The facade of the Sony Tower at 550 Madison Avenue where Oetker Collection is to open a new hotel.


HIGH-RISE DRAMA: Plans by Oetker Collection — owner of Le Bristol in Paris — to open a hotel and serviced luxury apartments in the former Sony Tower in New York could well be in limbo.

Olayan America, the U.S. investment arm of Saudi Arabia-based investment firm Olayan Group, in association with European property group Chelsfield, said earlier this week it agreed to purchase the building and would offer it for lease to “high-quality commercial tenants.” It said the property comprises 850,000 square feet of office and retail space.

The release doesn’t mention the hotel and luxury apartments plan that was conceived by the current owner of the building, the New York real estate development firm Chetrit Group. The family-owned hospitality group Oetker Collection was to operate the hotel and service the condos.

Elliott Bernerd, founder and joint chairman of Chelsfield, called the postmodern skyscraper “a trophy property.”

A spokesman for Oetker Collection declined to comment, “while waiting on information on the new owner’s plan.”

Representatives for Chelsfield and Chetrit Group couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Oetker Collection still has a statement up on its Web site announcing a “New York Masterpiece” slated for spring 2018. It says that the eight-story hotel would feature 170 rooms, including 60 suites, a bar, a restaurant, a spa, a fitness center and an 82-foot pool. It also says that the Chetrit Group would create 115 luxury apartments located above the hotel.

Oetker Collection currently owns nine establishments, including the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France; Eden Rock in St. Barth’s, and The Lanesborough in London, and is also planning a hotel in São Paulo, Brazil — Palácio Tangará — for 2017.

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