HomeReal EstateBeyond The BuildingWoolworth Building Penthouse Still For Sale

Woolworth Building Penthouse Still For Sale

Can you believe the first “skyscraper” was just a 10-story building? The Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1885, was considered the first and was just 10 stories high.

Here in NYC, opinion on the first skyscraper varies widely, even with solid sources on the internet. (In fact, when I did a Google search for the first skyscraper in NYC, I got so many different answers with varying facts, I questioned what was even real!) The literal definition of a skyscraper, in today’s dictionary, is simply “a very tall building with many stories”. However, after perusing several more articles and still being confused, I went to the good old-fashioned Encyclopedia Britannica. At the time of invention, a skyscraper described a building with 10-20 stories that had a steel structure. This bit of construction wonder was a true innovation, back in 1885.

Anywho, the accepted answer for the first skyscraper in NYC is the Tower Building, which was just 11-stories high, built in 1889. The Woolworth Building was built back in 1913 during the surge of competing skyscrapers which rose in big cities throughout the country, before World War II.

Frank Winfield Woolworth via NYPL

Frank Winifred Woolworth was a business owner of the already successful store Woolworth’s, usually called the “Five and Dime”, or just plain Woolworth’s. Woolworth financed his entire project for $13.5 million dollars, which he paid legendarily with his own cold, hard cash.

Street view of the Woolworth Building construction site, (1911 – 1912), Digital Collections, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations
Woolworth Building, (1912), Digital Collections, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

The architect was Cass Gilbert and the developer was the Thompson-Starrett Company. The opening was huge; even the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, played a part. After all, the skyscraper was inducted as the tallest building in the world, at 792-feet tall and 60-stories. The building was designed as 30-stories that comprised the base, for retail tenants, and 30-stories comprised the tower, designed for luxury residences. The entire structure was made for opulence, with marble imported from Greece and Italy, vaulted ceilings, a grand facade 3-stories high, and state-of-the-art interior decór. The New York Times was actually the first publication that quoted Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, who called the building; “the Cathedral of Commerce”, in its April 27, 1913 headlines. The distinguished-sounding nickname stuck. This was just after the grand opening, which was held on April 24, 1913.  It is still an easily recognizable landmark on the New York City skyline today. The architecture is elegant and complimentary, and the views from the residences are stunning.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 22, 2015: Interior of the Woolworth Building in New York City, USA. It was the tallest building in the world from 1913-1930. Editorial credit: Felix Lipov/

The Penthouse 

Now, the residential tower has been renovated and completed, and the coveted penthouse is once again available for purchase – truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The price tag is steep, but understandable to a degree, as this is no ordinary penthouse. At $79 million, it’s considered to be one of the very top gems in the entire City, fit for a king. Alchemy Properties has redesigned the tower into 30 prime dwellings, called the Woolworth Tower Residences with its own address of 2 Park Place. Floors 50 through 58, however, are called “the Pinnacle” and this, my wonderful readers, is where it gets really good. 

Proposed Thierry W Despont Living Room via Sotheby’s

Above is a picture of the penthouse, a 5-story luxury home 727-feet high, it is indeed the crown jewel of Manhattan, in the coveted TriBeCa neighborhood. Here’s the really unique and exciting thing about this place: if you buy it, you get to choose the floorplan and be a part of its design. Not only that, but you get to choose from two world-renowned designers and their unique floorplan ideas; Thierry W. Despont and David Hotson. Despont is a French designer known here in New York for his work on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, and 220 Central Park South. Hotson is known in NY for his work on the Skyhouse Penthouse, at 150 Nassau Street. The penthouse won an award for “Best Apartment of the Decade”, by Interior Design Magazine in 2015. 

Proposed Thierry W Despont Library via Sotheby’s
Proposed David Hotson Great Room via Sotheby’s

The astonishingly stunning reimagination of these residences, done in all white, can be customized to the buyer’s preference to include an optional additional floor, in the top two photos. According to the Sotheby’s listing, these designs were provided by Hotson. In any case, the way the home is ultimately finished is between the designers and the buyer, but this provides a blank canvas for a creative touch. The stately home is 9,680 ft² and five floors, plus a 408 ft² private terrace. 

Proposed David Hotson Library via Sotheby’s

Very different perspectives from each designer provide the prospective new owner with ample inspiration. The space can be created to be a one, two, three or four bedroom dwelling, depending wholly on the whims of the buyer. The lavish digs also feature 125 windows, 24-foot ceilings, a private, in-residence elevator, and is represented by Sotheby’s. You honestly can’t get more bourgeoisie than this, folks. Amenities in the building include Gilbert Lounge and billiard room, a fitness studio, wine cellar, and tasting room, and the Woolworth pool. If that isn’t enough, this building offers “white glove service” and an exclusive, residents-only lobby.

Rochelle Harris is a passionate writer originally from Phoenix, AZ. who credits her success to integrity and determination. She has a great sense of humor, loves music and her family, and writes fiction and poetry in her spare time. She is excited about the New York experience and lifestyle! Follow Rochelle on Twitter at @LinguisticAnRky or get in touch at [email protected]