By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
New York—The Story House, a boutique condominium located in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, is preparing for its first closings this spring. As it does, developer Manhattan Skyline has announced that the property is now 50 percent sold.
The Story House was given its name in honor of the nine-story building’s long-ago use as home to Frederick Warne and Company, the British publishing house renowned for children’s books by Beatrix Potter and others. Through an ambitious gut rehab, it has been reborn as a residential building offering eight condominium residences designed by Stephen B. Jacobs Group.
One very distinctive feature more than others has caught buyers‘ eyes. “It’s the floor-through apartments,” Manhattan Skyline vice chair Laurie Zucker tells MHN. “The elevator opens up in your apartment. The entire floor is your apartment.”
The ceiling heights at The Story House vary floor by floor. On lower floors, ceilings are very lofty at approximately 13 feet, while in upper stories they are somewhat lower, Zucker says. Also showcased are very high-end finishes in bathrooms and kitchens, and Danish black oak hardwood floors.
“When we purchased the building, different floors were occupied by different companies, such as an architect, a photographer, a furniture showroom,” Zucker says. “The neighborhood had begun changing, and those businesses wanted to relocate to high-tech, less residential locations. We went for a zoning change to residential, did a gut renovation, and put in all new plumbing, new wiring, and all new finishes as well. The elevator is also completely new.”
Among several challenges on the adaptive reuse project was New York City Building Department fire codes calling for a working elevator in buildings occupied above the 75-foot-high level. The problem? There would be no elevator while work proceeded on providing the building a new one.
“We worked on the building first from 75 feet on down when there was no working elevator,” during the replacement of the elevator, Zucker says.
“We couldn’t finish the area above 75 feet until the elevator replacement was complete.”
Another challenge came when building the penthouse. “We had to do a lot of structural work to accommodate a staircase up from the penthouse to a private roof terrace just for that home,” Zucker recalls. “That was tough, but we felt it was worth it to make that a very special penthouse home.”
The Story House now literally boasts stopping power. “We put a very striking mosaic in the lobby, and as people walk down the street, and look in the building, they stop in their tracks,” Zucker says with a laugh. “It’s really a jewel. And it’s bringing a great, very diverse clientele to the neighborhood.”