The San Remo
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The San Remo
The San Remo
|Part of:||Central Park West Historic District (#82001189)|
|Added to NRHP:||November 9, 1982|
The San Remo (145 and 146 Central Park West) is a luxury, 27-floor, co-operative apartment building in New York City located between West 74th Street and West 75th Streets which is three blocks north of the The Dakota. The San Remo is described by Glen Justice of the New York Times as "a dazzling two-tower building with captivating views of Central Park." As a housing cooperative, its board has a "reputation for lenient admissions standards" compared to the conservative, old-money boards on the other side of the park.
Past and present residents of the building include such famous personalities as Stephen Sondheim, Tiger Woods, Steven Spielberg, Donna Karan, Tony Randall, Demi Moore, Glenn Close, Dustin Hoffman, Bono, Steve Martin, Bruce Willis, Trey Parker, Eddie Cantor, Robert Stigwood, Marshall Brickman, Jackie Leo, Don Hewitt, Billy Squier, Dodi Fayed, Andrew Tobias, Aaron Spelling, and Hedy Lamarr. Rita Hayworth spent her last years there, in a unit beside her daughter's, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan. In 2007 same-floor residents Bono and Billy Squier went to court over a fireplace. Steve Jobs bought and renovated a penthouse apartment but never lived in it, ultimately selling it to Bono.
When the San Remo was originally designed, it had a wide range of relatively luxurious apartment configurations. The apartments were accessed from opulent twin lobbies which contained terrazzo floors, marble walls and custom light fixtures of bronze and frosted glass. The building has two addresses, 145 and 146 Central Park West, because the building was designed so that each half of the structure is served by separate lobbies, eliminating the need for long hallways across the main floor. Most of the San Remo's first floor is used by the buildings' staff or leased out as doctors' offices.
The base of the building 
The average apartment contained eight rooms spread over approximately 3,000 sq ft (280 m2). Ten and eleven foot ceilings were the norm. As originally designed, the lower 14 floors were typically divided into seven apartments - two on each of the side street wings of the building and three laid out along the front of the building facing Central Park West. There are numerous setbacks built into the far ends of each wing of the building, allowing for terraces for several of the units. The original layout of the Park-facing units was unusual; most full-block buildings on the avenue divided the park frontage into four units, not three. This allowed the San Remo's apartments to have very generous frontage along the park in addition to typically spacious interior layouts.
The largest units on these lower levels were the "C-line" units, which occupied the southeast corner of each floor. The C-line apartments contained 620 sq ft (58 m2) living rooms, 300 sq ft (28 m2) libraries and 500 sq ft (46 m2) dining rooms all facing the park. C-line apartments typically had four bedrooms arranged along the 74th Street (south) side of the building. These units were approximately 4,500 sq ft (420 m2) in total.
Above the 14th floor, the building began a series of setbacks, which allowed for terraces for the various units from floors 14 through 17. These units were typically larger floor space, with larger rooms, than the units on the lower floors.
The towers 
At the 18th floor, the building splits into the San Remo's iconic 10-floor towers, which were inspired by the drum of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. The twin tower design was innovative when first developed, and inspired a number of imitators over the years (including The Majestic, The Century, The Eldorado and—most recently—the Time Warner Center).
In the northern tower of the building there was one apartment per floor of approximately 2,500 sq ft (230 m2). These were typically 2 bedroom units, with all of the public rooms facing the park.
The floors of the south tower were slightly larger, and these apartments were two-storey units. In total, these two-storey units were approximately 6,000 sq ft (560 m2). rivalling the apartments in the best buildings of Fifth and Park Avenues (e.g., 834 Fifth Avenue), which typically ranged from 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) to 7,000 sq ft (650 m2).
The San Remo's south tower units had their public rooms on the lower level. The public rooms included 800 sq ft (74 m2) (36' x 22') living rooms, 290 sq ft (27 m2) (14' x 20.5') libraries, and 400 sq ft (37 m2) (17' x 24') dining rooms. There were also a breakfast room, kitchen, and several servants’ rooms on this level. A semi-circular staircase led past windows facing the park to the second level. Upstairs were four bedrooms, including a master suite with a bedroom of 360 sq ft (33 m2), and a large dressing room and bathroom, for a total of over 500 sq ft (46 m2), and additional servants' rooms. A separate back staircase connected the rear portion of the apartments, linking the servants' areas.
History of the building 
The building's architect, Emery Roth, took advantage of new zoning regulations to build the first of New York's twin towered apartment blocks. Each of San Remo's ten-story towers is topped with an English Baroque mansion in the manner of John Vanbrugh and capped with an homage to the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. The Athenian monument was known to Roth from the reproduction that had featured in the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. Roth also designed The Beresford and other landmark apartment houses and office blocks in New York. Construction began in 1929, weeks before the market crash initiated the Great Depression. The San Remo's construction process took approximately two years. In 1940 both buildings were sold, for $25,000 over the existing mortgages.
The Great Depression 
During the Great Depression, many of the larger units in the building were subdivided to make them easier to rent. All but one of the south tower two-storey apartments were divided into single floor units. Many of the larger C-line and E-line (northeast corner) units were also divided into smaller units. As a result, the total number of apartments in the building was expanded by approximately 20 units.
Conversion to a cooperative 
The San Remo is now one of the most desirable and expensive apartment buildings in Manhattan. It converted to a coop in the 1970s, meaning that tenants in the apartments are actually shareholders in the corporation that owns the building. Owning shares entitles one to reside in a particular unit. Purchasing apartments (shares) in the building is a significant investment.
Recent history 
Recent asking prices have ranged from a minimum of $3 million to a high of $24 million. The best apartments (large units with Park views or tower floors) are typically valued at $2,500-$3,500 per sq. foot. The San Remo has consistently achieved the highest sale prices per unit on Central Park West, and is the top coop building in terms of price per square foot on the Upper West Side, attaining prices of $4,200 per square foot for its penthouse units.
Many purchasers over the years have combined their units. Steven Spielberg, combined two Park-facing units on the 16th floor into a 6,000 sq ft (560 m2) unit with terraces. A unit was reportedly sold to professional golfer Tiger Woods for $28 million in April, 2008. Dustin Hoffman occupies a three-storey unit created from several 74th Street facing units.
The 27th floor (top floor) of the north tower has been combined into a portion of the former mechanical space above it, creating a unique two-storey unit. In total, the apartment has 3,500 sq ft (330 m2) of interior space and 1,300 sq ft (120 m2) of terraces. This unit was purchased by Bono from Steve Jobs for $15 million.
Demi Moore owns the last remaining south tower two-storey unit, at the very top of this tower. Moore and then husband Bruce Willis purchased the apartment in 1987 from Robert Stigwood. This unit was combined into a portion of the tower's mechanical and storage space above it (similar to the top floor unit in the north tower), creating a three storey unit with over 7,000 sq ft (650 m2) of interior space, multiple terraces and 360-degree views from all floors.
- San Remo residents are assigned to schools in the New York City Department of Education.
- The San Remo is zoned to P.S. 87 William Sherman. The San Remo is unzoned for middle school.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Glen Justice (June 23, 2004). "A Politician Looking for Funds? Here Are Two Useful Addresses". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2007.[dead link]
- Gaines, Steven S. The Sky's the Limit : Passion and Property in Manhattan. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-60851-3.
- Nash, Eric Peter., and Norman McGrath. Manhattan Skyscrapers. New York: Princeton Architectural, 1999. Print.
- Brockmann, Jorg et al. (2002). One Thousand New York Buildings, pp. 344-345. at Google Books
- The Cooperator: The Co-op and Condo Monthly. Retrieved March 10, 2010. http://www.cooperator.com/articles/1328/1/Celebrity-Appeal/Page1.html.
- Brockmann, Jorg and Bill Harris. (2002). One Thousand New York Buildings. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. 10-ISBN 157912237X/13-ISBN 9781579122379; OCLC 48619292
- Ruttenbaum, Steven. (1986). Mansions In The Clouds : The Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery Roth. New York: Balsam Press. 10-ISBN 0917439090/13-ISBN 9780917439094; OCLC 463245730
Media related to The San Remo at Wikimedia Commons