When it opened in 1883, the nine-story Temple Court Building was one of the tallest buildings in New York City, and one of the first with a soaring, open atrium at its center. The red-brick and terra cotta office building was commissioned by dry-goods retailer and banker Eugene Kelly to house law practices. Its signature turrets were trendsetting at the time—the Woolworth Building adopted similar architectural elements some 30 years later.
Temple Court and its Annex (1890) were designated a New York City landmark in 1998, to no avail: the last tenant moved out at the end of 2001.
In 2012, a development group led by Allen Gross, President of GFI Capital Resources, purchased the property and set a plan to revive it for hotel/retail use, along with the construction of a ground-up, 51-story residential tower on the adjacent lot. The bottom 10 floors of the new tower adjoin the historic property; both house hotels rooms. The upper 41 floors of the tower contain 67 luxury condos and amenities spaces. Beekman Hotel and Residences was fully completed earlier this year.
Key to the landmark building’s revival was overcoming a tenuous fire code issue that forced its previous owners, in the 1940s, to fully enclose the dramatic open atrium with walls, hiding the atrium, railings, and skylight from view. The team worked with the NYC fire department and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to implement a novel $2 million smoke curtain system—the first of its kind in North America—that permitted the obtrusive atrium walls to come down. Curtains were installed on every floor to ensure that smoke would be contained in case of a fire. Fans on the roof and a smoke purge system draw fresh air in via the ground-floor windows and doors.
The team faced other technical problems: inadequate MEP infrastructure (solution: place all mechanical systems in the new tower); varying floor heights (solution: design the tower’s lower floors to align seamlessly); and spotty vertical access throughout construction (solution: careful planning of materials delivery and project sequencing).
The Beekman Hotel opened in September 2016. It was an instant hit. As one guest put it, “What you will find throughout the property are surprises and delight. The attention to detail is what strikes you first, and then the pure class and elegance.”
Bronze Award Winner
BUILDING TEAM Broadway Construction Group (submitter, GC) 5 Beekman Property Owner, LLC (owner) Gerner Kronick & Valcarcel (architect) Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (interior architect) WSP (SE) PHA Engineering (CE) Lilker Associates (MEP) Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (geotechnical engineer) DETAILS 350,000 sf Total cost $400 million Construction time 2013 to 2018 Delivery method Cost plus