A Sneak Peek Inside Brookfield’s 660 Fifth Avenue Revamp

Key features of the $400 million overhaul include a new glass facade that triples the tower’s window area.

Brookfield Properties has unveiled new interior renderings of its ongoing 660 Fifth Avenue renovation in Manhattan’s Plaza District. With construction underway since mid-2020, the $400 million, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates-designed reboot is set to deliver in 2022.

Formerly known as 666 Fifth Avenue, the structure dates back to the 1950s and was originally designed by local architects Carson & Lundin. The 1.5 million-square-foot tower rises 39 floors next to the 5th Avenue-53 Street Station and two blocks north of the Rockefeller Center.

The building’s tumultuous past included Vornado Realty Trust’s 49.5 percent stake sale in mid-2018 to the property’s then co-owner, Kushner Cos., who bought out Vornado’s interest, while already in discussions with Brookfield Properties as prospective investor. Later that year, Brookfield agreed to purchase a $1.3 billion, 99-year ground lease at the location, paid upfront. Kushner picked up the asset in 2007 for $1.8 billion, CommercialEdge data shows.

Kushner and Vornado were also planning a thorough reimagining of the property back in 2017. The ambitious project—designed by Zaha Hadid Architects—suggested the construction of a $12 billion skyscraper that vertically extended the tower with 40 additional stories, according to The Architect’s Newspaper.

A brand-new look

The current overhaul’s highlights include:

  • An insulated glass curtain wall that will replace the old metal panel coating;
  • The redevelopment of the lobby;
  • New ground-floor retail space along 52nd and 53rd streets;
  • Several new exterior rooftop terraces for tenant use;
  • The modernization of elevators, along with other mechanical systems;
  • Double-height spaces.

When asked about the main challenges regarding the redevelopment, Brookfield’s Executive Vice President for Development, Design and Construction Sabrina Kanner told Commercial Property Executive: “At 660 Fifth Avenue, we immediately recognized the need to dramatically increase the amount of natural light in the building. Our solution? Replace the existing small, low-light windows with 20-foot by 10-foot floor-to-ceiling unitized glass windows, the largest in North America, therefore nearly tripling the window area provided to the office space.”

The building’s carbon footprint will be dramatically cut by 54 percent, due to its high-performance insulated glass facade and the installation of new heating and air conditioning systems, among other sustainable features.

The renovation resembles Brookfield’s 5 Manhattan West revamp, now fully leased to Amazon, Whole Foods and JPMorgan Chase.

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