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Carter's View

The Westport Group Inc., a private real estate investment firm headed by Klaus and Annemarie Kretschmann, is converting the 100,000-square-foot, red-brick, loft building at 650 Avenue of the Americas into 70 residential condominium apartments.

The attractive building is on the southeast corner at 20th Street across the street from the former Limelight disco and across the avenue from the former O'Neill Department Store that is also being converted to condominiums.

The location is in the heart of the Ladies' Mile Historic District and the Chelsea and Flatiron neighborhoods. There is excellent shopping and public transportation in this area as well as many restaurants and boutiques.

The Westport Group is seeking permission from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to add a penthouse level to the six-story building at 650 Avenue of the Americas.

Mr. Kretschmann told today that he was hopeful construction could begin in the next few months and that apartments will range in size from just under 1,000 to about 2,000 square feet and will have ceiling heights of 10 ? to 12 feet.

Sonnenblock-Goldman has arranged a $95 million non-recourse loan for the building's acquisition and development and the loan was funded by Bear Stearns Commercial Mortgage Inc.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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