Park Views

405 Park Avenue buys St. Patrick’s air rights for a glassy upgrade

Development East News
405 Park Avenue to get glassy upgrade after buying St. Patrick's air rights. Pictured: 405 Park Avenue from the street. (Jonathan Hilburg/AN)

Only two days after AN reported that the owners of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in East Midtown, Manhattan, were planning on selling a portion of the venerable church’s air rights to an undisclosed buyer, Crain’s New York has reported that the transfer will go towards enlarging 405 Park Avenue. The 17-story, currently unassuming brick-and-glass office tower will grow another four stories and have its facade replaced with an all-glass curtainwall courtesy of global architecture firm Gensler.

The office building was purchased by co-owners MRP Realty and Deutsche Bank Asset Management, an arm of the German bank, in early 2016, and will become the second building (after 270 Park Avenue) to expand under the East Midtown rezoning. MRP and Deutsche bank will be buying 30,000 square feet of the cathedral’s air rights–out of a total one million–which is expected to earn St Patrick’s around $7.2 million to use for maintaining the area around the church.

As a result of the sale, 405 Park Ave. will undergo a gut renovation as well as the enlargement, bringing the total floor space up to 205,000 square feet. Crains also reports that the two owners will be charging a premium after the transformation, with prices north of $100 per square foot.

The original 405 Park Avenue, completed in 1915. (Courtesy Architectural Record, public domain)

The news comes on the heels of the highly contested announcement that the Union Carbide building down the street would be demolished, as owners JPMorgan Chase are seeking to replace the tower with an upgraded supertall. It seems unlikely that the same forces will mobilize to protest the changes at 405 Park Ave.; though the building was originallu designed by New York mainstays Cross & Cross as a neo-classical 12-story apartment building in 1915, a total renovation in 1957 left the location unrecognizable from its original incarnation. Now it seems that history will repeat itself as the office building builds even taller.

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