General Motors Building (Manhattan)
|General Motors Building|
The building as seen from Central Park in 2008
|Architectural style||International Style|
|Location||767 5th Ave, New York City, NY 10153, USA|
|Roof||705 ft (215 m)|
|Floor area||1,637,363 sq ft (152,116.0 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Edward Durell Stone & Associates |
Emery Roth & Sons
|Engineer||The Office of James Ruderman|
The General Motors Building is a 50-story, 705 ft (215 m) office tower at 767 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. The building, which is bound by Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue between 59th Street and 58th Street, is one of the few structures in Manhattan to occupy a full city block. With 1,774,000 net leasable square feet, the tower sits on the site of the former Savoy-Plaza Hotel and affords views of Central Park. It was designed in the international style by Edward Durell Stone & Associates with Emery Roth & Sons and completed in 1968.
Currently owned by a joint venture of Boston Properties, Zhang Xin, and the Safra banking family, the GM Building remains one of New York's most recognized and expensive office properties. Rents typically exceed $100 per square foot; a 2013 transaction among minority owners valued the building around $3.4 billion.
The building was built and developed by Cecilia Benattar, president and chief executive officer of the North American holdings of the vast British holding company London Merchant Securities PLC.
Its design was completed the same year the 1964 New York World's Fair opened. Construction began after demolition of the Savoy-Plaza in 1965, and was completed in 1968. The façade is an expression of unbroken verticality in "glistening white Georgia marble" and sheets of glass. Both architectural firms were prolific skyscraper designers contributing to much of Manhattan's urban fabric; however, the property has been more attractive as a piece of real estate and as a home to its corporate tenants than it has to architecture critics. Paul Goldberger and Ada Louise Huxtable both criticized the building and even the first edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (1968), an unabashed apology for International Modernism, noted, "The hue and cry over the new behemoth was based, not on architecture but, rather, first on the loss of the hotel's[note 1] elegant shopping amenities in favor of automobile salesmanship (an auto showroom is particularly galling at the spot in New York most likely to honor the pedestrian)."(p157)
When the building opened, it housed 3,027 General Motors workers taking up roughly half the building.
General Motors moved 700 of the 1,100 employees working in the building to Detroit in February 1981, reducing their occupancy to 12 floors of the building or roughly 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2). In April 1981, General Motors announced their intention to sell the building for more than $500 million while still maintaining their corporate office space. Rather than selling the building outright, GM sold an option to Corporate Property Investors in January 1982 to buy the building in 1991. Corporate Property Investors paid $500 million for the option and received 10% 10-year notes from GM paying $50 million a year. The deal was believed to represent the largest mortgage ever for an office property in New York City.
In February 1991, Corporate Property Investors exercised their option to buy the building from General Motors for $500 million.
By 1995, General Motors was close to shuttering it's New York City outpost and moving to Westchester county. However, after employee demand and receiving tax breaks from the city of New York, GM signed a smaller lease for 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2), compared to the 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) they previously occupied.
In 1998, Conseco and Donald Trump purchased the General Motors Building for $878 million from Corporate Property Investors. Trump raised the controversial sunken plaza where few pedestrians had ventured, which had been criticized by Huxtable, and installed his name in four-foot gold letters.
The building was home to CBS's The Early Show from 1999 to 2012.
In 2003, Trump and partners sold the building for $1.4 billion, then the highest price paid for a North American office building, to Macklowe Organization. Following the acquisition, Macklowe completed a comprehensive $150 million repositioning program which created the Apple Store space as well as 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2) of new retail space on the Madison Avenue side of the building. The property was first recapitalized in January 2005, with new senior debt of $1.1 billion, and $300 million of preferred equity from Jamestown, a German retail real estate syndicator.
In December 2006, the property was recapitalized again, with $1.9 billion in new senior debt. During this recapitalization, Macklowe also repurchased all of Jamestown's preferred equity stake, leaving them as sole owners.
In February 2008, due to a credit crisis among lenders, the Macklowe Organization put the GM Building on the market for between $3.2 and $3.5 billion. It sold in May for an estimated $2.8 billion to a joint venture between Boston Properties, Goldman Sachs Real Estate Opportunities Fund (backed by funds from Kuwait and Qatar), and Meraas Capital (a Dubai-based real estate private equity firm). It was the largest single-asset transaction of 2008.
Its street-level lobby originally featured a showroom for General Motors vehicles. Then, until 2015 the lobby was FAO Schwarz's ( which moved from across the street, in 1986 from 745 Fifth Avenue) flagship toy store, which was featured in the film Big and which won an award for its lighting in 2005.
Also in the building is the flagship Apple Store, whose entrance is a 32 ft (9.8 m) glass cube that has been likened to the Louvre Pyramid and which allows a descent into the store via glass elevator and spiral staircase. This addition was designed by Apple and the firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Other prominent tenants of the General Motors Building include Estée Lauder Companies, Corning Incorporated, international sports, entertainment & media giant IMG, the hedge fund York Capital Management, the holding company Icahn Enterprises, and the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
In April 2017, Boston Properties negotiated a new $2.3 billion mortgage from a group of unidentified lenders. This loan represented the largest received by a New York City building since the $2.7 billion Wells Fargo loan to The Blackstone Group and Ivanhoé Cambridge for their purchase of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village in late 2015.
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In 1982, the General Motors building on Fifth Avenue across from the Plaza Hotel, which has 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2), changed hands in an unusual sale leaseback estimated to be worth $500 million.
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