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

Carter's View

Glacier Global Partners, a real estate investment firm, along with an unnamed foreign partner, has purchased the $40 million first mortgage on the stalled condominium project Five Franklin Place at 369-371 Broadway in TriBeCa, according to an article today at crains.com by Amanda Fung.

The article said that Glacier Global and its partner plan to revive the project but with a new design.

The original design for Sleepy Hollow was by UN Studio, which is headed by Ben van Berkel and that design was widely acclaimed as one of the finest new residential building designs in the city.

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.

In January, Procida Advisors was retained by the lender, an undisclosed hedge fund, to auction the site, but the auction was cancelled after Glacier Global emerged as a strong buyer. The site was originally to have been developed by Sleepy Hudson into a 20-story luxury condo with 55 units.

According to Bill Procida, president of Procida Advisors, 100 people were interested in bidding on the note before the mortgage was sold to Glacier Global. The all-cash deal closed Thursday. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The site is in a great location. It is one of the last good development sites in TriBeCa," said Eric Scheffler, a principal at Glacier Global, which was formed a year ago, the article said.

As just two stories of the structure constructed, Mr. Scheffler expects the project will need an additional 20 months of work, the article continued, adding that Glacier Global will be redesigning the development and "is keeping its options open," Mr. Scheffler said. The firm said it is considering Procida's alternate, more cost-efficient design by architecture firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco for the project that was a far cry from the stunning elegance of van Berkel's design.

"We are now looking for construction financing," said Yaniv Blumenfeld, the investment firm's founder, who is confident that Glacier Global will be able to obtain the necessary funds as the finance market begins to loosen.
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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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