Boston Properties is moving forward with the renovation of the six-story office and retail building that sits at the base of 601 Lexington Avenue. As part of the overhaul, the company is renaming the structure as 159 East 53rd Street.
“We are commencing the full rehabilitation of the low-rise building at 601 Lexington Avenue. The building is being renamed 159 East 53rd Street and will have a segregated street entrance and lobby for our 195,000 square foot office building,” Boston Properties CEO Owen Thomas said during an earnings call on Wednesday.
The structure, which was a component of the 601 Lexington Avenue complex, contained the Atrium, a three-story retail center that housed a Barnes & Noble branch. Last June, Crain’s reported that the book store is vacating its 5,293 s/f space in the building to give way to a “major redevelopment.”
John Powers, Boston Properties’ executive vice president for the New York region, provided an update on the renovations.
“Well, 601 is a very exciting redevelopment,” Powers said. “The smaller building, which used to cover the atrium building, we are re-branding that completely. We are taking skin off the building. We are taking all the mechanical systems. It will be essentially down to a slab and steel structure and rebuilding it from scratch up,” he said.
Powers also revealed that they plan on installing a food hall at the property, providing an alternative to Midtown food halls such as Urbanspace Vanderbilt and the Pennsy. “We are looking at that the atrium and have plans to make that into a spectacular food hall and that will be just a little later and it’s timing relative to the office building,” he said.
Boston Properties may have to execute its plans under the supervision of city authorities. Last May, the Landmarks Preservation Commission included 601 Lexington Avenue in a list of 12 Midtown buildings that are being considered for landmark designation.