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June 3, 2008
 
       
 
 

POLISHING THE
"CROWN JEWEL OF
PARK AVENUE"


In case you’re not familiar with us, we’re the “People Magazine” of local business, with eight newsletters in DC, and now starting in NYC. Read more about us at www.Bisnow.com.


 

Okay, we know there’s competition for that moniker, so we put it in quotes, but surely a top contender is 230 Park, whose owners alone suggest its prestige: built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1928, sold in the 70s to Harry Helmsley, by widow Leona to billionaire Robert Bass in ‘98, to the royal family of Dubai in 2005, and late last year jointly to Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Fund and one of the big new powers on the block, Anthony Westreich and his Monday Properties.

 

Energetic 39-year old Anthony led us the other day to the 34th floor where we climbed 72 steps up a circular stairway to the cupola (fancy word for the little tower at the very top—see pic below). Famed Warren & Wetmore, architects of nearby Grand Central, designed  the building in the style of a chateau capped by an ornate copper pyramid.  Monday managed the 1.3M SF building for the last ten years, then paid Istithmar $1.15B in November to fulfill Anthony’s longtime dream to own it. Now he wants to revive its claim to being the “crown jewel of Park Avenue,” putting $50M into refinishing the exterior limestone, refurbishing the lobby, polishing original bronze fixtures everywhere, and upgrading and enhancing the electrical capacity of the building.

 

Aka the Helmsley building, a few years back it had 400 smaller tenants, but over time they’ve been upgraded to 130 marquee larger ones like ING Baring Furman Selz, HSH Nordbank, and Tokio Marine Fire & Insurance Co.  With four buildings under ownership or management on Park Avenue, two more in midtown, and 12 quite prominent ones in hometown DC, Westreich and his 300-person firm have completed $7.75 billion on 32 separate transactions representing 17M SF in the last five years.

 

In May 2007, Monday sold 237 Park Avenue (1.2M SF) to Broadway Partners for $1.18B, but continues to manage it. Its goal is to earn LEED certification for all 18 of its buildings, and for a new 35 story trophy in suburban Virginia looks like it will attain almost unheard-of platinum status, which will be the first for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

 

Anthony shows us the lobby of the 80-year-old building and the 1600 energy-efficient bulbs lighting its chandeliers; needless to say, the building’s on the National Historic Register.

 

When this motor that made the tower’s clock tick gave out, it was replaced with a digital one the size of Anthony’s Blackberry. Anthony’s own motor shows no signs of wear: he and his wife chase after their 4 and 5 year old sons in Old Westbury and recently returned from Tuscany where they celebrated their anniversary bicycling. Not to mention how he loves to climb to his new cupola.

 
 
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