There’s a bit of news this morning regarding one of the Lower East Side’s more intriguing historic buildings. Back in August, Crain’s reported that the 1898 former Germania Bank Building had been listed on the website of Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty. At the time, there was speculation that the building could be sold for as much as $50 million. Today, in a story about RFR’s New York City buying spree, the New York Times reports that the company has acquired the building for itself:
Perhaps the most under-the-radar purchase was 190 Bowery, a building at Spring Street that was originally built in 1898 as a location for the Germania Bank. Developers have been trying for years to buy the six-story Renaissance Revival structure, which appears abandoned, with blocked-off doorways, boarded-up windows and graffiti covering nearly all of the lower facade. It is actually the 38,000-square-foot home of the photographer Jay Maisel, who bought the building in 1966 for just $102,000. Mr. Maisel, who did not return calls for comment, has, until now, refused any attempts to buy him out. The building is in terrible shape. There’s no heat, Jay lives in just a small area of the building, another winter is coming, and it was time,” said Mr. Rosen, who spent six months cajoling Mr. Maisel into selling the home. “When you own a property for that long, and you are not a real estate professional, it takes a lot of convincing.” Mr. Rosen, who has yet to close on the purchase and declined to reveal the price, said the building could be converted for retailing at the base with condominiums above, or possibly offices or even an art gallery.
190 Bowery has been a landmark-protected building since 2005.