New York City is teeming with buildings designed by architect Ralph Walker—and, coincidentally, many of those have been converted into luxury residential buildings, including the Walker Tower at 212 West 18th Street, and Stella Tower on West 50th Street. But the transformation of Walker's Art Deco gem at 100 Barclay Street (formerly 140 West Street) in the Financial District may be the most hotly anticipated: The building, which came out of the September 11 attacks intact (if needing extensive repairs), is known for its gorgeous lobby, covered in luxe materials like travertine and black marble. It was purchased by Ben Shaoul's Magnum Real Estate Group in 2013, with the intention of converting the 1920s structure into luxury condominiums. And despite the firm's (well, really, Shaoul's) controversial reputation, a recent tour showed that the interior revamp—being undertaken by Champalimaud Designs and GRADE—has preserved the building's character while giving it a modern update.
While there's not quite a traditional sales office within the building (sales are being handled by Raphael de Niro of Douglas Elliman), potential buyers are escorted through several different parts of the conversion, including a brand-new residents' lobby, which is accessible via Barclay Street, and a model unit on the 19th floor. The faux-apartment is quite grand, and shows off some of the units' more luxurious touches: high ceilings and oversized windows (which, in some cases, afford views into One World Trade Center); marble everywhere; high-end appliances; you know the drill. (The building's over-the-top amenities, including an 82-foot-long lap pool based on Walker's original design, are not yet open for previews. Bummer.)
And of course, there's the building's original Art Deco lobby, which currently serves as something of a waiting area for potential buyers. (It's been halved—the other portion is still in use by Verizon, which maintains offices in the building.) Many of its most distinctive features—including huge, hand-painted ceiling murals, which track the history of communication, and enormous gilded chandeliers—remain intact. The lobby is a New York City landmark, so it's no surprise that little has changed; but as with Walker's Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen buildings, that history is also a selling point. And it's one that has worked well: While no official sales numbers have been released, De Niro confirmed that they're moving along as well as—or even better—than anticipated.