According to NYC Department of Finance records, the two buildings were sold just about six months ago (6/28/08) for a little over $17 million. I guess the collapse of the real estate market as we know it has forced the owner to do a quick turnaround with this place, even though he's getting hit with a pretty major loss.
This property in a complete enigma to BoogieDowner... Situated a stone's throw away from the New York Botanical Garden and directly across the street from the Botanical Garden Metro North station, this building has all the potential in the world. There's even a cute community garden right across the street (which is maintained by NYBG), as well as a playing field directly across the street to the North. The courtyard and architecture of the building are quite gorgeous, but yet... to call the building desirable would be a major stretch of the imagination. There's quite a litter problem surrounding the building, and there are frequently shady characters lurking outside.
The potential for this to become a desirable address is certainly there though. Hopefully some well-meaning developer (ha!) will come along and snap it up and finish whatever project the current owner intended to undertake when they set up scaffolding around the place at least six months ago. The place clearly is not in the best shape and needs a major facelift to be restored to its previous glory.
Little fun fact for the real estate geeks out there... In researching Botanical Square on the mighty interweb, we came across a New York Times report from 1954 siting the sale of the property for $482,500. Holy good Lord how times have changed...