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Old Posted May 12, 2016, 3:05 AM
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MAY 11, 2016
BY CARTER B. HORSLEY


Quote:
In their brilliant book, “New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars,” authors Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins, provide the following commentary about 11 Madison Avenue:


“In 1929 Harvey Wiley Corbett, in association with Waid, prepared plans for various versions of a telescoping tower, the height of which ranged from 80 to 100 stories. The tower, which was Corbett’s most visionary design, was meant to be the world’s tallest. The walls folded rhythmically into triangular bays, which Corbett hoped to realized in metal and glass, despite the city’s building code’s insistence on masonry construction.

The tower would have echoed both the fluted stone shaft of Ralph Walker’s Irving Trust Building and the crystalline glass skyscrapers proposed by Hugh Ferriss. Escalators would have provided access to the first sixteen floors, thus reducing the size of the elevator cores without sacrificing the quality of service on the upper floors.

The Depression forced the company to curtail its plans; the building realized was essentially the base off the planned tower, its clifflike masses clad in limestone. Waid and Corbett’s design was built in three stages, the first of which, facing Fourth Avenue, was completed in 1933. According to Corbett, the new headquarters was ‘not a show building from the general public’s point of view. In fact, it is a highly specialized building designed primarily as a machine to do as efficiently as possible the particular headquarters work of our large insurance company.’ Eighty-foot-deep floors were made possible by full air-conditioning, and indirect lighting increase in intensity with the distance from windows. The acoustic-tile ceiling stepped up in six-inch increments from a low point near the core to just about the windows, providing ample duct space with minimum loss of natural light.

Aside from its sheer vastness and the community like aspects of the facilities for work, eating and recreation that it housed, the principal interests of the design lay in the building’s unusual shape and in its monumentally scaled street-level arcades and lobbies. The monumental lobbies were planned to accommodate the 25,000 workers expected to inhabit the fully expanded building.”



In August 2015, it was noted that SL Green Realty had closed on its $2.6 billion purchase of 11 Madison Avenue from the Sapir Organization and minority partner CIM Group.

As reported by The Real Deal, “The deal, the largest single-building transaction in New York City history, is a huge coup for Sapir, which bought the property in 2003 for $675 million and managed to bring in marquee technology and media tenants….The 2.3 million-square-foot Art Deco skyscraper, located between East 24th and 25th streets, has tenants such as Sony, which is taking 500,000 square feet at the top of the 30-story tower, and Yelp, which is taking over 150,000 square feet. Anchor tenant Credit Suisse also renewed its lease at the tower last year, but downsized to 1.2 million square feet to make room for Sony. Talent agency powerhouse William Morris Endeavor is taking about 70,000 square feet.

The $2.6 billion purchase price—which includes about $300 million in lease-stipulated improvements—is the second-highest ever paid for a New York City office tower after Boston Properties’ $2.8 billion purchase of the GM Building, at 767 Fifth Avenue in Midtown, in 2008. It is also the largest single-building transaction in the city’s history, as the GM Building deal was part of a $3.95 billion package that included three other towers.”

What is astounding, since the supertall era had begun, is that the Sapir Organization and CIM did not build out Corbett’s tower as the foundations were in place to add 60 or so stories to the existing building. Granted that might have interfered with Sony’s inexplicable move out of the former AT&T building on Madison Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets, but surely Sony could have found alternative spaces given the current building boom




Rendering of 11 Madison Avenue (right) just to the north of the Metropolitan Life clock tower, right, shows setback scalloped plan by Harvey Wiley Corbett and Dan Everett Waid for 100-story building on which construction was stopped at the 29th floor because of the market crash in 1929.[/quote]
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