Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

A Gallery, A Foundation and a Partnership for West 13th Street Building

By Edwin McDowell | May 26, 2002

Purchasing and Sharing

Two yeas ago, when a partnership of three Manhattan developers offered to buy the three story building at 415 West 13th Street, between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street, it found that the Sperrone Westwater Gallery in SoHo also had its eyes on the building. So did the Bohen Foundation in Manhattan, which supports the arts.

But rather than bid up the price, the competitors decided to join forces to buy the 45,000 square foot building, which runs through the block between 13th and 14th Streets. Bohen, which is in SoHo, bought the first floor and a third of the basement.

The development partnership acquired the third floor, the remainder of the basement and the right to use the excess air rights and construct an additional five floors. It also agreed to build new entrances and new stairways and to install new elevators and heating and cooling systems. The partnership of William Schaffel, Charles Blaichman and Phillip Katz, is acting as the buildings developer.

The cost of the building and of redevelopment, scheduled for completion this fall, will total about $20 million. The developers plan to convert their portion of the building into a commercial condominium and to add the five floors on atop the half of the building that faces 13th Street, which will almost double the square footage of the existing structure. Because a concrete sheer wall was required for structural reasons it will now serve as a dividing lone between what will become two buildings – one fronting on 412 West 14th Street.

In buying 415 West 13th Street, the purchasers agreed that after their renovations they would sell the building facing 14th Street back to the original building’s former owner, Sam Chen, the founder of Expedi Printing who moved his company last year to Brooklyn. Mr. Katz said that the developers are now negotiating to retain and renovate the 14th Street building.

Steven Kratchman, the architect for the buildings, said that the addition of the five floors required reinforcing the foundation footing s and using lightweight metal panels on the upper floors to reduce the new loads.

The new floors will be clad in black glazed brick and black enameled lightweight aluminum panels, instead of the original yellow brick, to make a clean break between new and the older floors.

The Sinvin Realty Corporation, which will seek tenants or buyers for floors 3 through 8, expects annual rents to be $38 to $48 a square foot.