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Group Purchases Sony Building in Manhattan

Olayan America, in association with Chelsfield, the European property group, has purchased 550 Madison Avenue in New York City.

The property is a landmark that has been known as the Sony Tower and before that the AT&T Building.  It is located between East 55th and East 56th streets in the prestigious Plaza District of Midtown Manhattan.  It was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1984.  It is well-known for its Chippendale-style roof pediment and dramatic four-story glass-covered atrium.

Olayan America and Chelsfield will offer this building for lease to high-quality commercial tenants. The 37-story building has 852,830 square feet of rentable mixed-use space. The building features approximately 776,000 square feet of office space, prime retail frontage on Madison Avenue, and exhibition and museum space.

“We are delighted to partner once again with Olayan on a trophy property in a world-class city,” said Elliott Bernerd, founder and joint Chairman of Chelsfield.  “We are especially pleased that after our 15-year absence, Olayan America facilitated our return to the U.S. market as asset manager of this iconic property.”

The property is currently occupied by one restaurant tenant holding 5,000 square feet. It is effectively 100 percent vacant, providing Olayan and asset manager Chelsfield an opportunity to rebrand the building and create value by renovating and reconfiguring the existing space.

“The property has been maintained to a high standard and has never previously been available to the open market for office leasing,” said Tony Fusco, head of Real Estate at Olayan America.

ING Capital LLC has originated a senior secured bridge loan for Olayan America. The short-term loan is secured by a first mortgage on the property.

Key advisors in this major transaction are Ron Cohen at JLL for the buyer and Doug Harmon at Eastdil Secured for the seller. The building has been sold on just two previous occasions – to Sony Corporation in 2002 and in 2013 to the Chetrit Group, the immediate past owner.