Sony Building in talks with anchor tenant

Perella Weinberg is negotiating a term sheet for 125K sf

550 Madison Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)
550 Madison Avenue (Credit: Google Maps)

The former Sony Building’s much-hyped and long-delayed revitalization is close to snagging its first big tenant.

Boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners — perhaps the most expensive startup in Wall Street history when it launched with more than $1.1 billion in 2006 — is in late-stage talks to take about 125,000 square feet at the landmarked office tower at 550 Madison Avenue, sources told The Real Deal.

The 13-year-old financial services firm, which has about $10 billion in assets under management, is negotiating a term sheet with building owner Olayan Group and its development partners RXR Realty and Chelsfield, sources said.

A spokesperson for Perella Weinberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A representative for Olayan Group declined to comment.

Perella Weinberg is headquartered four blocks away at Boston Properties’ General Motors Building at 767 Fifth Avenue.

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If the financial services firm goes through with the lease it would be a major shot in the arm for 550 Madison’s developers, who have struggled for more than two years to get the project going.

Olayan, the Saudi Arabian conglomerate, and U.K.-based developer Chelsfield bought the building in 2016 for a massive $1.4 billion from the Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity, which had planned an ambitious conversion to residential condominiums.

But as the developers worked on their plan, the city in 2017 fast-tracked the landmarking of the building, which it did earlier this year. And they also had to deal with pushback from preservationists who objected to the developers’ original design, which replaced the building’s mostly brick façade with a glass exterior wall.

Olayan and Chelsfield brought in RXR in April of last year and later released a new design for the building that largely keeps its original façade.