Solow Building

The Solow Building, located at 9 West 57th Street, is a Manhattan skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's Gordon Bunshaft and built in 1974. It is located just west of Fifth Avenue, sandwiched between the 57th and 58th Street, next to such prominent buildings as the Bergdorf Goodman department store and the Plaza Hotel. Consisting of 50 stories and 689 ft. (210 m), the building's only competitor by height in the neighborhood is the GM Building, located one block north and east. Floors above the 23rd floor offer a virtually unobstructed view of northern Manhattan and a complete view of Central Park.

One of the notable aesthetic attributes of the building is the concave vertical slope of its north and south facades, on 57th and 58th Street. This is similar to another of Bunshaft's creations, the W. R. Grace Building, which is no coincidence, as he had used the initial, rejected façade design for the Solow Building in his design for the Grace Building.

Tenants

The Solow Building features some of the most expensive rents in Manhattan. The Solow Building Company occupies a permanent lease of the top floor of the skyscraper. The largest tenant is Bank of America Securities, which occupies several stories and the trading floor area on floors 2 and 3. At least some of this space is expected to become available after the opening of Bank of America Tower in 2008.

Other well-known tenants include the U.S. Headquarters of the French Corporate and Investment Bank Natixis and private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (42nd fl.), Apollo Management (43rd fl.), Silver Lake Partners (32nd fl.) and Highland Capital Management (38th fl.).

Several law firms and hedge funds occupy a majority of the remainder the space, including Och-Ziff Capital Management (39th fl.) and Highbridge Capital Management (27th fl.). The corporate offices of Chanel (44th fl.), MBNA (50th fl.) and Cendant (Cendant changed its name to Avis Budget Group in 2006) (37th fl.) are also located in the building.

Amenities

The building features an underground parking garage, currently available retail space on the north side bordering 58th Street, an underground space occupied by the Brasserie 8½ restaurant, a 2 floor trading floor on floors 2-3, a newsstand in the lobby, and 24 high-speed elevators subdivided into sets of floors.

Name Issues

In 1971, Avon Products, Inc. rented 21 floors, quickly expanding to occupy 25 floors, and the building was soon being referred to as "the Avon building" (a moniker that persists and can still cause confusion nearly 40 years later). In 1975, the building's owner, Sheldon Solow, sued Avon for misappropriating the building's trademark without compensation. Although Avon moved out of the building in 1997, in May 2005 the lawsuit finally went to trial and was subsequently dismissed two months later.

In popular culture
  • The large red sculpture of the digit 9 in front of the building was included in the project as a response to the complaints that the building's sloping reflecting walls revealed unappealing sides of the neighboring historic buildings that were previously obscured. The brightly colored sculpture was to distract the eyes of passersby from noticing these walls. This famous New York sculpture was designed by graphic artist Ivan Chermayeff.
  • The restaurant Brasserie 8½ was featured on the show Sex and the City. This is also the building where Chandler Bing worked in the sitcom Friends.
  • Namesake of the Nine West shoe store chain.
  • In Superman, a jewel thief is apprehended by Superman while scaling the side of the building while wearing suction cups on his hands and knees.
  • Featured in the film Zoolander with a giant computer generated M, which served as Mugatu's fashion headquarters.
  • In the film Cloverfield, the monster's hand slides down the facade of the building when knocked down momentarily by a carpet bombing run.
  • In the film Lost in America, the final scene where Albert Brooks' character David Howard meets advertising executive Brad ("This little town car...Will drive you away...") occurs in front of this building.
  • Was featured in the film Bride Wars behind the "Plaza Hotel".
  • In the film Morning Glory, the Solow Building is the headquarters of the fictional national television network IBS.

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com