The story of 16 Minetta Lane has already taken some interesting turns, but a Curbed tipster seems to think the best is yet to come. The leafy little townhouse belonged to celebrated event planner and floral designer Robert Isabel. After he died, his estate sought nearly $4 million for the Village charmer, but the party-friendly complex later sold for $2.1 million in cash?to a flipper who immediately put it back on the market for $3.5 million earlier this year. From an investment standpoint, the problem with an empty townhouse is that it's not making any money, and that's where the latest twist comes in. Might the townhouse be turned into some sort of speakeasy/sex dungeon? Our tipster thinks it's in the realm of possibility:
That cool little townhouse at 16 Minetta Lane, until recently the secret lair of event & floral fabulousness Robert Isabell, was sold by his estate, flipped and purchased by someone a tad less couth. So, when we once had this and this, we now have (according to Property Shark) "16 Minetta Lane LLC."
The owner last month tried to sneak a teeny little liquor license approval by the community board. Despite been seen around the area ripping down the public notices of the meeting, neighbor opposition was fierce and he withdrew the application so that he could do some "community outreach" - or so said his lawyer, who looked straight out of central villain casting from Disney.
That week the owner was spotted in front of the building waving his arms around to a contractor.
Clearly he wants to open a club, with speculation being for a private sex club, and there are fears he will either demolish or drastically alter the building. The space is zoned commercial and residential and has no historic protection until the Central Village Historic District gets passes - which may be neverish.
But I'm thinking that with neighbors with homes like this they won't give up that easy.
Speculation of a private sex club is of course the best type of speculation, but we're not quite ready to grab our ball gags just yet. Still, a liquor license application for 16 Minetta Lane was supposed to go before CB2 back in April. This controversy can of course be avoided if someone steps up to by the house?the price of which, by the way, has been increased to $4 million. UPDATE: Click here for the owner's response, in which he says he flirted with the idea of bringing a high-end restaurant to the house, not a sex club.