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Frank Gehry's Skyscraper Has Rent-Stabilized Apartments

By Julie Shapiro | February 22, 2011 3:18pm

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LOWER MANHATTAN — Frank Gehry’s sparkling new luxury skyscraper on Spruce Street offers a surprising amenity: rent-stabilization.

Forest City Ratner, which developed the 76-story tower, received Liberty Bonds and city tax breaks for the project and in return has to keep all 903 apartments rent-stabilized for 20 years.

That doesn’t mean the apartments are cheap — the rents start at market rate, or $3,300 for a one-bedroom.

But at the end of the lease, Ratner can only increase the rent by a small percentage, which is set by the Rent Guidelines Board. In recent years, the board limited increases to 2 to 3 percent.

"The fact that the building is rent-stabilized is definitely a plus for most people," said Susi Yu, a senior vice president at Forest City Ratner. "You know what your rent is and what you’re looking at in increases."

If rent-stabilization wasn’t enough of an incentive, Ratner was also offering one month free rent, Yu said when she gave DNAinfo a tour of the building this week.

The rippling stainless steel skyscraper at 8 Spruce St., officially called New York by Gehry, started leasing its first 120 apartments last Thursday and expects tenants to begin moving in March 1.

Gehry’s company designed the interior of the building as well as the exterior, which means the doorknobs and locks are made of playfully twisted metal, and the lobby features a wavy poured-concrete Gehry sculpture that serves as concierge desk and seating.

Gehry’s firm also did the interior design on the model units, and renters can opt for a Gehry-furnished apartment for an extra fee.

The 22,000 square feet of amenity space — including a 50-foot swimming pool, a screening room and a grilling terrace — will open at the end of April, and the rest of the apartments will come online as they are ready, Yu said. Construction won’t be entirely finished until spring 2012.

The building also contains space for New York Downtown Hospital and the new K-8 Spruce Street School, opening in September.