Living Large at One Wall Street

by Katherine Arteche
Photos courtesy of One Wall Street
06 Dec 2022

In this prime New York City district, One Wall Street is being transformed by Macklowe Properties into an apartment building in the largest office-to-residential conversion in history.

In the heart of New York's downtown, there has been an ongoing major renovation to one of the most iconic landmarks in the Big Apple. In the last four years, New Yorkers have been walking under scaffoldings and making detours surrounding the blockade of the towering limestone building on 1 Wall Street.

Large red banners announcing the Macklowe Properties project will catch one’s attention, reinforcing the anticipation that something big is coming. Even in the address, the name alone exudes prestige.

The One Wall Street (OWS) building is surrounded by New York staples — the New York Stock Exchange lies towards the southeast, Broadway on the opposite side, and the grounds of the Trinity Church reside at OWS’ north corner, where throngs of city novices and history fanatics can be seen touring Alexander Hamilton’s gravesite, an attraction revived by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical production.

Yet while one doesn’t necessarily need to nestle right into the dead center of NYC to experience city life, one would be mad to pass on the thought of calling OWS home. There remains a certain allure to owning a piece of New York history.

Over US$30 billion was invested into the downtown real estate and infrastructure in the last decade, leading to the rejuvenation of the downtown real estate market and business initiatives.


One Wall Street

One of the bedrooms at One Wall Street, boasting incredible New York City views

Previously called The Irving Trust Building, the structure was completed in 1931 for the Irving Trust Company, joining existing tall fellows — the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Rockefeller Center — in expanding the towering New York City skyline. At the time, the Art Deco influence took prominence, evidenced by the use of angular outlines, vertical towers with stepped piers, and a series of setbacks that created space and balance towards the top, completing the building’s tapered formation.

There are rules to growing the metropolis, one being that adjacent buildings are not allowed to start their foundations along the same distance, as the buildings’ close proximity would inhibit light onto the streets below. It’s the reason for many “plaza pockets” one would find walking every few blocks, with one such space taken over by the all-glass Apple “the cube” Store on Fifth Avenue (also a Macklowe building).

The Irving Trust Building changed hands in 1988 when it became the headquarters of The Bank of New York Mellon, and again in 2014, this time under the ownership of real estate magnate Harry Macklowe and was then christened as One Wall Street.

The Red Room, featuring a kaleidoscopic mosaic created by muralist Hildreth Meiere in 1929

For a building that’s reaching its 100-year milestone in 2031, much of OWS has been largely preserved. Coming off the cobblestone steps and into the main lobby, a mosaic kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows greet you in the 5,000 sq ft space.

OWS calls this the “Red Room”, which was a commissioned artwork by muralist Hildreth Meiere back in 1929. According to the archives, the then Irving Trust Co. wanted “to create ‘an inviting and friendly’ reception area for the clients, closed to the general public.”

When Portfolio visited the property earlier in summer, the lobby served as the showroom for OWS’ building models, where gold-leafed tesserae added extra shine as warm lighting bounced off the colors.


From Office to Home

Future site of the largest Whole Foods Supermarket in the city

At 56 storeys tall, the once commercial building is now home to 566 apartments (ranging from studio to four-bedroom layouts), eight retail tenants that includes a new Whole Foods Supermarket (the largest in the city), and facility and amenity spaces hosted by The One Club. This comprises the athletic club (where residents have priority membership), spa facilities, co-working spaces, and concierge services, while from the 38th storey, one is treated to unblocked views of the Hudson River, courtesy of the pool, patios, and garden terrace spaces.

But at the peak sits OWS’ sole penthouse, a triplex that boasts expansive floor-to-ceiling views of everything aforementioned. During our walkthrough with Director of Architecture at Macklowe Properties, Lilla Smith, the penthouse is still in its excavation stage.

The very floor was once a prestigious boardroom for the financial banking elites in its prime, but will now be suited for a well-decorated living room, complete with an original fireplace the architects decided to keep.

For the rest of the stately apartments, Yellow House Architects has the interior design covered. Founder and Principal Architect, Elizabeth Graziolo, presented an example of an eclectic furnished four-bedroom apartment that’s a stark contrast to the beige limestone façade.

“I love color,” she gushed. “But Mr. Macklowe prefers a more muted palette. So, I sought to compromise by incorporating texture instead.”

She introduced a woven-textured ceiling in the junior bedroom, and a velvet-finished sofa in the minimalistic study. But that’s not to say one is walking into a monochromatic abode.

One can still find color in the mint-washed walls in the kitchen, and, perhaps as Graziolo’s act of rebellion, your guest bathroom colored in a vivid shade of plum.

The flow of the apartment is seamless, where soon enough you’ll find your way onto the setback terrace through the slim French door of the living room that provides enough space for some well-manicured landscaping. As you watch the sunset while lounging in your Philipp Aduatz-designed furniture, one can’t help but know that living up here among the Manhattan elites, your coffee definitely tastes different.

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