South Star

From Condopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

80 John Street, New York City, NY

South Star
South Star, NYC.png

Art Deco Luxury
Building Information
Developer WSA Equities
Architect Buchman & Kahn
Number of Units 145
Number of Floors 27
Year Built 1926
Construction Method Concrete
Loading map...
80 John Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C5-5
Title of Land Condominium



The South Star began its life as Insurance Center Building, built in 1926 by the John-Gold Realty Company. Since then it has been renovated three times. In 1947, the building was purchased by the Travelers Insurance Company and its renovations included replacing elevators with operator-less cabs, the addition of air conditioning as well as an update of the buildings electronic systems.

Wall Street in 1929

This renovation was completed by the George A. Fuller Company with engineer, Edward E. Ashley. It was renovated twice more, once into apartments and the second time in 2006 into condominiums. The South Star building is found in a historic district listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and was identified as part of the Fulton corridor revitalization project.

This historic section of the Financial district, known as Fulton Corridor is located in lower Manhattan. It is composed of commercial buildings dating from the 1830s to the late 20th century. The Dutch infamously purchased the island of Manhattan in 1626 in exchange for $24 worth of trade goods. On February 2, 1653, New Amsterdam officially proclaimed a municipal charter and established a city government modeled on Amsterdam, Holland.

The city extended to Wall Street at the northern tip and the outlaying farmlands were known as boweries. In 1664, the English conquered New Amsterdam and renamed it New York. Land filling was a common occurrence even in early days of the city due to the low tides and high erosion rates. New York earned money by selling the rights to build and extend the shore lines. The original shore line sat at Pearl Street and South Star sits only two blocks away from the original coast line.

By the 1700s, the coast line was extended to Water Street and by the 1800s to Front Street where is sits today. In the years preceding the Civil War, New York handled two thirds of the financial transactions in America and this reputation was strengthened with the introduction of the railroad in 1869. It is in this historic neighborhood that some of the earliest skyscrapers were built along Fulton, Nassau, and John Streets.[1]


Financial district's iconic charging bull

Located in the heart of the financial district, the South Star is accessible throughout the city. Known as where east meets west in New York City the financial district is centrally located. With a high walk score, and flat bike-able lanes, and over 40 transit options it is a great starting point for any New York journey.[2]There is grocery shopping at the Jubilee Market, and a Duane Reade Pharmacy within a block on John Street.

Within walking distance is the Micheal Schimmel Center for the Arts, which brings international talent to lower Manhattan and is where James Lipton’s award-winning series "Inside the Actors Studio" is taped. Other neighborhood arts venues include the George Gustave Heye Center, a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian and part of the Smithsonian Museum. There are also Wall Street tours that provide a history of the area.[3]

Nearby restaurants include Bridge Café, an old New York saloon serving new American dishes. The Dead Rabbit serves excellent Irish food. Cowgirl Sea Horse is known for their margaritas and southwester fare and savory and sweet crepes are served at Crepes Du Nord. Silver Lining is the place to be for those looking for cocktails and live Jazz. This is just a small sample of the cuisine offered within walking distance from the South Star.

For families in the neighborhood an excellent spot to visit is the Imagination Playground, designed by famed architect David Rockwell in an effort to create an interactive, transformable space for to play and grow. The movable giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric, and crates allow children to think creatively while having fun. This free park has a fully attended staff and is open 9:00am-6:00pm.[4] Other nearby parks include the newly renovated Pearl Street Playground, John J. Delury Park, and City Hall Park.


Eye-catching Art Deco by Buchman and Kahn

This handsome beige-brick building was originally built in 1926 by Buchman & Kahn and is 27 stories tall. Kahn was known as "the master of the 1920s loft" building. It has a four step entrance way with a five step vestibule. There is a four story limestone base topped with a frieze and decorated with chevron designs upon which sits another base in polished granite. Since 1927 the South Star has been converted twice, once into apartments and secondly into condominiums. Both of these conversions were completed by WSA Equities, a real estate investment firm in Garden City.

Ely Jacques Kahn graduated from Columbia University and was an American architect, specializing in skyscrapers. During his partnership with Buchman from 1917-1830 the buildings took on Beaux-Arts with cubism, modernism, and art deco flavors. Their buildings included 120 Wall Street, the Squibb building and 2 Park Avenue. Later works by Kahn included the New York Stock Exchange, Film Center Building, Central Synagogue, Seagram Building, 100 Park Avenue, and the Continental Building.

Kahn was also a friend to Ayn Rand, who was apprentice to him and was the influence of her book, "The Fountainhead". His son was a prominent writer for the New Yorker Magazine. His papers from his two partnerships Kahn and Buchman and Kahn and Jacobs are housed in the Department of Drawings and Archives at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.[5]

The new conversion in 2006 was designed by Stephen B. Jacobs and Andi Pepper. The Stephen B. Jacobs Group in partnership with Andi Pepper interior designs began as a specialist in historical renovations. Many of their works have been listed in State of National Register of Historic Properties. Together they have converted many types of historic buildings including factories and mills, hospital buildings, carriage houses, stables, and obsolete mercantile buildings. They also specialize in residential buildings and recently have branched into hospitality buildings.[6]

Layout and Features

These charming apartments feature ten foot eight inch ceilings, Brazilian cherry floors, and include controls for heat and air-conditioning. Noise is kept to a minimum by large double-pane windows. The upper seven floors include Bosh washer and dryers. The style is maintained through the units through the recurrence of building materials. Some units include home offices, terraces, and most two bedroom units include two full on suite bathrooms.

The stylish gourmet kitchens use stainless steel appliances: Bosch stainless steel built-in convection ovens with 4-burner, glass cook-tops; GE stainless steel microwaves with under cabinet lighting and Sub-Zero stainless-steel refrigerators. The cherry wood is continued into a kitchen decorated with glass paneled cabinets and granite counter tops.

The master bathrooms have marble tops sitting on mahogany vanities with under mounted porcelain sinks. The porcelain theme continues throughout the bathroom with imported floor and wall tiling to create a classic design.[7]

Floor Plans

There are 68 floor plans ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom units.


  • Full time concierge/doorman
  • Large art deco lobby
  • Air conditioning
  • Prime location
  • Spectacular views
  • Terraces included in some units
  • Fitness center


South Star Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

The building does permit rentals

Provisions have been made to accommodate sublets

Many units have terraces suitable for barbecues


While this art deco building predates the green movement, it does not take the South Star out of running for sustainability. Sustainable Business reported that some of New York's oldest building actually score higher than LEED Certified buildings. To the merit of the older buildings, thicker walls provide greater insulation and large windows provide ample natural light. When updated with new energy efficient appliances as the South Star has done, many older buildings thrive in a age of sustainability. In 2009 New York became the first city in America to pass a law requiring all buildings to report their energy consumption in a bid to reduce energy rates. Due in part to this, NYC buildings consume less energy nationwide, although 45% of that energy is consumed by two percent of the buildings.[8]

PlaNYC is one of New York's initiatives to reduce energy. Individuals can do their part by participating in the city's excellent recycling program or the Greenmarket program: there are two located in the Financial District, Bowling Green and the Rockefeller Center. They source local produce from community gardens throughout the city.[9]



The Condo board serves up two lawsuits at South Star

  • $3 million suit against developer WSA Equities, contends that the Stephen B. Jacobs Group, and Ettinger Engineering Associates committed fraud and negligent misrepresentation in connection with architectural, engineering or consulting services concerning water infiltration in the property.

  • Curbed NY reported a lawsuit against a female tenant for illegal sublets which they referred to as an "amateur hotel." Noted by curbed NY as how not to deal with a condo board, this tenant wrote a number of heated letters to the board voicing her discontent and was served a $3,500 contempt fine on top of $15,000 in attorneys for renting her condominium out 48 times in one year.[10]


  1. Renew NY website
  2. Walk score website
  3. Wall Street tours website
  4. New York Parks - Imagination playground
  5. NY pap website
  6. Archinect website
  7. City realty website
  8. Sustainable Business website
  9. New York Cares website
  10. Curbed NY website

Discussion Forum

blog comments powered by Disqus

Building Ratings

Ratings are submitted by users like you - Condopedia makes no guarantees or endorsements.

Personal tools

Cities and Regions
Condo Facts
Contact Condopedia