A new era is near for a downtown landmark. Macklowe Properties is in the process of converting 1 Wall Street to residential and retail use, and YIMBY stepped inside for a look at some of its stunning spaces.
Completed in 1931, the 50-story-tall Art Deco skyscraper 1 Wall Street sits on a one-block site bound by Broadway, Wall Street, New Street and Exchange Place, in the heart of the Financial District. The Irving Trust Company tasked architect Ralph Walker with its design. Legend has it that architect Cass Gilbert, known for the Woolworth Building, among others, was expecting the commission and, upon not receiving it, withdrew all of his money from the bank.
The Irving Trust Company was acquired by the Bank of New York, which merged with Mellon, becoming BNY Mellon. The bank sold the building 2014 and has now moved to Brookfield Place.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the tower an individual landmark in 2001. The designation did not include the building’s south annex, constructed in 1965. Also undesignated were two wonderful interior spaces, because they were not continuously, or ever, accessible to the public. They are the Red Room lobby on the first floor and the four-story observation deck, also known as the White Room, at the top of the building. We got a tour from Andy Golubitsky, Macklowe’s development manager.
The Red Room is a disused lobby with red tile mosaic walls by the artist Hildreth Meiere. Her other works can be seen in the lobby of the former AT&T Long Distance Building (another Ralph Walker creation, and both an individual and interior landmark) at 32 Avenue of the Americas, on the exterior of Radio City Music Hall, and in the Nebraska State Capitol.
The space is being cleaned and upgraded for retail use, which will allow the public to experience the space. It could also mean the space might one day be eligible for designation as an interior landmark.
The White Room might be the most incredible observation deck in the city. While others have better views, the White Room offers a unique and majestic interior space. Windows stretching its four-story height are on the east and west sides, while fireplaces occupy the north and south sides. The ceiling is made entirely of shells from the Philippines. Golubitsky said crews have extra boxes of shells, should any need to be replaced.
On the other side of the fireplaces are small anterooms. Removal of wood wall panels has revealed remarkably intact wallpaper with tree and bird patterns.
The room, which was never open to the public, had been used for corporate meetings and other functions. In the building’s new iteration, even fewer people will see this magnificent space, as it will become part of the penthouse unit. Fortunately, its key features – the giant windows and the shell ceiling – are not going anywhere.
If you’re wondering what these spaces looked like prior to the conversion work, you can check out a tour this author got back in 2014.
The building’s conversion includes a six-story addition atop the annex, a connector from the addition to the tower, and a “winter garden” atop one of the tower’s setbacks. SLCE Architects is the project’s continuing architect. New windows, other fenestration reconfigurations, and signage were approved by the LPC in January and April 2016.
The latest building permit indicates there will be 577 residential units. Though the breakdown between condominiums and rental apartments hasn’t been finalized, Harry Macklowe recently told Bloomberg’s Eric Schatzker that he expects to have more condos than rentals. He said it will be “essentially two buildings in one.”
Based on the proposed 848,475 square feet of residential space listed on the permit, units would average over 1,470 square feet apiece. Whole Foods Market, which will take up 53,000 square feet, has already been announced as a retail tenant in the annex.
Occupancy is slated for 2019.