56 Pine Street

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56 Pine Street, New York City, NY

56 Pine Street

Historic 56 Pine Street
Building Information
Developer James G. Wallace
Architect Oswald Wirz
Management Company Halstead Management Company, LLC
Number of Units 90
Number of Floors 15
Year Built 1894
Construction Method Steel
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56 Pine Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C5-5
Title of Land Condominium



In 1893, developer James G. Wallace purchased the building at 56-58 Pine Street in the Financial District of New York City. Due to increased demand for office space, he planned to demolish the existing four story building and construct a new twelve story structure. Wallace's in-house architect, Oswald Wirz, designed the new building.

Ornate Romanesque Wallace Building

Wallace and Wirz were able to take advantage of new cutting edge technology such as passenger elevators, steel and iron framing, and fireproof materials to erect a building that dominated the neighborhood. The building was completed in 1894 and named the Wallace Building.

The Wallace Building housed Wallace's own offices as well as a variety of tenants. Shortly after the building was completed, on November 30, 1894 Wallace sold it to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for $750,000. Over the next several decades the building was home to numerous insurance companies and lawyers such as The German Fire Lloyds of America, F. W. Temmler & Co. Insurance, Lethbridge & Davidge Insurance, and the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society.

In 1919, due to a continued demand for office space in the area, three more stories were added as a set-back to the building. The property continued to serve as an office building until the turn of the twenty-first century. In 2000, it was partially renovated to become The Cambridge Club, a fully furnished apartment building for the sole use of Salomon Brothers Smith Barney and Lehman Brothers.

By 2007, however, the building was fully converted to residential space, renamed 56 Pine Street, and sold as condominiums. Shortly before it was converted to residential space, in 1997, it received landmark status from the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.[1]


56 Pine Street is located at 56-58 Pine Street between William Street and Pearl Street in the Financial District of New York City. The Financial District has changed dramatically since the end of the 20th century and the turn of the 21st century. Before that time, it was primarily a daytime work destination. However, since that time, the neighborhood has had a growing number of full-time residents.

The building is just one block off of Wall Street and close to numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops. The nearest restaurant is located on the ground floor of the building. Louise Nevelson Plaza is just a few hundred feet away and many other outdoor spaces are located less than a mile away. The area has several good schools and numerous daycare centers. Public transportation is easily accessible from the building with over 40 bus and rail options nearby.[2]


Stone serpents

56 Pine Street was constructed as an office building in 1894 by architect Oswald Wirz. The 12 story building replaced a smaller 4 story building that was previously on the site. Wirz was instructed by developer James G. Wallace to design a building that would tower over the neighboring buildings and dominate the area. To fulfill this vision, Wirz designed a Romanesque Revival building with elements that suggested strength and durability. Wirz was able to take advantage of the new steel-framed construction methods as well as improved foundation construction to erect a building that has truly stood the test of time.

The main facade of the building is on Pine Street with a secondary facade on Cedar Street. The main facade is of pink brick, stone, and terracotta and it's divided into four vertical sections. An arcade of four arches formed the first section built on a solid granite base. Each arch is supported by clustered stone columns with ornate capitals. Wriggling sea serpents are carved above two of the arches adding a unique element to the facade.

The second section consists of the second and third stories. These stories consist of four bays faced with alternating smooth and rusticated stone. Wirz used terracotta carvings throughout the section of the facade, most notable are the stylized faces hidden among other carvings. This section is topped with an ornate cornice. Above the third floor cornice Wirz designed the building shaft to soar straight upwards, emphasizing the height of his building.

This section, from floors four through eight, has four continuous piers. The windows are recessed and the terracotta panels between the stories are again heavily ornamented and include carved foliage and faces. The eleventh and twelfth stories make up the final section. The piers from the main shaft continue through this section, but here the windows are rounded and an ornate stone cornice with dentils and moldings caps the building.

In 1919, three more stories were added as a set-back that can just barely be seen from the street. The facade, while made of the same color brick, does not really match the design of the rest of the building. The building was renovated in 2000 and again in 2007 to convert the offices to residential space.[3]

Layout and Features

56 Pine Street is a landmark designated building constructed in 1894. Many of the apartment details reflect the pre-war origins of the building. This includes high ceilings and hardwood floors. The building also has a private club for residents which takes up the entire second floor.[4]

Unit features include:

  • High ceilings
  • Hardwood floors
  • Custom cabinetry
  • Granite counters
  • Spacious bathrooms
  • Generous closets
  • Individually controlled central heating and air-conditioning
  • Thermopane windows

Floor Plans

Numerous floor plans are available in this landmark building. Samples can be seen below:


Building amenities include:

  • Private laundry on each floor
  • 24/7 doorman/concierge
  • Bicycle storage
  • Private club TWO

Club TWO includes:

  • Lounge
  • Fitness center
  • Game room
  • Media room with wireless internet access, large screen TV and DVD player
  • Wet bar
  • 24/7 fitness center
  • Billiards room
  • Wired conference room


56 Pine Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No

  • This building is pet friendly.
  • Rentals are allowed in this building.
  • There is no age restriction placed on residents.


56 Pine Street was built in the 1894. However, more recent renovations have kept sustainability in mind. If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, consider the following:

  • Renovations have installed some energy-efficient appliances and Thermopane windows in the units.
  • Public transportation is very convenient with several subway and bus lines just a few blocks away.
  • There are lots of restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, and other amenities within walking distance.
  • The building offers bicycle storage and there are good bike lanes in the area.


The ornate carving includes hidden faces
  • This property was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on August 28, 2003.[5]
  • The NYC Landmark Preservation Report lists the stylized stone heads and faces carved on the facade as one of the reasons the building was given landmark status.[6]
  • In 1913, Montgomery Ward & Co., a Chicago-based mail-order firm, rented space at 56 Pine Street. The firm said, “As to the lines of merchandise which will be carried by this house, we can only say at this time that we expect to carry practically every line of merchandise, with the exception of automobiles and undertakers’ supplies.”[7]
  • Thomas C. Dutro, one of the lawyers who rented office space at 56 Pine Street in the early 20th century, checked into the stylish St. Regis Hotel, asked for the best room, stayed three weeks and then left without paying his bill for $1,164.17. After he was taken to court and lost, he continued to see clients at his offices at 56 Pine Street in order to try and repay the money he owed.[8]


  1. Daytonian Manhattan: 1894 Wallace Building
  2. Walk Score
  3. NYC Landmark Preservation Committee
  4. Street Easy
  5. National Registry of Historic Places
  6. Landmark Preservation Commission: 56-58 Pine Street
  7. Daytonian Manhattan: 1894 Wallace Building
  8. Daytonian Manhattan: 1894 Wallace Building

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