It's the real estate equivalent of striking oil: peeking through a hole in a wall and discovering about 5,000 square feet of unfinished basement space. That happened to the president of the board at Chelsea Gardens back in 2002, when she was snooping around the West 23rd Street co-op during some costly repairs to the building's buckling floors. So what is the co-op planning to do with its found space? Lap pool? Secret members-only nightclub? Intimidating co-op board interrogation chamber? Nah, the lady who found the place is also a broker, so they're going the boring route and just turning the space into more apartments. The super is getting a 1,500-square-foot subterranean apartment, and his current 1,100sqft unit will be sold. One first-floor resident in the 162-unit building is taking a piece of the basement to convert to a duplex, and the remaining unclaimed space will be turned into as many as four new one- or two-bedroom apartments. We understand the benefits of adding new tenants to help defray the co-op's operating costs, but still, we would've gone with the nightclub.
· A Bonus in the Basement [NYT]