Foundations of America

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Home Stony Creek Granite Sites Commercial Structures SONY Building Sold for $1.1 billion

SONY Building Sold for $1.1 billion

Olayan America and Chelsfield Group to buy 550 Madison Ave. for $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion

By JOSEPH DE AVILA April 25, 2016 8:45 p.m. ET A pair of international property investors said Monday that they had bought the Sony Building, the Midtown icon known for its distinctive notched Chippendale top. Olayan America, a subsidiary of Saudi investment conglomerate Olayan Group, along with Chelsfield Group, a London-based property-investment company, agreed to buy the 850,000-square-foot office building for $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion, a person familiar with the transaction said. Chelsfield Group will be a minority partner in the deal, this person said. The buyers purchased the Philip Johnson-designed tower, at 550 Madison Ave., from the Chetrit Group, a real-estate firm, which bought the Sony Building in 2013 for $1.1 billion. “We are delighted to partner once again with Olayan on a trophy property in a world-class city,” said Elliott Bernerd, founder and joint chairman of Chelsfield. Chetrit Group, along with real-estate company Clipper Equity, planned to convert the 37-story building into luxury condominiums and a hotel. The condos were expected to sell for $4,000 a square foot. The sale is expected to close in about 45 days, a person familiar with the transaction said. Olayan America and Chelsfield will be keeping the Sony Building as a commercial office space, this person said. Sony was the only tenant in the building, but the company recently moved out to another location. The Sony Building opened in the 1980s. It was previously called the AT&T Building, for the company that was its first major tenant. Robert A.M. Stern, a student of Mr. Johnson, was designing the conversion project envisioned by Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity. The conversion was scheduled to be finished by 2018, but that project has been scrapped by the sale. Representatives from Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity couldn’t be reached for comment. News of the sale of the Sony Building was earlier reported by the Financial Times. The conversion of the Sony Building into condos and a hotel had previously raised concerns in the art world over the fate of two floor-to-ceiling frescoes in the building’s sky lobby painted by artist Dorothea Rockburne. The Chetrit Group pledged to preserve the artwork, but Ms. Rockburne wasn’t satisfied with the company’s assurances. Doug Harmon of Eastdil Secured LLC represented the sellers in the deal. Write to Joseph De Avila at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 11:25  

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