Is this the return of a classic — or lipstick on a pig?
Depends who you ask.
One of Manhattan’s most distinctive residential towers — whose fluted design has split architecture critics for years — is getting a facelift courtesy of Colombian-born design guru Andres Escobar.
A group of developers that acquired 144 unsold units at the Corinthian condominium building on E. 38th St. has tapped Escobar to reconfigure and redesign them for modern-day buyers, who want sleeker finishes and more functional floor plans.
The Corinthian, a high-rise tower overlooking the United Nations, was once one of the prize assets in a portfolio of properties owned by real estate titan Bernard Spitzer, father of disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer built the unusual condo tower in 1988 and reportedly fell madly in love with the design, which simultaneously landed the building on lists of New York’s most beautiful and most ugly buildings.
The property made a splash when it was first built for its quirky look, which features a series of deeply curved facades winding around one central corridor. Some scribes found it fascinating. Others dismissed it as a stack of brick-covered dimes.
The property was also notable for its massive scale — 865 apartments spread across 57 floors.
“The building has a very unique shape and each apartment gets a 180 degree view,” said Danny Fishman, managing partner at Gaia Real Estate, the company spearheading the redesign.
The senior Spitzer retained the 144 apartments for himself and rented them out. When he died last year, his son sold the remaining units to investment firm Gaia for $147 million. Gaia brought in Escobar.
“Andres came with a lot of fresh, modern ideas on how to make the space look great and also make it more functional,” Fishman said.
Escobar has already designed the model unit, which features plush hardwood floors, new sleek white kitchens, updated appliances and furnishings designed to make the most of the property’s famed bay windows and cylindrical spaces, and has developed a range of options for would-be buyers, many of which involve demolishing interior walls to create new breakfast bars and more open-plan living areas.
“One of the project’s challenges was to work with the existing building’s rounded forms,” Escobar told The Daily News. “We worked with custom furniture manufacturers to create unique pieces that fit the space.”
Units are available for sale both renovated and unrenovated with a premium for that Escobar flavor. Prices start at $825,000.
An unrenovated two-bedroom apartment on the 24th floor is going for $1.97 million. A renovated version will cost $2.13 million.