August 24, 2011
Certain commercial buildings in the city have specialized as “showroom” buildings and for several decades this
very handsome Renaissance-revival style building that anchors the northwest corner of Madison Square Park
was filled with extremely elegant and lavish showrooms for the “gift” industry.
In 2004, the building, which was erected in 1907, was acquired for about $125 million by Elad Properties for
conversion to 192 condominium apartments.
At about the same time, Elad also bought the Plaza Hotel further up Fifth Avenue and converted many of the
hotel rooms into condominiums. The Plaza reopened in 2008.
This deep red-brick, 12-story building has about 380,000 square feet of space and an attractive limestone base,
numerous balconies and a handsome cornice. Some apartments have 10-foot ceilings.
It is surrounded by many of the city’s finest buildings such as the Flatiron Building on 23rd Street between Fifth
Avenue and Broadway, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower at 24th Street and Madison Avenue,
the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Annex on Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th Streets, the New
York State Appellate Division Courthouse on Madison Avenue at 25th Street, and the New York Life Insurance
Company tower on Madison Avenue at 26th Street.
The former Toy Center at 200 Fifth Avenue, another major “showroom” building was acquired for residential
conversion by another development at the time, but subsequently the conversion plans for it were dropped.
In an August 22, 2004 article in The New York Times by Dennis Hevesi, Miki Naftali, the president of Elad
Properties, was quoted as crediting the renovation of Madison Square Park with the new interest in residential
development. In 1997, business leaders in the area including Danny Meyer, the owner of 11 Madison Park and
Tabla restaurants in the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Annex building, as well as Shake Shack in the
heart of Madison Square Park, created the Campaign for the New Madison Square Park, which raised $5 million
for renovations and a $6 million endowment.
“The park restoration upgraded the whole area,” Mr. Naftali was quoted as stating in the article, adding that
“without it, I would not have been as flexible in paying what I paid for the building.”
The article reported that prices at 225 Fifth Avenue, which was renamed Grand Madison, “will range from $1.6
million for a one-bedroom unit to $5 million for the penthouse.”
There is excellent public transportation in the area and the Flatiron/Gramercy Park neighborhood abounds in
restaurants and the Chelsea district to the west abounds in art galleries.
In February, 2008, it was announced that the first Derek Jeter-branded gym will open at 225 Fifth Avenue in
June, 2008. Two other locations, one in the Citigroup Building and another in Soho, will follow later in 2008.
The 28,000-square-foot gym, part of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, will have extensive cardio equipment and free
weights, plus a Derek Jeter pro shop, group exercise classes, a sauna, locker room with laundry service, and
Starbucks coffee, but it will not have batting cages.