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Carter's View

Arthur W. and William Lie Zeckendorf have purchased 60,000 square feet of transferable air rights at $479 a square foot from Christ Church United Methodist on the northeast corner of 60th Street and Park Avenue, according to an article by Lois Weiss in today's edition of The New York Post.

The air rights will be used in the redevelopment of the 6-story property at 45 East 60th Street along with about 17,000 square feet of transferable air rights the Zeckendorfs recently acquired for about $430 a square foot from the Grolier Club just to the west of the church, the article added.

The Zeckendorfs have topped out their full-block development at 15 Central Park West and the new development is close to the residential tower they built a few years ago at 515 Park Avenue, the tallest apartment building on the avenue.

About a year ago, Carolyn L. Smith, the president of the Grolier Club, which is an organization of bibliophiles, told that the Zeckendorfs plan to use the air rights from the club and church to erect a 35-story residential condominium tower.

She said that both the club and the church expected to receive about $430 a foot for the air rights.

Ms. Smith said that part of the club's deal with the Zeckendorfs would provide the club with a second means of egress within the new development. She added that she understood that the deal with the church is likely to involve the availability of a Park Avenue address for the new project.

The Grolier Club, which is named for Jean Grolier, a 16th Century French bibliophile, erected its present quarters, which were designed by Bertram G. Goodhue, in 1917.

Christ Church was erected in 1932 and designed by Ralph Adams Cram. In their superb book, "The A.I.A. Guide to New York City, Fourth Edition," (Three Rivers Press, 2000), Elliot Willensky and Norval White said that the church was "designed to appear aged: the random limestone and brick is intended to look like a sophisticated patch job, centuries old." "Similarly," they continued, "the marble and granite columns appear to be, in the Romanesque and Byzantine manner, pillage from Roman temples. Handsome, and of impeccable taste, it is an archaeological and eclectic stage for well-to-do parishioners. Look at the mosaic ceiling, especially when lit by blue bulbs."
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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.