Being the site of a murder isn’t typically a plus when it comes to selling real estate. But being the site of a fictional killing — or three — on a highly rated television show? Well, that’s a different story entirely! Case-in-point? New York’s The Belnord, aka The Arconia from Only Murders in the Building. The famed Upper West Side property, which is currently undergoing a large-scale condo conversion project, has sold an incredible 20 units totaling $160 million since the breakout series first hit Hulu last year, with three $10 million-plus deals netted in the last three months alone! And now that the show’s highly-anticipated second season has finally premiered, the sales team will likely be working even more overtime!
The mystery-comedy series chronicles the unlikely friendship that develops between former actor Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), floundering Broadway producer Oliver Putnam (Martin Short) and fledgling artist Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez), who, in season one, banded together to start a real-time investigative podcast in the hopes of solving the murder of a fellow Arconia resident. This time around, the three find themselves at the center of (not to mention “persons of interest” in) yet another murder – the stabbing death of The Arconia’s curmudgeonly board president, Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell). While the subject matter may sound dark and macabre, only murderers is anything but! Instead, the series is witty, heartwarming and fun – some might even say “cozy.”
And standing at the forefront of it all is The Belnord. Though the narrative that opens the second episode of season two states that the handsome structure was designed by “architect and infamous playboy Archibald Carter,” in truth, the building was the work of H. Hobart Weekes of the Hiss & Weeks firm. Taking up an entire city block at 225 W. 86th St., The Belnord is used for all exterior and courtyard scenes involving The Arconia. (Interiors are filmed on sets built at Silvercup Studios North in the Bronx and the grand lobby scenes are captured at 270 Riverside Dr.)
Of securing the landmark 1908 property for the shoot, John Hoffman, who co-created only murderers with Steve Martin, told New York Times, “I was obsessed. I knew we could make something as elevated as that amazing building. It’s a cliché to say that the building itself is a character, but I like the challenge of getting beyond that cliché a bit. What pulls us out of our apartments to meet people? How well do you know your neighbors? Do you only connect when it’s necessary? The ways in which we get pulled together when we live in these spaces is what’s really interesting.” Cliché or not, The Arconia indeed functions as a main character on the show, acting as both a central presence in Mabel, Charles and Oliver’s lives, as well as a gorgeous backdrop to the scintillating storyline.
Initially built as a luxury 175-unit apartment house for the Belnord Realty Company (hence the name), the complex was purchased by HFZ Capital Group’s Ziel Feldman for a whopping $555 million in 2015 and has been undergoing a lengthy and painstaking condo conversion process ever since. Legendary architect Robert AM Stern, who is also behind the design of the new Claremont Hall, was commissioned to oversee the ambitious project, which he told The Times is tantamount to “a very high-class Botox treatment.”
And reimagined units are being snapped up faster than you can say, “This sends the investigation into a whole new direction!” The rapid turnover isn’t surprising considering the utter beauty of The Belnord. Enveloped in gorgeous limestone and brick, the Italian Renaissance-style building stands like a beacon of the Upper West Side, towering 14 stories above the tree-lined sidewalk below.
Residents are welcomed onto the stately premises via a pair of ornately gated archways stretching two stories and covered in impressive frescoes that lead to one of the most extensive private courtyards in NYC, a stunning 22,000-square-foot wonderland of foliage, fountains and footpaths. Reimagined by Hollander Design Landscape Architects as part of the condo conversion process, the park-like space is an idyllic respite from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city, the likes of which isn’t often seen in Big Apple buildings.
Inside, you’ll find over 9,000 square feet of luxe amenities styled by Rafael de Cardenas, including an entertainment lounge with a catering kitchen, a plush game room, a double-height sports court and a fitness center complete with a locker room and dedicated training and yoga studios.
The Belnord even boasts a dreamy children’s playroom that looks like something out of a magazine! There are also doormen, porters and gate attendants onsite 24/7 to cater to an occupant’s every need.
The residences themselves, sleek but inviting spaces that run from $4 to $12 million, are equally as luxe. Offering two to six bedrooms, each unit is outfitted with 10-foot ceilings, a grand foyer, a plethora of windows and solid white oak flooring.
The posh kitchens are fashioned with Calacatta Gold marble countertops, custom banquettes, Gaggenau appliance suites and cabinetry galore (which means there’s plenty of room to store extensive collections of both Gut Milk and Dimas Gourmet Deli dips, should the need arise).
While the building is nearly 75% sold, there are several condos still currently available for purchase, including Residence 209, a gorgeous four-bedroom, four-bath space offering 2,537 square feet (and walls dusted in the softest blush!) that just hit the market at $6.25 million. The unit is being reproduced exclusively by Maya Kadouri of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing.
Those who can’t swing the purchase of a unit can still vicariously live out all of their Belnord dreams via Charles, Oliver and Mabel every week on Only Murders in the Building. New episodes drop each Tuesday through August 23.
While a season two promo promises “a twist in every hallway” and “a suspect behind every door,” even without the added intrigue, The Belnord provides more than enough eye candy to render Only Murders in the Building must-see TV.
This story originally ran on Dirt.com.