A rendering of the new
lobby at 1290 Ave. of
the Americas.

(RealShare New York comes to the Grand Hyatt, New York, NY, October 9.)

NEW YORK CITY-A ‘wow’ factor with a timeless quality. That’s what Vornado Realty Trust’s David Greenbaum envisioned for the redesign of 1290 Avenue of the Americas, says Dan Shannon, a principal with Moed de Armas & Shannon, the architecture firm in charge of the project.

Construction is now officially underway for the comprehensive lobby and entryway renovation at the 43-story, two-million-square-foot trophy, which is part of a major capital improvement initiative designed to enhance the existing prominence of the building while meeting the needs of the property’s core tenancy.

“There were two principal ideas to the work we are doing there: the first one is to give the building its proper identity on the street,” Shannon says. “It’s unique because it is one of the few buildings where the tower itself is recessed from the street behind these two wings that pull forward, so there’s almost a courtyard in the front. It’s a nice piece of architecture, but it hides the entry so to speak. 1301 and 1285, Exxon – they all stand proud on the street and this one is recessed from the street, so the entry has always been a bit of a challenge in terms of its identity and presence.” 

The scope of the renovation encompasses the design and rehabilitation of nearly 15,000 square feet of lobby space as well as multiple entry plazas and arcade exceeding 5,000 square feet. Moed de Armas & Shannon expect the entire project to be completed in the spring of 2013.

“What we did to overcome that is we created this three-story new glass storefront,” he says. “That takes it from the two story up to the three story with a very strong canopy so that the entry to the building is now a true signature. It’s light, it’s bright and monumental.”

1290 Avenue of the Americas occupied the entire block between 51st and 52nd Street with an entrance along the eastern side of 6th Avenue. Current tenants include AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co.; Bryan Cave LLP; Cushman & Wakefield; Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto; Microsoft; Warner Music Group and Wenner Media.

Moed de Armas & Shannon has previously worked with Vornado on many significant projects including the total redevelopment of 330 Madison Ave.; the plaza and the lobby at 1740 Broadway; and the plaza, public space and lobby of 888 Seventh Ave., Vornado’s corporate headquarters. Since 2002, MDEAS has more than doubled its work on lobbies, growing that portion of their business from 18% to 44%.