445 Lafayette 2nd Floor – Community Gallery or Sculpture for Empty Living

445 Lafayette, Astor Place Building

445 Lafayette, Astor Place Building

Checked out the Corcoran site for the “Astor Place” condo costs lately? (What, you don’t have the “coin” to shop at Corcoran? Pretend with me, then.) – $3.5 million for 2200 square feet and a $5,500 monthly maintenance fee. Zowee.

Still, all is not well at Astor Place, the Sculpture for Empty Living.

When Charles Gwathmey designed the building at 445 Lafayette (see map), he surely did not envision the second floor going unused until at least 2008.

After all, with tenants ponying up for $9,000 monthly rentals and $2,600 per sq. foot condo costs, what could possibly keep the second floor empty? – A squeaky, spinning metallic cube outside on the piazza? Unlikely. But, that’s where we stand today.

With the still vacant second floor gathering dust and tax deductions, there appears to be no end in site. As Jerry, my newspaper guy postulates, they apparently can’t put in a restaurant due to ventilation issues with the floors above (didn’t plan ahead, Charles?). And, there is no access from the busy Lafayette side of the building – with the entrance on the less popular Cooper Square. Furthermore, the building has hemmed itself in by making a deal with JP Morgan Chase Bank and letting it occupy the entire first floor and precluding shared entrances on, let’s say, Astor Place.

Here’s an idea for the owners of 445 Lafayette.. make a bold move and give back to the community!

Think of it my landed gentry friends of the sky! A community art gallery space would be terrific where a constantly rotating mixture of local art is on display for all the world to see. And, I don’t mean to suggest making the equivalent of the Public Theater either, which is akin to a national theater – I mean something from the nabe. The developers of the Cooper Square Hotel and The Bowery Hotel will be jealous, too, and if you ever need anything from Community Board No. 3, all will be smooth sailing.

Other ideas on what to do with the 445 Lafayette space?

Take our East Village Podcasts blog poll below, or leave your comments for Related Companies L.P. or the Astor Place condo board to review.

What Should Be Done With The Second Floor of the Astor Place Building?

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445 Lafayette, Astor Place Building Entrance

More links: Curbed


January 21st, 2008

Entry Filed under: East Village, New York City


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