190 Bowery, the historic former Germania Bank building, has its first commercial tenant. Last year, Aby Rosen of RFR Realty bought the iconic Lower East Side landmark for $55 million. The graffiti-adorned building had been the home and studio of photographer Jay Maisel since 1966. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new company made up of various creative agencies has signed a lease for the 2nd through sixth floors:
The former Germania Bank, a symbol of the Bowery’s gritty past, has a new tenant happy to keep all of the building’s historic touches from its marble wash basins to the graffiti covering the lower part of the facade… “We’re a very visual company and all the employees are very visual people,” said Matthew Moneypenny, the chief executive of the yet-to-be-named limited liability company that includes agencies such as image-licensing firm Trunk Archive as well as CLM and Streeters, which represent photographers, hair and makeup artists and set designers. “Companies like ours tend to thrive in places that have a soul and a history.”
Aby Rosen, an art collector, maintains he has a special appreciation for what 190 Bowery represents. Although the graffiti was scrubbed from the facade some time ago, a spokesperson for the owner said, “this was an iconic building that can’t be replicated with the image it has.” Moneypenny said the building would be brought up to code but that many of its unique features would be retained, including a manually operated, copper-gilded cage elevator.
Still to come — a tenant for the ground floor. It’s a pretty safe bet Rosen will be seeking a high profile retailer for the space at the corner of Bowery and Prince streets.