‘Only Murders in the Building’: The Arconia Is a Real Building

In Only Murders in the Building, The Arconia is a massive apartment building in the middle of New York City. While The Arconia is fictional, the building featured in the series is an actual building. Here is more information on the building and its utilization in the Hulu series. 

The Arconia is an actual building called The Belnord

Martin Short as Oliver outside The Arconia in Only Murders in the Building
Martin Short | Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

In Only Murders in the Building, the exterior shots for The Arconia feature a real apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan called The Belnord. According to The New York Times, The Belnord was built in 1909 and was deemed the “largest apartment building in the country” by the architect H. Hobart Weekes. It had 175 apartments and a glorious courtyard often featured in the series. 

It was also home to the longest rent strike in New York’s history. The battle between the residents and the owner lasted from 1978 to 1994. In 1994, Gary Barnett bought The Belnord for $15 million and did a lot of remodeling. Many of the apartments turned into high-end condominiums, and the building currently has some of the most expensive units in the city. 

‘Only Murders’ co-creator was ‘obsessed’ with The Belnord and wanted to use it for The Arconia

Only Murders in the Building co-creator John Hoffman knew The Arconia needed to look glamorous. He loved The Belnord and decided it would be perfect for the series. While the apartments for Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short), and Mabel (Selena Gomez) were all built on soundstages, the exterior shots and courtyard scenes all feature The Belnord. 

“I was obsessed,” Hoffman told The New York Times. “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. What pulls us out of our apartments to meet people? How well do you know your neighbors? Do you only connect when it’s necessary? The ways in which we get pulled together when we live in these spaces is what’s really interesting.”

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Only Murders began filming at The Belnord in the midst of the pandemic. However, Hoffman invited many of the tenants to be extras in the season 1 finale and participate in the fun. Many took him up on that offer and were able to be a part of the popular Hulu series. 

“Many took us up on that and I got to meet so many tenants of the building who were lovely and generous,” Hoffman recalled to Thrillist. “I think at the time they enjoyed a switch-up, and it’s happening right outside. They can look out their windows and watch Selena Gomez and Steve Martin play a scene together. It became, ‘This is a nice change from me sitting in my apartment, looking at my laptop.'”

Only Murders in the Building is currently streaming on Hulu.