The 1912 Jarmulowsky Bank Building has been covered in scaffolding and shrouded in secrecy for several years. Now the owner, DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, is raising its local profile ahead of the anticipated opening of a boutique hotel in the historic Lower East Side property next year.
This month, representatives from various neighborhood organizations have been invited inside the 12-story tower at 9 Orchard St. (54 Canal St.) We tagged along on one of those recent hard hat tours through the historic landmark. Our hosts were Kristen Korndoerfer of DLJ Real Estate, and Kerri Culhane, an architectural historian who has been working with the developers, and architect Ron Castellano, to make sure the restoration is historically faithful. Culhane knows the neighborhood well, having documented many of the Lower East Side’s most important buildings and serving until 2016 as associate director of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council.
The Jarmulowsky property was purchased in 2011 by DLJ for $33 million. The owners knew the restoration project would be complicated in a city-protected landmark, but they could not have anticipated just how long and expensive the endeavor would become.
Some of those complications were due to the owners’ own decision to go beyond what the Landmarks Preservation Commission required (restoring a spire on top of the building, for example, was the developers’ call). But there were other factors, too. Extensive stabilization work was required at the cellar level. An extension of the Jarmulowsky to the west was also time-consuming. Even though it was intended to be part of the main structure, the city required the owners to build the addition as a separate building with its own certificate of occupancy).
Korndoerfer said the hotel, known as Nine Orchard, is on target for an opening in the early summer of 2019. While each floor is still very much a construction zone, she explained, the most difficult parts of the restoration project have been completed. “Now it’s really a matter of putting the pieces together,” said Korndoerfer.
Overall, the hotel is meant to evoke old New York. The first floor features a soaring ceiling and beautiful arched windows. There will be a small lobby for hotel guests, with an entrance on Orchard Street, and three distinct dining/drinking spaces on the main level. They include a lounge running across the eastern end of the building, a formal restaurant and a more casual “neighborhood” restaurant opening onto Allen Street.
The team behind the food and beverage operations at the Eventi Hotel (on 30th Street) will be running the restaurants, but they won’t be offshoots of other dining establishments. The restaurants will be unique to the Nine Orchard hotel. The owners/operators have not yet sought approval from Community Board 3 for liquor permits, but that’s coming.
Preliminary rendering of the lobby/lounge area.
The ornate ceiling in the lobby of Nine Orchard.
On the second floor, there are two spaces for private events. Korndoerfer said a lot of thought is being given to the flow of pedestrian and auto traffic around the hotel. Guests going to events on the second floor will enter on Allen Street, which can handle crowds more easily than Orchard.
Second floor events space is located in the newly constructed part of the building, looking out on Allen Street.
The 116 guest rooms are located on floors 3-12. Each one will be different, but all feature high ceilings, big newly constructed windows and period-style furniture (those pieces are being fabricated from antiques).
The highlight of the tour was a trip to the roof, which offers sweeping views of the Lower East Side, and the uptown skyline, even on a rainy day.
It’s also where we got a close up look at the Jarmulowsky’s 50-foot spire, which only has metal framing now, but which will soon start to take its final form.
When the building was landmarked in 2009, the Landmarks Preservation Commission described the tempietto as, “a two-story-high circular pavilion with a round dome ringed by eagles and topped by a pinnacle.” It was unceremoniously removed in 1990, which the New York Times wrote, instantly reduced the building, “from the exceptional to the ordinary.”
In her research, Kerri Culhane dug up old photographs and other details, allowing architects and fabricators to create a historically accurate facsimile. The next steps will be moving scaffolding into place, and then assembling the new terra-cotta pieces like a puzzle around the metal structure. Finally, the dome will be coated in copper. At nighttime, the spire will be bathed in white lights. There will also be a staircase that winds up into the dome, allowing people to go to the tip of the building.
The roof has been almost completely rebuilt (it hadn’t been touched in years). There’s a new green roof, and the decorative stone railings have been recreated (some of the pieces on the roof are made of geo fiber reinforced concrete, others plastic). The space, which will include a trellis structure with an awning, is going to be reserved for private events. Korndoerfer said the owners recognize that the Lower East Side community has little interest in another rooftop bar, so they’ve decided against creating a public venue on the roof.
Over the years, DLJ has floated different ideas for the Jarmulowsky Bank Building. Recognizing that the hotel market was becoming saturated, they considered leasing the property for offices. They also thought about handing management to the Ace Hotel team. But ultimately, Korndoerfer said, they decided that a one-of-a-kind hotel, which will be unlike any other property on the Lower East Side, held the most appeal.
If all goes according to plan, Nine Orchard will be open for business at this time next year.
Announcements about pop-up plant stores aren’t usually delivered by high-powered lobbying and PR firms. But that’s exactly what we got over the weekend in the form of a press release announcing the return of the Cactus Store, a summer happening at 5 Essex St.
The site, next door to the long-shuttered M.Schames & Son paint store, is owned by DLJ Real Estate, the deep-pocketed firm turning the old Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 9 Orchard St. into a boutique hotel.
The press release from Geto & de Milly, included a quote from DLJ’s managing partner, Andy Rifkin, saying, “We are happy to support the Cactus Store for a second summer of fun and education… Bringing life, excitement, and unique experiences are important elements of our commitment to the neighborhood. We respect this community and its history and are committed to contributing positively to its culture and its future, and we expect our hotel at 9 Orchard will have a similar positive impact.”
Jarmulowsky Bank Building, June 2018.
The Cactus Store, based in the Los Angeles-area, first popped up on Essex Street last summer. DLJ Real Estate has owned the vacant lot, as well as the former Schames building, since 2012. The firm may eventually develop the site, or sell it, but for another summer at least, part of the property has been activated as an unexpected local green space. There was an opening night party Friday evening. During the summer, the store will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
The Jarmulowsky property was purchased in 2011 by DLJ for $33 million. The city landmark has been undergoing a painstaking and incredibly lengthy restoration, including the recreation of a 50-foot-high domed spire on the top of the building.
The developers are due back at Community Board 3’s Landmarks Committee June 18, where they will be going over an “amended Certificate of Appropriateness” that’s is undergoing review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Photo by Kate Glicksberg.
The restoration of the historic Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 9 Orchard St. has been going on for years, and plans to open a new luxury hotel there have been shrouded in secrecy. So any tidbit concerning the project is of interest to us. Today we noticed a press release which offers a few clues about the financing of the hotel, sure to be one of the Lower East Side’s new hot spots.
It was put out by NES Financial, a firm that offers services to administer complex financial transactions. The property owner, DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners, is utilizing the EB-5 Program, which offers legal residency to people from other countries if they invest at least $500,000 in projects that create jobs.
The press release says, “the EB5 United (the program sponsor) and DLJ Real Estate Capital have partnered with Advantage America New York Regional Center to facilitate a $73.5 million EB-5 investment in Nine Orchard Street, toward a nearly $200 million total capital raise.”
According to an EB-5 flyer, “9 Orchard” has been accepting EB-5 investments since September of last year. It says the total project costs are a whopping $190 million. More than $100 million is coming directly from DLJ equity. The flyer talks up the Lower East Side as “one of New York’s hippest neighborhoods” with “more art galleries per capita than any other neighborhood in NYC.” It also notes that average apartment rents on the Lower East Side have increased 46% between 2012 and 2016.
9 Orchard St.
The property at 54 Canal St./9 Orchard St. was purchased in 2011 by DLJ for $33 million. The city landmark has been undergoing a painstaking restoration, including the recreation of a 50-foot-high domed spire on the top of the building. The owners were set to go before Community Board 3 last year in their quest for multiple liquor licenses at 9 Orchard, but those appearances were cancelled.
The EB-5 program is controversial for a couple of reasons. When it was introduced by the federal government in 1990, EB-5 was meant to generate jobs in areas with high unemployment. In recent years, real estate developers have used the program to fund a large number of luxury projects in posh neighborhoods. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, has used EB-5 to finance some of his real estate ventures. Some of these dealings have reportedly come under scrutiny by federal investigators.
9 Orchard St.
Here’s something to look forward to in September. We’re likely to learn more about plans by the owners of the Jarmulowsky Bank Building to open a hotel in the 12-story, landmark-protected property.
The property at 54 Canal St./9 Orchard St. was purchased in 2011 by DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners for $33 million. Local architect Ron Castellano has been overseeing a painstaking renovation of the building during the past several years. Earlier this month, a gigantic crane was brought in to hoist the framework for a 50-foot domed spire to the roof. Original plans called for a hotel, but DLJ shifted gears last year, floating the idea of leasing the building for offices and retail.
Now the hotel concept is back on. The development team planned to go before Community Board 3 in August, seeking support for a liquor license. The application has now been pulled. You can expect it to re-emerge in September.
According to sketchy information available on CB3’s website, a full liquor permit is being requested on behalf of Sixth Avenue Restaurant Management. That’s the LLC associated with L’Amico, the Italian-ish restaurant from Laurent Tourondel at the Eventi Hotel on 6th Avenue (at 30th Street). Tourondel’s publicist did not reply to a request for comment. The contact name on the application is Steven Carter, managing director at DLJ. The application indicates the restaurant or restaurants would include live music.
According to Department of Buildings records, the first floor of the hotel will include a restaurant and bar. There’s also a bar and lounge on the second floor. Hotel rooms are located on floors 3-12, and there’s an “accessory lounge” on the top floor.
The Jarmulowsky is known as, “Nine Orchard Street” on DLJ’s website. “The investment strategy,” the developers note, “is to complete an extensive rehabilitation to convert the property into an upscale, independent hotel.” Here’s more:
The neighborhood around the property is rapidly improving. The property’s distinctive architectural character and full block presence allow for an impactful, authentic redevelopment. DLJ RECP’s investment theme in Nine Orchard Street is similar to other properties in our portfolio – we identify underperforming assets in neighborhoods positioned for sustained growth. In this case, we believe that our redevelopment of Nine Orchard Street will further catalyze the improvement of the surrounding neighborhood.
The surrounding neighborhood has, of course, changed a lot since DLJ purchased the Jarmulowsky Bank property six years ago. Division Street and Canal Street have become restaurant/nightlife hot spots. The SPaCE Block Association is active in this area and can be expected to weigh in on the proposed liquor license/licenses.
In a 2015 prospectus for foreign investors of an unrelated project, DLJ said the development costs for the Lower East Side building were $90 million. The deep-pocketed firm is sparing no expense to restore the Jarmulowsky to its former glory. That will likely count for something with the community board, but members of the liquor licensing committee are sure to have some tough questions for the applicants about the scale of their nightlife operations.
DLJ did not respond to our request for comment.
Have you noticed the prominent addition to the historic Jarmulowsky Bank Building on Orchard Street?
On Saturday, crews hoisted a giant dome and positioned it atop the 12-story building, which has been undergoing a painstaking restoration for several years. Until 1990, a grand 50-foot tall tempietto was the most distinguishing characteristic of the tower at 54 Canal St./9 Orchard St. A previous owner had removed the dome, but now it’s been re-fabricated and moved into position on the roof. Here are two photos taken by TLD reader Alexei Griebsch:
Here’s what the Landmarks Preservation Commission had to say about the dome in 2009 when the Jarmulowsky was designated as a NYC landmark:
The building’s rounded corner culminated, until the early 1990s, in a two-story-high circular pavilion with a round dome ringed by eagles and topped by a pinnacle, which was probably inspired by Athens’ Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (334 BC), the basis for New York’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (Stoughton & Stoughton with Paul E.M. DuBoy, 1897-1902, a designated New York City Landmark) and for the crown of McKim, Mead & White’s Municipal Building of 1907-14 (a designated New York City Landmark). This feature accentuated the corner’s vertical thrust, affirming the building’s monumental status on the Lower East Side and drawing attention to it from Straus (then Rutgers) Square two blocks to the east, the neighborhood’s historic center of Jewish life.
The Jarmulowsky Bank Building is owned by DLJ Real Estate Partners. Plans have shifted back-and-forth in recent years for the property, which at various times has been the future site of a boutique hotel or an office building. The restoration is being overseen by local architect Ron Castellano.
The restoration of of the Jarmulowsky Bank Building at 54 Canal St. is a painstaking process. But the conversion of the city landmark to a boutique hotel is continuing. Last night, the project took another small step forward as Community Board 3’s transportation committee signed off on a plan to create a new sidewalk alongside the 12-story, 1912 tower.
Architect Ron Castellano is planning to replace the standard cement sidewalk with decorative glass tiles that will provide some light in the basement of the new hotel. You’ve probably seen similar bricks in Soho, along Broadway. Castellano said it’s necessary to rebuild the vaults, which are in very bad condition, so much of the foundation of the building is getting a makeover. He’ll be taking the proposal to the Public Design Commission along with other city agencies.
Jarmulowsky Bank building, 54 Canal Street; December 2012.
The restoration of the Jarmulowsky Bank building is one step closer to reality this afternoon. Earlier today the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the plans, which include rooftop modifications but are mostly aimed at returning the structure to its original 1912 glory. The Jarmulowsky, destined to become a boutique hotel, is owned by DLJ Real Estate Partners.
Ron Castellano, a Lower East Side preservation architect, helped lead the successful effort to protect the building in 2009. Now he and restaurant operator Taavo Somer are handling the restoration project for the owners. In a presentation before the commission, Castellano explained what will be involved in the huge overhaul of a building that has been neglected for many years.
Jarmulowsky Bank building, 54 Canal St.
Earlier this summer we brought word that the new owner of the Jarmulowsky Bank building was converting it to a boutique hotel. Ron Castellano (The Forward Building, Hester Street Fair, etc.) and Taavo Somer (Freemans, Peels, etc.) began working on the historic building at 54 Canal/9 Orchard a few months ago. The team is now moving forward with an application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, a necessary step anytime changes are proposed to a New York City landmark.
As a first step, they will go before Community Board 3’s landmarks subcommittee next month (September 10). Castellano and Somer are seeking a “certificate of appropriateness” in order to complete renovations on the Jarmulowsky. It entails, according to the community board agenda released today:
(Raising) the parapet, (Installing) new mechanical equipment, convert(ing) existing mechanical room to occupiable space on roof; install(ing) new storefront infill, (installing) new masonry balustrade in existing bay ground floor; install(ing) new balconies at rear (and removing the building’s fire escapes).
Jarmulowsky Bank building, 54 Canal Street.
There’s been some talk in the past day or so about the future of the Jarmulowsky Bank building, the beautiful 1912 landmark at 54 Canal Street. A spokesperson for the Ace Hotels knocked down rumors that the company was involved in a hotel conversion at this location. Today a source with knowledge of the Jarmulowsky project tells The Lo-Down that the creative team consists solely of Ron Castellano, the developer of The Forward Building, and Taavo Somer, who’s behind Lower East Side restaurants Freemans and Peels. The source said no national or regional hospitality company is involved; the hotel will be locally owned and operated.
For the last couple of weeks, there have been inklings that the Jarmulowsky Bank building was about to be sold and redeveloped as a boutique hotel. Just last week, Lower East Side BID president Mark Miller suggested as much in his 2012 predictions. Today Roland Li reports in the International Business Times that the building, 54 Canal Street, has in fact sold for $36 million and is “poised to become a hotel.”
New York-based Equity Management sold the landmarked Jarmulowsky to DLJ Real Estate Partners, once a division of Credit Suisse. Li reported, “Officials for DLJ weren’t immediately available to comment, but sources said it is likely they will convert the building into a hotel.”
Equity Management bought the building for $25 million in 2005. The Jarmulowsky, generally thought of as the most interesting historic landmark on the Lower East Side after the Forward Building, has been on and off the market for several years. Developers have envisioned a 130 room hotel (with ground floor retail).
It’s our understanding that the new owners are working with a well-known architect with experience restoring landmarked buildings in Lower Manhattan. More to come…