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Old Posted Dec 11, 2018, 2:25 PM
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Midtown’s MetLife Building getting much needed overhaul

By Steve Cuozzo
December 10, 2018

One of Midtown’s least-loved office-building public spaces is about to be made more lovable — and a lot easier to navigate.

The confusing, two-level, 50,000- square-foot lobby of 200 Park Avenue, aka the MetLife Building, is set for a major beautification via the tower’s owner, Tishman Speyer, and its California-based investment partner, Irvine Company.

The landlord has commissioned MdeAS Architects to reimagine the heavily traversed public space that runs from East 45th Street to Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse.

The lobby’s new look will banish current dark accents for a lighter palette including travertine-clad columns and terrazzo flooring.
Tishman Speyer President and CEO Rob Speyer said the redesign “will restore the vision of 200 Park’s original stewards while meeting the needs of a new generation.”
Perhaps the most transformative change will be the creation of ground-floor, open passageways linking the lobby directly to the lip of the terminal concourse. Existing storefronts that have blocked the way since the 1980s will be dismantled to create open views from the top of the terminal escalators to the East 45th Street light.

As things are, occupants and visitors must find their way through narrow passageways to either side of the stores or ride escalators up to a mezzanine and then down again.

The architecture firm noted that the tower’s lobby was altered several times in the past by previous owners. “The new design, part restoration, part reinvigoration, is a nod to its past and a celebration of its future,” the firm said in a statement.

The changes will be welcomed by Grand Central commuters as well as by tenants such as MetLife, law firms Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Greenberg Traurig, and real estate powerhouse CBRE. The tower’s 3.1 million square feet are 99 percent leased.
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