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Carter's View

Designer Peter Som has been retained for the interiors at the condominium apartment development at 485 Fifth Avenue on the northeast corner at 41st Street directly across the avenue from the New York Public Library.

Belfonti Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group are converting the former 11-story commercial building into 104 apartments. The property was acquired recently from Tri-Realty Management Corporation for a price reported to be about $88 million.

Four floors will be added to the brown-brick, 10-story building, which will also have 26,000 square feet of retail space. The building will be known as The Lofts at Bryant Park.

A construction shed was recently erected around the building.

The building has a three-story limestone base and two-story-high limestone pilasters on its top two floors and an attractive cornice. Its upper floors along the avenue offer impressive views of Bryant Park and its surroundings.

Belfonti Capital Partners, of which Michael Belfonti and Adam Hochfelder are principals, is a subsidiary of Belfonti Associates of Hamden, Connecticut. It recently opened an office in the city and is also converting the building at 260 Park Avenue South.

Last May, the building, which was for many years occupied by Rogers, Peet & Co., a clothing store, was sold by Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A., Inc., in a transaction it valued" at approximately $48 million." The Tommy Hilfiger concern had previously announced it was relocating from the building to the Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street.

Gary Handel is the archiect for the conversion, which is expected to retain the existing facade.

Apartments will be priced from about $1 million to $7 million and range in size from one-bedroom units to four-bedroom units. One of the penthouses will have about 3,000 square feet of exterior space.

The building is the latest of several major residential developments on Fifth Avenue south of 42nd Street and around Bryant Park. Others include 425 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street and projects in various stages of construction at 400 Fifth Avenue and 325 Fifth Avenue as well as Bryant Park Tower on the Avenue of Americas at 39th Street and 1450 Broadway.

A sales center for the project is expected to open early next month. According to a January 4, 2005 in The Daily Fashion, "the interior sections of the building are being rebuilt from the ground up." The article also said that the lobby "will boast a massive staircase that will feature steel railing shaped in the form of one of Som's fabric patterns - a flowery, black and white one, to be exact."

Mr. Som, who is of Chinese descent, grew up in San Francisco and both his parents were architects. He studied at Connecticut College and graduated from the Parsons School of Design and worked for Bill Blass, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein and his debut fashion collection was presented in the fall of 1999.

The building will have a second floor garden and a 10,000-square-foot residents' space with a fitness center, a screening room, a wine cellar, a private lounge and a dining room. Kitchens will have lacquer cabinets and stone surfaces and bathrooms will have marble mosaics and Philippe Starck fixtures.
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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.