This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the AT&T building at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1984, the world’s first postmodern skyscraper originally served as the AT&T headquarters. A decade later, Sony moved in and it became known as the Sony Tower. Recently, a growing roster of preservationists and architects have been urging the LPC to landmark the building after plans surfaced showing significant changes to its architecture.
During a nearly two-hour public hearing on Tuesday, passionate preservationists, architects, and community groups testified in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in support of designating the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Best known as the AT&T Building, the 37-story tower was designed by Philip Johnson, along with his partner John Burgee, and completed in 1984.
As postmodernism’s first skyscraper, 550 Madison has stood out for its pink-gray granite facade, arched entryway and Chippendale-inspired crown. A wide range of people on Tuesday voiced support for giving 550 Madison landmark designation, including architectural critic Paul Goldberger. In his testimony, Goldberger cited his own 1978 New York Times review of the building, before it was built, when he called the AT&T Building “a major monument” of postmodernism and “the most provocative and daring skyscraper to be proposed for New York since the Chrysler Building.”
This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to calendar the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue, designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1984. The world’s first skyscraper built in a postmodern style was originally known as the AT&T Building, as the tower served as the company headquarters. Sony moved in in the 1990s, giving it the nickname of the Sony Tower.
Last year, the building sold to the Olayan Group and Chelsfield for a whopping $1.4 billion. Their resulting renovation plan, led by Snøhetta, has elicited protest from preservationists who do not want to see changes to the building’s impressive arched entryway. Now that the tower’s calendared, the developers’ $300 million renovation will eventually come up for a landmarks vote by the LPC.
In a very unexpected twist, The Real Deal has learned that the Chetrit Group is selling the Sony Building, scrapping its flashy plans to convert the office building’s upper floors to luxury condos designed by none other than Robert A.M. Stern. Olayan America, a division of the Saudi conglomerate Olayan Group, is in contract to purchase 550 Madison Avenue, partnering with European and Asian asset manager Chelsfield. According to the Post, they’ll pay between $1.4 and $1.5 billion, a profit of at least $300 million for Chetrit. In a statement, Olayan said they’ll lease space to “high-quality commercial tenants.”
550 Madison rendering via Dbox
Curbed spotted the freshly launched teaser site for the Chetrit Group’s Sony Tower conversion, now going by the name 550 Madison, which revealed several new details about the project. The most notable is that Robert A.M. Stern will be designing the “opulent” condos, and we assume this includes the $150 million triplex penthouse. Interestingly, Stern was once a student of Philip Johnson, who is responsible for the ground-breaking Sony Building. In all, there will be 113 condo units on floors 21-43, up from the previously reported 96, as well as a 170-key luxury Parisian hotel and high-end ground-floor retail.
It’s definitely been a big number game at Chetrit‘s Sony Building conversion–from the 96 luxury condos they’ll add to floors 14 to 33 of the 37-story tower, to the planned $1.8 billion sellout, to the $150 million triplex penthouse, which, if sold, would be both the city’s priciest unit in history (if not eclipsed by the $175 million unit at 220 Central Park South) as well as the largest at 21,504 square feet. And now the Post reports that Chetrit is going to up the ante at 550 Madison Avenue by turning part of the commercial space on the lower floors into a luxury Parisian hotel.
Those who found themselves gobsmacked when news broke that the Sony building’s penthouse would be priced at $150 million, look out, here’s another jaw-dropping fact headed your way. TRD has reported that not only will the unit be the priciest in history if sold, but when complete, it will also hold the title of the city’s largest.
At 21,504 square feet, the triplex trumps the competition; TRD reports that the two runners-up include a 16,270-square-foot pad at 3 East 95th Street, which sold in 2006 for $21.9 million, and a 13,063-square-foot condo at The Plaza Hotel, which sold in 2007 for just over $50 million. The city’s most expensive sale recorded thus far—the $100 million penthouse at One57—measures a comparatively mere 10,923 square feet. The penthouse at the Phillip Johnson-designed building will boast eight bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, 10 powder rooms, a billiard room, two media rooms, a library/bar, wine room, gym and spa.
- Sony Building Penthouse Will Ask a Record-Breaking $150M
- Chetrit Group Plans $1.8B Sellout for 96 Condos in the Sony Tower
- $100 Million Condo Sale at One57 is NYC’s Most Expensive Ever
There’s a new priciest listing record in town, and it goes to the $150 million triplex penthouse at the Chetrit Group’s Sony Building condo conversion, according to The Real Deal. The 21,504-square-foot unit will occupy floors 33 through 35 of the 37-story tower at 550 Madison Avenue and have a private elevator, eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and ten powder rooms. If it gets what it’s asking for, it will break the record for the current highest condo sale, the $100 million penthouse that sold at One57 last month.
Back in June, we learned that the Chetrit Group was planning to partially convert the Philip Johnson-designed Sony Tower at 550 Madison Avenue to high-end condos. And it has now been revealed that the 96 condo units will amount to a jaw-dropping $1.8 billion sellout, according to plans the developer filed with the Attorney General’s office. By comparison, the initial total sellout at One57 was $2 billion, and at 432 Park Avenue it was $2.4 billion.
The Philip Johnson-designed Sony Tower at 550 Madison Avenue, one of the most notable postmodern office towers in New York City, is set to be partially converted to high-end condos, as states planes filed by developer Chetrit Group. It’s not known which of the building’s 37 floors the residential units will occupy, but Chetrit, led by Joseph Chetrit, has said in the past that it will convert the upper floors and either keep the lower floors as offices or turn them into a luxury hotel.
Construction likely won’t begin for at least one to two years since Sony still leases office space. When the developer purchased the building from Sony in 2013 for $1.1 billion at auction, Sony committed to remaining in the offices for around three years until moving to a new space near Madison Square. Chetrit outbid 21 rivals and paid $685 million more for the building than Sony did in 2002.