City Approves Plans for Chrysler Building Observation Deck

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The iconic Chrysler Building will get a new observation deck after the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the plans this week.

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The LPC gave Abey Rosen’s RFR Realty the go-ahead to install a glass screen on the 61st floor of the landmarked skyscraper at 405 Lexington Avenue — the same level of its iconic gargoyles — to create an observation deck in a unanimous vote during a Tuesday LPC meeting held via Zoom.

Aside from the glass screens, the plans also include replacing the windows on the 61st and 62nd floors of the 77-story Chrysler Building and the door to access the terrace.

A spokesman for RFR did not immediately respond to a request for comment on when the observation deck would open.

During the hearing, which RFR was joined by architects Gensler, representatives for the developer stressed that the new glass screen would barely be visible from the street.

“It is barely perceptible,” Gensler’s Leslie Jabs said during the hearing. “From the street, it is not perceptible at all.” 

RFR bought the Chrysler Building from Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) with Signa Holding GmbH for a shocking $150 million in 2019, as Commercial Observer reported. ADIC picked up the skyscraper at the height of the market in 2008 for $800 million and its sale price was largely hampered by the building’s onerous ground lease with Cooper Union

In recent months, RFR has reportedly been in talks to renegotiate the ground lease with the college, according to Business Insider.

Rosen originally floated the idea of turning the Chrysler Building into a hotel, but later told Bloomberg he dropped those plans and has remained mum on the future for the property.

However, Rosen said he wants to bring back lunch spot the Cloud Club — which opened when the Chrysler Building did in 1930 but closed in 1979 — that occupied the 66th and 68th floors of the building. 

Sheldon Werdiger, the head of design for RFR, told the LPC that opening up the observation was part of the plans to resurrect the Cloud Club but the developer decided to move it down a few floors to “take advantage of the two extraordinary terraces on the north and south side.”