Earlier this month, 6sqft revealed renderings of 601 Lexington Avenue‘s (the Midtown East skyscraper formerly known as the Citicorp Center) new “Market Building,” comprised of an interior atrium to hold dining/retail space and a new outdoor plaza and terraces. Though the LPC landmarked the building this past December, the Architect’s Newspaper has learned of a loophole in the designation regarding the privately owned public space, which could mean that amid the renovation, the sunken plaza and cascading fountain designed by Hideo Sasaki‘s firm–one of the iconic landscape architect’s few remaining works–may be demolished.
A rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue. Credit: Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
As 6sqft previously reported, 666 Fifth Avenue owners Kushner Companies and Vornado Realty Trust have been seeking financing for a new skyscraper planned for the site of the Midtown office tower that Kushner purchased for $1.8 billion in 2007; Chinese company Anbang Insurance Group is said to have been considering a substantial stake in the tower. Though it was reported that the redevelopment could be valued at $7.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal now cites sources who say the value could be as much as $12 billion, and that a reported deal with Anbang may be far from a sure thing. That huge number represents the projected value of what Kushner envisions as a 1,400-foot-tall mixed-use luxury tower with a design provided by the late Zaha Hadid in 2015, nine floors of retail, a hotel and big-ticket luxury condos on its upper floors.
This is a picturesque apartment from a picturesque building, the Art Deco co-op 444 East 52nd Street. The Beekman apartment in question belongs to the fashion photographer Paul Sinclaire, who purchased it in 2014 for $1.35 million. After being listed on the market last year without finding a buyer, it’s once again up for grabs at a price of $2.195 million.
666 Fifth Avenue, via Vornado
Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese company who bought the Waldorf Astoria in late 2014 for nearly $2 billion, is now making headlines for another high-profile real estate transaction, this time against a controversial political backdrop. Bloomberg reports that Anbang is considering a stake in Vornado and Kushner Companies’ office tower 666 Fifth Avenue, a deal that Jared Kushner reportedly set into motion before resigning as CEO of his family’s company to serve as a presidential advisor to his father-in-law. If the deal goes through, not only will the Kushners profit some $400 million, but they’ll receive an equity stake in the new partnership, which will refinance $1.5 billion in existing mortgage debt. The deal values the tower at $2.85 billion, and if Anbang’s receives its proposed $4 billion construction loan to turn the top floors into condos, it will be the largest such loan for a single property in NYC history.
The Midtown East skyscraper formerly known as the Citicorp Center, now called simply 601 Lexington Avenue, was made an official city landmark this past December, thanks to distinctive features including its 45-degree angular roof and base of four columns that resemble stilts. When designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates in 1978, the site also included a privately owned public space with a connection to the Lexington Avenue-53rd Street subway station, which co-owner Boston Properties is now looking to update. They’ve tapped the designers at Gensler to envision a 200,000-square-foot “Market Building,” which will consist of a new outdoor plaza and terraces, as well as an interior atrium space that will host trendy dining and retail options.
Clive Davis, five-time Grammy Award-winning producer and current chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment, has an estimated net worth of $800 million, and when you’ve got that kind of cash, you can apparently buy seven-figure trophy co-ops and never live in them. Which is exactly what LL NYC reports he did at 465 Park Avenue, where in 2015 he bought two units for $3.4 million and combined them into one sprawling duplex. He then enlisted designer Greg Schriefer to create a contemporary and artistic version of a classic New York residence, and now that the renovations have been completed and that “things changed” for the unknown family member for whom he bought the home, it’s hit the market for $7.8 million.
Even the city’s most public places conceal secrets paved over by the years, some more hidden than others. Grand Central Station is no exception despite the 750,000 or so people who make their way through its halls each day. You may already know of the terminal’s secret train track and whispering walls, but did you know that there are tennis courts in Grand Central? Once an exclusive club run by Donald Trump, the courts are now open to the public—and you can reserve a court at midnight.
There are a number of towers on the rise poised to change the New York City skyline, but few are anticipated to have an impact as significant as One Vanderbilt. Developed by SL Green and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), the glassy supertall will extend an incredible 1,401 feet into the clouds to become the city’s third tallest tower (following One World Trade Center and the in-progress Central Park Tower) while also bringing a staggering 1.7 million square feet of office space to Midtown Manhattan. But beyond its height and girth, this massive development is expected to elevate its surroundings a profound way. Indeed, the enshadowed “iconic but aging” district surrounding Grand Central, long-deprived of public space and life beyond weary commuters, will be turned into a verdant block dedicated to all New Yorkers.
SL Green Realty CEO Marc Holliday said Thursday that the midtown office tower One Vanderbilt is expected to pull in as much as $198 million a year in net operating income when complete in 2020 and fully leased, The Real Deal reports. That figure, in 2028 dollars, likely includes $42 million in admission fees for the building’s planned observation deck and is based on the assumption that the tower will be leased out at an average of $155 per square foot. If realized, that figure would put the 1.7-million-square-foot, 1,401-foot-tall tower in a league with some of the the city’s significantly larger trophy properties.
On the ninth floor of Stewart Hall at 10 Mitchell Place, this sunny one-bedroom co-op definitely says “home” more than “investment property.” Maybe it’s pre-war details like an original mantlepiece, beamed ceilings and hardwood floors, or maybe it’s the wood-burning fireplace, many closets and open sky views, or the almost-secret storybook Manhattan enclave near the East River and elegant Beekman Place. Given the apartment’s size, layout and location, the ask is definitely welcoming at $495,000.
Grand Central Station in the early 1900s
Historic photos of the original Penn Station are almost as common as images of the current site, since its demolition in 1963 is often credited with spearheading the modern preservation movement (and because its grandeur is a startling reminder of how loathed the current station is). Conversely, Grand Central is typically celebrated as a preservation victory. In 1978, the courts ruled in favor of the Landmarks Preservation Commission when Penn Central Railroad sued them to build a huge tower atop the terminal and demolish one of its facades. But believe it or not, the 1913 Beaux-Arts building was not the first Grand Central, and photos of these grand earlier structures are rarely shared.
New details for controversial Midtown East rezoning revealed, plan moves forward with land use review, Wed, January 4, 2017
Plans to rezone Midtown East are few steps closer to reality with the start of the new year. The Department of City Planning has certified a rezoning proposal for the area surrounding Grand Central, and the city kicked off its official land-use review process Tuesday. The next step for the rezoning plans will be the seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which includes review by community boards 5 and 6, the Manhattan borough president, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. The zoning proposal could add 6.5 million square feet of commercial space to the 73-block district in the form of 16 larger, more modern buildings that would replace old ones, breathing new life into the office zone that New York Post real estate columnist Steve Cuozzo recently referred to as “iconic but declining.”
SL Green, the city’s largest office landlord, “pulled off one of New York’s biggest office deals of 2016” when they secured $1.5 billion in construction financing for their supertall tower One Vanderbilt, which is expected to ultimately cost a whopping $3.14 billion. The developer is now looking to rake in even more dollars off the deal, reports the Wall Street Journal, as they’ve proposed to J.P. Morgan Chase (one of the Syndication Agents in the financing) a swap out where the bank would trade its two headquarters buildings at 383 Madison Avenue and 277 Park Avenue for the recently-under-construction, 1,401-foot office tower.
Images: Lemessurier and 6sqft
The Midtown building formerly known as Citicorp Center has just been designated a city landmark. The building, now known simply as 601 Lexington Avenue, is one of 12 buildings in Midtown East to be given landmark status by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. This newest batch of landmarks brings the number of official historic buildings in the area to 50, Curbed reports. The 59-story office and retail tower, designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates, was completed in 1978. It was considered quite innovative for its time, with distinctive features that included a 45-degree angular roof and a base of four stilt-like columns. The latter allowed it to cantilever over Saint Peter’s Church, also on the site. There is also a privately owned public space that connects the buildings to the Lexington Avenue-53rd Street subway station.
432 Park Avenue may be the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere and home to the most expensive apartment closing this year, but throughout 2016, the tower’s ultra-luxury condos were selling at an average discount of 10 percent, according to an analysis by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. for Bloomberg. And a recent transaction saw an even greater price cut; Lewis Sanders, founder and CEO of Sanders Capital and former CEO of AllianceBernstein, bought an 88th floor penthouse for $60.9 million, 20 percent less than its $76.5 asking price.
It’s been almost a year since 6sqft first heard inklings that One Vanderbilt–the city’s second tallest tower–would offer a sky-high observation deck, and now that developer SL Green has secured $1.5 billion in construction financing and broken ground on the 1,401-foot supertall, they’e confirmed that the tower will, in fact, have an sky deck. Bloomberg reports that the viewing platform will be located at the 1,020-foot mark, which will make it the third-highest indoor-outdoor observatory in the city after the forthcoming 1,100-foot deck at 30 Hudson Yards and the Empire State Building’s at 1,050 feet (One World Observatory is at 1,250 feet, but it’s not outdoors).
The final checkout for hotel guests at the iconic Waldorf Astoria is March 1st, after which its new owner, Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance Group, will begin converting the 1,413 hotel rooms into 840 renovated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos to the tune of $1 billion. Earlier this month, the developer filed these plans with the Department of Buildings, which also call for adding retail space, a restaurant, and a fitness center on the ground floors. They’ll retain the historic ballrooms, exhibition space, dining rooms, and banquet rooms, but will still need approvals from the Landmarks Preservation Commission for any work on these public spaces; the building has long been an exterior landmark, but the LPC recently calendared a request to landmark the Art Deco interiors. Though no designs have been approved or confirmed, CityRealty dug up renderings from architectural visualization firm ArX Solutions that show their vision of space*.
Plans are underway to turn what the New York Times calls “White House North” into an armed bunker as the president-elect’s family defers D.C.. As 6sqft reported last week, Donald Trump has said he’d like his family to remain in Trump Tower, though the gilded Fifth Avenue fortress that Trump, wife Melania and son Barron call home is particularly difficult to secure. The round-the-clock protection the family has been receiving from the NYPD has come at a cost to the city of over $1 million a day. Now, the New York Post reports that the Secret Service is in talks with the Trump Organization over plans to occupy two floors of the 68-story tower. It’s standard policy for the federal agency to provide full protection for every president at their various homes–it cost around $2 million a year for the U.S. Coast Guard to protect George H. W. Bush’s estate in Kennebunkport, Maine during his presidency, for example. But in this instance taxpayers would be paying the incoming president’s own company for the space in a lease deal which could cost more than $3 million a year.
At the end of August, the city released its long-awaited, very controversial Midtown East Rezoning plan. In addition to allowing 16 new towers to spring up in the area bound by Madison and Third Avenues and 39th and 50th Streets, the upzoning will “permit owners of landmarked buildings to sell their air rights across the district, rather than just to adjacent properties like the current law dictates,” as 6sqft previously explained. The following month, the city embarked on a study of these unused development rights, which would amount to an additional 3.6 million square feet over the next 20 years. And part of their conclusion is that they’re considering taking a 20 percent cut of these air rights sales, reports Politico.
The 21st century incarnation of the iconic Four Seasons restaurant set to open at 280 Park Avenue will bear no resemblance to the original, beyond the famous name and the sign that fronted the “Mad Men”-era power lunch spot in the Seagram Building, according to the restaurant’s co-owner, Julian Niccolini. The New York Post reports that the team behind the “new” Four Seasons–Niccolini and partner Alex von Bidder, the Bronfman family, landlord Steve Roth of Vornado and representatives of landlord SL Green Realty–approved the new restaurant’s design, by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld, last Friday.