The setting for the popular Hulu series Only Murders in the Building, starring Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, and Martin Short as amateur crime detectives, is an elegant prewar New York City building known as the Arconia. New episodes of the mystery comedy show hit the streaming service on June 28 and will continue to drop every Tuesday, untangling the cliffhanger that left fans hanging when the last season wrapped.
In real life, however, the Arconia’s exteriors were filmed at a turn of the 20th century landmark property called The Belnord, located on the Upper West Side on 86th Street and spanning a full city block. Originally constructed in 1908, it was designed in an Italian Renaissance style by Hiss and Weekes, an acclaimed architecture firm behind several notable Beaux Arts buildings in the city and estates on Long Island’s Gold Coast.
Most recently, The Belnord has completed a significant renovation that includes new condominium residences and amenities. The 14-story building now has 211 apartments; half remain rentals and the other half are condos priced anywhere from $3.6 million to more than $11 million. A star team of architects and designers collaborated on the project: The billionaire’s architect of choice Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) is behind the interiors, and architect Rafael de Cardenas, who conceived the Baccarat flagship in New York and exhibition spaces for Cartier and Christie’s, was charged with the public spaces. The prominent landscape designer Edmund Hollander is responsible for the interior courtyard, a 22,000-square-foot space that’s replete with greenery and flowers and claimed to be the biggest in the world when the building first opened.
Despite the updates (the interiors and courtyard were completed in 2020 and some of the amenities have debuted in the years since), walking through The Belnord’s arched entrance is like stepping back in time to New York’s Gilded Age. Residents are greeted by the courtyard and a dual-gated driveway that features Roman-inspired frescoes on painted ceilings. “It is an extraordinary building,” says RAMSA partner Sargent C. Gardiner, who led the renovation. “No one builds like this anymore. The scale alone is incredible,” he says. “Our goal was to respect the bones of the building and its history but bring it forward with a fresh, modern, classical look.”