An overlooked office tower near Grand Central Terminal is now on track for a complete makeover.
The glass and steel building at 300 E. 42nd St. sits along the full Second Avenue blockfront to East 41st Street and was recently sold to a new owner.
Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Partners and Meadow Partners had been in off-market discussions with the owners when it was listed for sale with Darcy Stacom at CBRE. The Somerset-Meadow group prevailed and, with a loan from Brookfield, closed last week on the building for $122.5 million, or roughly $533 per square foot.
Cheap as the project sounds, the partners will now start putting millions of dollars into the building. “It’s a great opportunity to reposition and create a contemporary workplace environment,” Rubenstein said.
The building had previously been owned by ULM Holding, a German nonprofit that paid $19.5 million for the site at a foreclosure auction in 1996. Developed in 1963, the building was renovated in 2009. But more recently, its 230,000 square feet were 80% vacant.
David Falk’s team at Newmark Knight Frank will handle the leasing, with rents starting in the $70s per square foot. The plan by Spector Group architects includes a reimagined entrance, new lobby, new mechanicals, new elevator cabs and an upgraded exterior.
“There are interesting thoughts in terms of how we will enhance its street presence,” said Rubenstein. “There are large terraces to build out and we will make great amenity space in the lower portion.”
Additionally, discussions are underway with an international group to create a flagship restaurant in a portion of the retail space and draw from the United Nations, new residential towers and area office tenants.
The East 42nd Street corridor is also reinventing itself with multiple projects, including the reimagined 390 Madison Ave., the rising One Vanderbilt, the new towers expected for the Grand Hyatt and Pfizer sites, and a change in the Daily News building ownership.