The cost of constructing the Empire State Building has long been a topic of interest and speculation.
As one of the most iconic structures in the world its creation involved an impressive blend of architectural innovation human endeavor and hefty financial investment.
Yet despite its fame many people remain unaware of the exact financial magnitude that went into its creation.
But just how much did it cost to build this American marvel?
Empire State Building Construction
The construction of the Empire State Building was a symbol of hope during the Great Depression representing advancement in engineering technology backed by the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal federal agencies. The spectacular 1046-foot tall skyscraper was the result of a fierce competition between John J. Raskob of General Motors and Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Automotive Corporation.
The parcel of land at the intersection of 34th and Fifth Avenue which previously housed the luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was acquired for $16 million. The demolition of the luxury hotel began in late 1929 and by May 1930 the construction of the Empire State Building had begun.
The framework of the building was designed using steel girders erected at a speedy rate of nearly 4.5 floors per week. The foundation held together strong with a combination of concrete Indiana limestone and granite.
The bright blonde color of the Indiana limestone panels gave the final facade an elegant art-deco style finish.
The project was meticulously coordinated. An intricate miniature railway system was established to transport materials efficiently.
The building’s seven independent elevator systems were designed for the land large number of floors reaching breakneck speeds of up to 1200 feet per minute.
Finally after surpassing the height of the Chrysler Building by adding the 85th floor the Empire State Building crowned itself as the tallest building in the world. The final girder commemorated with President Herbert Hoover’s signature symbolized the pinnacle of this architectural achievement.
The total cost came about to approximately $41 million ($558 million when adjusted for inflation to 2007 dollars). The Empire State Building which was financed largely by John Jakob Raskob and New York Governor Al Smith was finally opened to the public for use on May 1 1931.
Since then the Empire State Building shining bright with its LED system has become an icon of New York City and an emblem of grand architecture visited by millions of tourists every year for its 360° observation deck view.