SL Green Eyes Grand Central Development
Daniel Edward Rosen June 4, 2012, 11:11 a.m.
SL Green Realty Corp. is moving forward with its plans to develop a 1.2 million-square-foot office tower located directly across Grand Central Terminal, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The block-long site, located on Madison Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets, will be the real estate investment trust’s first major foray into developing an office tower. It will also bear the fruit of its active investment in that particular region: After it purchased 51 East 42nd Street –an 18-story, 142,000-square-foot building– in December 2001, SL Green now owns all of the buildings on East 42nd and East 43rd Streets bounded Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues. Other buildings include 317 Madison Avenue (which was acquired in 2001), along with 331 Madison Avenue and 48 East 43rd Street (both acquired in 2007).
It was also that same year that SL Green sold 110 East 42nd Street but retained the air rights to the building, with the option of transferring those rights over to the Madison block, said Edward Piccinich, a vice president of property management and construction for SL Green during an investor conference in December. As part of that deal, SL Green spent nearly $6 million in restoration work on 110 East 42nd Street, a landmarked building, after the REIT reached a deal with the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. SL Green also conducted a zoning lot merger on the block to help facilitate its plans for the new building.
“The total area following demolition will yield an acre of land to create our footprint to place our state-of-the-art structure in Manhattan,” Mr. Piccinich told investors.
Although no architect has been hired for the project, the design of the new office tower will hearken back to other “prestigious properties,” like the Burj in Dubai, Mori Tower in Tokyo, the ICC Tower in Hong Kong, the World Financial Center in Shanghai and the Petronas Towers.
The project’s proximity to Grand Central Terminal offers other development possibilities, Mr. Piccinich said at the time:
“We also expect to potentially tie in 2 other ongoing projects; the 2nd Avenue subway, where transfer options are under evaluation, and the east side access, which will link the Long Island Railroad and New Jersey transit to Grand Central. This increase to the site will exponentially enhance the intrinsic value of this particular location. The connection we are considering would be an amenity that would allow someone coming into Grand Central to walk through an underground tunnel beneath Vanderbilt Avenue and arrive at our proposed building without ever having to step a foot outside.”
To see the new development through, SL Green has tapped Hines, the Houston-based developers, as the consultants on the project, The WSJ reports.