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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

From Archives Pine Street conversions
By Carter Horsley Monday, July 18, 2005
Two superb pre-war, office buildings on one of the city's most impressive streets in Lower Manhattan have been converted and are now selling condominium apartments.

The buildings at 50 and 56 Pine Street between William and Pearl Streets. They are across the street from the huge and very impressive public arcade at 60 Wall Street and they are just to the west of the imposing Downtown Association Building at 60 Pine Street, designed in Romanesque Revival style by Charles C. Haight in 1887 and the glorious Art Deco-style skyscraper at 70 Pine Street, designed by Clinton & Russell.

50 Pine is just to the east of Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church and its upper floors overlook One Chase Manhattan Plaza with its large sunken fountain by Isamu Noguchi and its Four Trees sculpture by Jean Dubuffet across William Street.

It has a three-step-up entrance with a barrel vaulted lobby. The handsome, 12-story, beige-brick building was erected in 1902 and has arched windows on its top floor and a two-story limestone base at the top of which is emblazoned "Caledonian Insurance Company." It has large, single-pane, openable windows, ceilings higher than 10 feet, and a large cornice. It permits pets and has bicycle storage and a doorman. Prices range from abut $1,445,000 for about 1,688 square feet to about $2,725,000 for more than 3,000 square feet.

As attractive as 50 Pine Street is, 56 Pine is a knockout. It was designated an official New York City landmark in 1997. It was built in 1894 by James G. Wallace and designed by his company's architect, Oswald Wirz.

"Faced with brick, stone, and terra cotta, the building is distinguished," according to the city's landmark designation report, "by its Romanesque Revival characteristics, seen in the round-arched openings, the deeply set windows, and truncated columns, and embellished by an intricate foliate panels and fantastic heads." When it was built, it replaced a four-story office building and its twelve stories made it one of the tallest at the time in Lower Manhattan. The highly ornate building has a three-step-up entrance and much of its ground floor frontage is occupied by Ise, a very attractive Japanese restaurant. In 1919, three floors were added to the building in a setback.

The richness of the facade is quite remarkable. There are more than 30 polished granite columns supported the four arches on the first floor of this relatively narrow building. The second and third floors have very tall and deeply inset windows separated by five rusticated piers. The 4th through the 10th floors have a different fenestration pattern with smaller windows divided into just three vertical tiers. The building, which is being developed by Dan and Jordan Rosen, will have about 90 units and a club floor for residents.

A third and much large conversion is planned for 20 Pine Street, which is also known as 2 Chase Manhattan Plaza. The 35-story building has a beige-brick building has a limestone base with a revolving door entrance and was acquired late last year by Africa Israel, a holding company controlled by Lev Leviev, and Shaya Boymelgreen, who are in the process of converting another major downtown property, 15 Broad Street.
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Additional Info About the Building

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.