The Hugh O’Neill Building, located at 655 Sixth Avenue, is a handsome cast-iron structure, featuring the building’s name emblazoned in relief on its pediment. Erected in 1887 as the Hugh O’Neill Dry Goods Building, it is one of the highlights of the city’s fashionable “Ladies Mile” Historic District. Mortimer Merritt designed the property as a brilliant white, deeply modeled cast-iron centerpiece of the shopping district. It originally had tall, beehive-style domes atop the almost cylindrical towers at the corners of 20th and 21st Streets that were removed in 1917. The building’s façade is highly articulated with Corinthian columns and pilasters and the cast-iron façade was painted white giving the appearance of stone. The building originally had four floors and the fifth story was added in 1895.
The project goal was to convert the existing office building to luxury residential condominiums while respecting and restoring the building’s historic value. In agreement with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, the two golden domes were replaced and two floors containing five penthouses were added to the five-story structure. Each replacement dome, lifted into place in a single piece by a towering construction crane, almost instantly transformed the exterior of the block-long building back to its original grandeur. The building has 49 one to three bedroom loft-style units, from 1,000-3,000 square feet featuring 12-15 feet high ceilings and windows.