There Goes The Neighborhood
Financial center or chic urban village? Wall Street is still home to some big company headquarters, but the residents (and the amenities) are moving in.
By Carey Hajim and Oliver Ryan FORTUNE reporters

(FORTUNE Magazine) - The famed Woolworth building was snapped up by developers in 1998 for $150 million. Floors 28 to 59 are slated to go condo.

The House of Morgan building at 23 Wall, which has been combined with 15 Broad, will form Downtown by Philippe Starck. Opening this spring, it will feature 326 luxury condos, a swank basement pool, and a Hermes store.

Legend has it that from his penthouse apartment at 14 Wall, J.P. Morgan spied on boats in the harbor to help him gauge the commodities markets. Today bankers are more likely to check out the gym downstairs at the stylish Equinox Fitness club.

School's in session at Claremont Prep, the area's first private school, which opened in September in the old Bank of America building. There are already 200 applicants for next year's kindergarten class.

Armani/Casa designed the interiors of the former Chase HQ at 20 Pine. The sales office is open 24 hours a day; 30% of the 409 condos were sold in the first two weeks.

On weekends, "it used to be a ghost town," says Concetta Testa, managing director at realtor Citi Habitats. "Now people are walking dogs and pushing strollers. It's a neighborhood."

New York City is ponying up $750 million to overhaul the tangle of 100-year-old subway stations that serve Wall Street. The Fulton transport hub--including an atrium filled with shops and restaurants--is slated to open in 2008.

Cipriani's motto? "To serve is to love." The likes of Bruce Willis will enjoy butler service and daily fresh croissants at the Ciprianis' first residential clubhouse, opening this summer.

Parents Scott and Sasha Laurance moved to 45 Wall, once U.S. Trust, last May with 3-month-old daughter Ashley. "It's more child-friendly than other neighborhoods in Manhattan," Sasha says.

BMW opened its first downtown location in August 2005 to be as close as possible to big spenders. Says sales manager Paul Simon: "Only one out of ten is looking for a test drive."

Santiago Calatrava has designed the most ambitious downtown dwelling, at 80 South Street, consisting of ten suspended townhouses starting at $29 million each. The developer is waiting for buyers before breaking ground--so far no one has stepped up.

The condo boom also includes many other conversions, such as the Cocoa Exchange at 1 Wall Street Court, 63 Wall (formerly Brown Brothers Harriman), and soon 75 Wall (previously the home of Barclays Bank).

Not everyone is happy to trade bankers for live-ins. As Minas Polychronakis, of Minas Shoe Repair at 67 Wall Street, complains, residents "wear sneakers and flip-flops." Top of page

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