On second thought, perhaps last week's report of some stirring at Red Hook gray elephant 160 Imlay Street was, in fact, the old warehouse's look-alike sister building, 62 Imlay. That would make sense, considering today's blockbuster announcement: Christie's, the chichi auction house, has signed a 30-year lease on the former New York Dock Company building and will turn it into a high-end art storage facility for its clients' collections. Opening in January, the six-story building will be outfitted with infrared video cameras, biometric readers, motion-activated monitors and every sort of climate-control device imaginable. Where once the hookers and sailors roamed, Picasso, Monet and van Gogh will make their home. The Times notes that each client's collection will probably be worth more than the entire building itself, so why Red Hook? And is there anything going on at 160 Imlay?
According to a head honcho at Christie's Fine Art Storage Services, the scrappy waterside 'hood was selected because, "It's not residential, it's industrial, it's quiet, it can be very secure and we liked the location very near the city." OK, but what about when Christie's well-heeled customers actually, you know, want to go see their masterpieces? Writes the Times, "its location near a cruise ship port makes it a convenient and known taxi destination for clients." Will Sunny's start stocking Bordeaux to target this new clientele? Developing...
Meanwhile, developer Bruce Federman is considering a similar sort of commercial arrangement for his other Red Hook warehouse, 160 Imlay, following years of delays in his attempt to convert the building to residential lofts. He tells the Times: "I still think it will be a fantastic residential conversion, but with the economic climate being what it is today, it may make sense to do a Christie's-like commercial deal and treat it as a bond — you, know, put it away for 30 years, let my children see what's happening 30 years from now." Red Hook, 30 years from now. That should be a sight!
· A High-Tech Home for Multimillion-Dollar Works of Art [NYT]
· 160 Imlay coverage [Curbed]
UPDATE: What, this news has been around since June? Well, it takes a while for the Red Hook messenger pigeon to get around.