A Cinderella Rental Story Comes to Manhattan

manhattan apartment complex lures with artA surplus of commercial real estate properties in New York City has property owners trying to lure tenants with creative incentives. Literally.

The owners of 15 Little W. 12 St., Taconic Investment Partners with Square Mile Capital Management, recently built a new, 80,000 square foot building for retail and office-based spaces. To draw potential clients and grab attention in the over-stimulated city of New York, this week they put up "Chelsea Cinderella," a video-art installation.

The six-figure art project shows the silhouette of a stylish and selective woman who is in control of her destiny through a nearly three minute film. She shops for a dress and a new pair of shoes, rebuffs a marriage proposal and takes the elevator up to her office, meeting suitors along the way. The short story, which can be viewed nightly from from 6pm to 2am, is looped and is powered by seven projectors on seven windows of the building. Artist Mark Yurkiw said the owners wanted something to attract hip, artistic boutiques and companies to move-in.

"We created a story because this area is on the cusp of Chelsea, the meatpacking area. All my life this area was a no-man's land at night," said the native New Yorker. "Now it's blossomed into the latest and greatest for everything. It is very inspiring to see the change in the landscape down there."

Increasingly, property owners are looking for new ways to market their empty buildings since the decline in early 2009. Brokers say some rents have fallen by as much as 50 percent. Perks such as Apple iPods, Super Bowl tickets and even cash are not unheard of in the game of luring potential renters. Taconic executive Paul Pariser told Crains' Business he "wanted to create a gift for the community."

Yurkiw also wanted to tell a story of a young ingénue who comes to New York seeking career and love – a storyline he said happens over and over again in the city. He said the story of Cinderella has meaning rooted in the French Revolution, which marked a period of change and upheaval. Yurkiw said he sees a parallel with that period and what is currently state of economical and social affairs.

For you art advocates, here's the Cinderella story again without the building:
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