The row of Chelsea brownstones that make up Tin Pan Alley, the birthplace of American popular music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, have once again hit the market after failing to find a buyer five years ago. That time around, the economic crash was necessary to save the historic houses from destruction; this time, they might not be so lucky. The listing, spotted by Lost City, comes courtesy of Massey Knakal and offers no asking price, directing prospective buyers to submit proposals instead (the five buildings—47-55 West 28th Street—were asking a combined $44 million in 2008, pre-crash, so that's probably a good starting point). It does have some suggestions for what to with the buildings once they've been demolished, though, ominously (if correctly) claiming, "This Chelsea/Madison Square Park neighborhood has experienced a unique renaissance of hotel conversions, recent residential developments, office building restorations, trendy eatery's and excellent shopping."
Unless the economy plays along and crashes again, there are two main potential roadblocks standing in the way of Chelsea's hungry developers. One is the rent-controlled tenants currently occupying the buildings. According to Lost City, they recently won a legal battle affirming that they cannot be evicted, and, in 2008, claimed that they would ask for a buyout of $1 million per apartment. The second possible roadblock would be a last-ditch landmarking from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, who have expressed some interest in the past and now may have one final chance.
· Listing: 47, 49, 51, 53 & 55 West 28th Street [Massey Knakal]
· Remnants of Historic Tin Pan Alley Endangered Once Again [Lost City]
· Tin Pan Alley coverage [Curbed]