How the city looks and feels — and why it got that way.
Verizon announced on Tuesday that it would move 1,100 employees out of its headquarters and switching center at 140 West Street in Lower Manhattan and offer half of the 31-story tower for sale or lease.
The employees, most in customer service, will join 300 colleagues next year at 395 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn. Over all, there are about 10,000 Verizon employees in New York City. That will not change, the company said.
For the time being, the company’s headquarters will remain at 140 West Street, a designated New York City landmark that Verizon has meticulously restored twice in the last 12 years: after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, and again after Hurricane Sandy last year.
As for the slightly longer term, Richard J. Young, a company spokesman, said, “Our headquarters will remain in New York City.”
A Verizon corporate ancestor, the New York Telephone Company, built 140 West Street as its headquarters and used it as such until 1972. Verizon returned to the building in 2005. It will not market the 28th and 29th floors, where executive offices and the board room are found.
But by leasing or selling 18 other floors — 470,000 square feet of the 943,000-square-foot total — Verizon evidently hopes to cash in on the prime location, across Vesey Street from the emerging World Trade Center. It’s possible to imagine apartments or hotel rooms at 140 West Street, especially in the slender tower that rises above the 18th floor.
There are several other examples of older telephone buildings being divided as hybrids in which Verizon keeps some floors for its telecommunication equipment and sells other floors to either commercial operators (375 Pearl Street) or residential developers (212 West 18th Street).
The lobby at 140 West Street is one of the architectural marvels of Lower Manhattan, but security concerns have kept it off limits to the public since 9/11. Because Verizon is considering leasing part of the ground floor for restaurant or store space, there is a chance that visitors will once again have a chance to take in the exuberant jazz age décor.