L&L looks to dust off Madison Ave. retail

Landlord hopes to bring Eataly-type tenant to 390 Madison revamp

Robert Lapidus (Photo by STUDIO SCRIVO) and a rendering of 390 Madison (credit: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates)
Robert Lapidus (Photo by STUDIO SCRIVO) and a rendering of 390 Madison (credit: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates)

The sales associates at Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart may have reason to loosen their collars on Madison Avenue if the L&L Holding Company gets is way.

“If you don’t sell men’s ties . . . or you’re not a bank, there’s no retail there,” L&L CEO Robert Lapidus told the crowd Tuesday at a luncheon hosted by the Young Men’s and Women’s Real Estate Association. “There’s nothing that animates what’s going on there.”

Lapidus, who chose to go sans-neckwear for the event, addressed the young real estate pros inside the ballroom at the University Club at 54th Street and Fifth Avenue.

For L&L’s drastic remake of the 900,000-square-foot 390 Madison, previously owned by billionaire Sheldon Solow, the company is working to create double-height, open retail spaces Lapidus hopes will attract the type of tenant that turned the NoMad area into the shopping destination it is today.

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“We thought it was very important to get a space that had a ‘wow’ factor and hopefully we’ll get a tenant similar to what Eataly did for us at 200 Fifth – some sort of food experience that will help animate not only our building but the area around it,” he said.

In addition to 390 Madison, Lapidus and his team are also developing the first new office building on Park Avenue in more than 50 years.

In both projects, the company aims to create modern office space in a Midtown East market perceived to have an older, unattractive building stock.

Lapidus said there is an ongoing joke around the L&L office about the two reasons why it was important to rebrand the 390 Madison Avenue property.

“One was to completely disassociate ourselves from the past of a commodity office building,” he explained, “and the other one was to make sure Sheldon Solow didn’t still think he owned the building.”