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Carter's View

The Department of Building issued a permit for the residential conversion of the very handsome, former Keuffel & Esser Building at 127 Fulton Street April 14, 2010.

The mid-block building was erected in 1892-3 and designed by Theodore W. E. De Lemos and August W. Cordes for Keuffel & Esser, a firm that imported and manufactured drawing materials, drafting tools and mathematical and surveying equipment.

The architects are best-known for their designs of the Macy's store on Herald Square and the Siegel, Cooper & Co. Department Store at 620 Sixth Avenue and the Adams & Co. Dry Goods Store at 675 Sixth Avenue, and the New York County National Bank building at 77-9 Eighth Avenue.

The building, which is now known as Compass Point Condominiums, was acquired for about $8.5 million by 127 Fulton LLC of which Andy Kettler was a principal and initial plans called for its conversion into 6 condominium apartments. Subsequently a setback, two-story duplex unit was added and the building now is 10 stories tall.

According to its 2005 official designation report as a city landmark, "The richly-detailed Renaissance Revival style primary facade on Fulton Street has a tripartite division."

"The base," the report continued, "has an historic 2-story, arched cast-iron storefront, framed by slender colonettes, with spandrels bearing small shields with the firm's initials and representations of its products....The 2nd story has single-pane arched windows. Originally, there was a deeply inset entrance surmounted by a curved, projecting iron balcony (removed in 1947) and large show windows....The third story is capped by a cornice with a projecting corbelled ledge, and is surmounted by a recessed monumental (two-story) round-arched window with multiple outer places (originally with a circle pattern), decorative spandrel, molded enframement, and reveals with rosettes. This window is capped by a foliated sculpture relief of a knight's helmet, shield and winged orb,....The upper section, flanked by Ionic pilasters, features a 2-story angled metal window bay with ornamental pilasters and spandrel....The 7th floor culminates in a decorative cornice with rosettes and a tall balustrade flanked by shields and surmounted by end finials. The building sets back with a terrace on the 8th story."

The building has an exposed rooftop watertank and radiant heating beneath the white-oak floorboards.

The building is between Nassau and Dutch streets.

Roger Lang of the New York Landmarks Conservancy argued for this building's designation, noting that another building by the same architects, the Clark Building on the corner of Park Row and Ann Street, "fell to the wrecker's ball, so that J&R Music World could erect a banal, stucco-clad box in its stead."
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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.
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