New York Times: A Former Downtown Music Mecca Becomes Condos
C. J. Hughes – The New York Times
Like a file recovered from a hard drive, Manhattan’s Park Row — the longtime home of the J&R electronics empire — is coming back to life, this time as luxury housing.
A soaring new condo, 25 Park Row, is going up on the block across from City Hall that J&R Music and Computer World largely controlled for decades, but which has been quiet since the retailer shuttered its last store in 2014. And with the arrival of the 50-story, 110-unit spire, which joins other apartment projects on the block, a residential enclave has overtaken another city business district.
“Before, you used to go down to Park Row for one reason, and that was to go to J&R,” said Ariel Cohen, a broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate who frequently works in the neighborhood but isn’t affiliated with 25 Park Row. “But now the entire skyline is changing with all these beautiful new buildings.” If records, CDs, cameras and keyboards are no longer sold on the block, which is between Beekman and Ann Streets, their former vendors have not strayed very far.
The Friedman family, the founders of J&R, have joined L & M Development Partners, a prolific builder, to build the project, which mostly offers one- to four-bedroom units with sweeping views and up to 12-foot ceilings. “We always had such a special feeling for this area,” said Rachelle Friedman, the “R” of J&R, in an interview in her office at 15 Park Row, which teems with gifts from musicians who played at her store over the years, including about two dozen guitars.
Designed by CookFox Architects, the marble-and-bronze 25 Park Row offers captivating views near and far, courtesy of its position facing City Hall Park, a nearly nine-acre expanse. On a recent tour of the under-construction tower, which is expected to top out this month and open in spring 2020, windows took in the Woolworth Building, the condo-installed landmark across the street, at 233 Broadway, but also the Empire State Building, much farther north.
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