Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. At 1,046 ft (319 m), it is the tallest brick building in the world with a steel framework, and it was the world's tallest building for 11 months after its completion in 1930. As of 2019, the Chrysler is the 12th-tallest building in the city, tied with The New York Times Building.

Originally a project of real estate developer and former New York State Senator William H. Reynolds, the building was constructed by Walter Chrysler, the head of the Chrysler Corporation. The construction of the Chrysler Building, an early skyscraper, was characterized by a competition with 40 Wall Street and the Empire State Building to become the world's tallest building. The Chrysler Building was designed and funded by Walter Chrysler personally as a real estate investment for his children...Read more

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. At 1,046 ft (319 m), it is the tallest brick building in the world with a steel framework, and it was the world's tallest building for 11 months after its completion in 1930. As of 2019, the Chrysler is the 12th-tallest building in the city, tied with The New York Times Building.

Originally a project of real estate developer and former New York State Senator William H. Reynolds, the building was constructed by Walter Chrysler, the head of the Chrysler Corporation. The construction of the Chrysler Building, an early skyscraper, was characterized by a competition with 40 Wall Street and the Empire State Building to become the world's tallest building. The Chrysler Building was designed and funded by Walter Chrysler personally as a real estate investment for his children, but it was not intended as the Chrysler Corporation's headquarters. An annex was completed in 1952, and the building was sold by the Chrysler family the next year, with numerous subsequent owners.

When the Chrysler Building opened, there were mixed reviews of the building's design, some calling it inane and unoriginal, others hailing it as modernist and iconic. Reviewers in the late 20th and early 21st centuries regarded the building as a paragon of the Art Deco architectural style. In 2007, it was ranked ninth on the American Institute of Architects' list of America's Favorite Architecture. The facade and interior became New York City designated landmarks in 1978, and the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

A view of the Chrysler Building from the Empire State Building The Chrysler Building from the Empire State Building, both erected as part of New York City's 1920s building boom

In the mid-1920s, New York's metropolitan area surpassed London's as the world's most populous metropolitan area[1] and its population exceeded ten million by the early 1930s.[2] The era was characterized by profound social and technological changes. Consumer goods such as radio, cinema, and the automobile became widespread.[3] In 1927, Walter Chrysler's automotive company, the Chrysler Corporation, became the third-largest car manufacturer in the United States, behind Ford and General Motors.[4][5] The following year, Chrysler was named Time magazine's "Person of the Year".[6][7]

The economic boom of the 1920s and speculation in the real estate market fostered a wave of new skyscraper projects in New York City.[7] The Chrysler Building was built as part of an ongoing building boom that resulted in the city having the world's tallest building from 1908 to 1974.[8] Following the end of World War I, European and American architects came to see simplified design as the epitome of the modern era and Art Deco skyscrapers as symbolizing progress, innovation, and modernity. The 1916 Zoning Resolution restricted the height that street-side exterior walls of New York City buildings could rise before needing to be setback from the street.[a][11] This led to the construction of Art Deco structures in New York City with significant setbacks, large volumes, and striking silhouettes that were often elaborately decorated.[12][13] Art Deco buildings were constructed for only a short period of time; but because that period was during the city's late-1920s real estate boom, the numerous skyscrapers built in the Art Deco style predominated in the city skyline, giving it the romantic quality seen in films and plays.[14] The Chrysler Building project was shaped by these circumstances.[7]

Development

Originally, the Chrysler Building was to be the Reynolds Building, a project of real estate developer and former New York state senator William H. Reynolds.[15][16][17] Prior to his involvement in planning the building, Reynolds was best known for developing Coney Island's Dreamland amusement park. When the amusement park was destroyed by a fire in 1911, Reynolds turned his attention to Manhattan real estate, where he set out to build the tallest building in the world.[15][16]

Planning

In 1921, Reynolds rented a large plot of land at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street with the intention of building a tall building on the site.[16][17][18] Reynolds did not develop the property for several years, prompting the Cooper Union to try to increase the assessed value of the property in 1924. The move, which would force Reynolds to pay more rent, was unusual because property owners usually sought to decrease their property assessments and pay fewer taxes.[19] Reynolds hired the architect William Van Alen to design a forty-story building there in 1927.[20] Van Alen's original design featured many Modernist stylistic elements, with glazed, curved windows at the corners.[15]

 Chrysler Building from The SUMMIT at One Vanderbilt with the United Nations headquarters in the background

Van Alen was respected in his field for his work on the Albemarle Building at Broadway and 24th Street, designing it in collaboration with his partner H. Craig Severance.[21][22] Van Alen and Severance complemented each other, with Van Alen being an original, imaginative architect and Severance being a shrewd businessperson who handled the firm's finances.[23] The relationship between them became tense over disagreements on how best to run the firm.[20] A 1924 article in the Architectural Review, praising the Albemarle Building's design, had mentioned Van Alen as the designer in the firm and ignored Severance's role.[24][25][26] The architects' partnership dissolved acrimoniously several months later, with lawsuits over the firm's clients and assets lasting over a year.[25][26] The rivalry influenced the design of the future Chrysler Building, since Severance's more traditional architectural style would otherwise have restrained Van Alen's more modern outlook.[27]

Refinement of designs

By February 2, 1928, the proposed building's height had been increased to 54 stories, which would have made it the tallest building in Midtown.[28] The proposal was changed again two weeks later, with official plans for a 63-story building.[29] A little more than a week after that, the plan was changed for the third time, with two additional stories added.[30] By this time, 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue were both hubs for construction activity, due to the removal of the Third Avenue Elevated's 42nd Street spur, which was seen as a blight on the area. The adjacent 56-story Chanin Building was also under construction. Because of the elevated spur's removal, real estate speculators believed that Lexington Avenue would become the "Broadway of the East Side", causing a ripple effect that would spur developments farther east.[31]

In April 1928, Reynolds signed a 67-year lease for the plot and finalized the details of his ambitious project.[32] Van Alen's original design for the skyscraper called for a base with first-floor showroom windows that would be triple-height, and above would be 12 stories with glass-wrapped corners, to create the impression that the tower was floating in mid-air.[17][33] Reynolds's main contribution to the building's design was his insistence that it have a metallic crown, despite Van Alen's initial opposition;[34] the metal-and-crystal crown would have looked like "a jeweled sphere" at night.[35] Originally, the skyscraper would have risen 808 feet (246 m), with 67 floors.[36][37][33] These plans were approved in June 1928.[38] Van Alen's drawings were unveiled in the following August and published in a magazine run by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).[39]

Reynolds ultimately devised an alternate design for the Reynolds Building, which was published in August 1928. The new design was much more conservative, with an Italianate dome that a critic compared to Governor Al Smith's bowler hat, and a brick arrangement on the upper floors that simulated windows in the corners, a detail that remains in the current Chrysler Building. This design almost exactly reflected the shape, setbacks, and the layout of the windows of the current building, but with a different dome.[17]

Final plans and start of construction

With the design complete, groundbreaking for the Reynolds Building took place on September 19, 1928,[40] but by late 1928, Reynolds did not have the means to carry on construction.[41] Walter Chrysler offered to buy the building in early October 1928,[42][43] and Reynolds sold the plot, lease, plans, and architect's services to Chrysler on October 15, 1928,[44][41][45] for more than $2.5 million.[46] That day, the Goodwin Construction Company began demolition of what had been built.[47][45] A contract was awarded on October 28,[48] and demolition was completed on November 9.[47] Chrysler's initial plans for the building were similar to Reynolds's, but with the 808-foot building having 68 floors instead of 67. The plans entailed a ground-floor pedestrian arcade; a facade of stone below the fifth floor and brick-and-terracotta above; and a three-story bronze-and-glass "observation dome" at the top.[44][45] However, Chrysler wanted a more progressive design, and he worked with Van Alen to redesign the skyscraper to be 925 ft (282 m) tall.[49] At the new height, Chrysler's building would be taller than the 792-foot (241 m) Woolworth Building, a building in lower Manhattan that was the world's tallest at the time.[50][45] At one point, Chrysler had requested that Van Alen shorten the design by ten floors, but reneged on that decision after realizing that the increased height would also result in increased publicity.[51]

 One of the radiator cap–themed ornaments

From late 1928 to early 1929, modifications to the design of the dome continued.[20] In March 1929, the press published details of an "artistic dome" that had the shape of a giant thirty-pointed star, which would be crowned by a sculpture five meters high.[52][17][53] The final design of the dome included several arches and triangular windows.[20] Lower down, various architectural details were modeled after Chrysler automobile products, such as the hood ornaments of the Plymouth (see § Designs between setbacks).[17][36] The building's gargoyles on the 31st floor and the eagles on the 61st floor, were created to represent flight,[54] and to embody the machine age of the time.[17][36] Even the topmost needle was built using a process similar to one Chrysler used to manufacture his cars, with precise "hand craftmanship".[55] In his autobiography, Chrysler says he suggested that his building be taller than the Eiffel Tower.[56][16]

Meanwhile, excavation of the new building's 69-foot-deep (21 m) foundation began in mid-November 1928[57][58] and was completed in mid-January 1929, when bedrock was reached.[47] A total of 105,000,000 pounds (48,000,000 kg) of rock and 36,000,000 pounds (16,000,000 kg) of soil were excavated for the foundation, equal to 63% of the future building's weight.[58] Construction of the building proper began on January 21, 1929.[47] The Carnegie Steel Company provided the steel beams, the first of which was installed on March 27; and by April 9, the first upright beams had been set into place.[58] The steel structure was "a few floors" high by June 1929, 35 floors high by early August,[58] and completed by September.[7] Despite a frantic steelwork construction pace of about four floors per week,[59] no workers died during the construction of the skyscraper's steelwork.[60] Chrysler lauded this achievement, saying, "It is the first time that any structure in the world has reached such a height, yet the entire steel construction was accomplished without loss of life".[60] In total, 391,881 rivets were used,[61] and approximately 3,826,000 bricks were laid to create the non-loadbearing walls of the skyscraper.[62] Walter Chrysler personally financed the construction with his income from his car company.[63] The Chrysler Building's height officially surpassed the Woolworth's on October 16, 1929, thereby becoming the world's tallest structure.[64]

Competition for "world's tallest building" title

The same year that the Chrysler Building's construction started, banker George L. Ohrstrom proposed the construction of a 47-story office building at 40 Wall Street downtown, designed by Van Alen's former partner Severance. Shortly thereafter, Ohrstrom expanded his project to 60 floors, but it was still shorter than the Woolworth and Chrysler buildings.[50] That April, Severance increased 40 Wall's height to 840 feet (260 m) with 62 floors, exceeding the Woolworth's height by 48 feet (15 m) and the Chrysler's by 32 feet (9.8 m).[50] 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building started competing for the title of "world's tallest building".[65][66][67] The Empire State Building, on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, entered the competition in 1929.[68] The race was defined by at least five other proposals, although only the Empire State Building would survive the Wall Street Crash of 1929.[69][b] The "Race into the Sky", as popular media called it at the time, was representative of the country's optimism in the 1920s, which helped fuel the building boom in major cities.[68] Van Alen expanded the Chrysler Building's height to 925 feet (282 m), prompting Severance to increase the height of 40 Wall Street to 927 feet (283 m) in April 1929.[67][71] Construction of 40 Wall Street began that May and was completed twelve months later.[50]

In response, Van Alen obtained permission for a 125-foot-long (38 m) spire[72][73][c] and had it secretly constructed inside the frame of his building.[74][71][51] The spire was delivered to the site in four different sections.[72] On October 23, 1929, one week after surpassing the Woolworth Building's height and one day before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the spire was assembled. According to one account, "the bottom section of the spire was hoisted to the top of the building's dome and lowered into the 66th floor of the building."[50] Then, within 90 minutes the rest of the spire's pieces were raised and riveted in sequence,[75] raising the tower to 1,046 feet.[74][76][77] Van Alen, who witnessed the process from the street along with its engineers and Walter Chrysler,[76] compared the experience to watching a butterfly leaving its cocoon.[51][77] In the October 1930 edition of Architectural Forum, Van Alen explained the design and construction of the crown and needle:[78][7]

A high spire structure with a needle-like termination was designed to surmount the dome. This is 185 feet high and 8 feet square at its base. It was made up of four corner angles, with light angle strut and diagonal members, all told weighing 27 tons. It was manifestly impossible to assemble this structure and hoist it as a unit from the ground, and equally impossible to hoist it in sections and place them as such in their final positions. Besides, it would be more spectacular, for publicity value, to have this cloud-piercing needle appear unexpectedly.

The steel tip brought the Chrysler Building to a height of 1,046 feet (319 m), greatly exceeding 40 Wall Street's height.[79][74] Contemporary news media did not write of the spire's erection, nor were there any press releases celebrating the spire's erection. Even the New York Herald Tribune, which had virtually continuous coverage of the tower's construction, did not report on the spire's installation until days after the spire had been raised.[80]

Chrysler realized that his tower's height would exceed the Empire State Building's as well, having ordered Van Alen to change the Chrysler's original roof from a stubby Romanesque dome to the narrow steel spire.[71] However, the Empire State's developer John J. Raskob reviewed the plans and realized that he could add five more floors and a spire of his own to his 80-story building[81] and acquired additional plots to support that building's height extension.[82][83] Two days later, the Empire State Building's co-developer, former governor Al Smith, announced the updated plans for that skyscraper, with an observation deck on the 86th-floor roof at a height of 1,050 feet (320 m), higher than the Chrysler's 71st-floor observation deck at 783 feet (239 m).[81]

Completion  The Chrysler Building in 1932

In January 1930, it was announced that the Chrysler Corporation would maintain satellite offices in the Chrysler Building during Automobile Show Week.[84] The skyscraper was never intended to become the Chrysler's Corporation's headquarters, which remained in Detroit.[85] The first leases by outside tenants were announced in April 1930, before the building was officially completed.[86][87] The building was formally opened on May 27, 1930, in a ceremony that coincided with the 42nd Street Property Owners and Merchants Association's meeting that year. In the lobby of the building, a bronze plaque that read "in recognition of Mr. Chrysler's contribution to civic advancement" was unveiled. Former Governor Smith, former Assemblyman Martin G. McCue, and 42nd Street Association president George W. Sweeney were among those in attendance.[87][88] By June, it was reported that 65% of the available space had been leased.[89] By August, the building was declared complete, but the New York City Department of Construction did not mark it as finished until February 1932.[87]

The added height of the spire allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass 40 Wall Street as the tallest building in the world and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure.[81] The Chrysler Building was thus the first man-made structure to be taller than 1,000 feet (300 m);[90] and as one newspaper noted, the tower was also taller than the highest points of five states.[91] The tower remained the world's tallest for 11 months after its completion.[92][93] The Chrysler Building was appraised at $14 million, but was exempt from city taxes per an 1859 law that gave tax exemptions to sites owned by the Cooper Union.[94] The city had attempted to repeal the tax exemption, but Cooper Union had opposed that measure.[95] Because the Chrysler Building retains the tax exemption, it has paid Cooper Union for the use of their land since opening.[96] While the Chrysler Corporation was a tenant, it was not involved in the construction or ownership of the Chrysler Building; rather, the tower was a project of Walter P. Chrysler for his children.[17][74] In his autobiography, Chrysler wrote that he wanted to erect the building "so that his sons would have something to be responsible for".[56][16]

Van Alen's satisfaction at these accomplishments was likely muted by Walter Chrysler's later refusal to pay the balance of his architectural fee.[17] Chrysler alleged that Van Alen had received bribes from suppliers, and Van Alen had not signed any contracts with Walter Chrysler when he took over the project.[20] Van Alen sued and the courts ruled in his favor, requiring Chrysler to pay Van Alen $840,000, or six percent of the total budget of the building.[97] However, the lawsuit against Chrysler markedly diminished Van Alen's reputation as an architect, which, along with the effects of the Great Depression and negative criticism, ended up ruining his career.[98][20] Van Alen ended his career as professor of sculpture at the nearby Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and died in 1954. According to author Neal Bascomb, "The Chrysler Building was his greatest accomplishment, and the one that guaranteed his obscurity."[20]

The Chrysler Building's distinction as the world's tallest building was short-lived. John Raskob realized the 1,050-foot Empire State Building would only be 4 feet (1.2 m) taller than the Chrysler Building,[81] and Raskob was afraid that Walter Chrysler might try to "pull a trick like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute."[99] Another revision brought the Empire State Building's roof to 1,250 feet (380 m), making it the tallest building in the world by far[100][101] when it opened on May 1, 1931.[102] However, the Chrysler Building is still the world's tallest steel-supported brick building.[36] The Chrysler Building fared better commercially than the Empire State Building did: by 1935, the Chrysler had already rented 70 percent of its floor area.[103] By contrast, Empire State had only leased 23 percent of its space[104] and was popularly derided as the "Empty State Building".[105]

Use 1940s to 1960s  Height comparison of buildings in New York City

The Chrysler family inherited the property after the death of Walter Chrysler in 1940, with the property being under the ownership of W.P. Chrysler Building Corporation.[106] In 1944, the corporation filed plans to build a 38-story annex to the east of the building, at 666 Third Avenue.[107] In 1949, this was revised to a 32-story annex costing $9 million.[108] The annex building, designed by Reinhard, Hofmeister & Walquist,[109][110] had a facade similar to that of the original Chrysler Building. The stone for the original building was no longer manufactured, and had to be specially replicated.[111] Construction started on the annex in June 1950,[112] and the first tenants started leasing in June 1951.[113] The building itself was completed by 1952,[109] and a sky bridge connecting the two buildings' seventh floors was built in 1959.[114]

The family sold the building in 1953 to William Zeckendorf[115][116] for its assessed price of $18 million.[117] The 1953 deal included the annex and the nearby Graybar Building, which, along with the Chrysler Building, sold for a combined $52 million. The new owners were Zeckendorf's company Webb and Knapp, who held a 75% interest in the sale, and the Graysler Corporation, who held a 25% stake. At the time, it was reported to be the largest real estate sale in New York City's history.[118][119] In 1957, the Chrysler Building, its annex, and the Graybar Building were sold for $66 million to Lawrence Wien's realty syndicate, setting a new record for the largest sale in the city.[120]

 The Chrysler Building in 1965

In 1960, the complex was purchased by Sol Goldman and Alex DiLorenzo,[121] who received a mortgage from the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.[122] The next year, the building's stainless steel elements, including the needle, crown, gargoyles, and entrance doors, were polished for the first time.[123][124] A group of ten workers steam-cleaned the facade below the 30th floor, and manually cleaned the portion of the tower above the 30th floor, for a cost of about $200,000.[124] Under Goldman and DiLorenzo's operation, the building began to develop leaks and cracked walls, and about 1,200 cubic yards (920 m3) of garbage piled up in the basement. The scale of the deterioration led one observer to say that the Chrysler Building was being operated "like a tenement in the South Bronx".[116][125] The Chrysler Building remained profitable until 1974, when the owners faced increasing taxes and fuel costs.[126]

1970s to 1990s

Foreclosure proceedings against the building began in August 1975, when Goldman and DiLorenzo defaulted on the $29 million first mortgage and a $15 million second mortgage.[127][128] The building was about 17 percent vacant at the time.[129] Massachusetts Mutual acquired the Chrysler Building for $35 million,[130] purchasing all the outstanding debt on the building via several transactions.[131] The next year, the Chrysler Building was designated as a National Historic Landmark.[132][133] Texaco, one of the building's major tenants, was relocating to Westchester County, New York, by then,[134] vacating hundreds of thousands of square feet at the Chrysler Building.[126][129] In early 1978, Mass Mutual devised plans to renovate the facade, heating, ventilation, air‐conditioning, elevators, lobby murals, and Cloud Club headquarters for $23 million.[130][135][131] At a press conference announcing the renovation, mayor Ed Koch proclaimed that "the steel eagles and the gargoyles of the Chrysler Building are all shouting the renaissance of New York".[116][130] Massachusetts Mutual had hired Josephine Sokolski, who had proposed modifying Van Alen's original lobby design substantially.[136][137]

After the renovation was announced, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) considered designating the Chrysler Building as a city landmark.[130] Though Mass Mutual had proclaimed "sensitivity and respect" for the building's architecture,[130] it had opposed the city landmark designation, concerned that the designation would hinder leasing.[138][116] At the time, the building had 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of vacant floor space, representing 40% of the total floor area.[130] The owners hired the Edward S. Gordon Company as the building's leasing agent, and the firm leased 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of vacant space within five years.[139] The LPC designated the lobby and facade as city landmarks in September 1978.[116] Massachusetts Mutual had hired Josephine Sokolski to renovate the lobby, but the LPC objected that many aspects of Sokolski's planned redesign had deviated too much from Van Alen's original design.[137][140] As a result of these disputes, the renovation of the lobby was delayed.[140]

 The Chrysler Building seen from ground level

The building was sold again in August 1979, this time to entrepreneur and Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, in a deal that also transferred ownership of the Los Angeles Kings and Lakers to Jerry Buss.[141][142] At the time, the building was 96 percent occupied. The new owners hired Kenneth Kleiman of Descon Interiors to redesign the lobby and elevator cabs in a style that was much more closer to Van Alen's original design.[136][143] Cooke also oversaw the completion of a lighting scheme at the pinnacle, which had been part of the original design but was never completed.[143] The lighting system, consisting of 580 fluorescent tubes installed within the triangular windows of the top stories, was first illuminated in September 1981.[143][144]

Cooke next hired Hoffman Architects to restore the exterior and spire from 1995 to 1996.[143][145] The joints in the now-closed observation deck were polished, and the facade restored, as part of a $1.5 million project. Some damaged steel strips of the needle were replaced and several parts of the gargoyles were re-welded together.[145] The cleaning received the New York Landmarks Conservancy's Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for 1997.[146] Cooke died in April 1997, and his mortgage lender Fuji Bank moved to foreclose on the building the next month.[147][148] Shortly after Fuji announced its intent to foreclose, several developers and companies announced that they were interested in buying the building.[149][150] Ultimately, 20 potential buyers submitted bids to buy the Chrysler Building and several adjacent buildings.[151]

Tishman Speyer Properties and the Travelers Insurance Group won the right to buy the building in November 1997, having submitted a bid for about $220 million (equal to $400 million in 2022). Tishman Speyer had negotiated a 150-year lease from the Cooper Union, which continued to own the land under the Chrysler Building.[115][152] In 1998, Tishman Speyer announced that it had hired Beyer Blinder Belle to renovate the building and incorporate it into a commercial complex known as the Chrysler Center.[143][153] As part of this project, EverGreene Architectural Arts restored the Transport and Human Endeavor mural in the lobby, which had been covered up during the late-1970s renovation.[143][154] The renovation cost $100 million.[155]

2000s to present

In 2001, a 75 percent stake in the building was sold, for US$300 million (equal to $500 million in 2022), to TMW, the German arm of an Atlanta-based investment fund.[156] In June 2008, it was reported that the Abu Dhabi Investment Council was in negotiations to buy TMW's 75 percent ownership stake, Tishman Speyer's 15 percent stake, and a share of the Trylons retail structure next door for US$800 million.[157] In July 2008, it was announced that the transaction had been completed, and that the Abu Dhabi Investment Council now owned a 90 percent stake in the building, with Tishman Speyer retaining 10 percent.[158][159]

From 2010 to 2011, the building's energy, plumbing, and waste management systems were renovated. This resulted in a 21 percent decrease in the building's total energy consumption and 64 percent decrease in water consumption. In addition, 81 percent of waste was recycled. In 2012, the building received a LEED Gold accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council, which recognized the building's environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.[160]

The Abu Dhabi Investment Council and Tishman Speyer put the Chrysler Building on sale again in January 2019.[161][162] That March, the media reported that Aby Rosen's RFR Holding LLC, in a joint venture with the Austrian SIGNA Group, had reached an agreement to purchase the Chrysler Building[163][164] at a steeply discounted US$150 million.[165][166] Rosen had initially planned to convert the building into a hotel,[167][168] but he dropped these plans in April 2019, citing difficulties with the ground lease.[169][170] Rosen then announced plans for an observation deck on the 61st-story setback,[171][172] which the LPC approved in May 2020.[173][174][175] Rosen also sought to renegotiate the terms of his ground lease with Cooper Union,[176][177] and he evicted storeowners from all of the shops in the building's lobby.[178] To attract tenants following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City in 2020,[179][180] Rosen spent $200 million converting the Chrysler Building's ground-floor space into a tenant amenity center.[181]

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