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

Carter's View

Africa-Israel USA, which is headed by Les Leviev, is becoming a 50-50 partner with Mann Realty Services, which is headed by Maurice Mann, in the ownership of the Apthorp apartment building at 2207 Broadway.

Mann Realty Services acquired the landmark building last year for $426 million.

In an interview today with Bloomberg News, Mr. Mann said "this building is a big, beautiful, expensive, high-end rental and that's what we intend to keep it."

A two-paragraph article at the bottom of page A15 in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal, however, reported it "will be converted to condominiums."

An article by Shira Horesh in today's edition of Globes Online, Israel's Business Arena, that the Apthorp has 163 apartments, of which 100 are rent-controlled" and "up to 6,000 sq. m. in unused building rights." It said that Africa-Israel "intends to renovate the building" and "obtain building permits to expand the building in line with its unused building rights," adding that "the company plans to invest $95 million in the renovations, which it expects will take five years, including the sale of the apartments." The article said the "deal is expected to be closed within days."

John Herbitter of Mann Realty Services told CityRealty.com today that an application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission about the unused air rights "is in planning." He declined to comment on what the 50 percent partnership will cost Africa-Israel and also indicated that plans to convert the building to a condominium were not accurate now.

The most impressive of the handful of surviving full-block apartment buildings in the city with major garden courtyards, the Apthorp was designed by Clinton & Russell and completed in 1908.

The building occupies the block between Broadway and West End Avenues and 78th and 79th Streets.

The limestone-clad building has beautiful sculptural elements not only at its base but also near the top. The Apthorp's grand. arched entrances, moreover, have three-story pilasters topped with sculptural figures and very elaborate and lovely iron gates and bas reliefs of draped females holding up garlands. The Apthorp was built by the Astor family who also erected Astor Court, ten blocks to the north, which also has a large garden courtyard, but is not a full block building.

In his book, "New York's Fabulous Luxury Apartments with Original Floor Plans from the Dakota, River House, Olympic Tower and Other Great Buildings" (Dover Publications, Inc., 1975), Andrew Alpern noted that the Apthorp "originally contained ten apartments per floor," adding that "during the thirties and forties many of these were cut into smaller units to accommodate changing patterns of urban living." "The apartments are particularly well detailed, with each of the original suites containing a room-sized foyer with a mosaic tile floor. There are glass-paneled French doors throughout, and many of the rooms are ringed with Wedgwood-esque [sic friezes."

In her excellent book, "New York, New York, How the Apartment House Transformed the Life of the City 1869-1930," (An Owl Book, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1993), Elizabeth Hawes provides the following commentary about the Apthorp:

"William Waldorf Astor, who was called the landlord of New York despite the fact that he had lived in England since the 1890s, had been sitting on his properties for almost a generation, and his decision to build apartment houses on them now served to signal the world that the movement for development was nigh....Where a pretty two-story stone-and-frame house had stood for a century and a half, the Apthorp Apartments rose now. Until conversion to a roadhouse and hotel in the late 1850s, the house had been the country seat of Baron John Cornelius Van Den Heuvel, the son-in-law of the prominent lawyer Charles Ward Apthrope, and sat at the southern end of Apthorpe's rolling two-hundred-acre estate."
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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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