We only print rumors – ahem, “unconfirmed reports” – when we want them to be true. And this one, we really want it to be true.
This is the real estate empire founded by Sheldon H. Solow, the mega-developer who died in November 2020 at the age of 92. What we heard is in the realm of maybe, hopefully maybe, but probably true.
According to a knowledgeable source, the closed Solow Art & Architecture gallery at 9 W. 57th St. will finally open to the public in 2023. Not only that, but also the gallery full of masterpieces that can currently only be viewed from The exterior is to be expanded to include another gallery, or an extension of the existing one, on the west side of 58th Street from the tower.
Construction will begin soon, we were told.
The Solow Art & Architecture Foundation has long rested behind the sidewalk-level windows of 9 West, as is well known. One of the city’s most desirable office towers since it opened in 1974, it had skyrocketing rents of more than $100 per square foot long before other buildings.
But the gallery’s banning policy has come under attack because Solow received tax breaks for having a “public” gallery that is not open to the public. Art lovers should peer through the reflection-darkened windows to catch glimpses of works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, and Franz Kline.
The masterpieces are or were part of Solow’s legendary private art collection, valued at $500 million. A year ago, the foundation sold Sandro Botticelli’s “Young Man Holding a Rondel” – which has never been shown in the 9 West gallery – for $92.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
The sale through the tax-exempt foundation saved Solow nearly $33 million in capital gains taxes for the painting he bought in 1982 for $1.3 million .
The future of the gallery is in the hands of Stefan Soloviev, Sheldon’s son who now controls the Solow Foundation as well as several companies under the banner of the Soloviev Group, which includes the various real estate branches of the family business.
Soloviev, a colorful character renowned for having as many as 20 children and an explosive temper, told The New York Times shortly after his father’s death that in the future “the collection will be available to the public.” When asked where it might be – like in a new museum or somewhere else – he replied, “Wherever I want.”
He did not respond to our emails seeking comment.
Digital sports platform Fanatics has quietly signed a deal for more than 75,000 square feet over three floors of RFR’s 95 Morton, we learned, bringing the 220,000 square foot office building to 100% occupancy. This is a significant expansion for the company, which currently has 50,000 square feet at 205 Hudson St.
The lease is silent. No one at RFR or Fanatics would comment on or confirm the deal.
Neither did the Cushman & Wakefield brokers who replaced Fanatics or an Avison Young team for RFR.
But market sources said the move would take into account the company’s plans to build new businesses in the sports ecosystem, including licensed merchandise, trading cards and games.
Aby Rosen’s RFR bought the century-old former factory in the West Village for $206 million in 2017 and converted it into state-of-the-art offices.
There will soon be life again on the Upper East Side’s infamous empty lot at the southwest corner of First Avenue and East 78th Street – and it won’t be rats and bad herbs.
The corner lot at 1487 First Ave. was 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 expensive neighborhood for its uncontrolled vermin infestation and for mutating weeds that grew up to 20 feet.
The Post first reported on the situation last month, when a neighborhood rally demanding action drew new city council member Julie Menin and Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
Lawmakers tried to persuade the former owners, three sisters from the Chou family, to turn the eyesore into a temporary community garden. They sold the land instead, but Menin convinced the Chous to put some rat poison and cut the tall weeds.
The new owners will probably develop a small apartment building. Meanwhile, Menin is talking with the city’s parks department and economic development corporation to create a public garden on a nearby vacant city-owned site in council’s District 5.
“We found a location, but it needs approvals,” she said.