SL Green is a real estate investment trust that primarily invests in office buildings and shopping centers in NYC. When the primary tenant HarperCollins Publishers opted to relocate to the Financial District at the end of their lease, SL Green seized the opportunity to redesign and reposition this well-known Plaza-district skyscraper in order to attract new tenants.
Our design team agreed that the building was in need of an upgrade and reconfiguration at street level. There were numerous problems with the existing indoor-outdoor lobby passageway, including that it was dark, it was a wind tunnel, and there was no street visibility for the miscellaneous retail tenants inside. The City Planning Commission required that the new design maintain as much public access as possible, and in such a densely built part of Midtown, it is rare to have amenities such as plantings, stairs, and through-block access.
Our new design meets both real estate and public service requirements. At the entrance level, the designers worked with the city and SL Green to enclose the arcade while still allowing public access during select hours. Elegant materials including bronze glass walls, brushed stainless steel supporting columns, and white marble floors were selected for the lobby.
Architecturally, we brightened and improved the façade by re-painting the spandrels and mullions a single champagne color, and re-glazing the entire building in high-performance, therma-pane glass that is more reflective and has better acoustical properties. The effect is to unify the 11-story podium with the thinner, 26-story tower immediately above. The narrow exterior steps were widened and significant landscaping upgrades were made. As a result, 10 East 53rd has gone from being a B building to being an A+ building, which, 200 feet from Fifth Avenue, has an enormous financial upside for SL Green.