The American Bible Society has sold its headquarters at 1865 Broadway (61st street) and announced that it will move to Philadelphia, paving the way for a 300,000+ square-foot development on the site.
It’s not yet clear how tall the building could be, but it will clearly be much taller than the current structure. And it will undoubtedly be filled with ultra-luxury apartments, perhaps even on the order of One57 — the site alone sold for $300 million, or about $1,000-per-square-foot!
By comparison, 15 Central Park West sold for a reported $690 per buildable square foot.
From all indications — though we haven’t studied the permits yet — the development appears to be “as of right,” meaning the development will not have to go through a public hearing process.
The buyer was AvalonBay, a public real estate company with holdings in 11 states and Washington, D.C., which put out a press release.
“The Company intends to develop on the site a residential tower totaling over 300,000 square feet of buildable area including a significant retail component at its base. The Company currently anticipates starting construction in late 2016. The Company may in the future enter into a joint venture or forward sale arrangement with respect to the retail component of the project.”
The bible society, which publishes and translates the bible for distribution around the world, has been in New York for almost 200 years. It will move to Philadelphia. Presumably the statue of a contemplative man sitting on a bench outside will also go away, but we have no word on that yet.
One reader who has been following the sale wrote in with his disappointment:
“The heartbreaking thing for me—for someone who values the role of faith in the public square which, admittedly, had been wanting on ABS’s part for some time—is that when ABS opened its doors in May 1816, it pre-dated even New York’s first savings bank.”
We’ll update this if we hear more about this building.