In the Spring of 2006, New York developer Ron Hershco broke ground on a $400 million, two-tower project showcasing the tallest new tower construction in Brooklyn. The 400 feet structure led the way as the first ground-up residential high rise construction, following the rezoning of the area to allow larger residential and commercial developments. The glass and brick tower has revolutionized residential construction building, featuring 303 condominium homes, a 50-foot lap pool, squash court, indoor basketball court, and fully-equipped fitness center, to name a few of the amenities offered.
In a microcosm, Mr. Hershco’s project reflects some of the key elements New York City is known for: innovation, pioneer in business ideas and opportunities, and a leader in tall building construction. The history of NYC is replete with success stories of people of vision and integrity who have risen to the top of their game through hard work, unwavering dedication, and an edge of competitiveness. Skyscrapers and competition are nothing new to NYC. Take for instance the city’s race to holding the title of having the tallest and most unusual skyscrapers in history of the city, the country, perhaps the world even.
New York City’s skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, with 5,818 completed high-rises – 92 of which stand taller than 600 feet – and the city is home to the world’s first tall commercial buildings. The first tall office building to go up was the Equitable Building. Within five short years its height was doubled by the New York Tribune Building. Today, the Empire State Building has the title of NYC’s tallest building, with 102 stories and rising to 1,250 feet (not adding in its antenna). The Empire State Building was surpassed only by the 110-story North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was tragically brought down by terrorist attacks in 2001. Once completed, the new One World Trade Center is expected to surpass the height of the Empire State Building.
Tall buildings have a long and colorful history in the United States. In the 1880s the term “skyscraper” was coined, following the emergence of the first dozen or so tall buildings in the country. This was possible due to a combination of innovations, to include steel structures, elevators, central heating, electrical plumbing pumps, and the telephone. Blazing a trail was The Flatiron Building, one of New York City’s first skyscrapers, built in 1902 by George Fuller’s company. George Fuller helped solve the problem of load bearing capacities of tall buildings.
New York City’s skyscrapers have greatly contributed to its vibrant and rich history. Along with other developers and architects, Mr. Hershco and his development company have been instrumental in helping to write the history of America’s largest city. Without Mr. Hershco’s vision, and others like him, the growing housing needs of New Yorkers could not be met, especially as the population continues to grow.