The retail apocalypse that sent one brand after another into bankruptcy last year could pave the way for a new skyscraper in Midtown East.
The Brooks Brothers store at 346 Madison Avenue is being offered up as a development site that could be transformed into a 41-story, 700,000-square-foot tower, sources familiar with the offering told The Real Deal.
The site is hitting the market after the iconic menswear brand — initially battered by changing trends, and dealt a final blow by the pandemic and the move to work-from-home — filed for bankruptcy last year. A partnership of Simon Property Group and Authentic Brands bought the 200-year-old company out of bankruptcy in August for $325 million and announced plans to close 75 of its 200 stores.
The brand’s flagship at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 44th Street, however, is still owned by Claudio Del Vecchio, the Italian billionaire who had owned Brooks Brothers since 2001.
Del Vecchio hired a JLL team of David Giancola, Andrew Scandalios and Bob Knakal to market the site for sale, sources said. It includes the Brooks Brothers store and an office building at 11 East 44th Street, which Del Vecchio bought in 2019 for $109 million. The pricing expectation wasn’t available, but if the site sold for $500 per square foot or more — a figure brokers said could be expected for the area — it could reach upwards of $350 million.
A representative for Del Vecchio could not be immediately reached, and a spokesperson for the brokers declined to comment.
The site could be among the early ones to take advantage of the city’s 2017 rezoning of Midtown East, designed to encourage the creation of 6.5 million square feet of new office space over the next two decades. Its current zoning allows for an office building or a hotel to rise on the site.
Other proposals for new Midtown East projects include Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management’s 1,450-foot tower at 350 Park Avenue and Harry Macklowe’s 1,500-foot tall office building at 14 East 52nd Street. JPMorgan Chase is already at work demolishing its headquarters at 270 Park Avenue to build a new 1,400-foot office tower in its place.