Chrysler Building New York, NY | New York Landmarks | Tishman Speyer


Properties / North America / NY, NJ, CT, MA / New York

Our platform at work

Through the Chrysler Center project, Tishman Speyer transformed a fading Manhattan landmark into an award-winning office and retail hub.

405 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017

A deeper look at : Chrysler Center

Tishman Speyer acquired a fading landmark in a distressed situation to assemble and create one of New York’s most desirable business addresses inside this Art Deco masterpiece.

The Property

Tishman Speyer acquired the Chrysler Building in 1998 in a complex series of transactions. In addition to the famous Chrysler Building, the transaction included the adjacent 32-story Kent Building to the east, as well as four low-rise retail buildings. Together, these six buildings comprise an entire city block in midtown Manhattan, bounded by Lexington and Third Avenues and 42nd and 43rd Streets—just one block from Grand Central Terminal. Our reputation for outstanding renovation and superior management at Rockefeller Center was important to the seller and led to a long-term extension of the ground lease as part of the deal.

Our Role

Tishman Speyer oversaw all aspects of renovation of the historic Chrysler Building, including management of the architects and selected contractors as well as the design and integration of the Chrysler East Building and the Trylons. We set three key objectives for the property: restore the luster to a faded landmark and make the Chrysler Building a destination for high-quality tenants; renovate the Kent Building and reposition it as the Chrysler East Building of the new Chrysler Center; and create exciting new retail opportunities along 42nd Street—one of the busiest streets in Manhattan. To create the Chrysler Center, Tishman Speyer redeveloped the existing buildings in three concurrent phases. First, the Chrysler Building was fully renovated within landmark guidelines, with many of the building’s famous Art Deco features completely restored. Street-level retail storefronts and building entrances were replaced and repaired. The magnificent lobby, with its luxurious red Moroccan marble walls and yellow Sienna marble floor, was a natural focus. The lobby ceiling mural by Edward Turnbull, entitled Energy, Result, Workmanship and Transportation, also underwent a museum-quality restoration. Measuring approximately 100 feet by 76 feet, it is one of the largest canvas murals in the world. Additionally, at the entrance portals, the opaque glass panels were recreated at the German factory that produced the original glass panels when the building was first constructed. The exquisite wood marquetry of the original elevator doors was repaired by specialist craftspeople, using rare replacement woods sourced from around the country. Furthermore, to ensure the building met 21st-century standards, the elevator, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire and life safety systems were all upgraded. These upgrades contributed to the building achieving the prestigious ENERGY STAR® rating in 2008. This designation places the Chrysler Building in the top-performing commercial buildings nationwide by using 40% less energy and generating 35% less carbon dioxide than the average building. Second, the Chrysler East Building was expanded by constructing an additional 130,000 square feet of office space by using air rights from the four adjacent retail buildings, then finished with a new glass curtain wall over the existing brick facade. The additional space turned an inefficient side-core building into an efficient center-core building, making it more marketable to high-end corporate users. The lobby was also redesigned and all mechanical systems were upgraded or replaced. 
 Third, and lastly, the late architect Philip Johnson reconceived the four retail buildings to serve as the focal point between the architectural styles of the Chrysler and Chrysler East buildings. The result is an 80-foot-high glass-clad building consisting of offset, three-sided pyramids surrounded by two retail storefronts clad in granite. The area was re-branded as the Trylons, which reflected the chevrons in the spire of the Chrysler Building and the glass and stainless steel of the Chrysler East Building. It now houses key amenities for our office tenants, including The Capital Grille.

The Outcome

The Chrysler Center has garnered several awards and achievements. In addition to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® designation, it won the 2000 Renovation Project of the Year, the 2002 NYACE Engineering Excellence Award and the 2001 Skyscraper Museum Outstanding Renovation Award. Now, the Chrysler Center offers professional tenants a choice: the landmark Chrysler Building, where expansive base floors accommodate large-space users and various-sized tower floors provide smaller tenants full-floor visibility and efficiency, or the Chrysler East Building, a modern office building connected physically and architecturally to the Chrysler Building. Tishman Speyer’s aggressive marketing and leasing program resulted in new leases totaling more than 1.1 million square feet signed within 18 months of acquisition, out of a total project size of 1.975 million square feet. Even more striking is the quality of tenants that have chosen to make the Chrysler Center their home, including national and international banks, law firms and insurance companies. The rigorous leasing and management effort continues today, as the property carries an occupancy rate of 97.9%. Our team also arranged for the recapitalization of all three properties in two separate partnerships. The recapitalizations included refinancing the buildings with long-term, fixed-rate debt.


Since acquiring the Chrysler Center, Tishman Speyer has created value through redevelopment, leasing and recapitalization. The extensive renovation and upgrade we implemented not only increased the rentable area of the project by 130,000 square feet; it also set a new standard for Class A space in the market. Through the Chrysler Center project, Tishman Speyer transformed a fading Manhattan landmark into an award-winning office and retail hub.