Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Between the Bricks

By Lois Weiss | February 25, 2014

A multimillion-dollar capital-improvement plan is starting to pay off at 501 Madison Ave. as Porsche Design has leased a new 7,000 square-foot flagship with 115 feet wrapping around East 52nd St.

The 15-year deal had an asking rent of $750 a square foot for the 2,501 square feet on the ground, and $150 a square foot for 2,344 square feet on the second floor. Its private elevator also runs down to the fully climatized 1,864 square-foot lower level with high ceilings.

Michael Glanzberg of Sinvin Real Estate represented Porsche Design in the new deal. The edgy design-accessories store has been in 1,800 square feet on the Madison Avenue side of the GM Building for the past eight years. That space will close, and they will reopen in this new space later this summer.

“The migration of ultra-luxury down Madison is really a notable market dynamic,” said Glanzberg, ticking off area stores, which already include Rolex, Brioni, Lladró, Tourneau and Dunhill.

The office building was developed by Cornelius Vanderbilt, and public documents show he leased it in 1929 to a group that has at times included many prominent real-estate families including Silks, Halperns and Lindenbaums.

After 81 years, the Vanderbilt family decided to take back the building and make the investments and capital improvements needed to upgrade all the tenancies.

Among the changes is a reorientation of the lobby to create additional retail frontage while also capturing the second floor to create double-height retail and signage. Low iron glass will help storefronts reduce reflections. “These are bespoke retail spaces,” said Robert Freedman, Robert Freedman, Chairman of Colliers International who represented the family along with Vice Chairman Alex Jinishian.

A new chiller, hallways and bathrooms are being upgraded, the façade restored, and the better tenants retained.