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Today's Featured Building: Marais


The Marais at 520 West 23rd Street stands right next to the High Line Park in Chelsea, Manhattan. It is a luxury cooperative development that was originally planned as a rental property. However, the program changed during construction to take advantage of the market for ownership.

Another view of Marais with terraces two thirds up.
The Hudson Companies developers used the 1999 rezoning change of this area of West Chelsea, which permits residential use, to negotiate a 75 year ground lease deal that was more advantageous than purchasing the property outright.

Lenders were initially reluctant to finance coop end loans to purchasers but were successful in the end. Construction financing for the 107 unit 15 story cooperative was secured through the Roslyn Savings Bank and the building received at 10-year partial exemption from real estate taxes under NYC’s 421-a program.

Large windows on the Marais
Marais was no doubt named to reflect the historic area of Paris, France near the Ile de la Cité on the River Seine, but the actual translation of marias to English gives us a noun meaning bog, marsh, swamp, marshland, morass according to online dictionaries. This may in part be reflective of the type of land the District of Marias in Paris was built upon.

Nevertheless, Marias sounds very cosmopolitan. There should be no confusion about the name Marias referring to the building and the upscale Le Marais restaurant near Times Square either.

Marais sits close to the Chelsea Waterslide Park and a block away from Clement Clarke Moore Park, named for Clement Clarke Moore (obviously) who is credited with writing the popular Christmas poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas".[1]


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