|JPMorgan Chase Tower|
Main facade of the JPMorgan Chase Tower in 2008
|Former names||Union Carbide Building|
|Location||270 Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York, NY 10017, United States|
|Antenna spire||708 ft (216 m)|
|Floor area||2,400,352 sq ft (223,000.0 m2)|
|Design and construction|
270 Park Avenue was the name of several structures on the west side of Park Avenue, between 47th Street and 48th Street, in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. The first building with this address was the Hotel Marguery, a six-building apartment hotel complex built in 1917 as part of Terminal City. From 1957 through 1960, the 708-foot-tall (216 m) Union Carbide Building (later the JPMorgan Chase Tower) was constructed on the site. The Union Carbide Building was demolished between 2019 and 2021 to make room for the JPMorgan Chase Building, a skyscraper rising 1,388 feet (423 m).
The Union Carbide Building was designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Upon the completion of its demolition, the Union Carbide Building became the tallest voluntarily demolished building in the world, overtaking the previous record-holder Singer Building that was demolished in 1968. The building was the world headquarters for JPMorgan Chase, and during the new buildings construction, 383 Madison Avenue is serving as temporary headquarters.
Hotel and residences
After the construction of Grand Central Terminal in 1913, the now fashionable Terminal City area north of the terminal was ripe for investment. Developer Dr. Charles V. Paterno built what was called the largest apartment building in the world with two distinct sections. The mansion-like apartments that took the address 270 Park Avenue, and the apartment hotel that used the name Hotel Marguery on Madison Avenue. The residents would share a 70-by-275-foot (21 by 84 m) garden with a private drive. As the restrained brick and stone structure rose, Manhattan millionaires rushed to take apartments.
The 6-building complex which formed the 12-story, stone-clad Renaissance Revival Hotel Marguery was built in 1917 by Dr. Paterno at a cost of more than $5 million. New York Central Railroad owned the land underneath the project since the construction of Grand Central Terminal. The buildings were centered around a 250-foot-long Italian Garden which occupied the center of the block. When the building was first constructed, Vanderbilt Avenue passed through the center of the buildings where the garden was eventually built. After the street was closed, the hotel built a 60 feet (18 m) tall carriage arch which allowed private access to the courtyard. The buildings contained 29 stores, 180 long-term apartments, and 110 luxury suites which ranged from 6 to 16 rooms apiece. By the 1940s, the high-end apartments rented for over $20,000 per month on average.
On January 3, 1930, an explosion started a fire in the basement of the building which cut power and killed two people due to smoke inhalation. In 1933, the hotels owners sued to reduce their property taxes significantly on the grounds that the propertys assessed value was almost $5 million too high. After eight years in court, Justice Charles B. McLaughlin reduced the assessment in 1941 by an aggregate $19.588 million for the previous eight years, resulting in a refund of over $600,000 to the hotels owners. In 1923, Nikola Tesla rented rooms at the Hotel Marguery. Harry Frazee, the owner of the Boston Red Sox who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, also lived here. In June 1945, a wealthy textile executive named Albert E. Langford was shot to death in the hallway outside of his apartment on the seventh floor of the Hotel Marguery. In September 1947, the NYPD busted an underground gambling ring in the hotel, arresting 11 men.
CBS and Time Inc.
Plans for a replacement to the Hotel Marguery had first surfaced in 1944, when William Zeckendorfs Webb and Knapp planned a new 34-story structure. The building would have had a limestone facade with decorative vertical stainless steel columns. In 1945, CBS agreed to occupy the building but quickly backed out. Department store Wanamakers also reportedly considered the site for an uptown location in addition to the main branch at Broadway and Ninth. Plans for the new structure faced a setback in 1946 when the Office of Price Administration denied Webb & Knapps petition to evict the 116 residents of the building.
In the late 1940s, Time Inc. had an option to purchase the property and build a new headquarters for the company. The company planned a 39-story, 1 million square feet (93,000 m2) building designed by Harrison & Abramovitz which was approved in June 1947, despite the protests of the hotel tenants. Time would have occupied 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of the space as its new world headquarters. At $23 million, the project was expected to be the largest private construction project in Manhattan since the end of World War II. Following the new towers approval, the Marguerys tenants announced they would fight the decisions in the courts and through the citys Office of Rent Control. The tenants of the hotel hired New York prosecutor Peter McCoy as their attorney to oppose the destruction of the buildings. McCoy had previously prosecuted stockbrokers for the government before entering private practice. The tenants also appealed to the New York City Council to oppose the demolition. In 1948, the hotel closed as it had lost its luster and was reportedly heavily populated by ladies of the night and by gambling outfits.” Due to the failure to evict the Marguerys tenants, Time gave up on the plans for a new tower in March 1950. Ultimately, Time instead moved to 1271 Avenue of the Americas at Rockefeller Center in 1958.
By 1951, the Hotel Marguerys former Italian Gardens had been converted to a parking lot. The same year, Webb & Knapp unveiled plans to spend $50 million to erect a 44-story, 580 feet (180 m) tall office building on the site. The building would be topped by a 1,000 feet (300 m) tall steel latticework observation tower, making the proposed building taller than the Empire State Building and the tallest building in New York City.
After threatening to move to suburban Elmsford, New York in Westchester County, chemical company Union Carbide agreed to lease the site in August 1955 to serve as its world headquarters. The company signed a lease with the New York Central Railroad to pay $250,000 per year plus the propertys real estate taxes (estimated to be $1.5 million per year) for a term of at least 22 years. In addition, Union Carbide paid the railroad $10 million for the option to acquire the land outright in the future. At the time, the Marguery had been almost entirely converted from apartments into office suites. Some of the 250 tenants included Renault, Rheem Manufacturing Company, Georgia-Pacific, Nedicks, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Airlines for America, The Manila Times, and the United Nations delegations for Mexico, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Venezuela.
Design and construction
In August 1955, Union Carbide unveiled plans for a 41-story, 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2) office building on the site which would be entirely occupied by the company and completed by 1958. In July 1956, architects Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill increased the size of building by 11 stories to 52 floors and Union Carbide pegged the new towers cost at $46 million.
Demolition of the former hotel began in early 1957 and was completed by late August. The new building was completed in 1960 and was the worlds tallest building designed by a woman for almost 50 years. The first 700 Union Carbide employees moved into the building in April 1960.
By the buildings completion, Union Carbide occupied 41 floors home to over 4,000 employees. Other early tenants in the building included management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, who occupied 64,000 square feet (5,900 m2) of space. The exterior was made of black metal with silver vertical mullions, which in turn were covered with the most up-to-date products made by Union Carbide at the time. The interior superstructure was built in a 5-by-5-foot (1.5 by 1.5 m) grid, which was inspired by the track gauge of the railroad tracks underneath. The presence of the tracks also necessitated that the building have its lobby on the second story, with columns spaced every 20 feet (6.1 m) to match the support columns of the underlying tracks. Escalators from the ground story led to the second-story mezzanine, flanking an elevator core with red wall cladding. The mezzanine was initially a publicly accessible space with art and science exhibitions. The office floors contained contemporary furnishings and flexible layouts.
Manufacturers Trust and JPMorgan Chase
In 1976, Union Carbide purchased the land beneath the building from the bankrupt Penn Central Transportation Company for $11 million. The building continued to serve as the headquarters for Union Carbide until the company moved to Danbury, Connecticut in 1981.
By early 1975, discussions had already begun between the Union Carbide Company and Manufacturers Hanover Trust about selling the building. In June 1978, Manufacturers Hanover Trust purchased the building for $110 million with plans to move its world headquarters to the building in 1980. In the early 1980s, the company spent $75 million to renovate the building into its world headquarters. The changes including removing the mezzanine level (which had served as an industrial products display for Union Carbide) to create a double-height lobby, constructing two fountains in the plaza, and renovations of interior flooring, ceilings, and fixtures. Following the renovations, Manufacturers Hanover Trust occupied the entire building with over 3,000 employees, with the exception of 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2) on the sixth and seventh floors which was leased to a Japanese importer.
Under Chairman Donald Platten, Chemicals headquarters moved to 277 Park Avenue in 1979. The bank moved across Park Avenue in 1991 to occupy the former headquarters of Manufacturers Hanover Corporation at 270 Park Avenue, which remained the headquarters of Chemicals successor, JPMorgan Chase. In 2012, JPMorgan Chase announced that 270 Park had achieved Platinum LEED status following what was then the largest such renovation in history. By the late 2010s, the building accommodated 6,000 employees in a space designed for a capacity of 3,500. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated twelve buildings in the Terminal City area as city landmarks in 2016. However, it denied a request from preservationists to designate 270 Park Avenue as a landmark, which would have prevented the structures demolition without the commissions approval.
In February 2018, JPMorgan announced it would demolish the former Union Carbide Building to make way for a newer building that will be 678 feet (207 m) taller than the existing structure. The former building would become the tallest voluntarily demolished building in the world, as well as the third-tallest ever to be destroyed, after the World Trade Center Twin Towers. At the time of the announcement, Justin Davidson of New York magazine characterized the first structure as appear[ing] gracious and vibrant, the incarnation of white-collar America. Alexandra Lange of Curbed wrote that 270 Park Avenue had been a superlative example of what Ada Louise Huxtable named The Park Avenue School of Architecture in 1957: sleek, shiny buildings that to her seemed like the city shaking off masonry, somnolence, the past, and marching up Park into the future.
The replacement 1,388 feet (423 m) and 63-story headquarters, as announced in February 2018, would have space for 15,000 employees. The new headquarters is part of the East Midtown rezoning plan. Tishman Construction Corporation will be the construction manager for the project. To build the larger structure, JPMorgan purchased hundreds of thousands of square feet of air rights from nearby St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church as well as from Michael Dells MSD Capital, the owner of the air rights above Grand Central Terminal. In October 2018, JPMorgan announced that British architectural firm Foster + Partners would design the new building. The plans for the new building had grown to 1,388 feet (423 m), though the zoning envelope allowed for a structure as high as 1,566 feet (477 m). However, this also raised concerns that the taller building would require deeper foundations that could interfere with the Metropolitan Transportation Authoritys East Side Access tunnels and the Grand Central Terminals rail yards, which are directly underneath 270 Park Avenue.
In May 2019, the New York City Council unanimously approved JPMorgans headquarters. In order to secure approvals, JPMorgan was required to contribute $40 million to a district-wide improvement fund and incorporate a new 10,000 square feet (930 m2) privately owned public space plaza in front of the tower. After pressure from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Keith Powers, JPMorgan also agreed to fund numerous upgrades to the public realm surrounding the building including improvements to Grand Centrals train shed as well as a new entrance to the station at 48th Street.
Demolition and replacement
In July 2019, the MTA and JPMorgan Chase signed an agreement, in which JPMorgan agreed to ensure that the destruction of 270 Park Avenue would not disrupt the timeline of East Side Access.:22 The same month, scaffolding was wrapped around the tower and podium structure on the Madison Avenue side of the building, marking the beginning of building demolition. At the time, demolition was scheduled to be completed at the end of 2020. By late December 2020, the demolition of the main tower had not yet been completed, but parts of the new superstructure were being assembled on the Madison Avenue side, as demolition on the podium structure had been completed earlier. The first steel beams of the new structure were being assembled by the following month, in January 2021, three months before demolition of the main tower concluded.
In popular culture
- When the Hotel Marguery occupied 270 Park Avenue, the 1947 film noir Kiss of Death used it as one of several New York City locations.
- The 1960-2018 office building was used in exterior shots as the headquarters for the World Wide Wicket Company in the 1967 movie How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
- List of tallest buildings in New York City
- List of tallest buildings in the United States
- List of tallest voluntarily demolished buildings
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- ^ Rheem Co. Leases Marguery Offices (PDF). The New York Times. May 31, 1951. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
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- ^ Glass to Enclose 52-story Building (PDF). The New York Times. February 5, 1957. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
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- ^ a b Lange, Alexandra (February 22, 2018). Why SOMs modernist Union Carbide building is worth saving. Curbed NY. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
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- ^ Davidson, Justin (February 22, 2018). The Death of a Skyscraper. Intelligencer. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
- ^ Davis, Michelle (June 28, 2018). JPMorgan Buys Air Rights From Midtown Church to Build Its New HQ. Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
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- ^ Pryor, Thomas M. (May 11, 1947). Manhattan Doubles as Movie Set; Henry Hathaway Looks For Realism and Finds It Here. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
- Media related to 270 Park Avenue at Wikimedia Commons
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