Photo via Wiki Commons
In the coming weeks, the renovation of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel will finally begin–a three-year process to convert much of the building to luxury condos. Hilton Worldwide Holdings, who had owned the landmark since 1972, agreed in 2014 to sell the 1,413-room hotel to Beijing-based financial and insurance company Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion. Since then, the interior was landmarked, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was tapped to design the project, and the building closed to begin work. Now the New York Post reports that post reno, the Waldorf will only hold 350 hotel rooms–a number that’s “at the low end of recent estimates and much smaller than the number former Waldorf owner Hilton had expected,” according to the paper.
It’s caused some tension
Photo of Trump Tower via Krystal T’s Flickr
Sales prices at the tony Midtown condo building at 721 Fifth Avenue have dropped sharply since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal. The median sale price and average price per square foot are down since 2015 and are now reaching the lows experienced during the last financial crisis. Brokers aren’t exactly sure whether the “Trump effect” has caused the slump–including issues specific to the tower such as heightened security, protests, and a general antipathy toward all things Trump–or it’s part of an overall softening of the luxury condo market.
Is it the Curse of Trump?
Photo of the protest courtesy of Nathan Eddy
After Olayan America and Chelsfield revealed plans last week for a $300 million renovation of the building at 550 Madison Avenue, known as the AT&T Building, criticism quickly followed. Members of the architecture community, including New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, rallied together last Friday at the base of the Philip Johnson-designed skyscraper, to protest Snøhetta’s proposal to replace the building’s base with a scalloped glass front (h/t Dezeen). Protestors held signs that read “Hands off my Johnson,” “Save the Stone,” and “Save AT&T.” Plus, a petition is currently being circulated on Change.org in an attempt to preserve Johnson’s iconic AT&T Building by having the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission officially designate it as a city landmark.
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Nearly a year ago, developer SL Green confirmed that their 1,401-foot supertall One Vanderbilt, set to be the city’s second tallest building behind One World Trade Center, would boast a 1,020-foot observation deck, which would have made it the third-highest indoor-outdoor observatory in the city after the forthcoming 1,100-foot deck at 30 Hudson Yards and the 1,050-foot deck at the Empire State Building (One World Observatory is at 1,250 feet, but it’s not outdoors). However, new details and diagrams uncovered by NY Yimby show that it may actually stand at 1,100 feet, tying for the city’s highest.
Rendering of 550 Madison Avenue, via DBOX/ Snøhetta
Over the last few years, plans to refurbish the former headquarters of AT&T and Sony Building at 550 Madison Avenue have come and gone, including a proposal to convert the upper floors into luxury condos designed by Robert A.M. Stern. Now, with those plans long abandoned, Olayan America and Chelsfield revealed plans on Monday for a $300 million renovation of the tower, modernizing the lower levels of the building with high-quality amenities and a sprawling 21,000-square-foot public garden. With Snøhetta as lead architect, the renovation will be the first major project in East Midtown since its revitalization plan was approved earlier this year.
See the new design
Grand Central Terminal, photo via NYC & Company
At Grand Central Terminal, it’s in with the new, out with the old. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it will replace stores that have served the busy terminal’s commuters for over two decades–Junior’s, Two Boots Pizza, Grand Harvest Wines–with more upscale shops. As the New York Post reported, new stores include Art Bird & Whiskey Bar, run by Oprah Winfrey’s former personal chef, Art Smith, and Tartinery, an open-face sandwich vendor. The restaurant refashioning process is expected to run through 2018.
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, Thu, September 28, 2017
Photo of Beyoncé via Wikimedia
It’s been a busy summer for superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The twosome recently purchased an LA estate for $88 million in August and shortly after they bought a home on East Hampton’s Georgica Pond for nearly $26 million. Adding to their real estate hustle, Beyoncé just sold her apartment at 151 East 58th in Midtown East for $9.95 million, as the New York Post reported. The 44th-floor pad is located at One Beacon Court, the exclusive Manhattan skyscraper with a Pantheon-inspired elliptical court. Beyoncé’s former pad features three bedrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of Central Park.
, Thu, September 14, 2017
A rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
In 2007, Kushner Companies purchased a 41-story tower in Midtown for $1.8 billion, which was the most expensive real estate deal ever in the U.S. at the time. The transaction of 666 Fifth Avenue, coordinated by Jared Kushner, now a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, was ill-timed, making the purchase just before the economic recession. As the Washington Post reported, the Fifth Avenue project is one of the most financially troubled for Kushner Cos., with one-fourth of office space empty, and its lease revenue not covering monthly interest payments. While Kushner has divested his stake in the property to avoid conflicts of interest, the property’s value has dropped and foreign entities have withdrawn financial support. Currently, Kushner’s dealings are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, as part of the broader investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
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Shoe brand honcho Steve Madden put his best foot forward and stepped into an impressive spread at 252 East 57th Street. The Journal reports that the company’s founder and former CEO dropped $12.2 million on a five-bedroom condo at the 65-story Billionaires’ Row tower designed by designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Not only does his new home have a 38-foot-long living/dining area, balcony, and all the swanky fixtures and finishing one could hope for, but its 61st-floor location affords it incredible north, east, and west exposures with skyline, Central Park, and East River views.
Conceptual image depicting all of the proposed sites of the East Midtown rezoning fully built out, via CityRealty
After five years, the City Council approved a rezoning for Manhattan’s Midtown East on Wednesday, by a 42-0 vote. The proposal will rezone roughly 78 blocks, running from East 39th Street to East 57th Street and from Third Avenue to Madison Avenue, clearing the way for 6.5 million square feet of office space in the area. A new updated zoning code is expected to incentivize new, dense development, allowing Midtown to compete with other booming business districts in the borough like Hudson Yards and the Financial District. As the New York Times reported, this change which lets developers build to a higher floor area ratio could result in new supertall towers.
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