The Woolworth Building

The Woolworth BuildingA magnificent representation of Gothic architecture, its height is representative of recent advancements in elevator and steel technology at that time. Retail magnet F. W. Woolworth, along with Edward J. Hogan wanted to make this their corporate headquarters.

They hired architect Cass Gilbert to build what was then to be the tallest building in the world, surpassing the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company building on 23rd Street. 

On April 15, 1910, they purchased the land from businessman Trenor Luther Park for $1.65 million. Additional property purchases were made by Woolworth, culminating to a total of $4.5 million.

Following the Gothic architectural style of design, the building soared to a height or 60 stories (792 feet). It was completed on April 24, 1913, with an an observation deck on the 57th floor. To commemorate the completion of the tower, President Woodrow Wilson turned the building’s lights on from Washington, D.C.

Initially, the Woolworth building was to be 20 stories, but it was decided to add 40 more floors. It held the status as the tallest building in the world until the completion of 40 Wall Street and then the Chrysler Building. It is currently the 20th tallest building in New York City and ranks within the 100 tallest in the United States. 

The Woolworth was designated a historical landmark in 1966  and was called “The Cathedral of Commerce”, due to its symbolic Gothic architecture and its close proximity to Wall Street.

The exterior Gothic facade was cast in limestone colored glazed architectural terra-cotta panels. Strong piers, (columns on a rectangular base) adorn the exterior without inhibiting the horizontal decorative moldings that crowns a building, called cornices, all the way up to the building’s crown.

In 2013, Alchemy Properties bought the top floors of the Woolworth Building to make them into 34 super luxury condos, called the Woolworth Tower Residences. If that wasn’t spectacular enough, planning is under way to construct a $110,000,000 – seven story penthouse “castle in the sky”, at the very top of the building.

Don’t rush to purchase it, as it will not be completed till 2017, but if you put enough down payment, you might be able to convince the developers to built it YOUR way.


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