Whitehall Building is actually two buildings: the original 1904 20-story structure facing Battery Place, and a 1910 32-story annex directly behind that, facing West Street.
(A third building, added to the complex in 1972, is not included in this gallery. Now named One Western Union International Plaza, that 20-story office building was built in a completely different style and is now under different ownership.)
Whitehall Building was a little bit of a gamble – its location was two blocks off Broadway, the most desirable address. But the park across the street guaranteed unimpeded views; with lower-than-Broadway rents, the building was an immediate success. The owners, Robert and William Chesebrough, started buying up adjacent lots for an annex even before the first building was completed. (Robert Chesebrough was the inventor of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.)
Henry J. Hardenbergh was the architect for the Whitehall Building. Among his prior commissions were the Dakota Apartments (1884), the original Waldorf (1895) and Astoria (1897) hotels, and the Western Union Telegraph Building (1884). His design for the Whitehall was quite colorful for the times and the location, including five different shades of brick and stone in the Battery Place facade.
The records don’t say why Hardenbergh wasn’t selected to design the annex – but it may have been because he was busy designing the Plaza Hotel. In any case, Clinton & Russell was selected for the job. Their annex, Greater Whitehall, was much larger than Whitehall Building; in fact, it was the largest office building in New York at the time.
The upper floors (14-31) of both buildings have now been converted to rental apartments – Ocean Luxury Residences.
Whitehall Building Vital Statistics
- Location: 17 Battery Place
- Year completed: 1904; 1910 (annex, aka Greater Whitehall)
- Architect: Henry J. Hardenbergh; Clinton & Russell (annex)
- Floors: 20; 31 (annex)
- Style: neo-Renaissance
- New York City Landmark: 2000
Whitehall Building Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
- City Realty review
- Forgotten New York blog
- Starts and Fits blog
- Lookze listing
- Ocean Luxury Residences website