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55 Wall Street

Block 25 Lot 7501

55 Wall Street

55 Wall Street

By Carter B. Horsley

This imposing edifice with its multi-columned facade is one of Lower Manhattan's most important landmarks.

The lower half of the building was designed 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.

Teller's wall

Banking hall with teller's "wall"

The bank, a predecessor firm of Citicorp, hired 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' station.)

The building was designated a city landmark in 1965.

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 opened Harry's 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 "Cipriani Residences 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."

Rendering of residents' dining room

Rendering of residents' dining room

The project now contains 106 furnished apartments 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.

rendering of residents' library

Rendering of residents' library

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 shows Giuseppe 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."

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