Chubb on track to lease 10 floors of 550 Madison Ave

Real Estate

In a potential mega-boost to Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood, Chubb Group is on track to be the first tenant to sign a lease at 550 Madison Ave., The Post has learned.

Sources said the insurance giant is in advanced talks for 10 floors, or 250,000 square feet, at Olayan America’s 37-story, 750,000-square-foot tower with the famous “Chippendale” top.

“They have a lease out and a deal could be struck within 90 days,” one source said.

The long-vacant former AT&T and Sony Building designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee has been closely watched as a bellwether for high-end office leasing. The market’s priciest portion is in less dire shape than the overall market, but still weighted down by high vacancy and low physical-occupancy.

Skyline showing the distinctive shape of 550 Madison Avenue's roof
The building’s distinctive Chippendale top is seen at middle right in this skyline photo.
2017 OAC 550 Owner LLC
A communal break area for employees
An artists rendering shows a communal break area for employees.
2017 OAC 550 Owner LLC
An exterior image showing the building's circular windows
Olayan paid $1.4 billion to buy 550 Madison Ave. in 2016.

Sources emphasized that the Chubb negotiations could still break down in this season of unprecedented uncertainty — including when and if employees will return to offices in large numbers.

But a completed lease would be a huge breakthrough for 550 Madison, where no tenants have yet been signed. Perella Weinberg had talks with Olayan in 2019, but the firm decided to renew its lease at the GM Building at 767 Fifth Ave.

Chubb’s New York headquarters is currently at the Durst Organization’s 1133 Sixth Ave. The firm’s lease there is for 184,000 square feet at a gross rent of $88.32 per square foot, and expires in 2024, The Real Deal recently reported.

Asking rents at 550 Madison are expected to be above $100 per square foot.

Olayan paid $1.4 billion to buy the city-designated landmark from Chetrit Group in 2016. It’s spending $300 million more to modify the tower’s retail portion, redesign its lower-floors façade and create a large public garden behind the lobby — all under the watchful eye of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. RXR Realty is helping to manage the construction project.

Separate CBRE teams are representing Olayan and Chubb. All the brokers either declined to comment or couldn’t be reached. A rep for Durst, Chubb’s current landlord, declined to comment.
Some “experts” gave the Soho retail scene up for dead following last year’s lockdown and looting. The pandemic had chased residents and killed tourism. Many shops were boarded up in the wake of riots and the entire historic neighborhood seemed to be on its last legs.

A display of Givenchy handbags
Clothing and fragrance retailer Givenchy is coming to 94 Greene Street.
Universal Images Group via Getty

But the forecasts proved premature in the extreme.

In the latest case of a glam Madison Avenue brand expanding there, high-fashion and fragrance house Givenchy just signed a five-year lease for the retail condo at beautiful cast-iron 94 Greene St., sources said. Givenchy’s other Manhattan location is far uptown at 747 Madison Ave.

The Greene Street Givenchy boutique will have 1,667 square feet at sidewalk level and 1,600 more square feet below. Devialet previously occupied the space.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Eric Le Goff and Jim Downey repped landlord Continental Ventures. The pair recently placed La Perla at 120 Prince St. around the corner.

Greene Street, especially between Prince and Spring, has become a prized destination for European luxury brands — among them, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Chloe and Stella McCartney.

Robin Zendell & Associates represented Givenchy. The asking rent was $650,000 a year, sources said. None of the brokers could immediately be reached.
Congrats to the winners of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Retail Deals of the Year Awards. They orchestrated leases that lifted spirits in the pandemic’s darkest days of 2020.

Newmark’s Matthew T. Leon scored for “most impactful” deal — CultureSpaces’ 30,000-square-foot lease at 49 Chambers St. It’s the first US venue for the French digital art museum, which launched an immersive exhibition space called Hall des Lumieres on the landmark building’s ground floor.

The “most ingenious” honor went to CBRE’s Eric Gelber, Jordan Kaplan, Gary Trock and Zach Parisi for bringing Greek seafood restaurant Avra to Rockefeller Group’s 1271 Sixth Ave. — a huge vote of confidence in the prime Midtown office corridor.

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