Aby Rosen tries to turn around 285 Madison Avenue

Developer asking between $68 to $89 per square foot
October 14, 2013 11:07AM

Aby Rosen’s RFR Holdings has begun leasing efforts at 285 Madison Avenue, the former Young & Rubicam tower that was the scene of a horrific elevator crash that killed an office worker in 2011. CBRE’s tri-state region CEO Mary Ann Tighe has started to show the 27-story, 550,000-square-foot tower to prospective tenants.

In 2012, RFR along with Green Oak Real Estate paid $190 million for the building, located between East 40th and East 41st streets, even as insiders had predicted the accident would make the building a tough sell. RFR has invested a further $65 million on a gut renovation of the property, which should be complete by the first quarter of 2014.

The tower was “a 20th-century building that was not well-maintained,” Rosen told the Journal. “This will be 21st-century-plus [building].”

Rosen, who had been mulling a hotel conversion for the property, is planning to charge office tenants rents ranging from $68 per square foot on the bottom floors, to $89 per square foot for higher spaces, according to the newspaper.

The 2011 tragedy won’t be a detriment to leasing, Rosen told the Journal. “If you do a survey of all the New York buildings where something went negative, there would probably be hundreds,” he said. [WSJ]  – Hiten Samtani