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S.L. Green completes turnaround on landmark 18th Street building.

While there have been a number of impressive turnarounds in the Manhattan commercial real estate marketplace in recent years, few can compare to the startling metamorphosis that has taken place at 32 West 18th Street.

For over nine years, this once proud commercial property had been left vacant and deteriorating. Then S.L. Green's Asset Management Division came on the scene, and within twelve months, leased 100 percent of the space and transformed the structure into a vibrant, multi-tenanted office building befitting its landmark status.

The "rebirth" of this famous 12-story turn-of-the-century structure, once known as The Mercantile Building, is the latest in a growing list of turnaround achievements for the S.L. Green organization.

Appointed last spring by the building's new owner, the Mason Tender District Council Trust Fund, S.L. Green assumed the challenge of working with a user-turned-owner in every aspect of redeveloping and marketing the property.

"We chose S .L. Green because of its exceptional reputation in the marketplace and its proven expertise in creating value in this type of property," said Mason Tender Trust Fund Director Paul Ragone.

Using a two pronged strategy aggressive marketing in combination with "pricing the space right" - S.L. Green's savvy leasing team headed by Gerald Nocera rapidly signed up such full and multi-floor tenants as Drexel Heritage, Theatre Critics and Priority Records. In early May, the final three vacant floors of the building were leased to St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, bringing 32 West 18th Street to 100 percent occupancy.

Aiding the marketing effort, in no small way, was the obvious commitment by the owner to a total restoration and modernization program of the highest quality. Exterior restoration work, for example, included the pointing and cleaning of the facade, repairing terracotta cornices, repairing and refinishing of the tripartite wood-framed easements with iron mullions at the second and third floors, replacing windows with a faithful replication of the original configuration and details, and the installation of a new storefront and lobby entrance.

Equally important, the owners felt that the environmental and quality comfort level of its tenants was just as critical as the architectural restoration of the building. The decision was made to remove all existing mechanical and electrical systems along with life safety and fire protection systems. This equipment was upgraded beyond current code requirements. Not only did this contribute to tenant comfort and productivity, but it also represented substantial savings for the owner by reducing the energy, maintenance and operating costs of the building.

Today, 32 West 181h Street is not only fully rented, it is the neighborhood's showcase office building. Among its outstanding features are: Ultra modern security systems on all floors, doors and elevators with closed circuit TV monitoring to a manned central station in the main building lobby; Vital building systems such as lighting, elevators, fire and security have emergency power back-up via the building's generator; New centralized air conditioning and heating with a new cooling tower; Latest state-of-the-art passenger and freight elevators; new electrical service, thermopane windows and bathrooms; And last, but certainly not least, a handsome new marble and granite lobby and entranceway.

Built in 1908 in a neo-Renaissance style designed by architects Maynicke & Franke, 32 West I81h Street is distinguished by a buff-colored brick and limestone facade, rusticated brick piers set on granite bases and stylized classical terracotta capitals and cornices.
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Title Annotation:New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 8, 1994
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