By Carter B. Horsley
This imposing edifice with its
facade is one of Lower Manhattan's most important landmarks.
The lower half of the building
by Isaiah Rogers in Greek Revival style and opened in 1842 as
the Merchant Exchange and became home to the New York Stock Exchange
until 1854 and then was redesigned by William A. Potter and served
as the Custom House from 1862 to 1907 when it was acquired by
the National City Bank Corporation for its headquarters. The
original building had 16 Ionic columns of Quincy granite and the second
colonnade has Corinthian columns.
The bank, a predecessor firm of
McKim, Mead & White to expand the building. The expansion
added four floors and a second colonnade to its Wall Street fašade.
The building's enormous, 12,000-square-foot banking hall was designed
in classical Roman style with a 60-foot-high ceiling. (In 1981,
the Walker Group installed a huge and tall red lacquer free-standing
wall angled in the center of the banking hall that was a tellers'
The building was designated a
President Bush delivered a
speech in the opulent
hall on corporate malfeasance and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined
his vision for Lower Manhattan there.
The Cipriani family operated
the hall and a
restaurant before the building was taken over in January, 2000
by Sidney Kimmel and Regent International Hotels to become the
Regent New York hotel with 144 rooms and suites. The economic
aftermath of the terrorist attacks September 11, 2001, however,
led to the hotel being closed in January, 2004.
Giuseppe Cipriani's grandfather
Bar in Venice in 1931 and it quickly became one of the most famous
in the world.
Giuseppe Cipriani joined forces with Mr. Kimmel and Steve Witkoff
to convert the property to Cipriani Club Residences.
Mr. Cipriani said that the
at 55 Wall Street marks the transformation of the Cipriani brand
into a complete lifestyle," adding that "Within a magnificent,
landmarked building on the most famous street in the world, we've
created exquisitely furnished and appointment apartments that
reflect the aesthetic of our international customers."
The project now contains 106
including 45 "club residences," or studios, 49 1-bedroom
apartments, 8 2-bedroom apartments and 4 3-bedroom apartments.
Buyers of the apartments can
choose from three
design styles for the fully furnished units, down to linens, toasters
and glassware: sleek, classic and eclectic. The apartments are
designed by Tsao & McKown.
Residents have two years'
membership in a private
club, and prices, including the furnishings, ranged initially
from $785,000 to over $3 million.
A brochure for the development
Cipriani's head laying in the lap of "Cipriani Club member
Margherita Missoni" while holding a cup of coffee. Mr. Cipriani
is wearing a tuxedo and white shirt and, in the brochure, Mr.
Cipriani is quoted as stating:
"A rich lifestyle accommodates
a breadth of social, leisure
and practical pursuits to enhance and ease the lives of the residents
of 55 Wall Street and, most of all, anticipate their needs. The
Club, an extension of each residence, includes both formal and
casual dining rooms in which to enjoy classic Cipriani dishes:
an intimate bar serving the trademark Bellini along with the world's
finest wines and spirits; a richly appointed billiard room; an
elegant wine cellar and private dining rooms; a state-of-the-art
screening room featuring the latest Hollywood releases; an old-world,
European-style hair salon and barber shop; a library and reading
room with an array of international newspapers and magazines and
literature both contemporary and classic; a full-service spa featuring
tanning booth, wet room, and steam showers; a Cipriani boutique;
and access to a world-class concierge able to arrange for services
of every sort. Residents have exclusive use of spacious duplex
fitness center outfitted with a complete range of sleek equipment
in polished chrome and supple leather. A 24-four concierge, doorman,
rooftop garden, and butler and maid service by Cipriani will be
available to all residents. To own one of the residences is to
own the good life, Cipriani-style."