The Price of Fame: CetraRuddy Converts TriBeCa Landmark Into Luxury Apartments

Mariah Carey, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Derek Jeter, hoping to sidestep the glare of celebrity, have chosen to live in TriBeCa as opposed to, say, on Central Park West. Consequently, not to mention ironically, condominiums in the former industrial neighborhood command a fortune. And that certainly includes those offered at 443 Greenwich Street, a landmarked 1884 bookbinding facility now becoming 53 super-luxury apartments in a mammoth conversion by CetraRuddy Architecture.


“I found the building so magical,” Nancy Ruddy recalls. So she and her husband, John Cetra, set out to impress buyers who appreciate architectural subtlety—and can pay for it. That meant no Edison bulbs or deer antlers. 


Across the street, in another building from the same era, CetraRuddy’s sales center for the project is equally heritage-compatible and just as sophisticated. The 6,700-square-foot layout isn’t a model apartment, per se. However, the full-size kitchen, master bath, and living room environments look like the real ones currently being completed. 


In the kitchen, bona fide marble and schist surfaces are accented with antiqued bronze and polished stainless steel. “The recession made people more leery of buying from flashy renderings,” Cetra notes. Potential buyers and brokers can even pull up stools to the island’s breakfast bar to review  blueprints. Nearby, a wet bar’s glass doors sport narrow acid-etched stripes “for depth,” Ruddy notes. 


Buyers are received more formally in the living rooms, two identical ones for the lofts in the original building and a third for the penthouses. All meld vintage and contemporary furnishings, arrayed on the same oak floorboards that will be used in the apartments. The finish is pale enough to bounce sunlight from the lofts’ relatively small mahogany-framed windows. 


Pine sawed from original structural columns, removed during construction, can be seen in the gallery’s beamed canopy—anticipating ceiling treatments for the lobby and corridors to come. A vitrine below the canopy displays the bronze door handles that residents will use to enter their apartments directly from the elevator, after ascending from the garage. No papa-razzi allowed. 


Project Team: Lightolier: Track Lighting, Recessed Ceiling Fixtures. Virtu Wood Flooring: Floorboards. Kugler Ning: Lighting Consultant. Pentagram: Graphics Consultant. T/S Associates: MEP. Czar: Woodwork. NSI Granite Corp.: Stonework. Duggal Visual Solutions: Printing Shop. Collaborative Construction Management: General Contractor. Metro Loft: Developer.

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