(Formerly the Columbia Pictures Building)

(N.E. corner at 55th Street)

Developer: Floyd De L. Brown

Architect: Bethlehem Engineering Corp.

Erected: 1927

711 Fifth Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

This 320,000-square-foot office building, shown above before a major alteration in the mid-1990's of its retail spaces, was one of the handsomest on Fifth Avenue. Its superb proportions, exquisite, though limited, detailing and palazzo-styling make an extremely elegant composition strongly accented by its pediment entrances, a detail of which is shown below, large arched windows above the retail level and very articulated cornice.

The new Disney store removed one of this pediments from the facade

In 1994, the Walt Disney Company disclosed it was planning to lease most of the building's retail spaces in an effort to duplicate the spectacular success of the Warner Bros. Studio Store two blocks north at 57th Street. In the process, the famous Cote Basque restaurant that was located in retail space in the building along 55th Street across from the entrance to the St. Regis Hotel (see The City Review article), relocated to a new site on 56th Street just to the east of the Avenue of the Americas.

Disney store occupies most of ground floor and the large space behind the arched second story windows

The new Disney store created a very large, undulating marquee, shown above, featuring some of the company's famous cartoon characters. The new store unfortunately removed one of the elegant pediments and the new marquee earned an "A" for effort and and a "D" for execution. It is rather garish and clumsy and not very whimsical and the interior of the store is very busy and disappointing, especially in comparison with the far more successful Warner Bros. Studio Store two blocks to the north on the avenue (see The City Review article).

For many years, this building, now known as the Coca-Cola Building, was known as the Columbia Pictures Building. Coca-Cola has a small, pleasant retail store just to the north of the Disney store.

The building's developer was most famous for buying the former Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street for $14 million in 1928 and hiring Shreve, Lamb & Harmon to design a 50-story loft building to replace it. The stock crash the next year, however, forced Brown out as an investor and the site eventually was developed as the Empire State Building.


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