All eyes have been on the construction of Renzo Piano‘s new downtown home for the Whitney Museum, set to open in May. But let’s not forget about what’s happening to the Whitney’s old Marcel Breuer-designed building on Madison Avenue and 75th Street. The Brutalist building opened in 1966 and has since dominated its Upper East Side surroundings. It’s set to be taken over as a satellite location for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to showcase their contemporary and modern art collections when it reopens in March 2016. And though the Met will not alter the façade of the landmarked museum building, its surroundings will certainly look different than in the Whitney’s days.
The biggest changes are happening right next door, where the row of six 19th-century Italianate and Greek Revival brownstones on Madison Avenue and two townhouses on East 74th Street are being reimagined as condos and retail space by developer and healthcare entrepreneur Daniel Straus, who bought the properties from the Whitney in 2010 for $95 million and subsequently was granted approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for their new design by Beyer Blinder Belle. According to the Times, who profiled the development, the flurry of construction could be considered “the Met effect.”