Last month, the Chetrit Group began converting the 37-story, 855,000-square-foot Sony Tower – the office building at 550 Madison Avenue, between East 55th and 56th streets, in Midtown – into 113 condominiums, a 170-key hotel, and 25,451 square feet of retail space. Now, Olayan America (the U.S. branch of Saudi Arabia-based Olayan Group), with minority investor Chelsfield, is in contract to acquire the tower for more than $1.3 billion, according to The Real Deal, officially stopping the project in its tracks. The new owners will not follow through with the conversion and will lease the building as office space. Chetrit is selling the building, most likely because of the cooling ultra-luxury residential market, for at least $200 million more than what they payed for it in 2013. The soon-to-be new owners have secured $300 million in mezzanine debt and a $600 million mortgage for the acquisition. The sale is expected to close in May.
General Growth Properties and Thor Equities have filed to expand, by five stories, the 20-story, 115,000-square-foot multi-use commercial building at 685 Fifth Avenue, located on the corner of East 54th Street, in Midtown. The property’s commercial square footage – 109,543 square feet – will remain the same, because a portion of the space on the lower levels will be utilized to build the vertical expansion. As a result, the structure will see an increase in height from 227 feet to 292 feet. Coach has already secured a lease to take 23,400 square feet of retail space on the first few floors for its new flagship store, The Real Deal reports. Midtown South-based Marin Architects is the architect of record. In June of 2014, GGP and Thor acquired the building for $460 million, and it was reported last November that Michael Shvo is in contract to acquire the building’s existing 90,000 square feet of office space for north of $100 million. It doesn’t appear the future office space on floors 21 through 25 was part of the deal with Shvo.
Back in December of 2015, it was reported that AB & Sons and Sioni Group were in contract to acquire 235,000 square feet of air rights (from the landmarked Haier Building) for their development assemblage at 989-993 Sixth Avenue, located on the corner of West 37th Street, in the Garment District section of Midtown. They have since closed on the purchase for an undisclosed amount, and now, the development team is planning a roughly 80-story mixed-use building, which could likely include retail space near the street level, a hotel, and residential units, according to The Real Deal. The site could boast up to 375,000 square feet of as-of-right development potential if the 21-story, 90,000-square-foot office building at 989-991 Sixth is demolished. The building reportedly won’t be demolished until at least 2019, probably due to existing leases. The corner lot at 993 Sixth Avenue is occupied by a partially built 18-story hotel project, which will also probably be demolished (it’s five stories in height).
Last year, supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis signed a contract with another developer to sell the Hell’s Kitchen headquarters of his Gristedes grocery chain for $55 million. Now building applications have been filed to develop the property at Eleventh Avenue and West 56th Street into a 34-story condo tower.
Back in August of 2012, CUNY’s Stella and Charles Guttman Community College welcomed its inaugural class at the seven-story, 91,335-square-foot building at 50 West 40th Street – the annex portion of the 23-story American Radiator Building, an individual landmark, at 40 West 4t0th Street – in Midtown. Now, the school is planning to move to a larger four-story, CUNY-owned building at 445 West 59th Street once its lease expires in 2020. According to The Real Deal, Allied Partners, the owner of 50 West 40th Street, will demolish the annex building for, presumably, a new development. In 2010, a 300,000-square-foot mixed-use building, reportedly designed by Norman Foster’s Foster + Partners, was proposed at the site. At the time, the development assemblage included the properties at 54 West 40th Street and 43 West 39th Street. It’s not known if the same footprint will be utilized this time around.