3 Columbus Circle

Originally designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon – best known as the architects of the Empire State Building – and the home of General Motors until 1968, Three Columbus Circle's recent $90 million facelift – and accompanying LEED application to USGBC – is positioning the historic tower as one of Midtown's best–performing green buildings, just steps away from Central Park.

Located at 1775 Broadway between West 57th and 58th Streets – just to the south of Central Park – Three Columbus Circle is a historic, 26-story tower that has remade itself for the discerning 21st-century commercial tenant. The 770,000-square-foot building – which was designed originally by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon – dates from 1927. But after a recent $90 million capital program – spearheaded by the international architectural firm Gensler – Three Columbus Circle now has much more in common with Midtown’s Class A commercial building stock than ever before.

Gensler’s design specified a new, high-performance glass curtain wall system that features low-e glazing with extruded aluminum framing, boosting both overall energy performance and the tower’s impressive Midtown and Central Park views. Setbacks now feature clear glass handrails – also preserving tenant views from the interior and retail storefronts boast oversized floor-to-ceiling windows. Three Columbus Circle’s lobby and elevator cabs have also been extensively redesigned and configured.

In late 2011, the advertising firm Y&R (part of the Young & Rubicam division of London-based global media company WPP) reached a deal with owners the Moinian Group to move its offices into the tower after 85 years at 285 Madison Avenue. The deal was an important one for Moinian after it likely saved Three Columbus Circle from demolition in 2010 by fending off a challenge from Related to take control of the tower after obtaining a $140 million equity infusion from SL Green. Y&R – along with other WPP entities from 285 Madison Avenue, including Blast Radius, BrandBuzz, and ZAAZ – will move into nearly 340,000 square feet at Three Columbus Circle in mid-2013.

Three Columbus Circle also shares some history with perhaps New York City’s most acclaimed commercial green office building – the Hearst Tower, just around the corner. Both towers were built right before the Great Depression as low-rise buildings designed to support larger office towers at some point in the future. Unlike the Hearst Tower – whose podium stalled for nearly 80 years – Three Columbus Circle rose quickly in 1927 after topping off in 1923 as the three-story Colonnade Building, designed by William Welles Boswoth.

3 Columbus Cir, New York, New York  
Columbus Circle 
LEED–EB: OM, Silver (Registered) 
The Moinian Group; SL Green 
Shreve, Lamb, & Harmon  
Year Built
Square Footage
720,000 square feet 
Typical tower floor plates of 11,000 square feet; renovated lobby includes backlit, frosted–glass walls, brushed bronze wall accents & white marble floor.