Beyond the Four Seasons: Aby Rosen Talks Maintenance and Costs at the Seagram Building

July 18, 2016

On Saturday night, after what seems like an eternity of speculation followed by lamentation, the iconic Four Seasons hosted its last dinner. Last summer, Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen of RFR Realty chose not to renew the iconic restuarant‘s lease, and even before this, he faced criticism when he removed Picasso’s largest ever work, Le Tricorne, from the space. But despite the constant contention, the developer is speaking out, hoping to get a little credit for the work and money he has put into the office building.

“I see myself as a custodian,” he told the Times, referring to the fact that it costs RFR an estimated 20 percent more to maintain the landmarked structure than it would a typical tower of the same size and age. But experts say this is par for the course when one willingly purchases a designated building, which Rosen did in 2000 for $379 million.

seagram building

As 6sqft previously detailed:

When the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed Seagram building was completed in 1958, it was considered one of the most remarkable examples of the International style, wearing its function and structural elements on its exterior. The 38-story building was the most expensive skyscraper at the time, due to its 1,500 tons of bronze I-beams and other expensive exterior materials, as well as the bronze, travertine, and marble interior decoration.

This bronze facade, which the Times notes may be the only one of its kind in the world, is currently undergoing a $6 million restoration. On top of that, every year it costs $150,000 to clean and oil (by hand) the curtain wall’s vertical mullion and horizontal spandrels. Also currently taking place is a $1 million undertaking to replace roughly 110 large granite paving slabs.

Other projects have included a $400,000 rehabilitation and waterproofing of the plaza’s pool and fountains, a $250,000 repair and cleaning of the lustrous verd antique stone benches, and a $2 million renovation of the underground garage, where the building’s signature typeface (designed in 1957 by Elaine Lustig Cohen) had to be employed.

RFR owns and operates 71 buildings worldwide, including the nearby, fellow International-style landmarked tower Lever House, as well as the Gramercy Park Hotel, 100 East 53rd Street, W South Beach, and W Tel Aviv. With this portfolio in mind, are these numbers enough to get Rosen out of the dog house for evicting the Four Seasons?

[Via NYT]


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