Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing
BY Jason Sheftell
DAILY NEWS REAL ESTATE CORRESPONDENT
Most New Yorkers look to Park Ave. and Fifth Ave. for the city’s architectural masterpieces. Lifetime Harlemites and some recent uptown arrivals know better. Here are three old classics, and potentially two new ones. None of them will cost you an arm and leg to live in.
Located on high ground near 157th St. and Riverside Drive, this triangular-shaped 9-story building holds just 82 apartments. When it was built in 1911, it was one of uptown’s most famous and elegant structures. Apartments came with wood-paneled dining rooms, 24-hour elevator service, maid rooms, uniformed staff, mail delivery two times per day, and a dumbwaiter in each apartment to lower garbage and dirty clothes to a fully-staffed laundry room.
Advertised as a “fireproof building” and “fine apartment for a physician,” the building was said to be located in the “Middle West Side” of Manhattan.
Today, the Grinnell has a doorman in a glass box just inside the entrance. The No. 1 subway train is 100 yards from the entrance. The building looks majestic from the outside, but the individual lobbies seems tired. The apartments, however, are extremely large. Six-room apartments sell for above $850,000.
555 Edgecombe Ave
Known as the “Triple Nickel,” this apartment building, located on 160th St. and Edgecombe Ave., would have been packed with paparazzi if they existed in the 1930s. Along with 409 Edgecombe Ave. down
the street, the Triple Nickel drew more African-American celebrities than any building ever could today. Paul Robeson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Lena Horne, Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson all called
the building home.
Painted with Greek myth scenes of cherubs playing flutes for dancing goats, the all-rental building’s lobby includes a circular stained-glass ceiling window that was covered over in the 1960s during threat of nuclear attack. Still there, the one-of-a-kind Art Deco window needs repair.
Tenants we bumped into said they paid $1,800 for large two-bedrooms. Waiting for a car service, Karen Taylor, a singer, hummed to herself. She greeted friends walking in, one of whom produced the music for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration 12 years ago.
“I definitely feel a sense of higher energy from all the people who lived here before me,” says Taylor, who moved from Queens to Harlem. “It’s in the walls.”
Perhaps the most famous stretch of brick townhouses in New York City, Strivers’ Row was built in 1893 by several sets of architects, including David King, an African-American architect working with the prestigious firm of McKim, Mead and White. Located on 138th and 139th Sts. between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and Frederick Douglass Blvd., these houses in the St. Nicholas Historic District have alleyways gated off from one another and back areas big enough for parking. Each home is a New York City landmark.
Built to house the upper middle class, some early tenants include W.C. Handy, father of American blues, and congressman Adam
Clayton Powell Jr. The street received its
name because a “striver” was considered to be an African-American who wanted to work his way up.
After years of decay through the 1970s, where several of the homes became single- room occupancy (SRO) hotels, Strivers’ Row has again become an elegant place to live. Today, the 21-foot-wide townhouses with owners and rental units, sell for around $2.1 million in perfect condition. Studios rent for $1,000.
120th Street and Second Ave.
Across the street from a schoolyard, these three townhouses from Bayside, Queens-based Briarwood Organization are new takes on an old Harlem form. The developer has a long history on working with the city to develop affordable housing in the same East Harlem neighborhood. They’ve constructed two large apartment houses and more than 10 townhouses on both sides of 119th St. They also built 40 four-story three-family residences with back-alley parking between Fifth and Madison Aves. at 120th and
121st Sts. Their buildings cover one square block.
The three new townhouses — all have duplex owner units and two rental apartments — are on sale for between $1.45 million and $1.7 million. If they don’t sell by the end of March, several two- and three-bedroom units inside the townhouses will be for rent starting at around $2,000 for two bedrooms. These are classics for one simple reason: They are extremely well-built by a company working in the neighborhood for over 30 years. With building on city-owned land becoming less of a possibility in Harlem, these buildings may be the last of their kind ever built in the neighborhood.
“Our only concern is quality,” says Vincent L. Riso, Briarwood’s Managing Principal. “We want this neighborhood to succeed. Every building or house needs to be substantial and priced for people here to afford.” Go to www.briarwoodorg.com/120 for more information.
Named after a sub-Saharan desert in North Africa, this new development on 116th St. has one of the more unique facades of any New York condominium. Brown and yellow triangular stripes adorn the building front, making it an instant eyeful from the street. Residents rave about the open space in its huge marble lobby. Developers Carlton Brown, an expert in international sustainability, and L&M Equity, have created an environmentally-friendly building with sound studios, an interior courtyard doubling as public space, and a Harlem-born after-school squash program with a history of helping local children.
Available one-bedroom units start at $525,000. Three-bedroom penthouses with 1,723 square feet of living space go for $1.385M.
So what makes this a potential classic? It’s a community experiment where green living meets a mixture of affordable and market-rate housing in a neighborhood that desperately needs buildings like this to survive future gentrification.
“You can honestly say the Kalahari is one of a kind,” says Halstead’s Steve Kliegerman, whose new development group is in charge of marketing the building. “Once people look, they realize just how many dimensions this project delivers.” For information, go to www.kalahari-harlem.com.
Friday, February 27, 2009