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

Carter's View

Sales of residential condominiums started last week at the former Barbizon Hotel at 140 East 63rd Street, which is now known as Barbizon/63. It is on the southeast corner at Lexington Avenue.

The very handsome, 23-story building, one of the greatest pre-war structures on the Upper East Side east of Park Avenue, started as a women-only residence "club" and was designed by Murgatroyd & Ogden in 1927.

Barbizon/63 will contain 65 apartments ranging in size from one-bedroom apartments to a duplex penthouse with 5,345 square feet of interior spaces. Other penthouses have terraces with over 900 square feet. Prices range from about $1 million to about $12 million.

According to a spokesman for the sponsor, Barbizon Hotel Associates, L.P., an affiliate of BPG Properties Ltd., about $50 million in contracts have already been signed. Occupancy is scheduled for the spring of 2007.

In 1988, Golden Tulip Barbizon Inc., sold its majority interest in the hotel to a partnership led by Philip Pilevsky and Arthur B. Cohen. And in 2002 it was renovated at a cost of about $40 million when it become the Melrose Hotel, operated by the Melrose Hotel Company, a subsidiary of the Berwind Property Group Inc., of Philadelphia. The renovation converted the property's 700 or so rooms into 306 hotel rooms.

Nancy Ruddy of Cetra/Ruddy Inc., is the architect for the conversion.

Apartments will have Bolivian rosewood flooring, crown moldings and new French casement windows. Residents can use Club Salon, a private dining and reception area that can be catered by Feast & Fetes, which is operated by Daniel Boulud. Club Salon also has a library and a 20-seat screening room. The building will have 24-hour doorman service and residents will be enrolled in the Barbizon/63 Bergdorf Goodman private shopping service, "a benefit found at no other address in the city," according to a press release for the project.

In their great book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," (Rizzoli International Publications, 1987), Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins provided the following commentary about this Upper East Side landmark:

"Murgatroyd & Ogden, whose women's club residence at 18 Gramercy Park South of 1927 had been a chaste of overblown Adam-style Georgian building, returned to the Italianesque in their romantically massed and detailed, tawny-colored 1927 Barbizon club residence for woman?.the design was memorable for the richness of its intricate exterior brickwork and interior detailing, and in particular for its extraordinary roofscape with its large tower containing studios rising to form a chapel-like conclusion to the composition. The eighteenth-floor rooftop was particularly fine, with lunges, a restaurant, and solarium opening to Gothic arcades that edge a walkway, framing breathtaking views of the midtown skyline that inspired the photographer Samuel Gottscho as well as the painter Georgia O'Keeffe."

The building's second floor has tall arched windows and the 18th floor has a tall arched loggia and the 21st floor has oculi and double-height arched windows. There are setbacks at the 3rd, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th and 22nd floors.

When it operated as a women's residence, security was very strict and men were not allowed above the lobby until 1981 and the rooms, most of which were quite small, were occupied by some famous actress such as Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, and Ali McGraw. Prospective residents were required to provide three recommendation letters. The residence, which had its own codes of conduct and dress, also provided meeting space to the National Junior League, and the Wellesley College Club.

An introductory one-year membership with noted concierge service, Quintessentially, is complimentary at purchase.
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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.