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Is the Arconia in 'Only Murders in the Building' a real place?

The quintessential New York show is filmed in a quintessential New York building.

If you ever find yourself walking on 86th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, you might briefly think you're in the TV show "Only Murders in the Building."

There, spanning an entire block, is the Belnord: The real building that stands in for the Arconia in "Only Murders in the Building," whose second season premiered in June.

The entrance to the Belnord, an apartment building in Manhattan.
The entrance to the Belnord, an apartment building in Manhattan.Noam Galai / Getty Images

The Hulu dark comedy follows an unlikely trio of neighbors-turned-crime investors on New York’s Upper West Side.

Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) and Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin) band together to investigate Arconia resident Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) death, and create a podcast as they go along.

While the Arconia isn't real, the show captures a New York feel — in large part, thanks to the famous filming location and the cast of unique supporting characters who are building residents.

Built in 1908 by the architectural firm Hiss and Weekes, the Belnord spans an entire block. The limestone building is known for its archways leading into a 2,000-square-foot interior courtyard, which is in the center of more than 200 apartments.

Robert A.M. Stern, who launched on a renovation of the Belnord in 2018, called the 14-floor apartment building one of the “grandest residential buildings in New York” in an interview with Architectural Digest. The building was named a New York City Landmark in 1966 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Stern's renovation turned about 95 of the rental units into luxury condos. Today, units in the renovated building are going for between $3 and 13 million dollars, per active listings on StreetEasy.

The Belnord in 2020
The Belnord in 2020Mark Abramson / Bloomberg / Getty Images

The creators of "Only Murders" always imagined the show being set in this kind of apartment.

"The setting is based on a conglomeration of buildings where the courtyards take up an entire city block. There are not many of them left in the city and they are kind of unicorns. We were leading into this idea of a world within a world," production designer Curt Beech told Architectural Digest, “

According to co-creator John Hoffman, speaking to the New York Times, nabbing the Belnord as the filming location inspired creators to think bigger.

“I was obsessed,” Mr. Hoffman told the Times of the building. “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." 

But you won't find the "Only Murders" characters' apartments for sale: Those were all built on a soundstage, with the Belnord used only for exterior shots.

The Ansonia, another podcast-worthy Upper West Side apartment building, may have also inspired the name of the Arconia. Certainly, the history of the limestone building, located on Broadway between 73rd and 74th Streets, could inspire a show of its own.

Before it became a luxury condominium like the Belnord, the Ansonia had a storied history. The former residential hotel was home to Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse; Plato's Retreat, a swinger's club; and was the site of one of baseball's biggest scandals: The 1919 World Series was rigged following a meeting at the Ansonia.

While "Only Murders" hasn't been confirmed for a third season, but there's more than enough real-life lore to pull from, just on the Upper West Side alone.