When the neo-Gothic Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway was erected in 1913 as the world’s tallest building, it cost a total of $13.5 million to construct. Though many have surpassed it in height, the instantly-recognizable Lower Manhattan landmark has remained one of the world’s most iconic buildings, admired for its terra cotta facade and detailed ornamentation–and its representation of the ambitious era in which it arose. Developer and five-and-dime store entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth dreamed of an unforgettable skyscraper; the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert, designed and delivered just that, even as Woolworth’s vision grew progressively loftier. The Woolworth Building has remained an anchor of New York City life with its storied past and still-impressive 792-foot height.
Images courtesy of The Corcoran Group.
The top 30 floors of Tribeca‘s venerable Woolworth Tower at 2 Park Place have been redeveloped by Alchemy Properties and given new life by French architect Thierry W. Despont. They now comprise a limited collection of 32 luxury condominium residences. On the familiar landmark’s 29th floor, this sprawling three-bedroom condo, asking $15,950,000 million, spans 4,623 square feet, not counting its vast terraces. No expense has been spared in bestowing the finest in finishes and state-of-the-art systems throughout.
The Pinnacle. Rendering: Williams New York.
The residential conversion of the Woolworth Building at 2 Park Place has brought with it a collection of unique condominium residences that take advantage of the iconic tower’s architectural features. The jewel in the crown, so to speak, among these trophy properties is The Pinnacle, a 9,680-square-foot home perched 727 feet above New York City in the building’s famous crown. This lofty residence spans floors 50 to 58, with a 408-square-foot private observatory terrace. Priced at $79 million–a considerable chop from its original price of $110 million when it first arrived on the market in 2017–the peerless penthouse is being offered as a white box, with award-winning architect David Hotson on board to develop the interior design.
Photo of Pavilion A by Travis Mark
More than 100 years after its construction, the Woolworth Building’s transformation into a luxury residential tower is complete. Now, four years after condo sales first launched, there’s an opportunity to live in one of the building’s most unique residences. Developer Alchemy Properties has listed a 29th-floor five-bedroom, called Pavilion A, for $29.85 million, an asking price roughly $3 million less than when the apartment first listed in May. And while the unit’s size and custom features make this apartment special, the setback duplex terrace, which lets you rub elbows with the historic building’s stunning terra-cotta exterior, puts it in another league.
Terra-cotta, Latin for “fired earth,” is an ancient building material, made of baked clay, first used throughout early civilizations in Greece, Egypt, China the Indus Valley. In more modern times, architects realized that “fired earth” actually acts as a fire-deterrent. In the age of the skyscraper, terra-cotta became a sought-after fire-proof skin for the steel skeletons of New York’s tallest buildings. In the early part of the 20th century, the City’s most iconic structures were decked out in terracotta.
You’ll find terra-cotta on famous facades from the Flatiron to the Plaza, but the material often flies under the radar of pedestrians and architecture buffs alike because it can mimic other materials, like cast-iron or carved wood. Now, this long-underappreciated material is getting its due. On October 24th, the Historic Districts Council will present its annual Landmarks Lion Award to the terra-cotta firms Boston Valley Terra Cotta and Gladding, McBean, which work to keep terra-cotta alive worldwide, and to the preservation organization Friends of Terra Cotta, which has worked to preserve New York’s architectural terra-cotta since 1981. The ceremony will take place at Grand Central’s Oyster Bar, under the magnificent Guastavino terra-cotta ceiling recently restored by Boston Valley Terra Cotta. Fired up about finding “fired earth” around town? Here are 10 of the most impressive examples of New York terra-cotta!
After its iconic neo-Gothic architecture and copper crown, the Woolworth Building is known by New Yorkers for being off-limits to the public, but Untapped Cities is your source to get inside the landmark. Next week, they’ll be hosting their uber-popular Special Access tour, which takes guests into the spectacular “cathedral-esque” lobby and mezzanine, as well as the cellar level with its abandoned bank vault and subway entrances. You’ll learn about the building’s history, restoration, and incredible interior Art Deco architecture. And for those true history buffs, next month they’ll offer a VIP version of this tour with building architect Cass Gilbert’s great-granddaughter, Helen Post Curry.
Rendering of the Pinnacle via Williams New York
When the neo-Gothic Woolworth Building was erected in 1913 as the world’s tallest building, it cost a total of $13.5 million. Now, 104 years and a partial condo conversion later, its massive, seven-story penthouse has hit the market for an exorbitant $110 million. The Wall Street Journal first got wind of the not-yet-public listing, which could be the most expensive sale ever downtown, far surpassing the current $50.9 million record at Chelsea’s Walker Tower. Dubbed the Pinnacle for its location in the 792-foot tower’s iconic green copper crown, the penthouse will encompass 9,710 square feet and boast a private elevator, 24-foot ceilings, a 400-square-foot open observatory, and views in every direction, from the World Trade Center to New Jersey to the East River.
Architecture, Battery Park City, Carter Uncut, Features, Financial District, History, opinion, Urban Design
Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter brings us his fourth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at the evolution of the Lower Manhattan skyline.
Lower Manhattan at the start of the Great Depression was the world’s most famous and influential skyline when 70 Pine, 20 Exchange Place, 1 and 40 Wall Street, and the Woolworth and Singer buildings inspired the world with their romantic silhouettes in a relatively balanced reach for the sky centered around the tip of Lower Manhattan.
Midtown was not asleep at the switch and countered with the great Empire State, the spectacular Chrysler and 30 Rockefeller Plaza but they were scattered and could not topple the aggregate visual power and lure of Lower Manhattan and its proverbial “view from the 40th floor” as the hallowed precinct of corporate America until the end of World War II.
The convenience and elegance of Midtown, however, became increasingly irresistible to many.
- If we’re ever going to get a new Penn Station Madison Square Garden will have to move, so a group of urban planners has proposed relocating the arena to a nearby post office.
- Ghislaine Viñas’ colorful and eclectic loft design seamlessly blends together in Tribeca.
- Ever wonder about those strange faces on the Woolworth Building? We’ve got the answers, as well as ten other fun facts about the landmark.
- Lots of Basketball player/real estate news this week. Jason Kidd puts his Hamptons mansion on the market for $7.995 million; Carmelo and LaLa Anthony check out a $15 million Chelsea penthouse; and Brooklyn Nets all-star Joe Johnson shops for a home in DUMBO’s Clocktower Building.
- Terra cotta in New York City: Our favorite buildings adorned in ceramic.
Images: Greenwich Street loft via Ghislaine Viñas (L); Woolworth Building detail via Library of Congress (R)
The 101-year old Woolworth Building has been in the news quite a bit lately, especially since it was first announced that the top 30 floors would be turned into 34 apartments; one of which is a nine-story penthouse is expected to hit the market for a record $110 million. But the Woolworth has long been at the center of New York life with its storied past and lofty 792-foot height.
It cost $13.5 million to erect the tower in 1913, and the building was the world’s tallest when it first debuted. Though a number—50 to be exact—have surpassed it in height, the Woolworth Building has remained one of the world’s most admired for its detailed and compelling ornamentation. Like other prestigious companies of its time, Frank W. Woolworth wanted something unforgettable and the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert, certainly delivered. The tower is filled to the brim with mosaics, stained-glass, golden embellishments and of course tons of those carved faces and figures.