NYC - Times Square: Paramount Building
Famed theatre architects Rapp & Rapp designed the dramatically massed skyscraper in 1926 at a cost of $13.5M as offices for Paramount Pictures, as a home for the Paramount Theater (since demolished) and as an advertisement for the Paramount Corporation. The building, at its completion the tallest structure on Broadway north of the Woolworth Building (33 stories), sits on the site of the previous Putnam Building, erected to commemorate the spot where Revolutionary War hero General Israel Putnam met General George Washington.
The motion picture company's trademark mountain encircled by five pointed stars is echoed in the fourteen setbacks creating a "para"mountain massing and its surmounting four faced clock, on which the hours are marked by five pointed stars. The setback below the clock faces is flanked by three-story scrolls, making the whole look like a gigantic desk clock. The clock is crowned by a glass glove that, when illuminated, is visible for miles. The globe and clock were painted black at the outset of World War II to maintain blackout conditions for fear of enemy invasion. The Globe and Clock tower were restored in 1996.
With its 3600-seat theater and fabulous Marquee and Arch, the Paramount introduced the likes of Gary Cooper, William Powell, Mae West, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Claudette Colbert, through silent films and talkes to New York. Its stage was graced regularly by Benny Goodman, Jack Benny, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin to name a few. In the 1950's, the Theater became home to the Alan Freed Rock and Roll stage show. In 1956, Elvis Presley’s first movie, Love Me Tender, premiered here.
In 1964 the Paramount closed its doors. The theater space was converted to offices, the marquee wsa removed and the arch in-filled.
The clocks and globe were restored in 1997. In 2000, the World Wrestling Federation began construction of their entertainment complex, renovating the interior for a restaurant, nightclub and retail store at a cost of $38M. In 2001, at a cost $8MM, the original the marquee and arch were restored returning the facade to its original grandeur. In 2004, Hard Rock Cafe purchased the Paramount Hotel for $126.M and rebranded it the Hard Rock Hotel in 2007.
The Paramount Building was designated a landmark by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1982, and its interior was designated separately in 1987.