The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the exterior of 550 Madison Avenue a landmark.
“This is the building that established postmodernism as a legitimate architectural movement,” LPC vice chair Frederick Bland told Curbed in a statement. “It deserves to be preserved for future generations.”
Philip Johnson and John Burgee designed the 37-story tower, which was completed in 1984.
The Chetrit Group and David Bistricer’s Clipper Equity purchased the property, then known as the Sony Building, from Sony for $1.1 billion in 2013. The developers had planned a $1.9 billion condominium conversion, but ultimately sold the building to Saudi Arabia’s Olayan Group for $1.4 billion in 2016. The new owners wanted to give the tower’s lower floors a new glass facade as part of a $300 million renovation, which led preservationists to campaign for a landmarks designation, Curbed reported.
RXR Realty bought a stake in the project in April. “Since acquiring the building, we have taken our role as stewards of this important building very seriously,” the owners said in a statement. “We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with the LPC and other stakeholders to preserve 550 Madison’s legacy as a commercial Class A destination in East Midtown.” [Curbed] — Konrad Putzier