NEW YORK - Verizon's $1.4 billion restoration of its 32-story landmark building that was badly damaged during the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center has earned a prestigious construction industry award.
New York Construction Magazine has selected as Project of the Year Verizon's three-year rehabilitation of its operations center at 140 West St. The art-deco building was built in 1926 as the headquarters for the former New York Telephone company.
"If ever a building deserved a second life, it is the 'fortress,'" said Dominic Veltri, director Verizon real estate operations. "This building was built to last. It's heavily reinforced and, as they say in the industry, has great 'bones.' Most buildings would have collapsed from the pounding this venerable structure sustained."
Even before the attacks, Verizon employees nicknamed the building "the fortress" because of its sturdy construction. The structure proved worthy of its name when it somehow survived the collapse of not only the nearby trade center's twin towers, but also of 7 World Trade Center, which fell largely against the West Street building's east wall.
While structurally sound, the building was riddled with gapping holes, filled with debris and drenched in water. The building's art-deco facade and lobby were blasted by the concussion of the collapsing buildings, damaging ceiling murals and hard-to-restore ornamental frescoes.
The building is the largest of five major switching hubs serving the financial district. After the attacks, Verizon crews immediately began work to restore telecommunications services, which allowed the New York Stock Exchange to reopen the Monday after the attacks.
"While restoring service was our first priority, within days we began tackling the unprecedented challenges of rehabilitating this indomitable building," said Veltri.
"We painstakingly restored the historical and architecturally significant aspects of the building, while also modernizing the power, ventilation and cooling systems."
Before the attacks, the building housed 1,800 employees. Today several hundred employees have returned. They support network operations and customer service functions to residential and business customers in the area.
New York Construction Magazine, published by McGraw-Hill, will honor Verizon and other award winners at a ceremony Dec. 8 in New York City.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. With a diverse work force of approximately 208,000, Verizon has four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband, nationwide long-distance and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 42.1 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.