Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing
540 W. 28th St.
Only in New York could there be a real estate development specifically targeted at the Barack Obama supporter, as well as the emerging art collector. +aRt, a new condo project in Chelsea's Gallery District and neighboring High-line, not only boasts art acquisition assistance, but it promises, with its "Obama Contingency Clause," a money-back guarantee if John McCain somehow wins the presidential seat.
"We're reaching a very specific people — liberal Democrats threatening to move to Canada if McCain wins," +aRt spokesperson Jill Feldman sort of joked. Developer Erik Ekstein, however, took what his potential buyers said seriously. To them, without Barack, buying real estate is pointless.
"Buyers have made it clear that they are waiting until after the election to make any big purchasing decisions," said Ekstein. "One buyer actually requested this clause. [Buyers feel] an Obama presidency will be better for the economy; that Obama will help to repair the damage that's been done to the housing market. They believe that if McCain wins there will be more uncertainty and more volatility in the market. We want political worry out of the equation."
So, between now and Election Day, those who buy in +aRt get a full refund if Sarah Pain ends up moving her "Dogs Playing Poker"- type art collection to Washington. On a positive note, apartments start at a tasteful $520,000 for 445-square-foot studios and go up to $4.16 million for the 2,359-square-foot penthouse.
"If McCain wins, you can back out, no questions asked. No fees," reassured Feldman.
Ekstein added: "A McCain clause would be fair [only] if that was what consumers wanted."
+aRt isn't going to be another glass tower, said Feldman about the 13-story, 88-unit brick building. There won't be a bank or Starbucks filling the ground floor commercial space either. Instead, there are plans for a curated gallery. If a building with like-minded GObama politicos doesn't incite canvassing of undecided voters in nearby Pennsylvania, then perhaps the Abigail Michaels concierge service — which includes that accompanied art shopper — will get buyers out of state. The Andy Warhol museum, after all, is in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Shira Levine is a freelance writer living in New York City
Wednesday, October 29, 2008