Face-to-Face with Harry Macklowe Part 2

October 04, 2018

EisnerAmper Real Estate Services Group Chair Ken Weissenberg interviews Harry Macklowe, Chairman of Macklowe Properties about current development projects in the second part of this series.


Ken Weissenberg: Ken Weissenberg from EisnerAmper here with Harry Macklowe at 432 Park Avenue, a magnificent building. This is not your only project. You've come back, and you came back very strong post-recession. You have projects on 59th and Third Avenue. You have a project at One Wall Street. You've just completed a project at 72nd and Park Avenue, and on 72nd, around the corner from that one on Park.

Harry Macklowe: Yes, our One Wall Street is probably the largest. That's a building of a million two hundred thousand feet that we bought from the Bank of New York. It was the former Irving Trust headquarters, and was built by Irving Trust in 1928. That building at Wall Street and Broadway, at the very beginning of Wall Street, next to the New York Stock Exchange, is landmarked.

They, the bank, expanded in 1961, and built an annex with about a half a million feet next door and joined the floors together. Bank of New York bought Irving Trust, which was my first bank when I started in business and no longer exists. It has been gobbled up by Bank of New York. They sold the building to us, leased it back for a year and a half and they moved to the World Financial Center. They vacated the building in December and we are halfway through a demolition program. We will be building three hundred and fifty thousand feet of office space of commercial, three hundred thousand feet of residential rental, and three hundred fifty thousand feet of condominiums.

KW: It sounds like a magnificent project.

HM: The building itself is changing as is the entire financial district. So it's really the start of a small city with the varied retail, commercial, and then the residential aspects to it. That building is enormously complicated because of its size, its landmark status, and trying to put into the building all of all of these uses. We're working closely with the Robert Stern firm who’s very involved in classic buildings and landmark buildings and together with Schummer and Clayman and Liechtenstein, who we have worked with for 40-45 years. They are the executive architects, and Stern is the design architect.

KW: That property has two very unique spaces; the white board room and the red marble lobby. How are those how those being incorporated into the new structure?

HM: Well the red room was within the original design. The building was designed by Hildred Mirth who was a very fine designer and we're trying to preserve that. Hopefully we'll get a tenant who respects the space and who will be able to leave it as it is. And the white room, which was a duplex at the very top of the building, part of the boardroom, will be incorporated into a duplex apartment which I think will be spectacular. We're trying to keep all of the quality of it intact. It's a little difficult with a building that is 75 years old, but I think will be very successful.

What's exciting about the building is to know that you're able to take an office building and come up with an adaptive reuse, something that I've done from my youth until now. Over a period of time, I've kind of distilled so many ideas, and am able to whittle it down into something that is good. I think good design, compact - so that it takes advantage of the space and presents to a buyer, and or renter, a space of quality.

KW: Tell us about the project on 59th and Third Avenue. It's across the street from Bloomingdales, I’m sure there's a large retail component.

HM: 59th Street and Third Avenue is one of the buildings that's kind of an anomaly. It should have been incorporated into the D&D building, which is New York's Design Center. And for some reason a series of these buildings were not, perhaps they weren't for sale at the time or they could not get possession. So this is a plot that's in the very middle, kind of the crotch of the D&D building, and we're building a 35-story apartment house which will have a D&D component on the bottom three floors. That building is something that's fairly unique in the city. I When I saw the site and started to work on my designs, the actual drawings for the building, I felt I wanted to build what I would call, in my nomenclature, a Florida building. A Florida building is one which has generous use of space, high ceilings, and an indoor/outdoor component. And I felt that the building, if I could expand it beyond its walls, would be very interesting. So I experimented with balconies totally surrounding the building and I worked quite hard to develop exactly the right depth - what would be enough for chairs and tables, what would be enough for a lounge. And we came up with a seven-foot component. So we struck that design as the very kind of quintessential essence of the building.

About Kenneth Weissenberg

Kenneth Weissenberg CPA, Tax Partner in Real Estate Services, is experienced in tax saving strategies and negotiating sales and acquisitions. He represents owners of some of the most well-known real estate properties in New York City.

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