Almost two years ago, Harry Macklowe purchased one of the most iconic Financial District skyscrapers:  One Wall Street.  At a $585 million purchase price, the Ralph Walker-designed tower is being converted from a bank space (versus the typical telecom building) to a residential space to be split between condos and rentals.   Now, two years later, we have a far better understanding of the bragging rights that the building will have.

Why was this our pick for a property spotlight? There are so many reasons.  First, it is truly an architectural jewel. Second, it will become a major retail destination. And third, it powerfully cements FiDi’s arrival as a residential destination neighborhood.  Let’s dive into each of these pieces one by one.

Retail destination

The building’s base is set to be transformed into a major retail destination. The first two floors and the cellar will host 95,000 square feet of retail. For one of the retail spaces, architect Robert A.M. Stern who is designing the conversion hinted that a tenant like Whole Foods Market would be ideal for the space. With plenty of room to spare, he noted that some of the remaining retail space could be occupied by a high-end jeweler such as Cartier.  If we zoom out, it’s clear that FiDi will be bustling with a plethora of shopping opportunities that include the WTC Transit Hub, Fulton Center and Brookfield Place.

Architectural jewel

You may have noticed that most FiDi office buildings are rather unremarkable. Especially the interiors leave much to be desired and have a ho-hum feel to them.  Not One Wall Street! It is home to two of the most spectacular places in NYC:  The Red Room and the observation room.

The Red Room was the original bank lobby and was designed by Hildreth Meière as an homage to the Roman god, Vuclan. As such, it is entirely covered in a tiled mural that makes the space actually look like the inside of a volcano.

The observation room is even more impressive than its Empire State Building or One World Observatory competitors. Boasting a height of 4 stories, its ceiling is completely covered in shells from the Philippines, glistening in any light.