When I profiled Goldman Sachs’ longtime headquarters, when the firm was moving into its shiny new skyscraper at 200 West Street, Goldman veterans unanimously said the soon-to-be-old tower didn’t mean anything to them. “It’s just a building when it comes right down to it,” said 91-year-old George Doty, the Goldman Sachs managing partner who was in charge of its construction. “Buildings, to me, don’t have a particular feeling. They’re just there. Like a car.” Their point was that 85 Broad Street may have housed the firm as it grew into the most godly force in finance, but it was just 30 floors of office space; there was nothing inherently important or special about it.
Maybe they were right.
Crain’s reports this afternoon that 85 Broad is now “the largest vacant block on the market in Manhattan.” By about 10,000 square feet, the old 1.07-square-foot Goldman headquarters beats out 640 Eighth Avenue as the biggest vacancy in the borough. It has gone from a personal den for the secretive masters of the universe to what the late California-based band Grandaddy once called “The Saddest Vacant Lot in All the World.”
Meanwhile, Goldman’s employees have happily moved on to their new building, where they’re greeted by an 80-foot high Julie Mehretu mural named “Mural.” They’ve left behind a ghost building populated only by lonely elevators and lonelier basement shoe shines.