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Carter's View

According to the second amendment to the condominium offering plan for Manhattan House, the famous apartment complex on the full block bounded by Third and Second Avenues and 65th and 66th Streets, which was dated October 11, 2007, N. Richard Kalikow is longer a principle of the plan's sponsor and Jeremiah W. O'Connor Jr. is the sole principal.

New York Life Insurance Company sold the property in 2005 to Manchester Real Estate, of which Mr. Kalikow and Mr. O'Connor were principals, for about $625 million.

The amendment said that the sponsor has entered into mortgage loans with HSH Nordbank AG, New York Branch and that the sponsor must declare the plan effective no later than June 1, 2008.

The amendment also said that bona fide tenants in occupancy have the exclusive right for 30 days from the filing of the amendment to purchase their units at a 15 percent discount from non-tenant purchase prices.

The amendment indicated that the current total purchase price for tenants for about $958 million.

A vacant three-bedroom apartment with three baths and a total of 1,675 square feet on the 20th floor in the E wing has a tenant price of $2,720,000 and a non-tenant price of $3,100,000. A vacant one-bedroom apartment with one bath and 953 square feet on the 15th floor in the same wing has a tenant price of $1,077,987 and a non-tenant price of $1,268,220. A vacant studio apartment with one bath and 586 square feet in the same wing has a tenant price of $604,928 and a non-tenant price of $711,780.

The development was erected in 1950 and contains 581 apartments, many with balconies. Manhattan House marked the beginning of the age of "white-brick monstrosities" in the eyes of some observers and the first big splash of International Style modernity in the city to others.

The mammoth development actually is clad in a light gray-brick, but, niceties aside, it presented a "clean," "neat," almost Spartan appearance in distinct contrast to the historical styles of earlier periods and the Art Deco stylizations of the 1920s and 1930s.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Mayers & Whittlesley, it was, according to Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman in their superb book, "New York 1960 Architecture and Urbanism Between The Second World War And The Bicentennial," (The Monacelli Press, 1995), "the most literal manifestation in New York of Le Corbusier's postwar conception of vertical living...."

"Together with elegantly thin window frames of white-painted metal and carefully detailed balconies," the authors continued, "the glazed brick rendered Manhattan House a genteel manifesto for architecture's brave new world, a reassuring statement that Modernist minimalism had more than cost benefits. In addition, the slab offered a distinct contrast with its mundane surroundings: the still-functioning Third Avenue El and its immediate neighbors, mostly old- and new-law tenements. To protect the building's flanks, New York Life [Insurance Company, the developer acquired the row of tenements on the north side of Sixty-sixth Street, renovated their interiors and painted the facades a tasteful dark gray trimmed in white.

Air-conditioning was not included when it was completed, although the building has since allowed protruding air-conditioners.

Gordon Bunshaft, the principal architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for the project, took an apartment for himself at Manhattan House and at one time Grace Kelly, the actress, also rented an apartment.

The building, which has a roof deck, has five projecting bays, each with two balconies and its entrances are along a curved driveway on 66th Street, which is lushly landscaped and the lobbies have floor-to-ceiling windows that permit views from the driveway through to the development's large gardens on the south side, that are walled from 65th Street.
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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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