Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Bouwerie Lane Building Ballyhoo

Buckle your safety belts butter beans and grab a bit of sustenance because Your Mama plans on taking a somewhat circuitous route through this one.

Today, just like everybody else, Your Mama's going to jump on the Bouwerie Lane Theatre building real estate bandwagon that the New York Post's resident celebrity real estate gossip Jennifer Keil has been yakking about all week.

Before we dive into that bit of celebrity real estate bizness, let's get side tracked a for a few moments, shall we? Many moons ago, when the Dr. Cooter and Your Mama first began the discussions and negotiations about hitching our wagons and moving in together, we looked at and seriously considered leasing a 5th floor apartment in the Bouwerie Lane Theatre building on the corner of Bowery and Bond Street. At that time, while not exactly skid row anymore, the Bowery had yet to become The Bowery where well to do hipsters and glammy gals in $600 stilettos slum it in multi-million dollar condos. As we recall–and poodles, it's not easy for Your Mama to remember these things after all the water under the bridge and booze down the gullet in the intervening years–we considered leasing a half floor, corner unit with two vast, light filled rooms, a squalid kitchen and a pooper that would have taken our tough talking house gurl Svetlana the better part of a week to scrub clean. The asking price was $5,000 per month, a small fortune but, children, it's New York City. Can't stomach the insanely high prices? Don't. Live. There.

In the end, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter passed on loft living and opted for a far less bohemian 3 bedroom doo-plex in a West Chelsea doorman building where a fair number of famous folks also lived. At the time, the resident celebs included Nicole Kidman, Tim Gunn (who wears clogs!), Lorraine Bracco, Susan Sontag (until she passed on to the great feminist in the sky), fashion dee-ziner John Bartlett and his three legged dog Tiny Tim, Blondie's Debbie Harry, and the dee-voon ginger haired actress Katherine Helmond.

Anyhoo, getting back to the matter at hand, the landmarked, cast iron Bouwerie Lane Theatre building was bought for $15,000,000 in 2007 by well-known New York property developer Adam Gordon and renamed with the minimalist and unimaginative moniker 54 Bond. Like he has with several previous projects, Mister Gordon had the good sense to hire soo-blime (st)architect Steven Harris who performed a serious hocus pocus on the property converting what was once an iconic and beautiful but ratty building on the Bowery into an iconic and gleaming machine for modern living that manages to maintain much of the look, feel, panache, and patina of the historic structure.
The Bouwerie 54 Bond building, according to marketing materials, has long been attractive to famous folks and former occupants include musical genious Eubie Blake, deep voiced singer Pearl Bailey, artists Lynda Benglis and Brice Marden, chesty siren Jane Russell, Oscar nominated actor Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), and the wacky gap-toothed goddess Lauren Hutton.

The post-renovation condo conversion continues to attract the attention of a number of celebs who have kicked the tires of the sexy, triplex penthouse (above) that carries a hefty asking price $15,400,000. First there was debonair British actor Hugh Grant (the Bridget Jones series, Love Actually, Notting Hill), then came well formed Scottish actor Gerard Butler (RocknRolla, 300, Beowulf & Grendel, The Phantom of the Opera), who Your Mama regrets to inform is reported to be hooking it up and doing the dirty bizness–again–with SCRAM bracelet wearing tabloid train wreck Lindsay Lohan. Really Mister Gerard? Really? All that fame and fortune and you want to go there?

Anyhoo, today Miz Keil reveals that curly coiffured actress Sarah Jessica Parker, she-ra of the Sex and the City franchise and producer of Bravo's new reality program Work of Art: The Next Great Artist and her two time Tony winning Broadway baby huzband Matthew Broderick have together and separately toured the $15,400,000 penthouse no fewer than four times.

According to marketing materials, the posh penthouse pad that picayune Miss Parker has been circling measures 4,863 square feet on the inside and another 1,277 square feet outside. The penthouse has several dozen windows with restoration glass, reclaimed Belgian Oak chevron pattern wood flooring imported from France, lofty 10'4' ceilings, pocket doors, a fireplace in the living room, 2 full eat-in kitchens with hideously expensive La Cornue and Aga brand appliances, and two roof top terraces, one with an approximately $3,000 Fuego brand barbecue and a the other with custom built in Ipe planters and seating.

Amenities in the building, which contains 3 residential units plus two retail spaces and a basement–listed at $1,900,000–where someone could install a swimming pool, include video surveillance, key-card elevator access, high-speed wiring, a virtual doorman (whatever that is), and optional valet parking.

According to Miz Keil, pocket-sized Miss Parker is interested not only in the triplex penthouse but also the 2,274 square foot full floor unit on the fourth floor, currently priced at $4,950,000. Fortunately for Miss Parker, the fourth floor and the triplex penthouse are being offered by the developer for the somewhat discounted but still blood curdling price of $19,900,000, an expensive option petite Miz Parker and Mister Broderick are said to be interested. The combined quadruplex would measure an elephantine 7,137 square feet and depending on how it's configured include 5-7 bedrooms and, easily, 7 poopers including the two glammy terliting, bathing, and dressing facilities in the 6th floor master suite.

However, according to Miz Keil, toy poodle sized Miz Parker and Mister Broderick are only interested in that particular option if the fourth floor (below) is provided to them by the developer free of charge, like some sort of real estate bonus for coughing up fifteen and some million for the triplex penthouse. Your Mama has no idea if that particular real estate rumor has any veracity, but iffin it do, it probably goes without saying that Miss Parker clearly has some bad-ass real estate cajones.
Some developers would surely jump at the chance to unload two high priced condo units at one time, particularly in a lackluster market but Your Mama sort of doubts Mister Gordon will grab at Miss Parker's (alleged) offer. Let's just call it a hunch. Miz Parker must also think Mister Gordon is having none of her free 4th floor bizness because the actress was seen last week touring a West 12th Street townhouse last on the sales market in 2008 with an asking price of $24,900,000 and on the rental market in early 2010 with a $42,000 per month price tag.

One has to wonder why Miss Parker and Mister Broderick even need a new house considering they already own a lovely Greenwich Village townhouse where they've lived since the dawn of time.

As a digression of little import or value, back when Your Mama first moved to New York City, all wide-eyed and dewy skinned, we developed a bit of a fascination with the S.J.P. The first year Your Mama lived in New York we shared a teeny-tiny triplex penthouse apartment on far West 49th Street with a beautiful and mercurial lunatic we knew from our university days. In an effort to steer clear of the whirling dervish that was our roommate, we spent a lot of time out and about and, hand to God, it seemed like everywhere we went we ran into Miss Sarah Jessica Parker. There she was at Bar Pitti having a bite and there she is sitting next to Your Mama at Shakespeare in the Park. There we are nearly spilling our gin & tonic on her at a film premiere party at some photo studio in the Meatpacking District and there she is stepping into a cab on Lower Fifth Avenue. And there she is again at Barney's, unsuccessfully attempting to look discreet in a floppy hat and woman with a past sunglasses. We were–in our boozy haze–convinced we were destined to befriend the pint sized Miss Parker. But alas, it never happened and we're quite certain that Miss Parker, who was quite cordial when we apologized for bumping into her, never even gave Your Mama a second glance let alone recognized that we were seeing each other around town on a regular basis.

After that first year or so, as quickly as she entered our orbit–or we hers–Your Mama never again laid our real eyes on the pee-wee Miss Parker. However, it seems somehow fitting, a full real estate circle sort of thing, natch, that Miss Parker is now flirting with living up in the very same building that Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter once considered living. Okay, it's a stretch, but it's early and Your Mama is off the booze this week, so hush up.


Village said...

I can see the SJP family would need the fourth floor for the children, and nannies.

I am struck by the similarities between the footprint here, and the footprint of 15 Spring Street. I thought it was the same building for a minute.

Footie said...

This penthouse was just featured on HGTV's "Selling New York" with some potential buyer foolishly jumping fully-clothed into the tub.

Madam Pince said...

I love that minimalist kitchen island, but what in the good name of Jesus is going on in that bathroom?!? Saints alive!

I agree with you, Mama: why would My Little Pony Parker and Ferris Bueller need to vacate their divine townhouse?

Anonymous said...

Wh-What? Off the booze this week? Say it ain't so! Thank goodness the weekend is almost here, wouldn't want you to wither away to nothing!

B to the...

Anonymous said...

Yo Mama!

While Hedda read your blog for inspired decorating ideas I liked to look over her shoulder at Pamela Anderson's breasts, and now you made 'em disappear. Hedda thinks I'm not interested no more in new ideas for bed and bath habitating, which ain't exactly true, if you know what I mean.

And Mama, I'm worried about you going cold turkey on the wagon and getting a bad case of DTs. Please drink up, and raise one to Trenton, or seek medically observed detox. Trust me, I know.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Mama:

A wine tasting room on the fifth floor adjacent to the chef's kitchen, and Mama's on the wagon? Surely, Mama, a wine spritzer wouldn't really count for much, especially on the astroturf-covered rooftop terrace crying out for Brown Jordan.

And it appears that the fifth floor reception room turns into the third and fourth floor dining rooms, and that one must enter the living room via the kitchen, just like in that celebrity Beresford apartment Mama reviewed sometime ago. My goodness, some New Yorkers live in uncivilized layouts. No wonder that Eddie and Eva moved out of their Park Avenue penthouse to Green Acres, Long Island.


Anonymous said...

Mama, being off the booze is unhealthy.
You need to keep the alcohol flowing, purely for municipal porpoises, if nothing else.

Jake said...

the apartment is nice but can you imagine living down there with all those hipsters? hipsters piss me off because the whole hipster mantra is about being counter culture and such, and yet they all shop at American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, two of the most mass-market retailers around. Ran into a kid wearing a Ramones T-shirt and when i asked what his favorite Ramones song was he replied I dont know, I just like the shirt. The vast majority are posers.

Mama'sBoy said...

I love this building! Me and my rented Ryder truck arrived in NYC in 1996 and stayed first in a rented room of this crazy butoh dancer's studio/apt--it was right across the street from the side of the Amato Opera building, just around the corner from venerable (and of course now extinct) CBGB's...

It was such a tall order to find a 2-bedroom apartment with roof access and fire escape "balconies" for under $1,200 then--near impossible. But I kept the faith, gathering with the masses at the Village Voice building at Cooper Union on Wednesday evenings was it?--and flocking to the nearest payphone to try and nail down ANYTHING!

Finally found something to fit that tall order--at Bowery and Stanton--one block S. of Houston. It was a rat-the-size-of-cats infested "2 br." in a what the agent romantically dubbed a "carriage house" building (that means it was in the back of the street building with a view of the backside of the front building less than 10 yards away...) The bedrooms were the size of smallish walk-in closets and held exactly a full size futon mat and a lawyer's bookcase.

I always tell people--"now this was before the Bowery/ L.E.S. was cool" and it so was. Walking home from seemingly posh jobs at Todd Oldham and Anthroplogie in Soho--crossing over from well lit Comme des Garcons window displays and chic cigar bars to riff-raff hanging outside of deplorable flop-houses and the endless wholesale restaurant supply emporiums of the Bowery then...I would march my snakeskin loafers loudly down the street to try and keep the massive rats from scuffling right across my feet, but inevitably, I would have to slip in between two parked cars to get to my door. Oh those rats were ruthless--I honestly wish I had done a photo essay on them because most would not believe me!

I've been back in Austin since 1997-8 and never looked back--haven't been to NYC since 2004 or 5, but I can only imagine what the Bowery must be like now. I got a taste of it even back then as Giuliani whitewashed the incredibly fun and seedy East Village and Hell's Kitchen--breaks my heart to see the mystique of the one-time greatest city in the world scrubbed into a boring playground for the privileged...


Anonymous said...

so true Mama's Boy..the most well kept secret the real estate peeps don't mention is that HUGE RAT problem.. i too worked at the former Remote lounge on the Bowery about a few doors from the former CBGB and on trash nite the RATS would come out in mass at those plastic bags would have to walk in the middle of the street to avoid did your Mama miss this.. but always SJP?

Mama'sBoy said...


Anonymous said...

I have lived around the corner from that building since the early 80's, back when the neighborhood was too scary for the kind of people who move here now. (I'll take the junkies and bums over drunken NYU students and conformist hipsters any day, at least they were quiet.) Before that block became so fancy it was one of the the most notorious rat blocks around. At night you had to stamp your feet while walking down the street. Actually had a rat run right onto my foot on the sidewalk in front of this now way too fancy building once home of the late lamented Jean Cocteau Repertory at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre.