Photographer Maisel Scores $55 Million on Bowery Property

Photo by Beyond My Ken

The Germania Bank Building, located at 190 Bowery at the corner of Spring Street in the Bowery neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was built in 1898-99 and was designed by Robert Maynicke in the Renaissance Revival style. It is a New York City landmark. Photo by Beyond My Ken

In what some are saying is one of the greatest return on investment for real estate in New York City, photographer Jay Maisel sold his Gilded Age bank building, the Germania Bank, for a whopping $55 million, after paying a mere $102,000 about forty years ago.

The property, located at 190 Bowery, is a graffiti-covered relic which developers have been salivating over for years as the once seedy neighborhood transformed to a trendy, up and coming hot spot in Manhattan. Maisels has been living in the building with his wife and daughter, using the lower floors as his studio and the upper floors for his living space. Last year the photographer cut a deal with developer Aby Rosen, but the record of the sale was filed with the city on Thursday.

Rosen already relisted the property for sale with realtor Cushman & Wakefield before the end of last year.

Iconic Bowery Building Up for Sale? Maybe, Maybe Not

109 Bowery: For Sale or Not For Sale, that is the question.

109 Bowery: For Sale or Not For Sale, that is the question.

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.