Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

From Rags to Riches

By Lois Weiss | January 20, 2005

Between the BricksA former warehouse with ties to photography is being turned into a large gallery building in Chelsea. The building at 535 W. 24th Street sits on the most important gallery block in the area, so it’s almost natural to create better space from the funky place. Galleries already ensconsed between 10th and 11th Avenues include Barbara Gladsotne, Matthew Marx, Metro Pictures, the Gagosian Gallery and Mary Boone.

The Brothers Richard and Robert Rathe owned the warehouse and used it for their own display business before deciding to cash into the art craze. Michelle Stone of Sinvin Realty who is now in charge of marketing and leasing the new space said the building’s top floor was previously used by both Richard Avedon and Irving Penn as their studios.

The top floor is 6,000 square feet of column free space, noted Stone. Rents for lower floors will be $30 to $32 a foot, while the penthouse previously occupied by the photographers, will go for $52 a foot. “There’s also a roof deck and a view of the river,” Stone said.

To remind the international art world of Soho and the famous 420 W. Broadway – known as 420 – which was the top gallery building years ago that hosted Roy Lichentstein, Robert Rauschenberg and others, the Rathes will use the large “535” on its facade as its destination.
“You want the building to fit into the neighborhood and architecture,” said Stone. “Then you also want the highest and best use, and get the most money for the space. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”