Capitale building to be sold at auction

BY GABE HERMAN | The historic former Bowery Savings Bank building at 130 Bowery, in recent years an event and party venue, will be auctioned off on April 30.

Located between Broome and Grand Sts. in Chinatown, the building was constructed from 1893-1895. Bowery Saving Bank’s first headquarters, it was designed by Stanford White, whose other works include the Washington Square Arch and the old Tiffany & Co. building, at 37th St. and Fifth Ave.

White said the idea for the building’s design was “an edifice to impress the beholder with its dignity and fortress-like strength.”

The former bank building at 130 Bowery was designed to project a sense of “dignity and fortress-like strength.” (Photo by Gabe Herman)

The building’s exterior was landmarked in 1966 and its interior was landmarked in 1994. It was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Corinthian columns and sculptures, including two lions, decorate the building’s exterior. Inside, Siena marble is featured in the tellers’ counters, walls and mosaic floors. The two-story edifice features 90-foot-tall ceilings.

And it can all be yours if you have tens of millions of dollars to spare.

After a previous asking price of $60 million, owner Capitale will be auctioning off the unique property. The building has been used as an event space in recent years for corporate and social occasions, including weddings.

The auction is being handled by Paramount Realty USA and Atelier WM, a residential and commercial real estate company. The two companies have partnered to create an alliance to carry out luxury property auctions. This will be their first.

The Bowery Savings Bank in 1905. (Courtesy Library of Congress)


While private auctions like this are rare in the city, they have started to happen a bit more, reportedly due to a weaker real estate market and an effort to find another selling method. This past November, luxury Tribeca condo units were auctioned off.

But this auction is expected to be bigger. As broker Wendy Maitland, who is working on the sale, told Bloomberg, the former bank building will likely go for at least $50 million at auction.

In Capitale’s auction announcement, suggested possible uses for the building include high-end retail, a private club, an art gallery, a museum, or a food hall along the lines of Eataly or Chelsea Market.

Who knows? Perhaps it will end up housing a chain drug store in the manner of other old Downtown bank buildings with impressive architecture, such as the Duane Reade at 60 Spring St., at Cleveland Place, or the CVS at 81 Eighth Ave. at 14th St.

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