The Olayan Group Reveals Plans for Revitalization of Landmark 550 Madison
Postmodern Icon Preserved and Reborn as Multi-Tenant Boutique Office Destination, On Track for 2020 Opening
New Renderings Unveil Monumental Lobby Design; Dorothea Rockburne Murals to be Preserved in Place
New York, NY (October 22, 2019): The Olayan Group released the first details today of the interior revitalization of 550 Madison, Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s world-renowned Postmodern icon that is being brought back to life as a luxury office tower.
Recognized around the world for its distinctive architecture, including the Chippendale top that is unmistakable on the New York skyline, 550 Madison will open next year as a multi-tenant building for the first time. The interior renovation, which is now more than 50 percent complete, will create state-of-the-art trophy office tower providing a model for historical and sustainable adaptive reuse as the only LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certified building in the Plaza District.
“There is nothing like 550 Madison in New York, a truly unique opportunity to work in a global architectural icon with all of the benefits of modern new construction and stunning river-to-river views,” said Erik Horvat, Managing Director of Real Estate at Olayan America. “From the ground-floor lobby and proposed public garden to the preserved iconic Chippendale top, we are honoring 550 Madison’s legacy and ensuring its future. We cannot wait to introduce Olayan’s brand of luxury hospitality for commercial tenants to New York next year.”
Renderings released today reveal the new ground-floor lobby design by Philippe Paré, Design Principal of Gensler.
“The overall approach for the lobby design is grounded in a respect for and deference to the original Philip Johnson John Burgee design,” said Philippe Paré. “In reimagining the space, we sought out the essence of the original lobby. The lobby’s volume and spatial proportions are maintained in their simplest, most basic form and we see the results as a powerful expression of the building’s character.”
The approach to the design is resolutely contemporary and at the same time rooted in the classical architectural language unique to Philip Johnson. The outcome is a space which is quiet, yet powerful, respectful, yet not a reproduction, maintaining fundamental spatial proportions while adding a distinctive and elegant new material palette.
The lobby successfully connects to the proposed new garden designed by Snøhetta and is key to modernizing 550 Madison. Notably, the lobby includes a window through to the garden at the rear of the building, signaling to passersby on Madison Avenue that there is a beautiful green oasis open to the public.
Olayan also announced that the 30-by-29-foot murals by Dorothea Rockburne, which were installed by Sony in 1994, will be preserved and celebrated as part of the building’s hospitality-focused private amenity club for building tenants. The murals will be preserved in place in the sky lobby located seven stories above the ground level, allowing a new generation of building occupants the opportunity to enjoy them.
“These murals — Southern Sky and Northern Sky — were conceived and designed specifically for this space at 550 Madison, and I am thrilled that they will be preserved and integrated into its future,” said world-renowned artist Dorothea Rockburne. “Olayan’s plans will ensure my site-specific works are exposed to even more people for generations to come.”
Plans for 550 Madison build on Olayan’s experience preserving and reviving historic properties for the 21st century, including the Knightsbridge Estate in central London, 50 Avenue Montaigne in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and the historic Ritz Hotel in Madrid.
About 550 Madison
Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, 550 Madison is a global destination, showcased in architecture classes around the world as a premiere example of postmodernism. Yet, since its opening in 1984, it has hosted just two tenants – AT&T and Sony. The Olayan Group acquired 550 Madison in 2016. The building proudly became New York City’s youngest landmark in 2018, and will open in 2020 as a multi-tenant building for the first time.
The 750,000-square-foot building features an unparalleled experience in East Midtown with 14-foot high ceilings; large, column-free floor plates; north, south, east, and west-facing views of New York City; river to river sightlines; and offices overlooking Central Park. The ownership and development team is creating a one-of-a-kind amenity package which all tenants and visitors can access – this will include food and beverage concepts, lounges, shared conferencing and work spaces, as well as distinctive fitness and wellness offerings.
Working with world-class architect Snøhetta, the iconic tower is being preserved while allowing for modern upgrades to support a 21st century workforce. Snøhetta is also designing a brand new public garden at the building, creating a welcoming sensory retreat in the heart of East Midtown for tenants and the community to enjoy.
Olayan is working with development partners RXR Realty and Chelsfield on the revitalization of 550 Madison. The three firms have deep experience preserving and modernizing historic and landmark buildings in the US and internationally, including these properties in New York City: the iconic Helmsley Building, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Pier 57, the former Westbury Hotel, 387 West Broadway, and the Starrett-Lehigh Building. AECOM Tishman is the Construction Manager for the revitalization of 550 Madison.
CBRE is the exclusive leasing agent for the building.
To learn more, visit www.550madison.com.
About The Olayan Group
The Olayan Group is a private, multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of international investments and diverse commercial and industrial operations. Founded in 1947, the Group today has offices in Athens, Liechtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Riyadh, Vienna and New York, where Olayan has had a continuous presence for more than 47 years. Investing both directly and in partnership with leading developers, the Group has a diverse real estate portfolio that includes commercial, residential, and mixed-use properties.
Learn more about The Olayan Group at: www.olayan.com.
About RXR Realty
Founded in 2007, RXR Realty is one of the largest private real estate operators and developers in the New York region, with expertise in a wide array of value creation activities. The RXR platform manages 69 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $18 billion, comprising 24.6 million square feet of commercial properties, inclusive of a multi-family residential portfolio of over 6,000 units in various stages of development or active operations across the New York Metropolitan area. RXR brings unmatched experience in redeveloping signature landmark buildings in the region; RXR’s portfolio currently includes the iconic Helmsley Building, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Pier 57, and the Starrett-Lehigh Building, among many others.
Learn more about RXR Realty at: www.rxrrealty.com.
The Chelsfield Group is an international real estate business focused on asset management, development and investment in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore and other key European and Asian gateway cities. The Group has been investing in and developing real estate for over 30 years and has undertaken $10.2bn of transactions since 2004 with US$5.4bn of assets currently under management (as at 31 August 2019). Renowned for its hand-on expertise, and with its long and successful track record of innovation and value creation, it has an ability to unlock projects that have high barriers to entry, and to keep ahead of systematic changes in real estate practice and procedure.
Learn more about Chelsfield at: www.chelsfield.com.
Jovana Rizzo or Abigail Rollins, 646-452-5637