Likely the same reason why people put shag carpet over natural hardwood flooring, or covered up brick walls with vinyl siding...because it was the old making way for the new.It looks like the paint will be removed from the Revillon Building's brick and stone facade, based on the renderings. That will be a welcome improvement, if true (I still can't understand why someone would decide to paint over natural brick and stone!).
the atrium is set back. although not as much as called for above, some of the other detailing that is evolving provides for enough definition between the two historic facades and the atrium to be successful imho.
hopefully the glazing will be clear enough for the transparency shown to be effective during the day as well as after dark as it will help that whole block come alive visually from both sides of the avenue.
I was unaware until now how much I can be excited by a simple glass box and removing some paint. As mentioned by others, the current entryway is a bit incongruous with the other facades. The simplicity of the render allows the historic buildings to shine, and the verticality somewhat mirrors elements of the Revillon's facade. Basically, it has a simple elegance.