminal Stores

Then: Warehouse 
Now: Office/Retail/Restaurants

Built in the 19th century to service the rail lines on the Chelsea waterfront, Terminal Stores, between 11th and 12th avenues and West 27th and West 28th streets, is now set to sell to L&L Holding and Normandy Real Estate Partners for a lofty $900M.

Created as a seven-warehouse complex, it was said to be one of the few of its kind in the city that had access to road, rail and water, according to the website of the current owner, Waterfront New York. 

Spanning the entire block, it now has 1.3M rentable SF and is home to office tenants like Uber and L’Oréal USA and eateries like Avocaderia and Porchlight.

Waterfront New York paid $12M for the building in 1983. In 2014, GreenOak Real Estate Advisors bought a 49% stake in the property that pegged its value at $300M, according to the Wall Street Journal. Together the companies spent around $50M doing a major makeover on the space.

Under new ownership, it is now entering its next phase of development. There is 500K SF in the building used for storage, and it is expected that L&L — which has already run major makeovers on buildings like 195 Broadway, 200 Fifth Ave. and 390 Madison Ave. — will turn that space into more offices.

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Aerial view of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Then: Shipyard
Now: Office/Manufacturing/Retail/Restaurants

A shipbuilding site for 165 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is in the midst of a $1B redevelopment, its biggest expansion since World War II. The city bought the site in the late 1960s, and the nonprofit Brooklyn Navy Yard Redevelopment Corp. is overseeing its rehabilitation.

Over the last five years, a major focus has been renovating the buildings, and 1M SF and more than 10,000 jobs are expected to be added by 2020.

The Dry Dock at Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1905

Steiner NYC’s television and film production complex is there — the largest of its kind outside of Hollywood — and is now being expanded by 179K SF. Building 77, once a naval storage warehouse, has been given a $180M makeover and transformed into a 16-story, 1M SF building for light manufacturing, with food tenants and retail space. That building opened last year, and is anchored by iconic New York bakery Russ & Daughters.

A rendering of Dock 72, an office development from Boston Properties and Rudin Management in the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Now, the next major development at the Yard is Dock 72, a new 675K SF building developed by Rudin Properties and Boston Properties and anchored by WeWork.

It will feature a 13K SF food hall, four rooftop gardens and an outdoor basketball court, and is slated to open this fall. In January, BNYDC announced that it planned on developing around 25 acres that it controls on Kent Avenue in a $2.5B next phase of redevelopment.

The Woolworth

The Woolworth Building

Then: Woolworth headquarters
Now: Luxury condominiums

Ken Horn’s Alchemy Properties is turning the Cass Gilbert-designed Woolworth Building — a fixture on the Lower Manhattan skyline — into 33 high-end condos.

Built in 1913 for Frank Winfield Woolworth, the founder of F.W. Woolworth Co., the 792-foot neo-Gothic building was the tallest building in the world until 1930. Horn paid $68M to Steve Wikoff and Ruby Schron for the upper part of the building in 2012.

Last year, the building grabbed headlines when a penthouse there, known as “the pinnacle,” hit the market for an eye-popping $110M.

No home has ever sold for such a price downtown, and some residential brokers have expressed skepticism it will fetch that figure.

“This could never be built again,” Horn said of the building in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year. “Well it could, but it would cost an obscene amount of money since no one builds terra cotta buildings anymore.”


Dannenhoffer Opalescent Glassworks factory has been converted into a rental building

Then: Glass factory
Now: Rental apartments

Back in 1888, German immigrant John Dannenhoffer founded this colored glass factory in Bushwick, known as Dannenhoffer Opalescent Glassworks.

The building was used for various industrial uses throughout the 20th century, and has now been turned into a 63-unit rental building at 336 Himrod St.

ASH NYC joined with the site's owner, Martin Lomazow, to redevelop the building in 2015, and apartments are asking an average price of $3K per unit, according to StreetEasy. Leasing started in June, and the 77K SF project features a community workspace, a fitness room and indoor bike parking.

100 Barclay St.

The Exterior of 100 Barclay

Then: New York Telephone Co. offices
Now: Condos

Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group and CIM Group are joining together to turn 100 Barclay, a 33-story, 1927 Art Deco office building, into luxury condos.

Previously the headquarters of the New York Telephone Co., the brick and limestone building was designed by famed architect Ralph Walker. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1999 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

The lobby inside 100 Barclay

Prices in the 157-unit building start at $3.3M, and the penthouse is on the market for $59M. It reportedly has a living room that is longer than an NBA basketball court. The amenities include a heated lap pool and four outdoor terraces.