Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Frank Lloyd Wright Home Lists in Michigan, Jonathan Adler Makes Moves in SoHo, and More Real Estate News

Architectural Digest | AD PRO | By Dan Avery | October 1, 2021

On the Market

A Frank Lloyd Wright house for sale in Michigan

A 1953 Frank Lloyd Wright home overlooking Lake Michigan is on the market for the first time in 25 years.

Listed for $1.96 million, Harper House in St. Joseph, Michigan, is named after Ina Morriss Harper, a doctor who commissioned the famed architect to build a home for her and her husband after reading a profile on him in House Beautiful.

Made of Chicago common brick and tidewater cypress—both signature Wright materials—the L-shaped abode has floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around the perimeter and a combination of pitched, angled, and flat rooflines.

It’s been lovingly cared for by current owners Gina Flamm and Arthur Wolak, who bought the house in 1996. They worked closely with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy on a full restoration and tasked Wright protégé Charles Montooth to design an extension that added two more bedrooms.

“We’re still blown away by the house. It never grows old,” Flamm tells AD PRO. “We still notice new things all the time.”

Harper House is being sold with all its furnishings and several art pieces, including a reproduction of Sprite, a sculpture Wright designed for Chicago’s Midway Gardens in 1914.

The original furnishings were sold several owners back, but rather than try to recreate them—“too contrived,” says Flamm—the couple infused the space with their own style while remaining true to Wright’s design. “Our mantra was ‘of the earth,’” Flamm says. “There are a lot of browns and golds and bronzes.”

The one thing she and her husband didn’t want was to live in a museum piece. “We have children running around, friends and family sitting at the table, food set out on the buffet,” she says. “We’ve always had that sense of awe, but it’s never been uncomfortable. Our heart is in this house and I hope the next owners’ heart is too.”

Halfway across the country, another Frank Lloyd Wright house is on the market, in Los Angeles: Completed in 1925, the Freeman House has been described by architectural historian Kathryn Smith as one of the architect’s most important houses.

Distinguished by its Mayan Revival architecture, textile blocks, and focal hearth, the three-bedroom house is currently owned by the University of Southern California. The list price, which includes many original furnishings designed for the house, has been reduced from $4.25 million in July to $3.25 million.

Work-life balance in Miami

Location Ventures has launched sales for the first two locations of Urbin, a new mixed-use brand that combines short- or long-term accommodations with co-working, wellness space, and retail.

Catering “to the nomadic traveler…looking to live or stay in the hottest cities with only their personal items in tow,” Urbin properties allow owners to stay for up to 90 nights a year. While they’re away, the residence can be rented on a short- or long-term basis.

Location Ventures has announced plans to scale to 100 sites in the U.S. over the next decade. The first two are Urbin Miami Beach on Washington Avenue, designed by Coral Gables–based Touzet Studio, and Urbin Coconut Grove in Commodore Plaza, designed by Arquitectonica and Paredes Architects.

Residences range from $400,000 to $1.2 million, with sales representation by ONE Sotheby’s International Realty.

In the News

Jonathan Adler leases SoHo store

Design maven Jonathan Adler is returning to SoHo with a 10-year lease on a 8,000-square-foot building at 382 West Broadway, the New York Post first reported.

For $650,000 a year, the contract on the mid-block building between Spring and Broome streets includes the ground floor, lower level, and mezzanine. It was previously a membership spa from skincare brand Erno Laszlo.

“It’s a rare freestanding building in SoHo, and since most of the surrounding buildings are historic cast-iron structures, it will provide Jonathan Adler with a striking, modern home for his brand,” Sinvin Real Estate’s Christopher Owles, who represented the building’s owners, tells AD PRO.

The store will be in good company, Owles says, pointing to neighbors like Cipriani Downtown, Ladurée, and Ryan Serhant’s new real estate office, as well as fashion outposts from Gucci, Bogner, and Reiss.

Adler currently has shops in Greenwich Village, Lenox Hill, and on the Upper West Side, but he opened his first store on Broome Street in 1998, followed by larger outposts on Greene Street.

“SoHo’s always been their home, and it’s important to have a presence here,” Janet Liff of J. Liff Co., who represented Adler in the sale, told the Post. Rents have lowered since the pandemic, she added, “so there are opportunities and it’s a good time to come back.”

Brookfield cuts the ribbon on Manhattan West

Manhattan West officially opened this week: More than 30 years in the making, the sprawling city-within-a-city designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill links Madison Square Garden, Penn Station, the new Moynihan Train Hall, Hudson Yards, and the High Line with eight acres of office space, hospitality and dining, entertainment, retail, and high-end accommodations.

In addition to a pair of soaring office towers, the Brookfield Properties development is also home to the Eugene, a 62-story residential tower with 834 apartments, and Pendry Manhattan West, the brand’s first New York hotel.

Dining options range from elevated fast casual at the Citizens New York food hall to two outposts from Danny Meyer—Ci Siamo and Daily Provisions—as well as Richard Kuo’s restaurant, Hidden Leaf, and Quality Branded’s café, Zou Zou’s.

A 2.5-acre urban pedestrian plaza with movable chairs, tables, and benches will feature free events and public art, like “Citrovia,” an interactive outdoor exhibit boasting thousands of hand-painted lemons and groves.

“We are incredibly proud that Manhattan West will contribute to the energy and dynamism of New York City as the city continues to come back to life,” Brookfield managing partner Ben Brown said in a release.

Could the Met Breuer go condo?

The Whitney Museum’s erstwhile home on the Upper East Side side may be up for sale, according to a report on Artnet.

Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1966, the iconic dark granite building taking up 77,000 square feet on Madison Avenue was occupied by the Whitney until 2015, when it decamped to its new Renzo Piano–designed home in the Meatpacking District.

A year later, the Metropolitan Museum of Art moved into the Breuer, intending to use it to display modern and contemporary works. But in 2018, the Met sublet the Breuer to the Frick Collection, which was preparing for a massive expansion at its own home base.

The Frick Madison opened in March 2021 and is set to remain there until the Met’s lease runs out in fall 2023. But what happens then?

The Whitney declined to respond to a request for comment, but, as Artnet notes, any decision on selling or leasing again would have to be approved by its chief benefactor, Leonard Lauder, who has indicated he doesn’t want the museum to give up the building any time soon.

And any developer brave enough to make a play for it would have to overcome its landmark status, zoning issues, and undoubted resistance from the neighborhood and city leaders.

“They may try to do something else with it, but the neighborhood and City Council will push against it hard,” Million Dollar Listings’s Tyler Whitman tells AD PRO. “Personally, I hope they bring another art exhibition space. We have to keep what brings people to New York in the first place. We have plenty of skyscrapers—we don’t have enough art.”

Real estate broker Compass’s chief evangelist Leonard Steinberg said he’s confident the building won’t be torn down, “as it is an internationally recognizable landmark of architectural significance.”

“However, a residential tower that is somehow incorporated with this building is very plausible and would command a premium not only because of its location,” he tells AD PRO, “but also because of the provenance of the museum.”

But the odds of one as tall as 53 W 53, Jean Nouvel’s 1,050-foot skyscraper adjoining the Museum of Modern Art, “are close to zero, if not zero,” Steinberg adds.


A covetable condo in Atlanta

The first model residence has been unveiled at 40 West 12th, the luxury condo tower anchoring Atlanta’s 1105 West Peachtree, a $530-million mixed-use complex that also includes a 31-story office building where Google has claimed five floors and the Epicurean, a 178-room culinary-driven hotel that’s part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.

Designed by Michael C. Morris of M. Crisler Designs, the apartment features a high-contrast color palette, a dual-facing fireplace, and statement light fixtures, like a Sputnik chandelier in the dining room.

Co-developed by Selig Development and Rockefeller Group and designed by Atlanta architecture firm Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, 40 West 12th offers 64 two- to four-bedroom layouts with pricing starting at $1.1 million.