A tipster tells us the following:
Red Square has been sold! From what I hear, the ink isn't quite dry. But I think the price was $135 million. The more frightening part of this rumor is that the storefronts may not be long for the world — the new owner will be seeking to build higher on that site.
This is the second time in recent weeks that we heard that the residential complex at 250 E. Houston St. between Avenue A and Avenue B has been sold. (Our other tipster's source was a Red Square employee.)
To date, there's nothing in public records documenting a sale of the 12-floor building that includes 130 rental units and 23,000 square feet of retail space.
Adding to the speculation: None of the empty storefronts along the Shoppes at Red Square are listed for rent. Amona Deli & Grocery closed back in February. The space has sat empty since then. Last week, its next-door neighbor moved away...
One of the other long-empty retail spaces has served as a Halloween pop-up shop in recent years.
The building, the creation of Michael Rosen, opened in June 1989. Here's more from a Daily News article from September 2008:
Red Square occupies land that served as an automobile service station for more than 25 years. Rosen's wife's family bought the property in the 1960s, and, he points out, no homes were destroyed and no businesses were displaced.
Red Square was designed by graphic artist legend Tibor Kalman, a Hungarian immigrant. Its quirky feel has come to symbolize the avant-garde, rebellious East Village spirit.
Rosen has actually apologized for Red Square. (We heard him do so at a Community Board 3 meeting several years ago.) Last we read, he was a nonvoting shareholder in the building and without any involvement in the day-to-day operations.
And it should be noted that there was speculation of an addition atop the existing stores as for back as the summer of 2008, according to this article in the Voice.
In announcing the opening of Red Square in the spring of 1989, the Times reported that the building "includes studios that will rent for $975 a month, one-bedroom apartments for $1,350 and two-bedroom units at $1,900. Mr. Rosen shrugged off the possibility that the rents might be a bit steep for the proletariat, forecasting that interest will stem from young professionals and college students who will share apartments."