Ken Horn has paid $158 million for the Upper West Side development site being sold by the West End Collegiate Church.
The buildings include the former unaffiliated Collegiate School at 260 to 262 W. 78th St. and the adjoining 378 West End Ave., which was used by the school. The low-rise church itself at 245 W. 77th St. was dedicated in 1892 and is a Dutch and Flemish Renaissance-style landmark.
As already approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the more recent school building will be demolished and a new, 19-story residential condo designed by CookFox will be created with a new core and elevator bank to seamlessly connect with the West End Avenue building on the southeast corner of West 78th Street.
Horn, president of Alchemy Properties, is also completing the conversion of the Woolworth Building tower to residential units.
For the UWS project, he partnered with Daishin Securities, a South Korean investment firm that is making its first US purchase. Daishin had been a competing bidder along with another developer who later dropped out before joining with Horn.
“We’ve become fairly good at working out transactions with not-for-profits,” Horn said on Friday after the closing.
He praised Collegiate Asset Management (CAM) and its president, Casey Kemper, a former Olympia & York and Equitable executive, who ran the sales process.
In 2015, CAM purchased the buildings from the now-unrelated Collegiate School for $45 million and gave the school a lease until it relocated in January 2018 to 301 Freedom Place South between West 61st and 62nd streets.
CAM also spent $29 million to buy the church’s air rights for the new project. It hired preservationist architects Higgins & Quasebarth along with architects CookFox to design the future project for landmarks commission approval, which it did with praises and no changes. CAM also brought in Stribling & Associates to advise on apartment layouts.
The new project will also include roughly 20,000 square feet of amenities including a squash court and “probably” a swimming pool, along with a gym and children’s playroom.
Bank OZK provided $230 million for acquisition and construction financing.
Other transactions that Horn has completed with nonprofits include the purchase of air rights from Xavier High School, which now has a new facility in the base of Alchemy’s 35XV at 35 W. 15th St. and the purchase of 120 E. 29th St. from Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services for another condominium.
Closings have now started at the Woolworth Building and residents are moving into what are quite lovely, large apartments.
It was Fashion Week in New York, but last Friday designer Kenneth Cole was dutifully sitting in the middle of the Hudson River by his wife’s side, dressed in a casual black suit, no tie and white sneakers — and mostly typing on his phone.
His wife, Maria Cuomo Cole, is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sister, and the couple, along with other family members, held down the front row for the dedication of the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge that was named after her father, the late Gov. Mario M. Cuomo — a name that still elicits groans from area residents.
Gov. Cuomo’s live-in sweetheart, Sandra Lee, looking well after her bout with breast cancer, swept through the front row in a flowing long sleeve, black-and-white, paisley dress — don’t ask me from designers — kissing, hugging and sharing with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the governor’s mom, Matilda, and other family members.
In a touching moment, when the plaque was unveiled, Matilda lovingly caressed the bas relief of her late husband Mario’s face.
She was persuaded to step into FDR’s 1932 Packard and be driven by her son along the new bridge to the stage, the governor said.
“What could happen?” he cajoled her, “there’s no one else on the bridge.” He later took the wheel with Lee riding shotgun and daughter Cara in the rear seat during a ceremonial spin to the Westchester end, where they posed with a few dozen of the 11,000 construction workers who worked on the span.
Perhaps Mom’s instinct to worry was right. Later that afternoon, the opening of the new eastbound span was delayed as contractors worried the remains of the old bridge’s superstructure would rain down on the new one’s parade.