666 Fifth Avenue
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|666 Fifth Avenue|
|Location||666 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York 10103|
|Owner||Kushner Properties ~53–57%|
Vornado Realty Trust ~43–47%
|Roof||483 ft (147 m)|
|Floor area||1,463,892 sq ft (136,000.0 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Carson & Lundin|
|Developer||Tishman Realty and Construction|
666 Fifth Avenue is a 41-story office building on Fifth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The office tower was designed by Carson & Lundin and built in 1957 by Tishman Realty and Construction, which sold it when the corporation dissolved in 1976. 666 Fifth Avenue was bought by Sumitomo Realty & Development in the late 1990s, and Tishman Speyer bought it back in 2000, adding tenants before selling it yet again to Kushner Properties in 2007.
Ownership and history
Construction, Tishman ownership, and sales
The Tishman family via Tishman Realty and Construction built the 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) tower in 1957. It was designed by Carson & Lundin, who also simultaneously worked on 600 Fifth Avenue in the nearby Rockefeller Center, and the building was called the Tishman Building. One of its most famous exterior features was the prominent 666 address emblazoned on the top of the building. The other distinctive exterior features are embossed aluminum panels. The original design included lobby sculptures by Japanese American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, including the "Landscape of the Cloud" which consists of sinuously cut thin railings in the ceiling to create a cloud effect. The cloud is also carried into a ceiling-to-floor waterfall. The penthouse was occupied by the Top of the Sixes restaurant, operated by Stouffer's, which closed in 1996. For many years the building had a distinctive feature of a T-shaped atrium walk-through open to the sidewalks on 52nd Street, 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue with glass storefronts inside the walk-through. This included a bookstore and another area used for years by Alitalia Airlines. For many years, the building was the home of Benton & Bowles, a major advertising firm.
Tishman Realty dissolved in 1976 and the building was sold for $80 million (about $270 million in 2016). In the late 1980s, Japanese firms bought both Rockefeller Center and 666 Fifth Avenue. The new owner of 666 Fifth was Japanese realty and development company Sumitomo. Major changes included replacing the Top of the Sixes restaurant with the Grand Havana Room, a cigar bar private club.
The newly reconstituted Tishman Speyer Properties bought the building for $518 million in 2000 (about $700 million in 2016), and about the same time Tishman also bought Rockefeller Center. Shortly after the purchase, Tishman enclosed the atrium walk-through and added a third tenant, Hickey Freeman. The enclosure cut off the Fifth Avenue entrance, and access now has to be via 52nd or 53rd Street. In 2002 the 666 address on the side of the building was replaced with a Citigroup logo, and Citigroup is now the building's largest tenant. The 2006 sale was the third blockbuster deal involving Tishman in two years. In 2005 Tishman bought the MetLife Building for $1.72 billion (about $2.1 billion in 2016), setting the previous record. A month before the 666 sale, Tishman bought Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village for $5.4 billion, which was the biggest real estate deal in U.S. history.
In January 2007, Tishman Speyer, along with the German investment firm TMW, announced the sale of the building to the Kushner Properties for $1.8 billion (about $2.1 billion in 2016), at the time the highest price ever paid for an individual building in Manhattan. This was an unconventional price for such a short building by New York standards, standing at 483 ft (147 m). 666 Fifth is not among the top 100 tallest buildings in New York City, but its high price was mainly because of its location on Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center. Kushner sold the retail condominium portion of 666 Fifth to a Stanley Chera-led group for $525 million in 2008 (about $590 million in 2016). In March 2017, reports were made that Anbang Insurance Group of China was in talks to purchase an interest in the building, based on a value of $2.85 billion ($1.6 billion for the office section, and $1.25 billion for the retail section); some of the alleged terms of the deal were called "unusually favorable," including an exit for Vornado Realty Trust and retirement of the Kushner organization's remaining debt at 20 cents on the dollar, raising concerns about political influence on the Donald Trump presidential administration due to Jared Kushner's position. Shortly after the reports were made, Anbang denied that they were looking to invest in the building.
In March 2017, Zaha Hadid Architects announced plans for a $12 billion, 1,400 foot skyscraper being developed by the Kushner organization to replace the current building. The new building, to include retail and residential space and a hotel, would be completed by 2025 at the earliest, and would face a park, created by razing a block of current buildings. The developers also plan to change the name to 660 Fifth Avenue, to avoid the diabolical association with the number 666. The plans to replace the current building were later withdrawn.
In late April 2017, Charles Kushner met with Qatari Finance Minister Sharif Al Emadi in an attempt to secure funding for the tower from Qatar's sovereign wealth fund. Emadi did not agree to invest Qatar's fund in the project. About one month later, the 2017-18 Qatar diplomatic crisis began. Jared Kushner reportedly undermined United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's efforts to resolve the crisis.
In September 2017, the Washington Post wrote: "With one-fourth of its offices empty, lease revenue does not cover monthly interest payments, according to lending documents. A $1.2 billion mortgage, with escalating interest rates, comes due in 18 months. A ratings agency has classified a $115 million portion of the loan as 'troubled,' and company officials decline to say whether it will be fully repaid." Due to the large amount of debt owed on the tower, Vornado Realty Trust, which owned 49.5 percent of the tower, said in February 2018 that it planned to sell its stake in the building. Vornado's stake in the property was subsequently sold to Kushner Cos. on June 1, 2018.
- Brooks Brothers and the NBA Store became the initial ground-floor tenants. Brooks Brothers moved out in 2009, as well as Hickey Freeman in May of that year. The NBA Store closed in February 2011.
- The new Hollister Co. Epic New York flagship moved in during 2010, and Uniqlo occupies 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) on the ground, second, and third floors. The Hollister flagship opened in the later part of 2010 and features a live video feed from Huntington Beach, California displayed on 179 flat-screen TVs outside the store along with wave pools.
- The building has also become an attractive location for law firms, hosting the New York offices of Schiff Hardin, Vinson & Elkins, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
- In addition to law firms, 666 Fifth Avenue houses the hedge fund Atlantic Investment Management, the hedge fund Millennium Management, LLC, the private equity firm AEA Investors, and the investment bank William Blair & Company.
- The headquarters for DC Comics was located at 666 Fifth Avenue before moving to 1700 Broadway in the 1990s.
The building contains an entrance to the New York City Subway's Fifth Avenue/53rd Street station, which is served by the E and M trains. When the Hollister Co. store was opened, polished gray columns were placed in the lobby near the elevators and changes were made to the subway entrance at the base of the building.
In popular culture
The 1959 documentary film Skyscraper  was about the construction of 666 Fifth Avenue. The film's director Shirley Clarke described it as a "musical comedy about the building of a skyscraper." Skyscraper was nominated for an Academy Award in 1960.
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In his 2007 memoir, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort recalled lunching at Top of the Sixes with a pal from LF Rothschild, downstairs. “It was where Masters of the Universe could get blitzed on martinis and exchange war stories,” Belfort wrote, as depicted in the 2013 movie.
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