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Schindler worldwide

One Madison Avenue – A new lease of life New York, USA

Rejuvenating ageing structures is helping breathe new life into cities, all while minimizing environmental impact – and One Madison Avenue in New York City is a case in point. With well over a century of history under its belt, the building was reconstructed to incorporate a new 27-floor tower within the same footprint – all while retaining over two thirds of the building’s original structure. We installed a brand-new vertical mobility system – including 25 Schindler 7000s and all orchestrated by our state-of-the-art destination dispatch technology Schindler PORT – to accommodate the growing number of occupants moving throughout the expanded building.

Key facts

Project stakeholders

  • Owner / Developer: SL Green Realty Corp., Hines
  • Architect Design: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
  • Main Contractor: AECOM Tishman Construction

Challenges and client brief

  • Rejuvenate a historical building in the heart of Manhattan
  • Significantly increase floor space, and tenant capacity
  • Navigate uncertain times created by the Covid-19 pandemic

Schindler solutions

  • State-of-the-art vertical mobility solution to cater for the higher volumes of passengers
  • Expert logistical coordination during challenging circumstances
  • Future proofing through Schindler PORT, Schindler Ahead, and Schindler CoLab

Project highlights

Before: the building in 2018
After: the new building overlooking Madison Square Park in 2024

New York’s in no short supply of high-rise buildings. The city is synonymous with skyscrapers – so much so that it can be tricky to find a place to build a new one.

"I've been in construction in New York City for almost seventeen years," says Candace Cooper, our Senior Project Manager for One Madison Avenue. "When I started, if a new skyscraper was being proposed to go up, it meant an old one had to come down. But that’s a trend we’ve seen change in recent years." Instead of demolishing buildings, there’s a growing desire to repurpose older buildings and existing spaces.

Courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

One Madison Avenue is a perfect example of this. Set in Manhattan’s desirable Midtown South submarket, on the corner of 23rd Street and Madison Avenue, the building has rejuvenation in its foundations. Originally built in 1893, the building has already gone through several rebuilds and renovations over the past 130 years – when its famous clock tower, which is now separately managed, was added in 1909, it was the tallest building in the world. 

The new incarnation of the building received its Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) in September 2023, three months ahead of schedule. Issued by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), a TCO is key part of the process as it certifies that the project is safe to occupy. The tower provides the highest standard for today’s workplace, with 121,000 square meters of premier Class A office space spread over 27 floors that maximize access to natural light, outdoor space, and ceiling heights. The building also incorporates retail space, forward-thinking amenities, and a stylishly comfortable and refined steakhouse by Michelin-starred Daniel Boulud, with easy access to green spaces and public transportation.

In total, we installed 30 elevators – including 25 Schindler 7000s – to help optimize the flow of passengers throughout the building. Additionally, we added one Schindler 9300 escalator as part of a special request from one of the new tenants. 

"One Madison Avenue will irrevocably redefine the workplace experience, raising the benchmark for seamless integration of design innovation, sustainability, and unparalleled amenities," says Edward Piccinich, Chief Operating Officer of SL Green Realty Corporation.

Innovative Design

The top three floors of the existing structure were removed, and a new 17-story tower was built on the tenth floor supported by new and reinforced mega columns – as well as a truss system that serves as an architectural feature between the old and new buildings.

By effectively constructing a new building within an old building, the architects were able to reuse 67% of the building's original structure. This helped save an estimated 20,925 tons of CO2 – an overall energy reduction of over 60%, compared to what would be used if the entire building had been demolished, and the equivalent to over three and half years of carbon emissions from the estimated operating energy use of the project when fully completed.

To help coordinate the project, Building Information Modelling (BIM) was used throughout the design phase and construction.

"BIM is really transforming how we design, build, and manage buildings and infrastructure," says Candace. "It provides a clear overview between the different disciplines in the construction industry."

The entrance steps to One Madison Avenue
One of the 30 elevators we installed in the building

BIM allows everyone, from the architects to the engineers and contractors, to view the same working model, which gets updated in real time – removing potential silos and increasing the levels of accuracy, efficiency, and quality delivered in a project.

"BIM always helps with the coordination between teams because everything is laid out before you get there," adds Candace. "For One Madison Avenue, it absolutely added to the efficiency of the construction."

One Madison Avenue during construction, nearly completed

Highly coordinated construction

"It’s an understatement to say that it was tough working through the pandemic," says Candace. "We were still working with very tight timelines, but by coordinating our work with our sub-contractors and sticking strictly to our weekly task list, we were able to stay on schedule and meet every expected milestone for the project."

With our materials being sourced from different parts of the globe, our team had to walk a logistical tightrope to import the specific items needed for the project. With support from every level of the organization, these challenges were all overcome – and our team was able to meet all the deadlines.

Another key aspect of the project was the close partnership with the developer SL Green and general contractor Tishman Construction. This was the second new build high-rise project we’ve collaborated on with SL Green – New York City’s largest office landlord – after the success of One Vanderbilt.

Future proofing

With the increased amount of floor space comes an increased number of people moving throughout the building. With our newly installed vertical mobility systems, we have the capacity to cater to significantly more passengers a day. To coordinate so much movement, we installed Schindler PORT to optimize the flow of people and reduce waiting time to a minimum.

In New York, it’s very rare that one of our projects doesn't have Schindler PORT these days. It offers just so many benefits," says Pritesh Thaker, our Schindler PORT Product Manager.

Schindler PORT helps to offer an additional level of security for the building’s tenants, by providing the right level of access for each visitor. Our team installed custom Schindler PORT terminals, fitted with QR scanners and Bluetooth readers, in the lobby – eliminating the need for physical ID cards. To help make this possible, Schindler CoLab was integrated throughout the building.

The building's foyer with our turnstiles
The building's foyer and elevator lobby
Our elevators in the building

"Schindler CoLab is our all-in-one digital services platform that allows the customer to integrate new features into their platform," explains Pritesh. "It works behind the scenes, helping to maintain passenger experience, while providing the option for additional applications – like facial recognition and customized apps – to be integrated in the future."

In addition to this, all elevators at One Madison Avenue are connected to our local Technical Operations Center (TOC) via Schindler Ahead. "Schindler Ahead is provided as a standard for all of our Schindler 7000 projects in New York City," says Candace. "It allows all of our connected units to be monitored around the clock, leading to less downtime and happier customers!"

One Madison Avenue’s makeover has delivered a unique addition to New York’s skyline – blending old with new, mid-century masonry work with a modern, sustainable office tower. The innovative redesign helps breathe new life into the 130-year-old structure, serving as a compelling example of what rejuvenation projects can achieve.