Even with the scaffolding from current construction, the facade of 5 Beekman Place, previously Temple Court, is stately. But the good stuff is on the inside. The historic 5 Beekman, just off Park Place, is undergoing a long overdue renovation, being converted into hotels and condos with the addition of a 51-story adjoining tower. We’ve been following the space ever since Scouting NY posted interior shots in 2010 but the Wall Street Journal gave the latest update this week. The glass and concrete tower was designed by Gerner, Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects to reflect the turrets of 5 Beekman next door. According to WSJ, the Beekman Hotel will have 287 rooms and 68 units in the Beekman Residences condo tower. GB Lodging took over the building in early 2012, anticipating the resurgence of Lower Manhanttan thanks to the opening of the Freedom Tower and the Calatrava transit hub.

GFI developers, who also did the Ace and NoMad hotels, say that the hotel is scheduled to open next summer. The Beekman Hotel hopes to be a dining and nightlife hot spot boasting two restaurants, a lounge, four event spaces, and terraces on the roof. An exciting feature of the new hotel is the “Living Room,” a seating area 130 below the atrium skylight. The turrets of 5 Beekman will be luxury hotel rooms with 30-foot ceilings.

Image of the new tower at 115 Nassau St. 

Originally built in the early 1880’s, Temple Court’s inside has always been breathtaking. Although there are no photographs of the atrium in its prime, current images allow us to imagine it in all its splendor.

The eight open levels of ornamented railings is stunning, and then you look up and a glass pyramid opens up above. With fanciful ornament, colorful tiles, and arched entryways, Temple Court must have been a wonderful space in which to work. It is thought to have been completed in 1882, under the name of the Kelly Building after Eugene Kelly who owned the lot, but the name was soon changed to Temple Court. Its height was far ahead of its time–from the roof you could see all the way north to Central Park, according to Charles Driscoll in the February 26, 1942 edition of the Painesville Telegraph. 

It switched between several owners mid 20th century, and in the 1940s the atrium was closed off for what historians seem to believe were safety reasons. Sadly, much of the building deteriorated over the years, and was only declared a landmark in 1998. The last tenant left a decade ago, and Temple Court has since sat empty, without much care. With a stroke of luck, however, the atrium was found to be wonderfully preserved when it was re-opened between 2005 and 2008.

It has since been discovered by photographers, used as a set for TV shoots hosting like White Collar, Person of Interest, Rubicon, and Law & Order SVU to name a few, used for a Harper’s Bazaar photo-shoot, and a Gatsby-esque H&M launch party attended by Kanye West. 

We’ve lost three iron cage-style electors to safety issues, and only some of the original detailing remains from the 19th century. But Temple Court at 5 Beekman Street remains one of New York’s earliest skyscrapers and one of its dearest landmarks. The community is excited to see this wonderful space reused, and we’re excited to see restorations of the beautiful original Temple Court combined with the contemporary designs planned for the Beekman Hotel and Residences.