“Pink Building,” Adjacent Properties Changing Hands
We have another big real estate transaction to report on the Lower East Side this morning.
The former Ridley Department Store building and two adjacent properties on Orchard Street are now under contract. The news comes from Michael DeCheser of Massey Knakal. While the owner was seeking $27 million for the buildings, DeCheser said the sale price, as well as the prospective owner, are being kept confidential. It will be some time before the terms of the deal surfaces in the city Finance Department’s database.
Last fall, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) protected 319-321 Grand St., known in the neighborhood as the “Pink building.” Ridley, once the largest department store in New York, closed in 1901. When it was designated, the commission praised the 1886 building as a rare example of cast iron construction and a monument to the LES’s mercantile past. The LPC chose not to landmark two adjacent buildings just to the south of the original structure.
The sale includes 57, 59-63 and 65-67 Orchard Street (also known as 319-321 Grand). The property is currently about 55,000 square feet and includes retail on three streets – Allen, Grand and Orchard. There are a variety of commercial tenants, including the Jodamo clothing store, New Goldstar #1 Printing and JFK Restaurant Equipment Supply.
The five-story landmarked building and the neighboring property both carry garment district zoning, meaning a special permit would be required for residential development. The third building, a two-story-structure, does not carry the restrictive garment district designation, so it would be easier to develop. The property could be built to 73,000 square feet, so there are significant air rights.
DeCheser noted that there’s a lot of potential to upgrade the retail offerings in the buildings, given the changes that have taken place on Orchard Street in recent years, as high-end residential buildings and art galleries have replaced old-school garment stores. He pointed out that there is not a single restaurant or bar in the property, presenting an obvious opportunity for the new owner.
At one time, a principal of the company that owns the buildings, Alfred I Goldman, made it clear he was not thrilled about landmark designation, but he did not stand in the way of the application.