An unfinished penthouse suite at New York City’s iconic Woolworth Building, once the world’s tallest, is on the market for $79 million after being listed for $110 million four years ago.
‘The Pinnacle’ suite at 2 Park Place takes up floors 50 to 58 of the 792-foot-tall building in Tribeca and offers panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor. The five levels span 9,680 square feet and offer access to the skyscraper’s signature spire.
The catch, however, is that the suite remains incomplete. The only thing tying the floors together, where mechanical equipment was stored for decades, is a private elevator and a dozen steel beams.
Commissioned by retail magnate Frank W. Woolworth in 1910, the gothic-inspired tower that bears his name features four turrets, terra-cotta gargoyles, a limestone facade and flying buttresses.
Architect David Hotson designed a floor plan that fits the puzzling design of ‘The Pinnacle,’ located at the top of the historic Woolworth Building at 2 Park Place, in Manhattan. The penthouse is up for sale for $79 million
Hotson’s design transforms the incomplete, puzzling suite into a living space akin to something like a yacht
The renderings make the most of The Pinnacle’s awkward shape, including a central staircase that allows the owner to peer down from the main level of the penthouse to the lower level.
Overhead and eye-level windows allow for all rooms of the apartment to light up in the mornings
The 792-foo-tall Woolworth building, constructed for giant Frank W. Woolworth, was the world’s tallest building when it opened in 1913. It was dubbed the ‘Cathedral of Commerce’
History of the Woolworth building
- The iconic building was designed by Cass Gilbert and opened in 1913 as the world’s tallest skyscraper
- Retail mogul Frank Woolworth paid $13.5 million in cash for it
- The building was set to house a Woolworth’s and cement his legacy in New York City and inspire confidence in American ingenuity
- Building housed the Woolworth Company headquarters
- Included first floor shop and secret private pool for Woolworth
- The faces of Woolworth, the architects and the laborers are etched throughout the building
- It was dubbed ‘The Cathedral of Commerce’ and ‘A skyscraper built by the nickels of millions’
- During the grand opening, 900 VIP guests partied on the 27th floor as President Woodrow Wilson pushed a button in the White House to illuminate the building’s 80,000 light bulbs
- It remained the tallest building until it was overtaken by the 1,046ft. tall Chrysler building in 1930
- The tower became a national historic landmark in 1966
- It remained as Woolworth Company headquarters until 1997
However, The Pinnacle’s puzzling layout left real estate developer Ken Horn and previous prospective buyers befuddled by what to do with the property.
One interested buyer wanted to turn the suite into an enormous one-bedroom bachelor pad, The Wall Street Journal reported. Another wanted to install an office with a hydraulic lift that would raise him to the top of the building while he worked.
An architect wanted to designate some of the space as a cold storage facility, so owners could stash their fur coats.
‘Even architects couldn’t necessarily conceive of the space,’ Horn said. ‘We realized this is way too complicated for 80% of the people who are going to see it.’
The suite has been up for sale since 2017 and was originally priced at $110 million, but no one would bite.
Horn eventually slashed the price by $31 million and tapped famed architect David Hotson, who had previous experience drawing up plans for an awkwardly shaped penthouses, to design renderings of a completed version of the suite to prospective buyers.
Hotson’s design features a large two-story yacht-like living room with a 360-degree mezzanine level, the design reminiscent of the upper deck of a ship.
The architect also drew up plans for a separate library level with a collection of scattered windows both at eye level and overhead.
The design includes a central staircase that would allow the owner to peer down from the main level of the penthouse to the lower level.
More than 80% of the building’s 32 units have been sold or are in contract. There are currently seven listings available at the Woolworth building, with prices ranging from $3.5 million to The Pinnacle’s $79 million
The skyscraper was designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in 1913. It supplanted the 700-foot-tall MetLife Tower in the Flatiron District as the world’s tallest and named for discount-store pioneer, who paid $13.5 million in cash for the project.
It remained the tallest in the world for 17 years until being eclipsed by the 1,046-foot-tall Chrysler Building.
Woolworth’s five-and-dime stores were the first to allow customers to examine what they wanted to buy without the help of a sales clerk. He also created fixed prices for items by buying merchandise directly from manufacturers, eliminating the common practice of haggling
His building, nicknamed ‘The Cathedral of Commerce,’ housed a Woolworth’s in the first one-and-a-half floors and kept it its headquarters in the tower until 1997, when it was eventually run out of business by a new generation of retail competitors, such as Walmart.
A stunning library, complete with a spiral staircase, was designed to serve as a separate space from the suite’s living quarters
The sprawling dining room could include a 12-person table with large windows overlooking Manhattan
The space is large enough to fit a baby grand piano and a pool table
Horn’s Alchemy Properties was the company charged with converting the top floors of the building to residential use.
Converting it into a penthouse was a challenge because there weren’t enough windows in the crown of the building to satisfy the city’s minimum light and air requirements.
Alchemy petitioned the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to add six windows and expand existing ones to bring the unit up to code, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The penthouse’s first floor has 26 windows and 11-foot-high ceilings
The second floor in the crown is ringed by 22 windows and its ceiling soars nearly 16 feet
The third floor is even taller at 24 feet high and has 2,509 square feet of space
The cozy fourth floor has just 837 square feet of space but 24 windows
The fifth floor features 16-foot-high ceilings enclosed by 24 windows
The private observatory terrace provides panoramic views of the city skyline and New York Harbor
There were also 3,500 pieces of damaged terra-cotta on the building’s facade replaced.
Residents of the building have access to amenities, including a spa with a sauna and hot tub, a fitness studio and a wine cellar and tasting room.
Woolworth’s private basement pool has also been restored for residents to use.
Frank W. Woolworth’s original pool has been restored for residential use
The main lobby has also been restored to how Woolworth had it during his retail days
The view from the observation deck of the 408-square-foot private terrace
The property is located at 2 Park Place, in the Tribeca neighborhood
The Woolworth building had been the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1913 to 1930
Among the many amenities, the building also features a residential lobby that has been fully restored from Woolworth’s private office, where the retail mogul cemented his legacy in the Big Apple.
The lower levels are still leased for commercial use.
The building is located beside City Hall Park, Brookfield Place and the Westfield World Trade Center.