Empire Building (Manhattan)

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Empire Building
18981015.NYC.Empire Building, Broadway and Rector St.d.Kimball and Thompson.jpg
Empire Building (Manhattan) is located in Lower Manhattan
Empire Building (Manhattan)
Empire Building (Manhattan) is located in New York
Empire Building (Manhattan)
Empire Building (Manhattan) is located in the United States
Empire Building (Manhattan)
Location71 Broadway
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°42′26″N 74°0′47″W / 40.70722°N 74.01306°W / 40.70722; -74.01306Coordinates: 40°42′26″N 74°0′47″W / 40.70722°N 74.01306°W / 40.70722; -74.01306
ArchitectKimball & Thompson
Architectural styleClassical Revival
NRHP reference #83004643
Significant dates
Designated NRHPAugust 28, 1998[2]
Designated NYCLJune 25, 1996[1]

The Empire Building is a 21-story, 293-foot-tall (89 m) steel framed curtain-wall skyscraper located at 71 Broadway, on the corner of Rector Street, in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. It was designed by Kimball & Thompson in the Classical Revival style and built by Marc Eidlitz & Son from 1895 to 1898.[3] It is one of the earliest skyscrapers built on pneumatic caissons and one of the oldest still standing today.[1] The building was the home of United States Steel Corporation from its founding in 1901 to 1976.[3] Since 1997, it has served as an apartment building.[1] It was designated a New York City landmark in 1996[1] and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.[2]


In 1884, Orlando B. Potter purchased a six-story 1859 brownstone office building at 71 Broadway. It was the site of an assassination attempt on Russell Sage in 1891.[4] After Potter died suddenly in 1894, his estate, managed by his children, commissioned the current building.

On April 23, 1919, the United States Steel Corporation, a major tenant since its formation in 1901, bought the building from the Potter trust for approximately US$5 million in cash. It was their world headquarters until 1976, even after they sold the building in 1973. They remained in the building until the mid-1980s.[1]

The Empire Building was converted to 237 apartments in 1997 by World-Wide Group of Manhattan that had purchased the foreclosed property for approximately $10 million.[5]


The plot measures 78 feet (24 m) along Broadway, 223 feet (68 m) along Rector Street, and 50 feet (15 m) on Trinity Place with a footprint of approximately 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2)[4] and a total floorspace of 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2).[5] Some portions of the Broadway entrance cross over the lot line.[1] Along Rector Street, it is adjacent to the churchyard of Trinity Church, providing a dramatic backdrop for the church and ensuring open views for the building.

Charles Sooysmith designed the foundation which was a mix of grillage and 23 pneumatic concrete caissons that went 23 feet (7.0 m) down to bedrock.[1]

The building has a tripartite design with a base, shaft, and capital sections, as in the column of a classical order. The original design called for architectural terracotta sheathing, but the owners switched to granite. The base is four stories of polished gray granite. The shaft is twelve stories of a white rusticated granite. The capital is four stories tall with colonnaded loggias and a metal cornice. There is a full basement, which is exposed along Rector Street, and a full-height storefront on Trinity Place due to the difference in elevation between the front and the back of the building.[1] The main entrance on Broadway is based on a triumphal arch with a main archway and two smaller flanking ones which leads to first floor stores.[1]

The twenty-first floor designed by John C. Westervelt was added in 1930. The main entrance on Broadway, the Trinity Place entrance, and the connection to the elevated train on Trinity Place were all refashioned in an Art Deco style by Walker & Gillette in 1938.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shockley, Jay (June 25, 1996). "Empire Building Designation Report" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  3. ^ a b New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009). Postal, Matthew A. (ed.). Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1., p.11
  4. ^ a b "Empire Building Bought by U.S. Steel" (PDF). The New York Times. April 24, 1919. pp. Section: Business & Finance, page 17. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Garbarine, Rachelle (September 12, 1997). "Residential Real Estate; At 100, Skyscraper Becomes Housing". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2009.

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