More than a year after Brookfield Properties and Kushner Companies sealed a deal over the skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue, plans for the building’s long-awaited revamp are finally becoming clear.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Brookfield’s makeover of 666 Fifth Avenue is underway, with the developer planning a total overhaul of both the interiors and exterior of the 39-story building in collaboration with Kohn Pedersen Fox. Sabrina Kanner, Brookfield’s head of design and construction, says it will be similar to what the firm did with the former Brutalist eyesore at Tenth Avenue and 33rd Street, now retrofitted in glass as part of the firm’s Manhattan West megaproject.
“We will completely modernize the building, replacing the façade, creating floor to ceiling windows, remaking the lobby and installing new mechanical systems,” Kanner says. “When we’re done it will have the look and feel of a new building.”
The facade will be made from insulated glass panels, increasing the amount of light that comes into the building; there will also be new retail on the ground floor, and terraces for tenants to use. All told, the renovation is expected to cost $400 million, and Brookfield is expecting it to be complete by 2023.
In about a decade, the Kushner clan’s initial deal for 666 Fifth Avenue went from being the most expensive office building ever purchased to an extraordinarily expensive boondoggle. Jared Kushner, who stepped down as CEO of Kushner Companies in early 2017, negotiated the $1.8 billion deal; in the years since, various plans for the aging office building have been pitched and fallen through. At one point, it was rumored that the Kushners would build a supertall designed by Zaha Hadid on the site.
Finally, in 2018, Brookfield inked a 99-year lease for the building, which put its value at $1.29 billion, according to the WSJ.