Metropolis Assists with Landmark Renovation of Former LIFE Headquarters

By Kristina Cartwright

The New York Real Estate Journal featured the Life Hotel renovation as its Property of the Month in the June 20 – July 3, 2017, issue.

Montroy DeMarco Architecture brought in the NYC expediting services of Metropolis to assist with the $8 million renovation of the former Herald Square Hotel. Renamed the Life Hotel, the neoclassical building built in 1895 served as the first LIFE magazine headquarters. The distinctive façade features limestone on the first two floors, with brick above, and the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission described the property as having “outstanding significance.”

Past Meets Present

The project team wanted to preserve the history of the building, while creating an exceptional hotel experience. As one example, they created a 60-seat bar/lounge in the cellar of the building as a nod to rumors that the space served as a speakeasy for LIFE employees during Prohibition. Throughout, the interior space mixes traditional and contemporary design elements: wood moldings and marble floors are paired with new artwork and exposed concrete.

Our Role

Metropolis partnered with the architect and client to secure approvals from the Department of Buildings (DOB) and New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to bring their creative vision to life. The most complex aspect of the project involved adding a restaurant to the ground floor and creating the basement-level bar and lounge. In addition, our Plumbing Division handled the various sprinkler and plumbing amendments required to add new piping for the restaurant.