Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's new at the Stuyvesant Polyclinic?: Well, it's better than Lenny Kravitz

The Stuyvesant Polyclinic on Second Avenue between St. Mark's and Ninth Street has a new tenant...

As Crain's reports:

British consulting firm ?What If! has signed a 10-year lease for all of 137 Second Ave., a landmarked three-story building constructed in 1884 to provide medical care to German immigrants.

?What If!, which specializes in business growth strategies, will use the 14,100-square-foot property, between St. Mark’s Place and Ninth Street, as its U.S. headquarters. It plans to move from the 5,000 square feet it rents at 62 White St. by the end of October. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The ornate facade of the red brick and terra cotta building trumpets its original function, with busts of Hippocrates and other scientific pioneers. 137 Second Ave. has been home to a series of medical facilities, the last of which closed in 2005. Redevelopment plans, including one to turn it into apartments, faltered over the years because of objections by the community and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Two investment firms, 135 Second and Lower East Side Equities, bought the building last year, thinking its prominent East Village location would attract retail tenants. After some deals fell through, the owners were introduced to Nina Powell, a managing partner at ?What If!

Ms. Powell, who calls the building “phenomenal,” especially liked the high ceilings, eight-foot-wide wrought-iron staircase and great natural light. During renovations, the firm discovered such details as skylights that had been blocked by dropped ceilings and stained-glass windows that were covered by walls.

The offices, Ms. Powell said, will create an environment in which employees can come up with good campaigns for ?What If! clients, which include Nike and HSBC. “Gray spaces produce gray ideas,” she adds.

As Jeremiah had reported in April: "The broker's listing hoped a rock star like Lenny Kravitz would buy the building for $13 million and install an 'indoor/outdoor saltwater swimming pool exiting to your gigantic organic garden' along with other whimsies."

[Villager file photo]

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