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One More Time!

There aren’t many great building sites left in the West Village. So when one comes up for sale, that old familiar war starts yet again.

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West Villagers, take cover: One of the last great development sites in your neighborhood is up for grabs, and accordingly, perhaps the last great battle in a long, long war is imminent. The warehouse that’s home to Industria Superstudio—J.Lo’s new fashion line, Sweetface,was paraded there during last month’s Fashion Week—is on the market for $32 million, and, rumor has it, a developer is close to making a deal. On the Website 775washington.com, listing brokers Peter McCuen and Jim St. Andre tout it as a “great location for a dramatic single-family residence, townhouses, and boutique condos.”

And Andrew Berman, head of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, has snapped into his familiar role: quality-of-life cop. “The only possibilities we imagine [for 775 Washington] is preserving the building with a modest addition on top,” he says. Last year, preservationists successfully lobbied to limit the height of new projects in the area, putting the kibosh on a condo to be built at the site of Diane Von Furstenberg’s former offices (now back on the market). They’re currently attempting to muscle painter Julian Schnabel into downsizing the high-rise tower he’s building. Even so, you can’t fault developers for trying: The West Village remains one market where there are always far more buyers than apartments. “It’s a very blue-chip place to develop,” says Corcoran’s downtown-development expert Jim Brawders. “There’s very little risk that apartments would sit there.”

Despite zoning laws that cap the height of new buildings in the area, whoever buys 775 Washington will be allowed to go up an additional 80 feet. (That may not sound like much, but in these parts, every inch is fought over.) If developers were to get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, they could even knock it down and start from the ground up. “We’re willing to fight for this site. Warehouses are an essential part of what makes New York New York,” declares Berman. McCuen would only say “775 Washington Street is a wonderful property located in one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan.”


Movers
Back From the Land of the Dead
Now that he’s no longer playing the manic-depressive, incestuous Billy Chenowith in HBO’s dear departed (and L.A.-based) series Six Feet Under, Jeremy Sisto has moved to Manhattan. The actor, who’ll soon be seen alongside Ali MacGraw and Julianna Margulies on Broadway in Festen, has reportedly rented a fully furnished Hell’s Kitchen one-bedroom for nearly $4,000 a month. It’s at Clinton West, a luxe condo project known for its eyebrow-raising list of amenities, including a greenhouse, a putting green, and a “home integrated technology network” (geek-speak for a computer panel that controls everything from temperature to lighting). The building’s also pet-friendly, so presumably Sisto will be bringing his dog out east as well. Corcoran’s Rodney Nixon and Citi Habitats’ Christopher Massey, who brokered the deal, declined to comment.


Same Space, Different Place
The Bargain That Isn’t
Conventional wisdom holds that fixer-uppers are bargains. But brokers aren’t dumb, and judging by these two co-ops located in 1898 Neville & Bagge rowhouses standing side by side on Carnegie Hill, the expense of a potential renovation is fully accounted for in the asking price. Unit 4R in 17 East 95th Street has had its floors refinished, walls repainted, and kitchen redone; its counterpart is livable but could really use a rehab. “You need $100,000 to return it to its former glory,” says broker Marc Neuman. Which—surprise!—is exactly how much the prices differ. The only trade-off, then, has little to do with finances: Face the headache of renovation, and you get to impose your own taste.

17 East 95th Street, Apartment 4R
The Facts: Two-bedroom, two-bath, 950-square-foot co-op.
Asking Price: $925,000.
Maintenance: $1,083 per month.
Agent: Mitzie Lau, the Corcoran Group.

19 East 95th Street, Apartment 4R
The Facts: Two-bedroom, two-bath, 950-square-foot co-op.
Asking Price: $825,000.
Maintenance: $1,083 per month.
Agents: Marc Neuman, the Corcoran Group, and Holly Hunt, Halstead.


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