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

Carter's View

The scheduled auction of the $40 million first mortgage on the stalled condominium project known as Five Franklin Place in TriBeCa was indefinitely postponed after a foreign company signed a contract to buy the note, according to Procida Advisors, the real estate turnaround firm that had planned to conduct the auction on Wednesday, according to an article by Amanda Fung today at therealdeal.com.

"'The buyer hit a number that is satisfactory and fair,' said Bill Procida, president of Procida Advisors, adding that the buyer will pay all-cash and that the deal is expected to close by mid-December. He said the purchase would be the buyer's first real estate property in the city. Further details on the purchase were not disclosed," the article continued.

"Procida was retained by the lender, an undisclosed hedge fund, in January to auction the site. It was originally to have been developed by Sleepy Hudson into a 20-story luxury condo with 55 units. The building's architect was well-known Dutchman Ben van Berkel of UN Studio. The auction was supposed to begin Monday and end on Dec. 13. Mr. Procida said he already had 100 people on the bid list before the sale occurred on Tuesday," the article said.

Five Franklin Place, better known as 369-371 Broadway, was widely considered one of the most handsome designs for a new residential building in the city.

The article said that, according to Mr. Procida, foundation work and two stories of concrete of the site are already complete. Plans and permits," it added, "are now in place for a 17-story, 130,000-square-foot residential building with ground floor retail" and Mr. "Procida also offered an alternate, more cost-efficient design by architecture firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco for the project."

That design, however, was a very, very far cry from the stunning elegance of van Berkel's design.

The article said that "it's too early to know what the new owner will do with the property," adding that Mr. Procida said that "this project will finally get built."

A press release issued about van Berkel's design of the mid-block, 55-unit building that would extend through the block to 371 Broadway between White and Franklin Streets, said that "the building will be wrapped in an optically dazzling, constantly shifting pattern of horizontal black metal bands sewn onto its form the way decorative seams and pleats are sewn onto a luxurious couture garment. A direct homage to the applied metal facade decoration of TriBeCa's celebrated 19th Century cast iron architecture, these gleaming reflective ribbons will grow thinner and thicker, wrapping the entire tower and moving softly around corners to give the whole structure an etched effect and curvilinear softness, while reflecting the evolving light of day, the clouds and the colors of the city in one of the most dramatic compositions attempted in modern Manhattan's recent building boom."

"Thanks to strategic twisting and torquing," it continued, "his facade bands will serve as essential functional elements of the tower as well, transforming into balconies for more than half of the building's residences, terraces for the penthouses at the top, and sunshades that deflect heat and protect all of the structures interiors from excess sunlight....Bathrooms...will have circular sliding doors so that baths can become part of bedrooms and share the same views - and to introduce an alternative to the now standardized rectilinear interiors of contemporary condominium architecture in New York City."

The lobby in the van Berkel design would have sliding doors, 24 hour doorman and a "sparkling violet glass-chip floor," and a "sweeping curved stairwell" to a sub-grade level spa and fitness center with a "daylight flooded, double-height weight room."

On floors 2 through 7, Loft Residences will have 20-foot-high living rooms. Three duplex penthouses will have terraces, fireplaces, and cylindrical glass elevators wrapped by a curved, cantilevered floating staircase.
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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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