Earlier this year, Aby Rosen purchased the Chrysler Building, one of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers, for a song, paying just $150 million for the Art Deco tower—a far cry from the $800 million that an Abu Dhabi investment fund paid for a 90 percent stake in the building back in 2008.
And in an interview with Bloomberg, the prolific developer—whose other holdings in the city include the Seagram Building and 190 Bowery—shed some light on what comes next for the tower. While Rosen’s plans for the skyscraper are largely up in the air, he confirmed that he will not open a hotel there. He does, however, plan to “expand and improve amenities for the public and tenants on the arcade level, including restaurants, hair salons and shoeshine shops,” according to Bloomberg. He also wants to resurrect the Cloud Club, a speakeasy that operated on the building’s 66th to 68th floors for a spell.
There’s also the possibility of Rosen using his vast art collection to boost interest in the building, as he’s done at Lever House; the ground floor of that midcentury modern icon is home to the Lever House Art Collection, which has featured works by Damien Hirst and Alexander Calder, among others.
Despite being one of the city’s most iconic buildings, the Chrysler is facing headwinds when it comes to attracting tenants, thanks to the competition from new and shiny office buildings throughout the city. (One of those new and shiny buildings, One Vanderbilt, is located just down the block; another, the redevelopment of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, may rise across the street.) And then there’s the ground lease: The Cooper Union holds it, and it could go up to as much as $41 million by 2028; rents, however, haven’t kept up the pace.
But Rosen doesn’t seem too concerned about those factors, despite having defaulted on a ground lease previously at Lever House. “The Chrysler Building is one of the finest and most recognizable New York City architectural assets—I only invest in quality and take on the responsibility to rehabilitate and maintain these cultural gems,” Rosen told Bloomberg. “As far as the land lease, you work things out.”