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Comerica Bank Tower

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Comerica Bank Tower


">Comerica Bank Tower

The Comerica Bank Tower has been known under many different names such as the "Bank One Building," “Momentum Place,” or, “The Chase Center,” but it is now known as the “Comerica Bank Tower.” It is a 60-story skyscraper that is located at 1717 Main Street, Dallas, Texas. At 240 meters tall, it is the third tallest building in Dallas, the sixth tallest in Texas, and the fourty-ninth tallest in the United States. 

It was designed by master architects John Burgee and &feature=fvw">Philip Johnson. Johnson was born in 1906 in Cleveland Ohio and founded the Museum of Modern art in 1930.  With his thick round framed glasses, he was the most recognizable figure in American architecture for decades.  Johnson is responsible for designing many other buildings such as the PPG Place in Pittsburgh, the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, and the &feature=fvw">Glass House in CT. He is also known for some of his quotes.  He once said, “I hate vacations. If you can build buildings, why sit on the beach?” and “Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we've both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business.” Burgee specializes in postmodern buildings and collaborated with Johnson on many buildings.  They established Johnson/Burgee Architects in Manhattan in 1968. Their collaborations include the ">Water Wall in Houston, Texas, the Lipstick Building in New York City, New York, and the Sony Building also in New York City. They began the Comerica Bank Tower not long ago in 1985 but it was not finished until 1987. It was built to have one and a half million square feet of office space and was considered the most expensive construction of its time. 

When the Comerica Bank Tower was built, it was originally known as Momentum place and was on one of the busiest blocks in downtown Dallas.  It stands only 25 minutes from DFW Airport and 10 minutes from Love field. Initially, it was intended to be home to a hotel, a mall, and several offices, but it ended up being home to MCorp Bank, the Woolf Brothers department store, and the Volk Brothers department store.  Today, it features a full service bank, diniing, a full time concierge, a retail concourse, and an impressive conference facility. Other buildings making it the busiest block in Dallas were the Neiman Marcus Building, Wilson Building, and the Mercantile National Bank Building.  Together, these buildings accounted for the highest trafficking sections of Dallas.

The Comerica Building also serves as the hub for the downtown Dallas underground walkway system..   It provides immediate access to the railway system and to over 62 dining and retail amenities. 

When the Comerica Building was finished, it was one of the most economically tested buildings in Dallas due to the economic downturn of the late 1980s. Because of this downturn, the Comerica Building was the last high rise constructed in downtown Dallas. MCorp bank eventually collapsed and was bought out by Bank One. Without a lead tenant for the building it was turned into completely free leasable space.  Ten years later, Crescent Real Estate Equities bought the building for $238 million.  The building would be bought and sold a few more times until it became the Comerica Banks Tower that we see today.  In 2006 Crescent Real Estate Equities sold the building for $216 million to a Los Angeles based real-estate company and finally in 2007 Comerica Bank announced that they would be using the building as their headquarters. "We are pleased to enhance our presence in the central business district of downtown Dallas through the lease of a building considered a landmark in Texas," said Ralph W. Babb Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank.

Although the tenants of the building have changed significantly, the magnificently crafted design of the building has remained untouched.  The tower uses a traditional three sectioned skyscraper form with upper level setbacks. The building features a three level parking garage and a small plaza with trees and benches. It is very clear that Johnson and Burgee did not plan on this building being just another normal looking office building.  They dressed it up as much as they could.  The main lobby has clad walls with polished Botticino marble from Central Italy.  The base and moldings are made up of Rojo Alicante marble from the Mediterranean Coast of Spain and the flooring has both polished Botticino and Negro Marquina marble.  The exterior is made up of hand-set veneer panels of flame-finished Stony Creek granite.  The base of the whole building is also made up of Stony Creek granite, supplied by Castellucci and sons, which hails from the ">Thimble Islands in Branford CT.

Its safe to say that Philip Johnson and John Burgee did a marvelous job when constructing this building.  It brings beauty, style, convenience, and luxury together into one structure.  It may be the 3rd tallest in Dallas, but it definitely ranks number one in appeal. 

 Works Cited





Last Updated on Monday, 01 November 2010 16:13  


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