Petzel Gallery is expanding and relocating

In a major art world move, Petzel Gallery is relocating its contemporary collection and exhibition space to the Feil Organization’s redev...


In a major art world move, Petzel Gallery is relocating its contemporary collection and exhibition space to the Feil Organization’s redeveloped 520-530 W. 25th St.

In leaving its longtime home at 456 W. 18th St., Petzel will more than double its footprint with 11,000 square feet of ground-floor gallery space and 7,000 square feet of offices upstairs at No. 520.

Feil will also be marketing 70,000 square feet of class-A offices at adjacent, six-story No. 530.

Petzel has been a driver of the contemporary art scene since its founding in 1994 on Wooster Street in Soho. Its artist roster includes Ross Bleckner, Simon Denny, Sarah Morris and Stephen Prina, among scores of others.

The gallery moved several times and also launched a satellite townhouse on East 67th Street uptown, which will remain open.

Gallery founder Friedrich Petzel said, “I’ve been checking out the buzz about up-and-coming gallery neighborhoods. Ultimately, after talking with my artists, I decided to make a long-term commitment to Chelsea and the brilliant community there.”

Petzel will enjoy 85 feet of sidewalk frontage for its galleries and a bookstore. The location was previously home to legendary Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR), where artists such as the Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton and Mariah Carey rehearsed and recorded

The gallery installation is part of a redevelopment of the property by the Feil Organization and Rigby Asset Management. Rigby founder Paul Armstrong said he conceived the new design for the 100-year-old building.

Amalia Dayan and Friedrich Petzel attend an event
Friedrich Petzel, seen attending an event with Amalia Dayan in 2010, founded the gallery.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

He said the asking rent on the gallery space was “in the low triple digits. A ground-floor transaction of this size is a very encouraging sign for the Manhattan market.”

Feil VP of leasing Randall Briskin added, “Our aim was to take this exceptional building and bring it into the 21st century without compromising its unique character.”


Real estate giant JLL‘s tristate CEO and President, Peter Riguardi, has detected several “clear, post-COVID messages” in the sluggish Manhattan office-leasing market.

Art lovers gaze at Charline von Heyl's
Art lovers gaze at Charline von Heyl’s “Vandals Without Sandals” at the Petzel Gallery in 2018.
picture alliance via Getty Image

On the bright side, he said the most expensive spaces, from Grand Central to Tribeca, were seeing “tremendous” activity in the range of 25,000 to 50,000 square feet.

At the same time, “I have not seen [large expansion] transactions needed for positive absorption. Nobody yet is leaving one square foot for two square feet.”

As for employees returning to offices, Riguardi predicted, “The American-based banks are going to lead the way. Hopefully other tenants will soon follow.”

While the market’s still in the tank, two other major brokerages found the tank’s silver linings in the second quarter.

An exterior view of 456 W. 18th St.
The gallery has outgrown its space at 456 W. 18th St.

As Riguardi noted, no new blockbuster leases are known to be in sight. But CBRE and Newmark both found signs of life in recent modest upticks in signings and in withdrawals of sublease offerings.

The brightest spot was St. Francis College’s lease for 255,000 square feet at Tishman Speyer’s The Wheeler in downtown Brooklyn. The deal at the Macy’s site, where the new tower rises adjacent to and on top of the department store, was possibly the largest commitment in the US for the quarter.

CBRE cited a 20 percent uptick in activity in the second quarter over the first quarter. The 3.47 million square feet leased in the second quarter was still 44 percent below the five-year quarterly average.

But, CBRE’s senior director of research and analysis, Nicole LaRusso, said, “We see occupier demand growing.”

Overall availability ticked up to 17.8 percent the most since 1990.

Newmark cited Midtown availability of 17.8 percent and 21.1 percent Downtown. The Downtown figure included a number of large-block additions of space to the market that were long expected, including Deutsche Bank’s exit from 1.6-million-square-foot 60 Wall St. and Citigroup’s departure from 111 Wall St. The latter building’s 1 million square feet are undergoing a top-to-bottom redesign including an entire new curtain wall.


The right portion of 520-530 W. 25th St., which will offer commercial space
The right portion of 520-530 W. 25th St. will offer commercial space.

Another week, another “boutique” office building that’s been repositioned or “reimagined.” The latest to step up is RFR’s 477 Madison Ave. at East 51st Street, a 325,000-square-foot property across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral where the “aesthetic, lifestyle, outdoor space and amenities have been transformed.”

We first wrote about RFR chief Aby Rosen’s plans for the 24-story property in August 2019, after he bought it for $258 million and prepared to put in $40 million more for the upgrades.

The most striking change is that the formerly dull, glazed white brick facade has been turned a trendier battleship-gray by architects MdeAS. Also new are a redesigned lobby with contemporary art, 15,000 square feet of outdoor terraces, a tenants’ cafe and lounge, a Peloton-equipped fitness center and new, oversize windows. There are also 8,000 square feet of new storefronts.

The building is about 60 percent leased to tenants including Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, Rivkin Radler, Atlas Merchant Capital and Atlantic Street Capital. A Newmark team of David Falk, Eric Cagner, Peter Shimkin and Daniel Levine will handle leasing for the remaining floors.

Rosen told us in 2019 that asking rents would run from $90 to $100, which he termed “a great bargain” for the location near Rockefeller Center. Since the pandemic they’ve been slightly revised to between $74 per square foot for high-end prebuilt suites and $98 per square foot for full floors with private terraces at the top.


An exhibit at the Skyscraper Museum
The Skyscraper Museum is reopening on July 15 with free admission through January 2022.
Getty Images

In happy news for architecture-lovers, the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City — which was closed for 16 months — will reopen at 39 Battery Place on July 15. Even better, admission will be free through January of 2022. (Timed entry reservations required, http://www.skyscraper.org.)

Museum director Carole Willis said the free admission was made possible by support from Turner Construction, AECOM Tishman, DeSimone Consulting Engineers, Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Feil Family Foundation and Thornton Tomasetti.

The first exhibition, Supertall!, should be a crowd-pleaser with models, images and histories of 58 of the world’s loftiest buildings, all taller than the Empire State Building.


Popular contemporary Mexican restaurant Fonda will launch its third city location at 139 Duane St., formerly home to two other eateries, long-lived Blaue Gans and one-year-wonder Savida. The long-term lease for 4,388 square feet includes nearly 2,400 square feet on the ground floor with 25 feet of sidewalk frontage.

Fonda has tapped architect Enrique Norten to design the restaurant, which plans to open by the end of the year.

Newmark’s Andrew Stern and Mai Shachi repped landlord Madison Realty. Buchbinder & Warren’s Daniel Rodriguez Sains acted for Fonda.

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