Friday, November 15, 2013

The Tallest Building? / Always Thanksgiving

The Tallest Building? 

On November 12, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat announced that the new One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan has officially been ruled taller than the Willis Tower in Chicago. Because I thought you might be intrigued, I offer the following excerpt from the New York Times’ article that day titled, “By a Spire, Manhattan Regains a Title From Chicago.”

 “New York’s tallest building was deemed taller even though it has six fewer floors and its roof is more than 100 feet lower than the top side of the Willis Tower. (Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Chicago building captured the title in the 1970s from the twin towers.)
How can that be?

It all depends on what the definition of an antenna is.

Both buildings have long masts poking skyward from their roofs. But those on the 1,451-foot Willis Tower are considered antennas, which the council does not count in calculating the height of a building.

The 408-foot long mast on 1 World Trade Center, on the other hand, is more than just a means of improving radio signals, its developers argued. They called it a spire and insisted it was a critical and permanent element of the architects’ overall design.

When 25 members of the council’s height committee met in Chicago on Friday, they heard the spire argument from the chief architect, David Childs of the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and representatives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which developed the trade center.

The New York contingent said the spire had always been part of the plan to achieve the symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

The committee members unanimously agreed that the spire should be counted.”


In the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to the announcement.  "I just saw the decision. And I would just say to all the experts gathered in one room, if it looks like an antenna, acts like an antenna, then guess what? It is an antenna.” 

One might think that measuring the height of a building is a simple matter…especially with the technology available today.  Not so.  I visited the website of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and read their ‘Criteria for the Defining and Measuring of Tall Buildings.’  Definitely complicated (Check it out for yourself -  And when there is room left for deliberation and debate, the human component brings subjectivity.  

Is it also possible that the decision makers had some sub-conscious sentimental reasons for the final decision?? We’ll never know….

Always Thanksgiving

A good friend and I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving together but will not be in the same city for the holiday.  We decided to celebrate our own Thanksgiving this past week.   

Never having cooked a turkey and trimmings before, it was a fun adventure – planning the meal, buying the food, choosing which recipes to use for the turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole (with marshmallow topping, of course!) and making do with my limited kitchen paraphernalia.  Somehow we managed.  The meal was table-ready a little later than we had planned and the white meat may have been just a little bit dry  - but it was delicious.

Sitting down to the meal and toasting our accomplishment I closed my eyes for just a moment and realized how lucky I was – to have my health, to have a wonderful family and to be working at a business I love.  And I knew what it felt like to give ‘thanks’ and to share a special moment with a true friend.

I hope you are able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends you want to be with and that you are able to appreciate all you have, as well as all you have to give. 

As we all know, the feelings of thanks and giving are not limited to just one day.  Think about what you can do for someone else by giving just a little bit of your time…it may make all the difference in the world to the other person...and, I guarantee, to you too.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Glenn Rufrano returning to O’Connor Capital Partners as Chairman and CEO

On The Road…

Nov. 20 - 21:  Johns Hopkins University to conduct a workshop for students in the Edward St. John Real Estate Program, Washington, DC

Dec. 4:  Tishman Speyer and RCPI Landmark Properties, 81st Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting, New York, NY

Jan. 22 - 24, 2014:  IMN (Information Management Network) Winter Forum on Opportunity and Private Fund Investing, Laguna Beach, CA

Mar. 11 - 14: MIPIM, Cannes, France

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