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SonyStyle To Say So Long To Midtown

SonyWonderAs soon as Sony sold its Midtown tower a couple of years ago, it seemed inevitable that a new owner would probably be waiting for the media and electronics giant to relinquish its hold on the building's valuable Madison Avenue retail space, and that is what is about to happen. The SonyStyle store is now set to vacate its current home for retail space in its parent company's new home at 11 Madison Avenue right by Madison Square Park. While some still know 550 Madison Avenue by its original name, the AT&T Building, the structure shook the skyline with the striking, outsized postmodern pediment at its top and became the Sony Tower in the Early 90s. SonyStyle has been a showcase for the brand's various products ever since, and while there was once a chain of such stores throughout the U.S., the company's retail devotion was reduced earlier last year to the one store in New York and another in Los Angeles as the consumer electronics market has rapidly evolved over the past two decades. How the store's downtown replacement will look remains to be seen, but it will be hard to match the soaring ceilings inside the store and in the dramatic passageway that cut through the building between 55th and 56th Streets. Once an open-air space that was majestic but cold, Sony took the step of reconfiguring the public space and enclosing it making it more useful for both retailers and passersby. Look for the retail complex, divided by the building's lobby and entryway, to be marketed as two separate store spaces, but not after some extensive renovation. Presumably, the free-to-the-public Sony Wonder Technology Lab (pictured) described as "state-of-the-art technology and entertainment museum" will also be vacating, but it is not known if it will be replicated in the new store. For its part, Sony is relocating its store to a neighborhood on the other side of Madison Square Park from the trendy NoMad area to a neighborhood better known for luxury home furnishing showrooms and Shake Shack, which makes us think that the replacement store will be more of an open showroom for Sony products than a store looking to capture midtown tourist business.

Sony to shutter longtime Madison Avenue store as it moves south (Crain's)


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