Published On: Sun, Feb 8th, 2015

Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty Pays $55 Million for 190 Bowery

Jay Meisel sells his building after more than 4 decades.

190 Bowery

Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty has snagged 190 Bowery in Manhattan for $55 million. Photographer and artist Jay Maisel paid only $102, 000 for the property more than forty years ago.

Even adjusted for inflation that comes to at least a 25, 000% profit.

Located at the corner of Bowery and Spring streets and originally constructed in 1898 as the third home of the Germania Bank, 190 Bowery has six floors and 37, 000 square feet. It has a basement and a roof terrace.

The floors measure approximately 6, 260 square feet each and have 11 foot high ceilings. The ground and second floors have 18 foot high ceilings and are ideal for retail use. It is currently divided into 72 different rooms. The ground floor is noticeably covered in graffiti.

The old building stands out amongt its new neighbors in the rapidly developed neighborhood.

It was declared a New York City landmark on March 29th 2009, and as such cannot be torn down.

RFR’s website describes it as an architecturally significant limestone landmark building located in the coveted Noho neighborhood.

The building’s only tenant for almost fifty years now has been the photographer Jay Meisel. It has been both home for his family and the location of his studios and galleries. He bought it in 1966 for all of $102, 000 at a time when the Bowery had fallen into disrepair and was considered a decrepit area. It was valued in 2008 at $50 million.

Its bedrooms and dining room are located on the top floor and its kitchen was once the space used for cooking for the bank’s employees. It still has the original copper elevator dating back to 1898.

Meisel has used the first three floors for his studios and gallery.

The artist Roy Lichtenstein once rented the fourth floor.

A 2008 article in New York Magazine described the property as a, “graffiti-covered Gilded Age relic, with a beat-up wooden door that looks like it hasn’t been opened since La Guardia was mayor.”

Meisel said of the building’s landmark status, “If you have a window that needs fixing, you fix it. If I have a window that is broken, I have to repair it, with approval, the way it was done in 1898”

It is not clear yet if Meisel is selling the building, converting it to condominium offices or just looking to rent it out.

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