Historic Condo Project Starts Sales at Slashed Prices

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York– The Apthorp, a 32-unit historic condominium project is now selling at substantially reduced pricing starting at $1,535,000. A recent report released by the Real Estate Board of New York found that across New York City, average home prices are down 22 percent in second quarter 2009. This project…

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York– The Apthorp, a 32-unit historic condominium project is now selling at substantially reduced pricing starting at $1,535,000. A recent report released by the Real Estate Board of New York found that across New York City, average home prices are down 22 percent in second quarter 2009. This project is no different.In addition, a $30 million capital improvement program is currently in progress that will restore the property to its turn-of-the-century architecture but also modernize it to 21st Century standards. Closings are expected to begin in fall 2009.“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a part of New York’s history at below market prices that will never be seen again – once we reach our conversion goal in September, prices will most certainly go up,” says Chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman, Howard Lorber. “When people talk about the deal that got away, or say ‘If only I had bought there then,’ this is the property you will always hear lamented.” Stretching from West End Avenue to Broadway and 78th to 79th Streets, The Apthorp takes up a full city block in the heart of the Upper West Side and was the world’s largest residential building at its creation in 1908. William Waldorf Astor and his architects Clinton & Russell modeled The Apthorp after the Pitti Palace in Florence in the Italian Renaissance style. The Apthorp is famously noted for its interior courtyard tucked away behind two vaulted entrances and residences, each with a unique layout and décor.  Originally 10-room apartments with six bedrooms, today’s Apthorp residences range in size from 1,100 to 6,000 square feet, four to 12 rooms, with 11 to 12 feet high ceilings and windows up to 8-ft. tall. Most units feature an entry foyer with signature stone mosaic tile floors, ceiling medallions, intricate moldings and up to three fireplaces, the majority with hand-carved mantels. Architects Ingrid Birkhofer and Fernando Papale of BP Architects are employing an artful approach to the historic restoration and preservation of this landmarked wonder. “At times,” notes Papale, “the artisans are scraping through 15 layers of paint to reveal long forgotten plaster ornaments, or probing the existing structural elements to discover a thick chestnut hand-carved door buried for 70 years in a tile wall which is then reinstalled in the unit in which it was found.” Areas that cannot be restored to their original condition will be replicated, as is the case with some plaster details and herringbone floors where the intricate design was painstakingly recreated. BP Architects’ also plans to modernize the property without disturbing the existing architectural ornamentation. “Our mission is to maintain the historic integrity and feeling of old-world charm of the homes while at the same time fully updating them to accommodate a modern lifestyle,” says Birkhofer. Improvements to the common areas of The Apthorp include restoration work being done on the public foyers, lobbies and elevators. All original stone and marble floors, plaster ceilings and wall décor will be brought back to life by carefully reproducing, restoring, painting and glazing to reinstate the original grandeur. Outside, the 12,000-square-foot courtyard garden is being rejuvenated with lush landscaping while its signature cobblestones, fountains and benches are also restored. Finally, a new gate house will be added on the West End Avenue side of the building, which will allow tenants and visitors to enter and exit on both Broadway and West End Avenues.

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