(New York Telephone Co. Building)
The Verizon Building in 2013.
|Location||140 West Street|
Manhattan, New York City
|Area||0.9 acres (0.36 ha)|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|NRHP reference #||09000257|
|Added to NRHP||April 30, 2009|
|Designated NYCL||October 1, 1991|
The Verizon Building – previously known as the Barclay-Vesey Building and the New York Telephone Company Building – is a 32-story building located at 140 West Street between Barclay and Vesey Streets, going through to Washington Street, in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The building was constructed from 1923 to 1927, and was designed in the Art Deco style by Ralph Walker of the firm McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin. The building is adjacent to the World Trade Center site and 7 World Trade Center, and it experienced major damage in the September 11 attacks. Its thick masonry exterior and use of masonry to protect steel columns and structural elements helped the building withstand the attacks. Restoration of the building and damaged communications infrastructure after the attacks took three years, at a cost of $1.4 billion.
The interior of the building includes 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2). The lobby features veined marble walls, travertine floors with inlaid bronze medallions, and other ornate decor, including ceiling murals that depict how human communication has progressed, from Aztec runners to the telephone. Walker was inspired by Maya architecture in designing the facade. Exterior ornamentation includes complex foliage, along with babies and animal heads as part of the design, and a bell (symbol of the telephone company) above the door.
The Verizon Building has five sub-basement levels, which house communications equipment. The building remained in use by Verizon as a main telecommunications switching center in Lower Manhattan, handling approximately 200,000 phone lines and 3.6 million data circuits prior to 9/11.
The building was designed by Ralph Walker of McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin Architects; construction began in 1923. The building is 498 ft (152 m) tall and 32 stories. Construction was completed in 1927, and the building was known at that time as the Barclay-Vesey Building. It served as the headquarters for the New York Telephone Company, which commissioned it. When NYNEX was formed as a result of the breakup of the original AT&T, the building became NYNEX's headquarters. It became the headquarters of Bell Atlantic following Bell Atlantic's merger with NYNEX, and was retained as Verizon's headquarters after Verizon was formed from the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE until 2013, when Verizon sold the upper 21 floors of the building to a redeveloper who plans to convert the upper floors into residences; Verizon relocated to midtown at 1095 Avenue of the Americas.
Architects and historians widely consider the Verizon Building as the first Art Deco skyscraper. It was among the first skyscrapers designed under the 1916 Zoning Resolution, using the step back principle which became a key element of art deco design. Architectonically, the building has been compared to San Antonio's Milam Building, the largest pre-stressed concrete and brick office building and the first to have an integrated designed-in air conditioning system.
September 11 attacks
The south and east facades of the Verizon Building were heavily damaged in the September 11 attacks, from the collapse of the adjacent 7 World Trade Center, as well as the collapse of the Twin Towers. No fires were observed in the building on September 11.
The building's older design utilizes thick masonry and gives the building added strength, which helped the building withstand damage from debris and remain structurally sound. The building has thick, heavy masonry in the exterior infill walls, which encloses the building's steel frame. Brick, cinder, concrete, and other masonry materials encase interior steel columns, beams, girders, and other structural elements. The masonry allowed the structure to absorb much of the energy from debris hitting the building. Nonetheless, the building had extensive damage to its east and south facades. Underground cable vaults belonging to Verizon, along with other underground utility infrastructure, were also heavily damaged from water and debris.
Restoration and renovation
Tishman Realty & Construction, which had been planning work on the building prior to the attacks, did a quick assessment of the building in the days after the attack. William F. Collins AIA Architects was the lead architectural firm working on the restoration, while Tishman Interiors managed the project. Restoration of the building took three years, at a cost of $1.4 billion.
The Excalibur Bronze Foundry and Petrillo Stone were hired as specialists for restoring intricate ornamental detail in the facade and in the lobby. This part of the restoration accounted for a significant portion of restoration costs. Facade restoration involved carving motif designs in the ornamental limestone, and restoring the 10 frescoes in the lobby. For the murals in the lobby, hypodermic needles were used to inject acrylic resin to restore the paint and plaster.
On the executive office floors, barrel-vaulted ceilings were restored, restoring plaster friezes, and other work. Restoration of the building also involved replacing a corner column; A+ Construction of Rye, New York was responsible for this work. The building's 23 elevators were also upgraded, new fire alarms, building command systems, and chillers installed, and restrooms made accessible to those with disabilities.
In 2004, the New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded Tishman Interiors the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for its restoration work on the Verizon Building. By late 2005, the restoration was complete and in December, Verizon, announced it would move its headquarters from midtown Manhattan into the downtown building which had space for 1,500 employees. The building also continues to serve as a telephone switching center.
In 2013, the top 22 floors of the 32-story building were purchased by developer Ben Shaoul for conversion to condominiums known as One Hundred Barclay. Verizon owns and operates office and telecommunications space, including the switching center serving telecommunications circuit and Fios customers for much of Lower Manhattan.
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