Artistic Investments How Some Co-ops and Condos Become Museums

New York City is home to some of the most spectacular living spaces in the world. At the end of the day however, even the most luxurious, most exclusive co-op and condo buildings are simply places to live. Yes, they may have stunning architecture and amazingly beautiful hallways and lobby spaces, but for all the opulence and finery, these spaces are mostly for people to move through on their way somewhere else. They are not necessarily decorated or intended to be lingering places.

With a growing number of buildings, however, that’s becoming less and less the case. Some buildings in the city have made it a point to acquire—and display—significant collections of art in their lobbies and common spaces. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and other media are used both as an enticement to prospective buyers, and to increase the value of shareholders’ and owners’ investment.

Why Art?

Why would a building be interested in investing in an art collection? According to Tino Grana, of Manhattan-based decorating firm Art ASAP, the value of art in residential buildings greatly increases the aesthetics of the common spaces, as well as offering a potential resale profit for the investment.

“It gives the building a more prestigious cache,” Grana says. “Tenants and shareholders want to show off when they bring guests over.”

Investing in art collections is not yet a common practice, but it is a growing trend—especially among the newer residential buildings in New York City, says Grana. “I’m seeing it more and more. It’s the competitive nature of the business. People want their buildings to look nicer. You’ll see more collections going up in newer buildings because the competition is not as fierce in older buildings, and they are more set in their ways.”

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