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Broker Michael Bolla Talks About the Madison Jackson

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371 Madison Street. Photo: Prudential Douglas Elliman.

The other day we headed over to the Madison-Jackson, the new condo project near Corlears Hook Park, to check in with Michael Bolla, the high profile real estate broker handling sales.  There are 110 loft-like apartments in the 1908 school building, which has been vacant since the early 1980’s.  The units won’t be on the market for a few more weeks, but Bolla is all set-up in a ground floor apartment/office with a view of the Vladeck Houses.

As the Wall Street Journal reported a few weeks ago, the building, 371 Madison, was purchased by Chinatown banker Thomas Sung in 1983, but remained untouched until recently.  Bolla is known for handling an impressive roster of celebrity clients, including Hugh Jackman, Isabella Rossellini, Denzel Washington and Jennifer Aniston.  He’s no stranger to selling high-end apartments on the Lower East Side. In 2006, Bolla was the exclusive agent for The Forward Building.

Rendering: the Madison-Jackson's swimming pool.

But during our conversation, he emphasized that the Madison-Jackson is not an “over-the-top” project.  Yes, there is an indoor swimming pool and spa, a concierge, 24-hour organic room service and an organic juice bar.  But Bolla said, the apartments are relatively modest.  Prices range from around $500,000 to $1 million and are calibrated to be competitive with the Grand Street Cooperatives, just a stone’s throw away. The unit we viewed (#512) is 1166 square feet square feet and (although prices are not officially set) will be listed in the million dollar range.

Bolla said he’d compare the Madison-Jackson to the Printing House Building, in the West Village.   The neighborhood is obviously a little different. What does he make of his new project’s proximity to the Vladeck Houses, a 20-building public housing project (named for Baruch Charney Vladeck, the onetime general manager of the Jewish Daily Forward)?  Bolla said he thinks people in New York are accustomed to different housing types (low, middle and high income) being grouped close together. Plus, he said, the Madison-Jackson is so small in comparison (110 units compared to more than 1500 at the Valdeck Houses) that it “is in no way a game changer” on the Lower East Side.

Bolla has been making an effort to reach out to the community. Recently, he paid a visit to the Educational Alliance, one of the neighborhood’s larger social service organizations.  He seemed genuinely interested in what’s happening on the LES (we discussed the Seward Park Development project in some detail).

As we walked through the not-quite finished lobby, Bolla told me, he has no “ideal client in mind” for the building.  Soon enough, he’ll begin to see who walks through the doors of the Lower East Side’s newest condo conversion.



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  1. I’m happy they put up a sign to say “SWIM”, a pool can be confusing at times. ; )

    Good luck on this project though.

  2. 1166 sq ft “in the million dollar range” is not competitive with the Grand Street Co-ops. That square footage at the co-ops would be around 600-700K, a pretty big difference.

  3. it could be a place to pose suggestively, your back arched, one leg dipped in the water, gazing longingy at the ceiling…and entirely missing the instructional word on the wall across the pool

  4. It’s competitive with the Grand Street co-ops when you factor in the added value that comes from it being a condo and not a co-op: no flip tax, no sublet restrictions, no board refinancing into an interest only mortgage…

  5. Have lived in the area my entire life,,why cant they make these affordable to working class families in the neighborhood.  As usual the neighborhood has been through tough gentrification, by next year residents from the area will not even be able to purchase a gallon of milk.  Greed and money are always the main concern. This building has been empty for yrs and now goign to be a luxury building for the wealthy..

  6. Of all the things this building could have been used for to help the community this was the least. There are so many people in need of affordable housing. Just another way the buck does the talking.

  7. ive been down there for almost 20 years and it always makes me laugh when people give this tired ‘there goes the neighborhood’ song & dance. its a free market. did you organize a group of local investors to collectively invest in the neighborhood to help keep it how you wanted? you couldve, you couldve bought buildings for a song in the 80s and rented them to whoever you wanted (if that afforded maintenance and property taxes on the buildings, guess what, theres a reason rents are high). cry me a river.

  8.  Add to that that most of the old timer grand streeter’s got their apts for a song and now sit on market rate homes. They are rich and they voted to become rich.

  9. There is a $50 fee just to view the apartments, if you are interesting at all in buying. hahah

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