Many people consider 375 Pearl Street the ugliest building in New York. It is not only its blank concrete facade that people so detest but also its ruinous effect on the downtown skyline. Just north of the Brooklyn Bridge, the 32-story tower has no tall neighbors to hide it, sticking out like a sore thumb, ruining countless tourists’ photos and panoramic posters.
It was a former New York Telephone switching station built in the 1970s, so clearly no thought was given to its design. With changes in telephone technology, the building is almost empty, basically a giant Verizon billboard.
Taconic Investment Partners bought the building in 2006 with plans for a dramatic transformation. They paid $172 million, a steep price, yet less than half what a comparably sized building might have cost. Cook + Fox, architects of One Bryant Park, were tapped to transform the building with a new glass facade and other amenities, replacing an eyesore with a shiny new office building.
Things have not gone according to plan, and the building is now on the market for a mere $125 million, according to Crain’s. Interestingly, the paper says most interest in the property is from residential developers, that and firms looking to continue using the building for technical purposes. The latter would be a shame, at least for the skyline. That said, if anyone plans on putting a new skin on 375 Pearl, they might want to consider talking to Steve Ross first.