270 Park Avenue

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JPMorgan Chase Tower
270 Park Avenue (WTM by official-ly cool 100).jpg
Main facade of the JPMorgan Chase Tower in 2008
Former namesUnion Carbide Building
General information
Location270 Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York, NY 10017, United States
Construction started1957[1]
Antenna spire708 ft (216 m)
Technical details
Floor count52
Floor area2,400,352 sq ft (223,000.0 m2)
Design and construction

270 Park Avenue has been the name or address 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, designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was constructed on the site, through later owners eventually becoming the world headquarters of JPMorgan Chase. This building was demolished between 2019 and 2021, becoming the tallest voluntarily demolished building in the world.

As of 2021, the new JPMorgan Chase Building, expected to rise 1,388 feet (423 m) (sources differ with some claiming it will be as tall as 1,425 feet (434 m)), is under construction.[2] 383 Madison Avenue is serving as temporary headquarters.[3]

Previous buildings[edit]

Hotel and residences[edit]

Hotel Marguery on a map from the 1950s

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.[4] 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[1][5] was built in 1917 by Dr. Paterno at a cost of more than $5 million.[6] New York Central Railroad owned the land underneath the project since the construction of Grand Central Terminal.[7] The buildings were centered around a 250-foot-long Italian Garden which occupied the center of the block.[8] 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.[8] The buildings contained 29 stores, 180 long-term apartments, and 110 luxury suites which ranged from 6 to 16 rooms apiece.[7] By the 1940s, the high-end apartments rented for over $20,000 per month on average.[6]

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.[9] In 1933, the hotel's owners sued to reduce their property taxes significantly on the grounds that the property's assessed value was almost $5 million too high.[10] 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 hotel's owners.[11] In 1923, Nikola Tesla rented rooms at the Hotel Marguery.[12] Harry Frazee, the owner of the Boston Red Sox who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, also lived here.[13] 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.[14] In September 1947, the NYPD busted an underground gambling ring in the hotel, arresting 11 men.[15]

CBS and Time Inc.[edit]

Plans for a replacement to the Hotel Marguery had first surfaced in 1944, when William Zeckendorf's Webb and Knapp planned a new 34-story structure.[7][16] The building would have had a limestone facade with decorative vertical stainless steel columns.[17] In 1945, CBS agreed to occupy the building but quickly backed out.[6] Department store Wanamaker's also reportedly considered the site for an uptown location in addition to the main branch at Broadway and Ninth.[6] Plans for the new structure faced a setback in 1946 when the Office of Price Administration denied Webb & Knapp's petition to evict the 116 residents of the building.[18]

In the late 1940s, Time Inc. had an option to purchase the property and build a new headquarters for the company.[19] 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.[7][20] 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.[7] Following the new tower's approval, the Marguery's tenants announced they would fight the decisions in the courts and through the city's Office of Rent Control.[21] 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.[22] The tenants also appealed to the New York City Council to oppose the demolition.[23] 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.”[19] Due to the failure to evict the Marguery's tenants, Time gave up on the plans for a new tower in March 1950.[24] Ultimately, Time instead moved to 1271 Avenue of the Americas at Rockefeller Center in 1958.

By 1951, the Hotel Marguery's former Italian Gardens had been converted to a parking lot.[6] 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.[25]

First skyscraper[edit]

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.[19] The company signed a lease with the New York Central Railroad to pay $250,000 per year plus the property's real estate taxes (estimated to be $1.5 million per year) for a term of at least 22 years.[26] 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, Nedick's, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Airlines for America, The Manila Times, and the United Nations delegations for Mexico, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Venezuela.[26][27]

Design and construction[edit]

Seen from Park Avenue and 48th Street

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.[6] 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 tower's cost at $46 million.[28][29]

Demolition of the former hotel began in early 1957 and was completed by late August.[8] The new building was completed in 1960 and was the world's tallest building designed by a woman for almost 50 years. The first 700 Union Carbide employees moved into the building in April 1960.[30]

By the building's 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.[31] 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.[32]

In 1976, Union Carbide purchased the land beneath the building from the bankrupt Penn Central Transportation Company for $11 million.[33] The building continued to serve as the headquarters for Union Carbide until the company moved to Danbury, Connecticut in 1981.[34]

Manufacturers Hanover Trust to JPMorgan Chase[edit]

By early 1975, discussions had already begun between the Union Carbide Company and Manufacturers Hanover Trust about selling the building.[35] In June 1978, Manufacturers Hanover Trust purchased the building for $110 million with plans to move its world headquarters to the building in 1980.[33] In the early 1980s, the company spent $75 million to renovate the building into its world headquarters.[36] 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.[36]

Under Chairman Donald Platten, Chemical Bank's headquarters moved to 277 Park Avenue in 1979.[37][38][39] In 1991, Chemical acquired Manufacturers Hanover and moved across Park Avenue to occupy MHT's former headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, which remained the headquarters of Chemical's successors through mergers and name changes, despite Chase Manhattan Corporation (merged 1996) having been headquartered at One Chase Manhattan Plaza and J.P. Morgan & Company having been headquartered at 60 Wall Street when it was merged in 2000 to form 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.[40] By the late 2010s, the building accommodated 6,000 employees in a space designed for a capacity of 3,500.[41] 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 structure's demolition without the commission's approval.[42][43]

Second skyscraper[edit]

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.[41] The former building would become the tallest voluntarily demolished building in the world, overtaking the previous record-holder Singer Building that was demolished in 1968.[44] It would also be the third-tallest tower ever to be destroyed, after the World Trade Center Twin Towers.[41] 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".[45] 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."[32]


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.[41] To build the larger structure, JPMorgan purchased hundreds of thousands of square feet of air rights from nearby St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church as well as from Michael Dell's MSD Capital, the owner of the air rights above Grand Central Terminal.[46][47] 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).[48] However, this also raised concerns that the taller building would require deeper foundations that could interfere with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's East Side Access tunnels and the Grand Central Terminal's rail yards, which are directly underneath 270 Park Avenue.[49]

In May 2019, the New York City Council unanimously approved JPMorgan's headquarters.[50] 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 Central's train shed as well as a new entrance to the station at 48th Street.[51]

Demolition and replacement[edit]

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.[52]: 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.[53] 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.[54] 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.[55] The building had been demolished by mid-2021,[56][57] after which the columns in the base began construction across the entire lot.[2][58]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "JPMorgan Chase Tower". Emporis. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "270 Park Avenue's Massive Steel Base Takes Shape in Midtown East, Manhattan". New York YIMBY. August 16, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  3. ^ "JPMorgan weighs shifting thousands of jobs out of New York area". American Banker. October 28, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  4. ^ "The Lost Hotel Marguery -- No. 270 Park Avenue". Daytonian in Manhattan. November 9, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  5. ^ "Completing Big Apartment" (PDF). The New York Times. June 17, 1917. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Bradley, John (August 17, 1955). "New Skyscraper Set For Park Ave" (PDF). The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c d e Cooper, Lee (June 4, 1947). "300 to be Ousted for New Building" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Final Razing Begins at Marguery Hotel" (PDF). The New York Times. July 26, 1957. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  9. ^ "Two Die as Blast Rocks the Marguery and Routs Guests" (PDF). The New York Times. January 4, 1930. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  10. ^ "Assessment Suits Filed" (PDF). The New York Times. April 19, 1933. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "Tax Value Cut Sharply For 270 Park Avenue" (PDF). The New York Times. December 19, 1941. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  12. ^ "Tesla Timeline – 1923: Tesla Moves To Hotel Marguery". Tesla Universe. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Leavy, Jane (December 30, 2019). "Opinion | Why on Earth Did Boston Sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  14. ^ "Wealthy Textile Executive Killed in Park Avenue Mystery Shooting" (PDF). The New York Times. June 5, 1945. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Crooked 'Sucker' Set-Up Seized In Park Avenue Gambling Raid" (PDF). The New York Times. September 12, 1947. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  16. ^ Gray, Christopher (May 14, 1989). "Is It Time to Redevelop Park Avenue Again?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Cooper, Lee (July 22, 1945). "Office Skyscraper to Rise on Marguery Hotel Block" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  18. ^ "OPA Bans Marguery Evictions" (PDF). The New York Times. May 30, 1946. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  19. ^ a b c Pollak, Michael (July 15, 2007). "Shutting It Off, Already". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  20. ^ "East Side Offices to Cost $21,164,000" (PDF). The New York Times. June 25, 1947. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "Tenants To Fight Against Evictions" (PDF). The New York Times. June 5, 1947. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  22. ^ "Peter J. M'Coy, 70, Former U.S. Aide". The New York Times. July 19, 1958. p. 15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  23. ^ "500 Hotel Tenants Act to Bar Eviction" (PDF). The New York Times. June 20, 1947. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  24. ^ "Abandon Project on Marguery Site" (PDF). The New York Times. March 4, 1950. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  25. ^ "Offices Planned in Park Ave. Block" (PDF). The New York Times. May 25, 1951. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  26. ^ a b Bradley, John A. (August 21, 1955). "Marguery Deal Nets Big Profit" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  27. ^ "Rheem Co. Leases Marguery Offices" (PDF). The New York Times. May 31, 1951. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  28. ^ "Taller Building Due For Marguery Site" (PDF). The New York Times. July 28, 1956. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  29. ^ "Glass to Enclose 52-story Building" (PDF). The New York Times. February 5, 1957. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  30. ^ "Union Carbide Starts Moving to 270 Park" (PDF). The New York Times. April 19, 1960. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  31. ^ "Tenant Enlarges Park Ave. Office" (PDF). The New York Times. July 4, 1963. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  32. ^ a b Lange, Alexandra (February 22, 2018). "Why SOM's modernist Union Carbide building is worth saving". Curbed NY. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  33. ^ a b Milletti, Mario (June 29, 1978). "Manufacturers Hanover to Buy Union Carbide's Building". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  34. ^ Tomasson, Robert (September 27, 1981). "An Industrial Giant Relocates Its Extended Family". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  35. ^ Horsley, Carter (April 24, 1975). "Union Carbide Seeking to Sell Building and Move Out of City" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  36. ^ a b Goodman, George (October 30, 1983). "Manufacturers Hanover Remodels Its Skyscraper". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  37. ^ Barron, James (August 27, 1991). "Donald C. Platten, Ex-Chairman Of Chemical Bank, Is Dead at 72". The New York Times.
  38. ^ "Chemical Bank Selling Building". The New York Times. April 10, 1981.
  39. ^ Horsley, Carter B. "The Chase Building". The Midtown Book. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  40. ^ "JPMorgan Chase Achieves LEED® Platinum Green Building Certification for Newly Renovated Global Headquarters in New York City" (Press release). JPMorgan Chase. January 18, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2020 – via BusinessWire.
  41. ^ a b c d Bagli, Charles V. (February 21, 2018). "Out With the Old Building, in With the New for JPMorgan Chase". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  42. ^ Kim, Elizabeth (January 8, 2020). "270 Park Avenue, A Quintessential Modernist Skyscraper, Is Being Slowly Destroyed By Chase Bank". Gothamist. Archived from the original on January 26, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  43. ^ Plitt, Amy (February 21, 2018). "City's plan to demolish & replace SOM-designed 270 Park Avenue sparks criticism". Curbed NY. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  44. ^ "World's tallest demolished buildings" (PDF). CTBUH Journal (II): 48–49. April 27, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  45. ^ Davidson, Justin (February 22, 2018). "The Death of a Skyscraper". Intelligencer. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  46. ^ Davis, Michelle (June 28, 2018). "JPMorgan Buys Air Rights From Midtown Church to Build Its New HQ". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  47. ^ Levitt, David M. (February 26, 2018). "JPMorgan Buys Rights for HQ From Michael Dell Partnership". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  48. ^ Fedak, Nikolai (November 12, 2018). "270 Park Avenue's Replacement Will Rise 1,400 Feet in Midtown East, Manhattan". New York YIMBY. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  49. ^ Geiger, Daniel (December 13, 2018). "JPMorgan tower could interfere with MTA megaproject". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  50. ^ Small, Eddie (May 8, 2019). "City Council gives green light for JMorgan's new headquarters in Midtown East". The Real Deal. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  51. ^ Katz, Lily (March 26, 2019). "JPMorgan Agrees to Fund Transit Upgrades Near Its New Manhattan Headquarters". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  52. ^ "Capital Program Oversight Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 22, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  53. ^ "270 Park Avenue's Shrouded Demolition Making Progress in Midtown East". New York YIMBY. September 23, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  54. ^ "270 Park Avenue's Demolition Passes Halfway Mark in Midtown East". New York YIMBY. December 29, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  55. ^ "270 Park Avenue's New Superstructure Begins to Rise as Demolition Continues in Midtown East, Manhattan". New York YIMBY. January 25, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  56. ^ Davidson, Justin (May 17, 2021). "What If New York Stopped Knocking Down Buildings?". Intelligencer. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  57. ^ "270 Park Avenue's Demolition is Complete While New Steel Superstructure Rises in Midtown East". New York YIMBY. June 7, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  58. ^ "270 Park Avenue's First Office Levels Begin Formation in Midtown East, Manhattan". New York YIMBY. October 1, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  59. ^ 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.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′21″N 73°58′31″W / 40.7558°N 73.9754°W / 40.7558; -73.9754