The Printing House, in the heart of the West village, is not a new development.
The building started its life 1910 as an industrial printing shop. In 1979, it was converted to a residential loft rental building, and then converted to condominiums in 1987.
But developer Myles Horn and his partners say they’ve done something with the building that is better than new.
“It was built spectacularly, it’s solid, but it also has this Italian Renaissance facade that is really cool looking,” Horn told Brokers Weekly. They set out to completely remodel the common spaces as well as all of the unsold apartments.
“One of our goals was to make this project different from all the other new jobs in town, all the glass towers,” Horn said. “We saw a real opportunity to push the market place by doing a much nicer job.”
The developers purchased approximately 100 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and hired the architectural firm Workshop/apd to redesign the space into 60 units of one to four bedrooms.
They range in price from approximately $1.5 million to $7 million and in size from approximately 900 s/f to over 3,000 s/f.
“Everything that we had seen told us that a portion of our buyers were going to be young families with children,” Horn said. “From the very beginning, the marketing people told us this is no longer your mother’s Village, so to speak.”
The developers chose architect Andrew Kotchen of Workshop/apd after interviewing more than a dozen candidates, Horn said. “His ideas were so refreshing.”
The building’s ceilings tower is more than 15 feet over expansive floor plates. When it was first converted to residential use, mezzanine floors were added to create additional floor area. In redesigning the units, Kotchen rearranged the mezzanines without sacrificing floor area.
Almost every unit is different, but they generally are comprised of high-ceilinged living rooms with 12-foot windows, and bedrooms and flex space floating above on the mezzanine floors.
On a sunny March afternoon, the third-floor model units were flooded with sunlight.
The project was the first foray into residential development for Kotchen and his team. But he drew on other experiences to help create the redevelopment’s 45 unique floor plans.
“I describe this project as a Tetris game of moving pieces around both vertically and horizontally to create units,” he said.
The common areas pay tribute to the building’s past with C&C fabricated decorative panels inspired by the letter blocks of an early-20th century printing press. Patina finishes prevail, and the overall effect is what Kotchen called “rustic modernism.”
All told, Horn estimates the developers have spent 40 or 50 percent more on the renovation than they originally planned.
“There’s a certain norm in what people spend on this kind of job, and we have far exceeded it… but we’re happy that we have. We’ve obviously caught the market right,” he said.
The building’s rooftop is leased to an Equinox gym in the building, and the developers are giving a one-year gym membership to everyone who buys one of the new units, Horn said. They’ve extended this approach — of sort of subcontracting amenities — outside the building into the neighborhood as well, with complimentary one-year memberships to the dog-care center Biscuits & Bath as well as the Children’s Museum of Art.
Horn and his partners weren’t alone in seeing the potential in the building. The partnership of Horn’s MJH Birchwood, Belvedere Capital Real Estate Partners and Angelo Gordon & Co. beat out 25 other bidders when it purchased the building in 2011.
“The good news is we won the prize,” said Horn, who had had his eye on the prominent West Village landmark since the 1970’s.
Sales started in March. Tricia Hayes Cole, executive managing director at Corcoran Sunshine, is marketing the building. In a statement, she said she is “thrilled with the brisk pace of sales” so far.