These Investors Hope to Transform the Bowery into a New Tech Sector; Nike Adds Holiday Pop-Up Shop There

Posted on: November 12th, 2015 at 5:18 am by Elie

​Catching up on some news from a few weeks ago.

Flashpoint Chinatown property, 135 Bowery, finally changed hands last month after more than three years on the market. The brick property, located just north of Grand Street, was previously home to a wood-framed, Federal-style row house dating to 1818. Unfortunately, the structure was leveled in 2011, leading to the construction of the seven-story office building now on the block.

Caspi Development acquired the commercial rebuilt property for $16.2 million in early October. The Westchester-based firm is betting big that this nook of the Bowery becomes a high-tech sibling of Astor Place (stop calling it Midtown South). In fact, Caspi owns 161 Bowery up the block, converted into luxury offices for start-up tenants like Kik Interactive.

Expect the same for 135 Bowery.

Caspi and RWN are betting they can get higher rents by turning the floors into vintage-looking office lofts and connecting them to high-speed internet, following the playbook from 161 Bowery. Caspi said he is adding wooden beams treated to look old.

As for the ground level, Caspi leased the space to Nike for a pop-up store dedicated to hiking footwear. Launched last Friday, the concept is called Hike Nike and features branded sportswear. Stuff like the much anticipated SneakerBoots (men’s and women’s). It’ll stay open through Thanksgiving weekend.

Lest we forget the local controversy that 135 Bowery sparked. Once considered the oldest surviving structure on the Bowery – built circa 1818 – the building was on the way to landmark status. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the measure in June 2011. However, three months later, Councilwoman Margaret Chin had a suspicious change of heart and flip-flopped on her decision, bringing the City Council with her. They argued that the “dire” condition of the building couldn’t be salvaged, and that a new commercial construction would allegedly aid Chinatown’s economic recovery.

That remains to be seen.