Bank of New York Mellon reportedly considering relocating from 1 Wall Street
July 13, 2010 By Carter B. Horsley
The Bank of New York Mellon is considering moving part of its operations to 1 World Trade Center, which is under construction at Ground Zero, and selling its great Art Deco skyscraper at 1 Wall Street, according to an article in today's edition of The New York Post by Steve Cuozzo that said that tower was "a logical candidate for residential conversion, with spectacular views up to 50 floors," adding that "It has more open views than the old AIG building at 70 Pine St., which AIG recently sold to a developer planning to convert part" of it to apartments.
"Under the scenario now being explored, the bank - which started life in 1784 as New York Post founder Alexander Hamilton's Bank of New York - would take 450,000 square-feet at 1 WTC, the 1,776-foot tower the Port Authority is building....It would move the rest of its New York workforce to another building it owns, 101 Barclay St. - a 1983 structure with 1.2 million square-feet more suited to modern office use than 1 Wall St., an Art Deco masterpiece on the corner of Broadway that opened in 1930," the article maintained.
"Insiders confirmed that BNY Mellon has expressed interest to the PA regarding 1 WTC, but was told to hold off until the PA completes a prospective partnership deal with Douglas Durst. Under the tentative arrangement announced last week, the Durst Organization would pay about $100 million for rights to market, lease and manage the $3.3 billion tower....Durst and the PA have about three weeks to nail down final terms. Sources emphasized that the BNY Mellon scenario is merely in the talking stage - 'but it's a very plausible idea,' a downtown insider said. 'All of a sudden, with Durst involved, 1 World Trade looks like a hot commodity.'" The bank and the Port Authority did not respond to messages seeking comment," the article added.
One of the city's greatest Art Deco skyscrapers, 1 Wall Street is notable for its fluted limestone facades and its extremely lavish and colorful interiors.
It was designed by Ralph Walker of Voorhees Gmelin & Walker in 1931.
In his excellent pamplet, "Forging a Metropolis, Walking Tours of Lower Manhattan Architecture," Andrew S. Dolkart notes that "as befits a location at one of the world's most prestigious addresses, the Irving Trust Company Building is among the masterpieces of skyscraper design."
"Responding the requirements of the 1916 zoning law, architect Ralph Walker created one of the most subtle, yet dramatic towers in Manhattan....It rises 654 feet through a series of setbacks that appear to have been chiseled out of a solid block, culminating in a tall, shaft-like tower topped by an angled and crystalline crown. The subtle stonework of the facades is carved in a gently undulating pattern that resembles the folds of a fabric curtain (giving new meaning to the term 'curtain wall')."
In their great book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins noted that the lot was "said to be the most expensive on earth" and that Walker "captured the spirit if not the stylistic letter of German Expressionism, creating a building that seemed to hover somewhere between a work of architecture and an organic creation of nature."
"Perhaps the closest counterparts to Irving Trust," the authors wrote, "were Mies van der Rohe's 1919-21 projects for glass skyscrapers, where the steel frame was sheathed in a curtain of glass and the building conceived of as a faceted sculpture of crystal. The Irving Trust Building, for which Dean Everett V. Meeks served as consulting architect, had some of the same ambiguity - its walls purported to be curtains, but the overriding sense was of a massive precipice carved in and hollowed out....The crowing feature was a nearly square, astylar pavilion with one enormous window on each side housing the grandest observation lounge in the city."
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