A development company has bought the Williamsburg building that features a mural advertising a fictional, more-than-a-little-bit-phallic skyscraper, so that it can erect an office tower taller next door.
Cayuga Capital, which owns the soon-to-be-former Vice Media headquarters, purchased the neighboring Colossal Media building at 85 Wythe Ave. between N. 10th and N. 11th streets for $14.5 million last week. It plans to transfer the air rights from the Colossal building to the Vice lot so that its office tower can rise to 12 stories. Colossal is a mural-advertising company and its painting of a barely-safe-for-work development called “Eros,” inviting readers to “Insert yourself into exquisite luxury surroundings,” doesn’t bother a bigwig at Cayuga.
“It is a futuristic, tongue-in-cheek jab at development, but I do not mind it,” said James Wiseman, a principal at the company. “It is good to know that artistic satire is alive and well in Williamsburg.”
But not for long. Cayuga plans to tear down the one-story Colossal headquarters and build another structure of the same height in its place.
The planned office building would be the first in the neighborhood to be constructed without anchor tenants lined up. Wiseman said that, given the manufacturing-commercial zoning for the block, the viable options were to build a hotel or an office building, and he didn’t want to go up against the successful hipster guesthouse up the road.
“We are not hotel operators and we certainly do not want to have to compete with the Wythe Hotel,” he said. “And we will be building offices while everyone else is building hotels.”
At least one developer is planning an office project in the area, though. Two Trees Management plans to make the landmarked Domino Sugar factory into an office building as part of its waterfront mega-development.
Colossal still has a year and a half left on its lease, and Wiseman said it can stay till then, but that he will give management the option of moving to one of Cayuga’s properties in Bushwick.
Vice Media recently signed a lease to move to an expanded office space in two connected buildings at Kent Avenue and S. First Street, prompting the closure of several independent art and music institutions, including Glasslands, 285 Kent, Death By Audio, and circus school the Muse.