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Top 8 Stunning Facts about 8 Spruce Street in New York City

If I would have to pick a top 10 list of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world, then this magnificent tower in New York City would make it.

That’s remarkable because Deconstructivist architecture isn’t always considered to be the most pleasing in terms of appearance. Famous architects usually don’t want their buildings to be classified as such.

The architect of this incredible landmark in NYC can’t escape this classification, however. That’s mainly because of the dozens of peculiar structures he designed.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about 8 Spruce Street, a building with some interesting stories to tell.

1. It’s located on Spruce Street in the Financial District of Manhatten

As the name of the skyscraper suggests, 8 Spruce Street is located on the street of the same name in the Financial District of Manhatten.

This is the utmost southern part of Manhattan, known as Lower Manhattan, and easy to find because it’s here that the Brooklyn Bridge crosses the East River.

Other famous landmarks in the area are the historic Woolworth Building just northwest, and New York City Hall just a few blocks to the north.

The Imposing One World Trade Center is located several blocks to the west of this amazing skyscraper.

8 Spruce Street location
The location of the skyscraper in Manhatten / Fletcher / Wiki Commons

2. It was designed by a famous Canadian-American architect

The building was completed between 2006 and 2011 with a design by world-famous Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry.

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Gehry has designed some of the most impressive buildings in modern times, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The building in Bilbao was completed in 1997 and had a profound effect on the world of architecture. It defined the rest of his career.

The building in New York City is one of the few skyscrapers that incorporates the same Deconstructivist architecture as the concert halls and museums that he designed.

Walt Disney Concert Hall deconstructivism
The Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry / Wiki Commons

3. It was the tallest residential skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere upon completion

8 Spruce Street was originally known as either the Beekman Tower or New York by Gehry until it was changed to its current name.

The tower stands 265 meters (807 feet) tall and because it’s mainly a residential skyscraper, it was the tallest of its kind in New York City.

Better yet, upon completion, the tower was the tallest residential skyscraper in the entire Western Hemisphere.

It has since been surpassed by many new pencil skyscrapers near Central Park, including One Vanderbilt, the Steinway Tower, and the Central Park Tower.

8 Spruce Street under construction
The tower under construction / Bernt Rostad / Wiki Commons

4. This area once served as a parking lot for a nearby 19th-century hospital

One of the buildings that are located right next to the tower is the NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital.

This hospital has a history that goes back to the year 1853 when it was established as the “New York Dispensary for Poor Women & Children.”

The plot of land on which 8 Spruce Street was constructed served as the parking lot of this historic hospital.

8 Spruce Street area
The area around the building / Jim Henderson / Wiki Commons

5. The first five floors of the building are occupied by a public elementary school

The first five floors of the building look nowhere near the stainless steel-clad residential skyscraper that dominates this part of Lower Manhattan.

That’s because it serves as an elementary school that has children from pre-kindergarten up to 8th grade attending it. This school is owned and operated by the Department of Education.

The building itself has a floor area of 9,300 square meters (100,000 square feet) and the upper floor features a play area of 460 square meters (5,000 square feet).

8 Spruce Street detail
A closer view of the tower / Ken Lund / Wiki Commons

6. All floors above the elementary school feature a total of 904 rental apartments

Apart from the elementary school, there are also several stores located on the ground level of the tower. They provide all the needs of the tower’s residents.

Above the first 5 floors, there are a total of 70 floors that feature 904 apartments. None of them are for sale and they can only be rented.

The condos feature one or two bedrooms and have a floor space of anywhere between 4 square meters (500 square feet) and 150 square meters (1,600 square feet).

Especially the luxury apartments on the upper floors feature a fascinating view of the New York City area and are therefore quite pricy to rent as well.

8 Spruce Street apartments
Detail of the apartments on the upper floors / Matt Walter / Wiki Commons

7. The skyscraper went up for sale for a whopping $850 million in 2021

Many people left their apartments during the COVID-19 Pandemic and this caused some problems for the real estate developers Brookfield Property Partners and Nuveen who owned the place.

One-fifth of the building was vacant in 2020 which meant that the owners had no other choice than to sell their amazing property.

They set a price of $850 million but reportedly sold the skyscraper in a deal worth $930 million to investment management company Blackstone Inc. in late 2021.

8. The beautiful tower has been universally praised by architecture critics

Whether or not the $930 million for 8 Spruce Street was a good deal remains to be seen. The new owners can, however, boast about the fact that they own one of the most beautiful buildings in New York City.

The skyscraper has been universally praised by critics and was referred to by the New York Times as “the finest skyscraper to rise in New York since Eero Saarinen’s CBS Building went up 46 years ago.”

The nearby Woolworth Building was completed in 1913 and New Yorker Magazine called 8 Spruce Street “One of the most beautiful towers downtown New York and the first thing built downtown since then that deserves to stand beside it.”

Whether or not it surpasses the beauty of the Gothic Revival architecture of Cass Gilbert’s masterpiece remains an open question.

8 Spruce Street and Woolworth Building
The tower and the nearby Woolworth Building / Tony Hisgett / Wiki Commons