The Olayan Group today received the distinguished New York Landmarks Conservancy Chairman’s Award during a virtual celebration for the company’s preservation for the landmarked office tower 550 Madison. Olayan was honored for preserving the architectural legacy of the iconic East Midtown tower as it undergoes a repositioning to reopen as a premier Class A commercial destination. The New York Landmarks Conservancy (NYLC) is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the unique architectural heritage of New York City. The NYLC Chairman’s Award has been bestowed annually since 1988 on an individual or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to the preservation and revitalization of New York City’s historic architecture.
“The Olayan Group is honored to receive this distinguished award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy,” said Erik Horvat, Managing Director and Head of Real Estate at Olayan America. “We take our responsibility as owners of this iconic landmark very seriously. 550 Madison is a piece of New York history, and we could not be prouder to be its steward. When we took ownership of the building just a few years ago, it had been sitting vacant for years, which was such a loss for the city. We worked closely with our architectural team and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to craft a plan that would breathe new life into the building with modern, sustainable upgrades inside while preserving its historic facade. We look forward to reopening the building as a best-in-class commercial destination that will once again house some of the top companies in the world.”
“We are pleased to honor The Olayan Group for supporting the designation of this important building as a New York City Landmark and honoring its original design,” said Peg Breen, President at The New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1984, 550 Madison is a global destination, showcased in architecture classes around the world as a premiere example of postmodernism. The Olayan Group acquired 550 Madison in 2016, and the building proudly became New York City’s youngest landmark in 2018.
Recognized around the world for its distinctive architecture, including the “Chippendale” top that is unmistakable on the New York skyline, 550 Madison is being repositioned as a multi-tenant building for the first time. The interior renovation will create a state-of-the-art trophy office tower providing a model for historical and sustainable adaptive reuse as the only LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certified building in the Plaza District.
The building will feature the latest ventilation technology, known as a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS), which will infuse the entire structure with fresh, purified outdoor air. Buildings that use dedicated outdoor air systems have 30% more fresh air than those with other systems. This abundance of fresh and filtered air will help mitigate the spread of diseases, germs, and other viruses as there is more filtered air in the building, improving both health and productivity.
The 850,000-square-foot building features office floors with 14-foot high ceilings; large, column-free floor plates; city views in all directions; river-to-river sightlines; and offices overlooking Central Park. At the club level, which will provide unparalleled service to tenants, Olayan is preserving the two floor-to-ceiling monumental artworks by Dorothea Rockburne, which were commissioned in 1993 specifically for the building.
The world-class landscape architects at Snøhetta are creating for the first time a welcoming public garden for tenants and the community to enjoy. The 21,000-square-foot garden adjacent to the building will be a vibrant new space with planting and seating that will become a true public amenity for the neighborhood with access to fresh air, greenery, and sunlight. 44% of the space will be planted with a diversity of carefully selected plantings – including evergreens, perennials, and flowering shrubs – that will celebrate the dynamic seasonality of the Northeastern climate, creating a welcoming retreat in the densely-built streetscape no matter the time of year. The garden will feature seating, tables, public bathrooms, and bike racks.
For more information, visit www.550madison.com.
About The Olayan Group
The Olayan Group is a private, multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of international investments and diverse commercial and industrial operations. Founded in 1947, the Group today has offices in Athens, Liechtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Riyadh, Vienna and New York, where Olayan has had a continuous presence for more than 47 years. Investing both directly and in partnership with leading developers, the Group has a diverse real estate portfolio that includes commercial, residential, and mixed-use properties.
Learn more about The Olayan Group at: www.olayan.com.