When you tour through New York City, you are surrounded by historic and iconic buildings that have been seen in countless movies, magazines and television shows. Many of the more popular buildings are known more by their look than their name. The Battery Park district of Lower Manhattan is home to several iconic buildings that many people would recognize on site. The Whitehall Building is one of those popular buildings, and its annex is just as popular as well. The gray, beige and almost pink color scheme of the exterior of the building is what makes it stand out. But it is its history that most people find extremely interesting. The original Whitehall Building was designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh and completed in 1904.
It was named the Whitehall Building because of its close proximity to the home of Peter Stuyvesant which was named “White Hall.” The original building was 20-stories high, which made it one of the tallest buildings in New York City at the time. It was one of the original structures to use the skyscraper design and one of the first buildings to reach over 250-feet tall. It was so unique that it became extremely popular and that popularity caused the building’s owners to contract an annex. The Whitehall Building annex was designed by the Clinton and Russell architectural firm. It is actually a sister-building that was built right next store to the original Whitehall. When the annex was finished in 1910, it was 31-stories tall. The combined footprint of the original building and the annex together created the largest office complex in New York City at the time.
The buildings enjoyed several decades of prosperous success as a commercial office structure before things started to change in the late 1990’s. In 1999, the Whitehall Building was turned into an apartment complex for upscale tenants. In 2000, the building was declared a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee. The original building still houses offices and retail stores. The building is in a very busy part of the Battery Park district and its popularity as a commercial and residential structure has never waned. The annex measures 424-feet tall which made it one of the tallest office structures in New York City at the time of its completion. While the annex shares the same name as the original building, the two structures have very different designs. The two buildings are connected by a covered walkway.