Verizon Building Restoration
Cost: $1.4 billion
It's not only a historic landmark, but the Verizon Building,
originally developed in 1926 and considered one of the world's
first art deco skyscrapers, also housed the majority of Lower
Manhattan's telephone communications systems and merited a
$1.4 billion restoration.
The 32-story Verizon Building at 140 West St. was one of
the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It suffered
damage when a 60-ft.-tall pile of rubble collapsed against
it from the fall of 52-story Seven World Trade Center office
building, which stood across the street.
The rubble was responsible for demolishing a quarter of the
building's east façade and ruining much of the south
facing wall, in addition to damaging foundation walls and
two crucial structural columns.
The affront to the city's historical architecture drew plenty
of attention, and city officials and community members came
together to help support the renovation and restoration project
at the Verizon Building.
Tishman Realty & Construction Corp., the general contractor
on the site, made sure the building was structurally sound
by replacing the 35-ft.-long structural columns and repairing
the foundation walls and concrete floor slabs.
The Lower Manhattan Emergency Preservation Fund helped the
historical aspect of the restoration by donating nearly $10,000
to the study of conservation techniques for the building's
lobby ceiling murals. The LMEPF is a consortium of five historic
preservation organizations that formed after Sept. 11 to ensure
that properties such as the Verizon Building, formerly the
headquarters of the New York Telephone Co., have the appropriate
resources for historic renovation.
Restoration of the art deco façade and lobby took
a significant portion of the restoration price tag. Specialists
such as Excalibur Bronze Foundry, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Petrillo
Stone Corp., of Mount Vernon, N.Y., worked on different aspects
of the property.
Using historic photographs, latex stencils and moldings of
the carvings, Excalibur restructured the building's 72-ft.
entrance on Washington Street and cast new bronze panels for
the façade. Petrillo re-created 5,000 sq. ft. of decorative
carved limestone and 500 sq. ft. of granite relief work on
the building's south and east walls.
The limestone and granite used in the renovation were taken
from the same Connecticut quarry as the original materials,
and the material was sandblasted to give it a weathered look.
As part of the renovation, the project team also replaced
1,800 windows, 520,000 exterior bricks on the south wall and
22,500 cinder blocks on the building. Given the detail required
on the renovation, many of these elements were lifted into
place by hand.
The original skyscraper was designed by Ralph Walker of McKenzie,
Voorhees & Gmelin Architects.
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