Alchemy Buys Condo Stake in Manhattan's Woolworth Building

Alchemy Properties Inc. purchased part of the Woolworth Building for $68 million. It intends to convert the vacant space into residential condominiums.

Shelling out $68 million, Alchemy Properties Inc. has just gotten its hands on part of a Manhattan landmark: the Woolworth Building. The real estate firm has big plans for its new purchase. Alchemy acquired a condominium interest in the top 30 floors of the 57-story high-rise from The Witkoff Group and Cammeby’s International for $68 million and will proceed to convert the vacant space in the office building into a premier residential condominium destination.

Alchemy will spend approximately $90 million to transform the top of the tower into über-upscale residences. In addition to lavish finishes and the like, the units will boast an elusive, highly coveted feature in Manhattan: lots and lots of space. With just over 100,000 sellable square feet to play with, Alchemy plans to create 40 to 45 residences containing two to five bedrooms.

“Because the units offer such amazing views, we decided we’re going to do larger units, which will really be quite spectacular,” Kenneth Horn, president of Alchemy, told CPE. Some of the homes will be full-floor units, taking advantage of the tapering size of the building as the floors go higher.

Alchemy is not putting an estimated price tag on the units just yet, but it will undoubtedly be a hefty one, as it’s not every day that exclusive homes in one of the world’s most recognizable skyscrapers hit the market. There’s an audience for such accommodations.

“We think our market will be New Yorkers, obviously, but we also think we’re going to get a very large international group to buy here because of the iconic value of the Woolworth Building and the fact that it’s just a prize; there aren’t that many buildings out there where the first residential floor starts 350 feet above the ground.”

Alchemy also has a recovering market on its side. Active inventory in Manhattan’s for-sale market declined in the second quarter, marking the second-fastest absorption rate since 2007, according to a report by Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Armed with positive market conditions, a quality project and solid sponsorship, Alchemy was able to attract acquisition financing from HSBC Bank.

Not everyone will be able to reside at the Woolworth Building, but some will still be able to work there, as Witkoff and Cammeby’s will continue to operate the first 27 floors of the property as office space.