Built in 1898 as the third branch of Germania Bank, the building found at 109 Bowery has since the neighborhood change from what was known as “Little Germany” to a low-income, depressed neighborhood in Manhattan, and back up to an up and coming gentrified area.
As the neighborhood decayed the building went into disuse, and was finally bought by photographer Jay Maisel, who has been living, working and exhibiting his art for the past fifty years.
According to Crain’s, the building has been listed as for sale on RFR Reality, but with a dearth of details. However, the official website for 190 Bowery clearly states that the building is definitely not for sale. The one page site has a link to a New York Magazine article, the Wikipedia article about the building and this brief message:
PLEASE NOTE: The building is not for sale, and there is no space in the building for rent. Any real estate-related emails will be ignored.
Maisel bought the building for $102,000 five decades ago, which translates into about $750,000 in 2014 dollars. It has about 37,000 square feet of floor space, 72 rooms and has hosted the painter Roy Lichtenstein. Maisel has a gallery in the building and is living space for his wife and daughter since 2008.
The Crain’s report stated that as of 2008 the graffiti covered building was worth about $50 million. We’ll see if a price like that could persuade Maisel to sell.