By Steve Cuozzo January 13, 2015 | 2:19am
L&L Holding Co., which is transforming 425 Park Ave. with a well-received Norman Foster redesign, is launching a second, larger East Midtown metamorphosis.
By early 2017, gloomy 380 Madison Ave. will be reborn as 390 Madison — a tower bearing no resemblance to today’s Darth Vader-like hulk. Designed by KPF architects, it will be clad in reflective glass, taller and more slender at the top and largely reshaped to reallocate some of its lower-level space to new, upper floors.
On behalf of 380 Madison owner Clarion Partners, L&L is performing a feat that’s very difficult, but not impossible, under 1961 zoning rules — replacing an entire old building with one of the same size in terms of floor area. It won’t be a ground-up project, but an ingenious re-invention incorporating most of the original structure’s hidden bones.
Although 390 Madison will have just under 900,000 square feet — the same as at the empty current building — it will be unrecognizable as the same structure, as shown for the first time above. (By comparison, 425 Park Ave. has 650,000 square feet.)
In what might be the largest “re-massing” of a Manhattan building yet undertaken, the 291-foot tall, 24-story structure will grow to 373 feet in height and 32 stories. The highest portion will be set back and narrower than the current structure, affording better views.
L&L’s transformation will replace opaque glass and underlying brick with an all-glass curtain wall of transparent, floor-to-ceiling windows and glass spandrels to mark separation of floors.
Two entire floor slabs at lower levels comprising nearly 100,000 square feet, and portions of others, will be removed.
But the “lost” space will be reallocated to eight new floors to be constructed atop the existing 24.
The high floors will boast a 13.5-foot “slab to slab” height, the new standard at projects such as 11 Times Square and 4 World Trade Center. Removal of slabs below will open up the volume to allow for 14.5-foot floor-to-ceiling heights on certain lower floors.
The re-massing will also make room for large outdoor terraces on setback floors as well as high-ceilinged interior spaces suitable for tenant cafés and other amenities. The project is aiming for LEED gold certification. Some 15,000 square feet of retail will include 25-foot ceiling heights.
The project is confidently proceeding with no tenants pre-signed.
Remarkably, 390 Madison is to be built entirely as-of-right. It requires no public review, community board hearings, special permits, Landmarks Commission or Planning Department involvement or subsidies. It needs only Department of Buildings permits, many of which have already been issued.
The project exploits a rare loophole in 1961 zoning rules that forbade replacement of most East Midtown buildings of the time with ones of the same size. As at 425 Park Ave., L&L is tapping a little-used provision that allows a building to be redeveloped to the same size as the original — if at least 25 percent of the old structure is preserved.
That typically requires keeping some structural steel and has deterred other developers. But only 18 percent of 380 Madison will be dismantled, Levinson said.