By Al Barbarino
It’s a Story House with a storied past.
It once housed the publishing company that brought Peter Rabbit out of his hole over a century ago.
Now, real estate developer Manhattan Skyline has converted 36 East 22nd Street into eight full-floor loft condominiums, designed by the Stephen B. Jacobs Group.
The rabbit’s out of the hat and the drastic new look is something of a fantasy for residents who are lining up to purchase the homes, which range in price between $3.2 and $4.75 million. Five of the eight units in the building have been scooped up.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the first residents The Story House,” said Laurie Zucker, principal at Manhattan Skyline. “Our remaining homes are gorgeous, and some, like our spacious penthouse, offer incredible, private outdoor space, perfect for entertaining. We look forward to selling out the rest of the building.”
The building was a former office of Frederick Warne and Company, the British publishing house famous for children’s books, including Beatrix Potter’s classic Peter Rabbit story books. More recently it housed a group of commercial clients.
Now it’s been broken into full-floor luxury homes that range from 2,155 to 2,217 s/f, including a mix of two and three-bedroom homes.
The building has attracted a mix of families, couples and one pied-a-terre tenants, said Nitza Shafrir-Zinbarg, the director of sales for the building, who among other projects, served a similar role at one of Manhattan’s top-selling condo buildings, the nearby Twenty9th Park Madison.
While two tenants are from out of state, the others are local buyers, with no foreign buyers yet making a move on remaining units, she said.
Shafrir-Zinbarg has noticed an uptick in families moving into the neighborhood since her work first began on Twenty9th Park Madison some four years ago, she said, adding that you get comparable space in the Flatiron that would be much more expensive in, say, Tribeca or downtown.
“This area didn’t traditionally attract many families,” she said. “More and more families are coming in. The neighborhood has really changed.”
But she wouldn’t be surprised if foreign buyers scoop up one of the remaining units, especially the top floors featuring outdoor terraces, which is rare in the neighborhood, and offers views of the Madison Avenue Clock Tower.
Each unit features Danish Black Oak hardwood floors and ceilings between nine and 13 feet tall, with oversized windows, frosted glass bedroom doors, gas fireplaces. The open gourmet chef’s kitchens feature Pietra di Bedonia stone slab countertops, custom-designed Eggersmann white high-gloss lacquer cabinetry, and Italian glass tile backsplashes.
Master bathrooms feature marble slab sink countertops, frosted glass wall tiles, porcelain leather embossed floor tiles and brushed spruce wood vanities are custom-designed by Eggersmann with dual undermount ceramic sinks, according to a company statement, according to representatives with Manhattan Skyline.
Buyers should act quickly if they want a spot in the building, said Shafrir-Zinbarg, ironically glancing up at the MetLife Clock Tower during a guided tour of the building, adding, “People love the Flatiron.”
*this article appeared in the May 16, 2012 print edition of Broker’s Weekly