The Olayan Group, which has widely publicized the new facilities it’s bringing to office landmark 550 Madison Avenue, just landed its most impressive — and stunning — facility of all.
Gracious Hospitality Management, the restaurant company founded by Simon Kim, the creator of Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse COTE on West 22nd Street, just inked a deal for a 15,000-square-foot, “multidimensional” dining concept on the tower’s three lowest levels.
The restaurant, potentially a Midtown game-changer, will feature 60-foot ceilings and windows overlooking Madison Avenue. The ground floor will have direct access to the tower’s new expansive landscaped, half-acre Arcade Garden.
“The iconic design of 550 Madison provides the ideal location for Simon to share his latest vision,” said Eric Horvat, principal of real estate at Olayan Americas.
The partners told Realty Check, “Gracious Hospitality and Olayan” will begin the design phase immediately to bring the team’s vision to life.
However, the name, cuisine and design for the new vision are yet to be decided. Korean or not, any type of Asian cuisine will set the place apart from the American and European menus at other new or redesigned Midtown office towers.
When Kim launched COTE in 2017, its unique marriage of Korean barbecue and American steakhouse styles immediately made it one of Manhattan’s hottest restaurants – a position it still holds.
Kim’s arrival is the latest by a top-tier chef in a major new office tower. Daniel Boulud Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt Launched and bring later Giant Steakhouse for One Madison, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has plans for a large eatery at 425 Park Avenue; And Avra recently snapped up a sprawling Greek seafood restaurant at 1271 Sixth Avenue.
Such deals polish the towers’ image for tenants and the public. There are many hybrid arrangements that include elements of traditional leases combined with landlord-restaurant revenue-sharing formulas.
However, it was not known how Kim’s contract at 550 Madison is structured.
It comes at an important time for the tower, which Olayan bought for $1.4 billion in 2016 and spent another $300 million to redesign the retail spaces and lower-level facades and create new public gardens were.
50% of its 750,000 square feet of office space is leased, led by Chubb’s commitment of 240,000 square feet and smaller ones for Hermes and Corsair Capital. Rents for some floors are close to $200 per square foot.
That still leaves about 750,000 square feet to lease at a time when some companies are downsizing and others are taking a hard look at their space needs.
But Kim’s One Restaurant adds a “cool factor” that can only help attract more cutting-edge tenants.