Italia - July 1999

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Architectural Digest article

Arizona: An Estate Made for Light and Water in Sedona

In the heart of TriBeCa, two Italians armed with good taste and business sense have started a revolution: 140 Franklin Street. This address belongs to a Romanesque Revival building dating back to the last century. Its potential had remained untapped until the architect Aldo Andreoli and his partner, the industrialist and art collector Gilberto Sandretto, laid their eyes on it. Andreoli and Sandretto, enamored of the possibility of transforming this edifice into something truly magnificent, launched a renovation process which, when it is completed, will have cost a total of ten million dollars and fifteen months of intense work. Since the Bank of Sicily is financing the enterprise, the project can be considered entirely Italian.

On each of the building's six floors there will be three large loft apartments, ranging from 3,021 to 6,226 square feet in size; the only exception will be the fifth floor, where two apartments have been combined at the buyer's request.

The building has been completely renovated: from the cast iron and terra-cotta façade, restored to its original splendor, to the piping; from the brand-new electric system to the heating; from air-conditioning systems to soundproofing. Everything is characterized by the highest levels of quality; all the apartments have been equipped with kitchens of innovative design, fitted with every possible accessory, produced by the Italian company Varenna (a division of Poliform), functional partitioned closets by Poliform, and exquisite ceramic mosaic tiles by Bisazza.

"A lot of people say we're crazy because we don't need to do all this," says Andreoli, "nevertheless we're convinced that the American market is ready to welcome this level of quality. As has already happened with fashion, Americans today, and particularly New Yorkers, are much more appreciative of interior design, and they love the idea of acquiring a product which is already finished, thus avoiding having to hire an interior designer to modify the space they've purchased."

It may be too soon to say whether this approach will become a trend, but many in the real estate sector are already copying Andreoli and Sandretto's projects. The apartments at 140 Franklin are being snapped up despite there decidedly above average prices, attracting in particular VIP's and other privileged individuals.

The Torinese architect has been visited in his office on Franklin Street by Iman, Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal, only three of the celebrities who have come see the luxurious apartments which Andreoli has renovated, and if one remembers that these lofts will cost between $1.5 million and $4 million each, it's not hard to understand why. ⊕

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