General Motors BuildingEdit profile
The General Motors Building is a 50- story, 705-foot (215 m) office tower in Manhattan, New York City, facing Fifth Avenue at 59th Street . The building is one of the few structures in Manhattan that occupies a full city block. The building size is approximately 1,774,000 rentable square feet on a plot measuring 200 x 420 (84,350 square feet) that was formerly the site of the Savoy Hotel. The tower was designed in the international style by Edward Durell Stone & Associates in association with Emery Roth & Sons.
Started in 1964 and finished in 1968, the General Motors Building originally featured, in its street-level lobby, a showroom for the vehicles of General Motors. Currently, the lobby is the home of FAO Schwarz's flagship toy store. The premises of the FAO Schwarz toy store feature a sculpture of a stuffed bear in the plaza and oversized keyboard on the floor played by foot as seen in the film Big . The store won an award for its lighting in 2005. The building is also home to CBS's The Early Show, the plaza is located next to the Apple store. Also in the building is an Apple Store. The Apple Store entrance is a 32 ft (9.8 m) by 32 ft (9.8 m) by 32 ft (9.8 m) glass cube, likened to the Louvre Pyramid, and descent into the store is made via a glass elevator or a treadded spiral staircase surrounding it. This addition was designed by Apple and the firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. Another prominent tenant of the General Motors Building is Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which houses its headquarters in the building. General Motors had a strong architectural and design presence in New York prior to the General Motors building, at both of its World's Fairs. Here it introduced the Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The architecture of this exhibition is attributed to Norman Bel Geddes and was a major piece of Streamline Moderne featuring sinuous ramps, and a guided circuitous route through the exhibition. The design of the General Motors office building was completed in the year of the 1964 New York World's Fair. More architecturally experimental than the office tower, this building was designed like a car with a ride and exhibitions contained inside. Behind a tilted and curved façade likened to a tail fin, Futurama II featured travel via pods and rovers to the moon, under ice and water, to the jungle and desert, the city of tomorrow, and exhibitions of futuristic cars. At General Motors' home in Detroit, many of its buildings had been designed by Albert Kahn including the high-rise Cadillac Place, also known as the "General Motors Building". The façade is an expression of unbroken verticality in "glistening white Georgia marble" and sheets of glass. Both architectural firms were prolific skyscraper designers contributing to much of Manhattan's urban fabric; however, the property has been more attractive as a piece of real estate and as a home to its corporate tenants, than it has to architecture critics. Paul Goldberger and Ada Louise Huxtable both wrote negative critical reviews of the building and even the first edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (1968), an unabashed apologia for International Modernism, noted "The hue and cry over the new behemoth was based, not on architecture but, rather, first on the loss of the hotel's elegant shopping amenities in favor of automobile salesmanship (an auto showroom is particularly galling at the spot in New York most likely to honor the pedestrian)." The General Motors building was once co-owned by Donald Trump, bought with Conseco in 1998 for what was originally thought to be 800 million dollars, and once bore his name in four-foot gold letters. The cost turned out to be $878 million. Trump raised the controversial sunken plaza where few pedestrians had ventured, which had been criticised by Huxtable. In 2003, the General Motors building set the North American real estate sales record for the price of an office building when it was sold to the Macklowe Organization for USD 1.4 billion. In February 2008, due to a credit crisis among lenders, the Macklowe Organization put the GM Building up for sale. It was sold in May for an estimated $2.8 billion to a joint venture between Boston Properties, Goldman Sachs Real Estate Opportunities Fund (backed by funds from Kuwait and Qatar), and Meraas Capital (Dubai based real estate private equity firm). It was the largest single asset transaction of 2008.