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Top Projects Completed 2003-2004

Verizon Building Restoration

Rank #3
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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