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A Storied Park Avenue Co-op Is About to Disappear

Midtown East, Manhattan

Park Ave. Co-op

The Emery Roth-designed co-op (center) is being shouldered out by taller neighbors (image via Google Maps).

June 5, 2019

Two years ago, we reported on a Soho co-op whose seven shareholders agreed unanimously to dissolve the cooperative and sell the building for $42 million. A new deal has just put that one in the shade.

GDS Development is negotiating to purchase the century-old residential co-op building at 417 Park Avenue and East 55th Street for around $200 million, Crain’s reports. If the deal goes through, GDS could erect a nearly 220,000-square-foot office tower on the site, made possible by the recent rezoning of Midtown East. If GDS is able to purchase neighboring properties, the new structure could be even larger. 

The real estate services firm CBRE has been marketing 417 Park Avenue on behalf of the co-op's residents for several months. The proceeds from the sale would be split between the 28-unit building's shareholders, averaging over $7 million per apartment at a time when high-priced sales have dramatically slowed. 

The elegant 13-story structure, designed by the venerable architect Emery Roth and built in 1916, is one of the last Park Avenue co-ops still standing between Grand Central Terminal and 57th Streets. It sits next door to another anachronism – the two-story boutique of Stefano Ricci, a maker of luxury clothing for men. On the other side of the Ricci boutique, the owners of 405 Park Avenue are using the Midtown East rezoning to add four new floors on top of their existing 17-story office building. 

This neighborhood began changing before the ink was dry on the 2017 rezoning deal. JP Morgan Chase announced last year that it would utilize the plan to tear down its perfectly functional 52-story Modernist headquarters at 270 Park Avenue – the tallest demolition project in history – and build a much taller office tower in its place. Meanwhile, across 55th Street from the Emery Roth-designed co-op, a new office tower is under construction, where the hedge fund Citadel will occupy more than 300,000 square feet. In this part of town, the new mantra is: get tall, or get out. 

Reliable sources report that Emery Roth (1871-1948) is spinning in his grave.

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