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Kaufman follows an old yellow brick road to a new 21st century skyscraper on 3rd.

Undulating sidewalks, wooden benches and a "yellow brick road" pattern define the plaza around 747 Third Ave., between 46th and 47th Streets, but not for much longer. The bailding's 1970s-era decor is getting a major overhaul--inside and out.

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"This is the fast time we've fully repositioned our New York buildings since they were built," said Jonathan Iger, of Sage Reality Corp, the leasing and management arm of the William Kaufman Organization.

WKO owns six class-A buildings in New York, including 777 Third Avenue, which recently completed renovations, and 437 Madison, which Iger said is next in line for an overhaul after 747 Third.

Design innovation and a whimsical touch have always been among the family-owned company's hallmarks. At 77 Water Street, for example, a 1917 biplane has been parked on the roof since 1969.

Updating the buildings, the company plans to retain their sense of distinctive style, Iger said. At 747 Third, the 39-story building's wooden front porch has given way to a modern entrance-way of metal and stone.

Inside, the lobby has been re-done, with a larger concierge desk and stone tiles replacing the gray carpet. Wood and canvas panels and recessed lighting have replaced banging lamps, and ventilation pipes that once dominated the space is now only partially exposed.

But the statue of a nude woman that rotates enticingly between the two revolving doors--where it can be seen only in passing as one enters or leaves the building--has remained.

"Ninety-nine percent of the tenants love the new lobby," said building manager Veronica Rosmaninho. "You always have that one percent that doesn't like change."

Tenants include a number of broadcast companies from around the world, the Practical Law Company, and the United Nations missions of Brazil and Senegal.

Outside, WKO is working with the city's Department of City Planning to update the plaza. Undulating sidewalks are no longer welcome, Iger said, but the company remains committed to a welcoming and useful facility.

"Our concept has always been to provide public space," he said.

The revised plaza will feature greenery, something that was less in demand when the building was constructed in 1972, and backless seating arranged to accommodate a variety of groups of people.

WKO plans to install public WiFi in all of their buildings with plazas, Iger said, and the company is in talks with the NYC Food Truck Association to arrange for food trucks to park in the loading dock of the company's buildings. If it works out, an online schedule will keep office workers up-to-data on which truck will be at their building on any given day.

"It's about amenities and innovation," Iger said.
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Title Annotation:DEALS & DEALMAKERS
Comment:Kaufman follows an old yellow brick road to a new 21st century skyscraper on 3rd.(DEALS & DEALMAKERS)
Author:Trefethen, Sarah
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 21, 2012
Words:440
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