545 Madison Gets a Midcentury Modern Update


When Thor Equities defaulted on its ground lease at 545 Madison Avenue last year and Marx Realty took over the building, the new landlord decided the 17-story office property could use some modern updates.

Marx CEO Craig Deitelzweig said that the glassy 1950s tower “used to have lots of sharp edges. Now there are rounded edges — rounded edges for archways, a rounded library, three rounded seating areas and a touchless cappuccino maker” in the lobby.

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The entrance and lobby are being renovated in a midcentury style, much like Marx’s 10 Grand Central. The walls will be reclad in walnut wood with bronze accents, complete with what Deitelzweig calls “sexy lighting” and a reception desk made of emerald quartzite that will be lit from behind.

Even the lobby doors will be rounded and oversized “so they’re dramatic,” said Deitelzweig. The furniture will have rounded edges as well, with velvet couches in midcentury pinks and greens. Other accents include a blackened concrete wall and a bronzed mirror. There will also be fruit-infused water, jazzy music and Marx Realty’s “signature scent.”

Upstairs, Marx is doing 20,000 square feet of prebuilt office suites on the third and 14th floors. The aesthetic will be similar to the lobby, with arched seating areas carved out of dark wood, midcentury furniture in bright colors, and kitchenettes outfitted with dark wood cabinetry. The 10th floor is also up for lease. Asking rents in the building range from $80 to $100 per square foot.

The bathrooms and elevators will be revamped with a midcentury modern style, too, with bronze and grey and walnut woods. Entering the building and calling the elevators will be touchless, thanks to Marx’s in-house app. One of the doormen will be responsible for pushing the elevator buttons, rather than building tenants.

“What’s nice about bronze is that it’s antimicrobial, and all the touch points in the building are bronze,” Deitelzweig said.

Construction started last month, and is expected to wrap in February.

Ultimately, “we want everyone to feel safe and like they’re cocooned in safety and velvet and soft textures,” he said. “We want everyone to feel like they’re in a hotel.”