Fidi’s arrival

One Wall Street conversion cements residential transformation of the area

A rendering from the Howard Hughes Corporation of its South Street Seaport redevelopment
A rendering from the Howard Hughes Corporation of its South Street Seaport redevelopment

For 85 years One Wall Street has stood as the literal cornerstone of New York City commerce. Located at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street, it faces the Federal Reserve to the north, the New York Stock Exchange to the east and Trinity Church to the west — well-situated enough to make any financial guru swoon. Wall Street romantics will soon be able to call the 50-story Art Deco masterpiece, designed by influential architect Ralph Walker, home.

The project is helping to cement the ongoing residential transformation of the neighborhood, which is benefitting from a bevy of luxury developments, such as the $1.5 billion redevelopment of the South Street Seaport, the transformation of Temple Court into a shimmering tower at 5 Beekman and the Robert A.M. Stern-designed Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at 30 Park Place.

Fresh from developing the largest residential building in the Northern Hemisphere at 432 Park, along so-called Billionaire’s Row, real estate tycoon Harry Macklowe is in the process of converting the former Irving Trust Company Building into roughly 524 apartments at One Wall Street.

A bevy of luxury residential developments is coming to the area.

When completed (a date has yet to be announced), the two-story banking hall at the entrance, which is decorated with rich red and gold mosaics crafted in Berlin and designed by Hildreth Meière, will become what is surely one of the grandest residential building lobbies in the city. The top four floors will each contain a single sweeping penthouse apartment — with the latest renderings of the conversion coming from society architect par excellence Robert A.M. Stern. But if all that weren’t enough to make you leave the trading floor and call your real estate broker, the harbinger of gentrification itself, Whole Foods, is rumored to be leasing the ground-floor retail space.

When dotted lines are signed, the Whole Foods deal will mark another milestone along the Financial District’s path to becoming a residential, family-oriented area, along with Santiago Calatrava’s iconic transit hub, a new restaurant by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and the high-end food hall Le District.

“It [Whole Foods] would be massively convenient for people who live down here — a lot of people here do a lot of online grocery shopping,” neighborhood local Patrick Kennell, who is a co-founder of the new Financial District Neighborhood Association, told Downtown Express.

So One Wall Street is likely to be more of a linchpin than a herald. After all, developer Kent Swig coined the gentrification-ready portmanteau “Fidi” almost a decade ago during the last real estate boom. The New York Times, typically a decade late on housing trends, declared Fidi fit for families back in 2009. It might be time to stop calling the Financial District an emerging residential neighborhood and admit it has arrived.