What could have been: A look at the opulent condos once planned for the Sony Building

Chetrit and Clipper's 550 Madison project was to have extravagant finishes, paid homage to original architect Philip Johnson

TRD New York /
Jun.June 30, 2016 07:00 AM
 

Oh! What it seemed to be.

Before deciding to sell the Sony Building at 550 Madison Avenue, the Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity had grand plans for their condominium conversion, one that envisioned 96 opulent residences evoking the glamour of a bygone era.

Paying homage to the Sony Building’s architect, Philip Johnson, the developers embraced his postmodern aesthetic with patterned marble finishes and bronze materials, depicted in marketing materials that they quietly circulated after launching a “soft sales” phase in January.

 

Given to the developers’ “friends and family,” the materials – recently obtained by The Real Deal – offer an inside look at an aspirational project that was scrapped when Chetrit and Clipper sold the building to Olayan America in April for $1.4 billion.

Encased in a white box emblazoned with a gold silhouette of the building, seven brochures depict 550 Madison’s finishes, hand-picked by the project’s architect Robert A.M. Stern, who has cited Johnson as a mentor.

In one brochure, dazzling views from the top of 550 Madison show the Midtown skyline at dusk, set off by a lush swath of Central Park. The dramatic scene is due, in part, to the building’s “unique proximity to the street line, the result of a special dispensation for the building’s original design,” the brochure states.

Of course, drivers pulling their Maybachs into 550 Madison would have been “ushered into an exclusive retreat,” namely a private motor court and ground-floor lobby with three-story ceilings, antique bronze screens and patterned marble floors made from three types of stone.


Ceilings in each residence would soar 11 to 16 feet, with oversized crown moldings and herringbone floors. “Resplendent kitchens gleam” with black-veined marble counters, rosewood cabinets and inlaid stone floors, the brochure states. Master baths would feature Turkish onyx and Italian marble.

Chetrit and Bistricer paid $1.1 billion for the 37-story building in 2013. A year later, they filed plans to convert the upper floors to condos, the crown jewel of which would have been a 21,000-square-foot triplex slated to ask $150 million, a record at the time. In all, the developers were seeking a total sellout of $1.9 billion.

The project would include a 170-key hotel, operated by German group Oetker Hotel Management Co. under the New York Masterpiece brand.

In late April, however, after struggling to put together financing for the conversion, the developers decided to sell the building to Olayan America, a division of Saudi conglomerate Olayan Group, as TRD first reported.

Following the closing in May, Olayan said it would “rebrand the building and create value by renovating and reconfiguring the existing space.” It will remain an office tower, however, putting an end to a very different vision for one of the jewels of the New York skyline.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Revamped design for 550 Madison receives Landmarks’ approval

Revamped design for 550 Madison receives Landmarks’ approval

Revamped design for 550 Madison receives Landmarks’ approval
Sharif El-Gamal, Joseph Chetrit and 1384 Broadway (Getty; Google Maps)

Chetrit Group sues Sharif El-Gamal for unpaid rent

Chetrit Group sues Sharif El-Gamal for unpaid rent
2870 Ocean Avenue and Isaac Chetrit, and 936 Home Street (Google Maps) 

Chetrit family’s dev site buy tops weekly mid-market sales

Chetrit family’s dev site buy tops weekly mid-market sales
Chetrit Group principal Michael Chetrit and 850 Third Avenue (850thirdavenue, iStock, Discovery Channel)

Chetrit battles Discovery Channel at 850 3rd Avenue

Chetrit battles Discovery Channel at 850 3rd Avenue
150 East 86th Street (Google Maps)

Barnes & Noble closing on Upper East Side

Barnes & Noble closing on Upper East Side
Clockwise from top left: 42-10 27th St, Long Island City; Flatbush Gardens, Brooklyn; and 148-10 and 148-18 Guy R Brewer Boulevard, Queens (Google Maps)

May’s biggest outer-borough loans led by $329M Brooklyn package

May’s biggest outer-borough loans led by $329M Brooklyn package
 David Bistricer of Clipper Equity and 77 Commercial Street in Greenpoint (REIT and Google Maps)

Bistricer lands $386M construction loan for Greenpoint project

Bistricer lands $386M construction loan for Greenpoint project
Joseph Chetrit and 88-20 153rd Street (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps)

Chetrit plans fifth apartment building at Jamaica hospital site

Chetrit plans fifth apartment building at Jamaica hospital site
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...