In the lobby of a midtown Manhattan tower, Nathan Berman pauses to admire the marble walls and terrazzo floors. A real estate developer, he has a taste for the details of yesteryear, like the fur of his navy blue overcoat enhanced with a polka-dot scarf. It’s rush hour in the heart of Wall Street, and Berman’s in its white-hot center, 55 Broad St., former offices of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. But, like many buildings in the age of working from home , this former center of capitalism is largely empty. Many of Berman’s rivals would be discouraged. He is delighted.
Berman transforms vacant office buildings into high-end apartments. At 63, he is the king of office conversion. From the 23rd floor of 55 Broad, Berman can make out five of his projects under the bright December sun. They include 20 Broad, a mid-century modern building that had lost its purpose as the former headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange. Today, along with apartments, it has a rooftop terrace with harbor views, a theater, yoga studio, games room, and fitness center. Gazing into the distance, Berman points to another one of his alchemies: an old Tribeca binder where Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and pop star Harry Styles once owned homes.