Presently called The Trump Building, the masterfully built tower located at 40 Wall Street became a viable contender to be the world?s tallest skyscraper.
New York developer George Ohstrom started acquiring plots of land in 1928 in preparation to fulfill his vision to construct the tallest building in the world. The skyscraper was meant to be the head office of the Bank of Manhattan Trust Company. The architect appointed to design the building was H. Craig Severance. Severance?s previous partner William Van Alen was simultaneously doing work on Chrysler Building which became 40 Wall Street?s primary rival in constructing the globe?s tallest skyscraper.
The demolition of remaining structures in the site where 40 Wall Street would rise and the foundation-laying commenced in the latter years of 1929 was done in lightning speed which took only three weeks to finish. Driven by the desire to beat the Chrysler Building, workers were able to finish the building?s steel frame in only 93 days and the entire skyscraper was completed on May 1930, just a year after construction started.
40 Wall Street was indeed the tallest building in the world. However, it was just for a very short time. Severance?s former partner Van Alen announced the addition of a needle-looking spire to crown the Chrysler Building, claiming the title of the world?s tallest skyscraper.
While 40 Wall Street failed to keep the title as the world?s tallest skyscraper, it was eventually regarded as ?The Crown Jewel of Wall Street? and for several years stood out in the skyline of the Financial District of Manhattan. The building?s roof formed like a pyramid and gothic summit can be easily recognized from different places in New Jersey and New York.
Guests to 40 Wall Street are greeted by grand bronze doors crowned by masterpiece ?Oceans.? It serves as a grand welcome to the building?s intricate interior boasting of a bank boardroom inspired by the Signer?s Room in Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Another attraction here is the two-floor banking hall predominantly made of marble and features murals made by Ezra Winter. Winter?s other works can be found in Rockefeller Center and other NYC landmarks. There is likewise an observatory found on the building?s 70th floor.
The economic turmoil brought about by the Great Depression and World War II greatly affected the occupancy rates of 40 Wall Street and its ownership has been passed on from one to the next. Even former Philippine president and known dictator Ferdinand Marcos became one of the owners of 40 Wall Street.
Finally, business magnate Donald Trump acquired 40 Wall Street in 1995 and immediately embarked on an aggressive renovation efforts worth millions of dollars. Trump aimed to transform the building into 50% commercial and 50% residential. To no avail, the skyscraper remains to be 100% commercial. In 2003, Trump put the building up for sale but no one took his $400-million selling price.