RISMEDIA, July 10, 2009-120 Eleventh Avenue, the West Chelsea classic loft structure with a varied, sometimes chequered past, has been dramatically redeveloped as luxury condominiums now offered for sale by Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Leonard Steinberg and Lida Drummond.
120 Eleventh Avenue completes a decade-long dream for its developers, Gianfranco Chicco and Robert Chandler of Puissance Enterprises. They have lived and worked in Chelsea, raising their families there. They have built award-winning healthcare public relations firm Chandler Chicco Agency into a full-service global practice with such clients as Bayer, Novartis and Pfizer. Now they have built West Chelsea’s first luxury loft building in over a decade that is based on a classical structure. Prices for five of its units range from $3.8 million to $6 million, while its two-penthouse triplex homes list at $17 million.
The history of 120 Eleventh Avenue dates to the early 1900s, serving New York City as a quarry and a produce distribution center. During the Industrial Era, the building was a Life Savers Mints factory. Later, as the creative community started migrating to Chelsea, its upper floors became photographer and artist lofts while the ground floor’s tenant was a well-known staple of NYC nightlife – the notorious leather bar, Spike Bar.
After “falling in love” with the space, Chicco and Chandler bought the building in 2000 to gut renovate the space and house its growing agency. Meanwhile, other significant changes were occurring nearby.
“Chelsea Piers and the galleries had come in and were attracting more people,” said Gianfranco Chicco. “Then, the new restaurants and West Side Park came in, plus the re-emergence of the High Line. West Chelsea was becoming a family-friendly neighborhood. It made more sense to turn 120 Eleventh Avenue into a residential building.”
The partners realized 120 Eleventh Avenue’s design required special care to stand out from the “me too” boxes that were sprouting up around West Chelsea. In particular, they wanted to avoid “the starchitect syndrome” – a situation where a famous architect’s image takes precedence over a building’s beauty, honesty, and solidity. Instead, the design needed to reflect what differentiates them as developers – a genuine passion for Chelsea and its people.
In fact, Bob Chandler often talks about the mission to preserve the neighborhood he has been part of for more than 30 years. “By integrating the character and richness of prewar Chelsea into a space with all manner of modern services, the residents of 120 Eleventh can enjoy the integrity and charm of old New York with the ease and convenience of living in our digital age,” he said.
James Harkrider of Studio D+ Form had developed the office space on West 15th Street that houses Chicco and Chandler’s public relations agency. For 120 Eleventh Avenue, he shared their vision of placing attention on its design heritage.
“Our challenge was to gracefully merge 21st Century home living into a 20th century classical building envelope,” said Harkrider. “The design had to retain existing elements within the modern palette. It also had to be done in such a way that they complimented one another.”
Harkrider’s approach included the thoughtful application of technology, materials and landscape. Also shaping the design was the opportunity to use the building’s setting between the Hudson River and the High Line. The completed residential building offers both great views and quality of light, while adding character to the Manhattan skyline.
Now on sale, 120 Eleventh Avenue has five loft residences and two penthouses. They range from a 3,313-sq. -ft. 3-bedroom, 2 ½-bath unit to a 4,017 sq. ft. half-floor unit to a 4-bedroom with study and 3 ½ baths. Each features expansive interiors with 10 ½ -foot ceilings, oversized windows, restored original hardwood floors, cast-iron columns and vintage brick walls. The two penthouse triplexes are, respectively, 5-bedroom, 6-bath 6,519-sq.-ft., and 4-bedroom, 4-bath 6,557-sq.-ft. homes with gigantic terraces. The dramatic impact of each is highlighted by 20-ft. ceilings and a wall of glass that overlooks the Hudson River.
All residents have direct elevator access, pocket doors through-out, private on-site storage space, spa-like windowed bathrooms with finishes by Boffi and Ann Sacks, and kitchen details that include Miele, Gaggenau, and SubZero appliances. Amenities include daytime doorman and 24-hour “virtual doorman” service, and one-year complimentary membership to Chelsea Piers for two residents per home.
For more information, visit www.120eleventh.com.
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