Beguiling art gallery to finally ‘go public’ at 9 West 57th Street
The controversial Solow Art & Architecture Gallery at 9 W. 57th St., which has never allowed visitors since it was installed two decades ago, will finally be open to the public by 2023, Realty Check has learned.
The masterpiece-filled gallery will be expanded to include an extension on the tower’s West 58th Street side. Construction is to begin soon, according to our source.
Soloviev Group Vice Chairman Hayden Soloviev, a grandson of real- estate-empire founder Sheldon H. Solow, wouldn’t go into details, but confirmed to us: “My father [Stefan Soloviev, Sheldon’s son] and I have worked hard on this issue over the past year, and I am proud to say that we will be displaying the artwork to the public once our remodeling has finished.”
Asked to clarify whether it meant the public will actually be able to enter the previously locked-down gallery, Hayden replied, “Yes, they will be.”
The opening should bring an end to a long-running dispute over the gallery’s off-limits status, which drew criticism from elected officials and art lovers alike.
Developer Sheldon Solow, an avid art collector with an eye for design, passed away in November 2020. Stefan Soloviev, a colorful figure said to have as many as 20 children and an erratic temper, now controls his father’s $4 billion empire, which includes 9 West, numerous other buildings and an art collection valued at more than $500 million.
The 9 West tower, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, has been one of Manhattan’s most-desired office addresses since it opened in 1975. It commanded rents of more than $100 per square foot from tenants such as Apollo Management and Och-Ziff Capital Management long before such lofty prices became common.
But the gallery’s off-limits status since it was installed in the early 1990s was a blemish on its reputation.
It has been scrutinized because Sheldon Solow’s art foundation enjoyed tax breaks for housing a “public” gallery that wasn’t truly open to the public. Art lovers must peer through reflection-clouded windows to glimpse works by masters who have included Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Francis Bacon, Henry Moore and Franz Kline.
The foundation’s tax-exempt status saved the Solow family a reported $33 million in capital-gains taxes when it sold a work by Sandro Botticelli for $92.1 million in a Sotheby’s auction.
The tax benefit will likely continue, but at least art lovers won’t for much longer have to press their faces to the windowpanes to enjoy the treasures inside.
Digital sports platform Fanatics has quietly inked a deal for more than 75,000 square feet on three floors of RFR’s 95 Morton, we’ve learned, bringing the 220,000-square-foot boutique office building to 100 percent occupied. It’s a significant expansion for the company, which currently has 50,000 square feet at 205 Hudson St.
The lease is hush-hush. No one at RFR or Fanatics would comment or confirm the deal.
Neither would brokers at Cushman & Wakefield who repped Fanatics or an Avison Young team for RFR.
But market sources said the move will accommodate the company’s plans for creating new businesses across the sports ecosystem including licensed merchandise, trading cards and gaming.
Aby Rosen’s RFR bought the century-old former factory building in the West Village for $206 million in 2017 and converted it into state-of-the-art offices.
There will soon be life again at the notorious empty Upper East Side lot on the southwest corner of First Avenue and East 78th Street — and it won’t be rats and weeds.
The corner lot at 1487 First Ave. has been sold by its longtime family owners to California-based Carmel Partners for $73.5 million, The Real Deal reported. The wood-fenced site was hated in the pricey neighborhood for its unchecked vermin infestation and for mutant weeds that grew as high as 20 feet.
The Post first reported on the situation last month, when a neighborhood rally demanding action drew incoming City Council member Julie Menin and Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
The lawmakers tried to persuade the former owners, three sisters in the Chou family, to turn the eyesore into a temporary community garden. They sold the lot instead, but Menin convinced the Chous to put down rat poison and chop the tree-high weeds.
The new owners will likely develop a small apartment building. Meanwhile, Menin is talking to the Parks Department and the city’s Economic Development Corp. to create a public garden on a nearby vacant city-owned site in Council District 5.
“We’ve found a location but it needs approvals,” she said.