SL Green Wants Big Development Rights at 317 Madison

In a signal that it intends to proceed with plans to redevelop 317 Madison Avenue once the market looks rosier, SL Green on Tuesday afternoon asked the city to approve a transfer of up to 112,000 square feet of development rights from its landmarked Cipriani building at 110 East 42nd Street to its Madison Avenue development site.

SL Green, New York City’s largest commercial landlord, now owns a 23-story Class B building at 317 Madison Avenue. It’s made no secret of its plans to redevelop the site, once Manhattan looks ready to absorb new office space.

At SL Green’s annual investors conference on Monday afternoon at the Nokia Theatre, attendees munched on comfort food cooked up by Virgil’s before listening to the REIT’s leadership try to rise above the general unease surrounding not only SL Green, but the entire real estate industry.

One of the presentation’s more positive notes was SL Green president Andrew Mathias’ discussion of none other than 317 Madison Avenue.

“As in the short-lived recession in the earlier part of this decade, the distinguishing feature this time … is a marked lack of new supply,” Mr. Mathias said (The Observer listened to the conference via Webcast). “As rents spiked and financing was plentiful, quite a few new projects were drawn up, to the point where it looked like over 40 million square feet were going to be delivered to the market in the coming five or so years, looking out from last year.

“Which sites will be the first to return to activity? Those with well-capitalized owners and not requiring massive infrastructure or public sign-offs to proceed. We’ve assembled just that kind of site adjacent to Grand Central at our Madison Avenue development site.”

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is expected to vote on SL Green’s request in early 2009.

drubinstein@observer.com

SL Green Wants Big Development Rights at 317 Madison