After an auction last year, prolific developer Chetrit Group won the right to buy the Sony Building for $1.1 billion. It's long been speculated that the new owner would undertake a partial offices-to-condos conversion, and lo and behold, it (very likely) shall be so. The Wall Street Journal dug up filings from the Attorney General's office showing that a section of the building is earmarked for 96 apartments. The paperwork doesn't shed light on which floors, or how many, are slated for the overhauleven though past remarks and profit-making reasons would lead one to think it'll be the upper floors, with the lower floors continuing to serve as office space or perhaps a hotel. And because Sony's lease-back lasts through 2016, construction won't start immediately anyway. The Philip Johnson-designed skyscraper on Madison between 55th and 56th streets, which opened its doors in 1984 and was home to AT&T before Sony bought it from them, has 37 floors.
When the modernist tower first opened, its ornamented top was derided as out of character with the movement, evengaspkitsch. One critic wrote: "The pediment... culminates with symbolic references, depending on one's orientation, to car grilles, a grandfather clock, a Chippendale highboy, and as an in-joke, a monumental reference to the split pediment used earlier by Venturi for his mother's house." Hm, the latter must have been a very in-joke.
Back to the present day, in which Chetrit has just a titch of experience with conversions, having recently transformed a Brooklyn hospital into rentals. The company, led by Joseph Chetrit, is also in the process of turning the old Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank on Chambers Street into condos, a Noho office building into a boutique hotel, and, also in Midtown, a former hotel into 109 condos. Conversion-crazy, that Chetrit is.
· Portion of Sony Building to Become High-End Condos [WSJ]
· All Sony Building coverage [Curbed]
· All Chetrit Group coverage [Curbed]
Photo via Property Shark