Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Mystery of the Trinity

Whatever comes next to the prime Canal St. plot between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. won’t stay long, as owner Trinity Real Estate is planning for temporary use at the site on the Hudson Square-Soho-Tribeca border before eventually developing a permanent addition to the area.

Trinity senior real estate planner Erin Roeder told Mixed Use that an “interim use” is planned for the site, where an office building formerly at the location was recently demolished. Trinity doesn’t plan to build a permanent structure there for “the next year or two,” Roeder noted, adding the site bordered on the north by Grand St. will most likely not house an office building — which represents the majority of the company’s holdings.

“We’re looking at uses that we think would make the neighborhood and the community happy in the interim,” Roeder said, without mentioning any specific uses or development plans in the future beyond that.

Canal West Coalition President Richard Barrett believes Trinity is stalling at the site until an expected rezoning of the area takes place, in which case, he said the real estate heavy hitter would likely look to develop a mixed-use project — probably including a residential component. He opined he’d like to see a greenmarket at the location on an interim basis.

Whatever the case, look for something prominent to rise there in the future, since “it’s kind of the entryway to the Hudson Square neighborhood,” Roeder added. “In that sense, it’s prime.”

Downtown luxury

Manhattan real estate continues to thrive with residences over $5 million, with almost a third of the total luxury townhouses sold in Manhattan last year comprised of Downtown residences.

According to a new report from residential real estate firm Stribling and Associates, Downtown townhouses made up 31.5 percent of houses sold over $5 million in the borough in 2007, and 41.1 percent of the currently pending sales in 2008.

The report sited the Downtown trend toward full-service condominiums as a reason for its lofty figures, with the near sellout of 40 Mercer St. and 40 Bond St.

“In the face of so many negative factors, the continued strength of the luxury real estate market seemingly defies analysis,” said the report’s author, Kirk Henckels, executive vice president and director of Stribling Private Brokerage. “However, certain basis factors such as inventory levels remain low, the demand for housing remains strong, and the amount of wealth in the market continues to be huge.”

Warren is ready

Tribeca’s newest luxury condo development, 53 Warren, which has an eponymous address, opened for occupancy, offering six private residences ranging in size from one- to three-bedrooms and starting at $2.3 million. The condo conversion project was designed by Hotel on Rivington architects Grzywinski Pons and features 8-foot windows, 11- to 20-foot ceilings, Brazilian hardwood floors and marble baths.

The upscale development, located between W. Broadway and Church St. just below Chambers St., also touts a $2.8 million penthouse with 20-foot ceilings and 1,000 square feet of outdoor space. Prudential Douglas Elliman’s the Bracha Group is handling sales for the units.

Contemporary Bowery

The Bowery continues to prove a desirable draw for art tenants, with formerly Chelsea-based gallery DCKT Contemporary opening in the emerging Lower East Side-area district next month.

Joining the neighborhood’s major contemporary institution, the New Museum a block to the north, DCKT marks its foray into the neighborhood with 1,800 square feet on the ground floor at 195 Bowery, near the corner of Spring St. Gallery owners Dennis Christie and Ken Tyburski originally opened on W. 24th St. in 2002, but opted to migrate to the more mixed-use and diversified environment of the Lower East Side, Christie said.

“It just becomes sort of numbing to not have a break,” he noted of Chelsea’s cluster of galleries. “I think that things become more memorable when there’s some breathing space.”

DCKT’s new digs, on the first floor of a condo building at the location, is currently being built out for an official March 20 debut. The tenants signed a 10-year lease for the space, but Christie wouldn’t reveal how much DCKT paid — only that they probably would have ponied up twice as much for the same size space on a ground floor in Chelsea. But according to Prudential Douglas Elliman, which represented the building’s owner, prices were in the $80 per-square-foot range.

Locking up the Vault

Leading employment firm Vault.com is the next media tenant to take space in Hudson Square with the announcement this week that the job-search Web site would move into 25,000 square feet of space at 1 Hudson Square.

Vault — which provides information for both employers and prospective employees about major corporations and law firms — is relocating from 150 W. 22nd St. in Chelsea to its new eighth-floor office, which also features a 7,500-square-foot outdoor terrace. According to property owner Trinity Real Estate, asking rents at 1 Hudson Square are in the mid-$50s per square foot.

“Now in its second decade, Vault revolutionized the process of hunting and preparing for a job,” said Carl Weisbrod, president of Trinity Real Estate. “It continues to be an industry leader and vital resource for both job seekers and the hiring community.”