In the 1960s, after Woolworth's death, the company began expanding into various individual specialty store concepts, including sportswear, which led to the development of the Foot Locker sporting goods store in 1974. For a while there was a chain of discount stores called Woolco. By 1997, the original chain he founded had been reduced to 400 stores, and other divisions of the company began to be more profitable than the original chain. The original chain went out of business on July 17, 1997, as the firm changed its name, initially to Venator, but in 2001 adopted its sporting goods brand, Foot Locker, Inc. In 2012, they celebrated Woolworth's 100th anniversary on the New York Stock Exchange. The UK stores (under separate ownership since 1982) continued operating under the Woolworth name after the US operation ceased, and by the 2000s traded as Woolworths Group. The final UK stores ceased trading January 6, 2009. The UK Woolworths brand was bought by Shop Direct Group in the UK who plan to run the store online only. Woolworth stores continue to operate in Germany. Although both the Australian company Woolworths Limited and the South African company Woolworths Holdings Limited took their names from Woolworth's US and UK stores, they have no connection to the F.W. Woolworth Company.
* Woolworths (South Africa), one of the largest South African retail and supermarket chain stores; named after the F.W. Woolworth brand, but unrelated
At the building's completion, the F. W. Woolworth Company occupied only one and a half floors of the building. However, as the owner, the Woolworth Company profited from renting space out to others. The Woolworth Building was almost always fully occupied due to its central location in Lower Manhattan, as well as its direct connections to two subway stations. The Irving Trust Company occupied the first four floors upon the building's opening. It had a large banking room on the second floor accessible directly from a grand staircase in the lobby, vaults in the basement, offices on the third-floor mezzanine, and a board room on the fourth floor. In 1931, the company relocated their general, out-of-town, and foreign offices from the Woolworth Building after building their own headquarters at 1 Wall Street. Columbia Records was also one of the Woolworth Building's tenants at opening day, and housed a recording studio in the skyscraper. In 1917, Columbia made what are considered the first jazz recordings, by the Original Dixieland Jass Band, in this studio.
By September 1910, Gilbert had designed an even taller structure, with a 40-story tower on Park Place adjacent to a shorter 25-story annex, yielding a 550 ft-tall building. The next month, Gilbert's latest design had evolved into a 45-story tower roughly the height of the nearby Singer Building. After the latest design, Woolworth wrote to Gilbert in November 1910 and asked for the building's height to be increased to 620 ft, which was 8 ft taller than Singer Building, Lower Manhattan's tallest building at the time. Woolworth was inspired by his travels in Europe, where he would constantly be asked about the Singer Building. He decided that housing his company in an even taller building would provide invaluable advertising for the F. W. Woolworth Company and make it renowned worldwide. This design, unveiled to the public the same month, was a 45-story tower rising 625 ft. Referring to the revised plans, Woolworth said, "I do not want a mere building. I want something that will be an ornament to the city." He later said that he wanted visitors to be able to brag that they had visited the world's tallest building.
Gilbert was originally retained to design a standard 12- to 16-story commercial building for Woolworth, who later said he "had no desire to erect a monument that would cause posterity to remember me". However, Woolworth then desired to surpass the nearby New York World Building, which sat on the other side of City Hall Park and stood 20 stories and 350 ft. A drawing by Thomas R. Johnson, dated April 22, 1910, shows a 30-story building rising from the site. Due to the change in plans, the organization of the Broadway-Park Place Company was rearranged. Woolworth would now be the major partner, contributing $1 million of the planned $1.5 million cost. The Irving Bank would pay the remainder, and it would take up a 25-year lease for the ground floor, fourth floor, and basement.
During World War I, only one of the Woolworth Building's then-14 elevators was turned on, and many lighting fixtures in hallways and offices were turned off. This resulted in about a 70% energy reduction compared to peacetime requirements. This policy was reinstated during World War II: ten of the building's 24 elevators were temporarily disabled in 1944 due to a shortage in coal.
During the early 1960s, public relations expert Howard J. Rubenstein opened an office in the building. In 1975, the city signed a lease for state judge Jacob D. Fuchsberg's offices in the Woolworth Building.
In 1920, after F. W. Woolworth died, his heirs took out a $3 million mortgage loan on the Woolworth Building from Prudential Life Insurance Company to pay off $8 million in inheritance tax. By this point, the building was worth $10 million and grossed $1.55 million per year in rent income. The Broadway-Park Place Corporation sold the building to Woolco Realty Co., a subsidiary of the F. W. Woolworth Company, in April 1924 for $11 million. The company paid $4 million in cash and obtained a five-year, $11 million mortgage from Prudential Life Insurance Company at an annual interest rate of 5.5%.
The building was owned by the F. W. Woolworth Company (later Venator Group) until 1998. After struggling financially for years and with no need for a trophy office building, Venator Group began discussing a sale of the building in 1996. On April 28, 1998, the Venator Group announced plans to sell the building, and in June 1998, sold it to Steve Witkoff's Witkoff Group and to Lehman Brothers for $155 million. Along with the sale, the F. W. Woolworth Company shrunk its space in the building from eight floors to four; this was a sharp contrast to the 25 floors that the company had occupied at its peak. Witkoff also agreed to license the Woolworth name and invest $30 million in renovating the exterior and interior of the building.
On completion, the Woolworth Building topped the record set by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower as the world's tallest building, a distinction it held until 1930. The final estimated construction cost was US$13.5 million up from initial estimates of US$5 million for the shorter versions of the skyscraper. This was divided into $5 million for the land, $1 million for the foundation, and $7 million for the structure. Woolworth provided $5 million, while investors provided the remainder, and financing was completed by August 1911. By May 1914, Woolworth had purchased all of the Broadway-Park Place Company's shares from the Irving National Exchange Bank. However, though Woolworth owned the building, his company did not.
In 2011, Michael Woolworth was awarded the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was also given the title by the French state of 'Maître d'Art'.
Woolworth is a ghost town located in rural northeast Lincoln County, Mississippi, United States.
The first above-ground steel had been erected by October 1911, and installation of the building's terracotta began on February 1, 1912. The building rose at the rate of 1 1⁄2 stories a week and the steelworkers set a speed record for assembling 1,153 tons of steel in six consecutive eight-hour days. By February 18, 1912, work on the steel frame had reached the building's 18th floor. By April 6, 1912, the steel frame had reached the top of the base at the 30th floor and work then commenced on constructing the tower of the Woolworth Building. Steel reached the 47th floor by May 30 and the official topping out ceremony took place two weeks ahead of schedule on July 1, 1912, as the last rivet was driven into the summit of the tower. The skyscraper was substantially completed by the end of that year.
A private pool, originally intended for F. W. Woolworth, exists in the basement. Proposed as early as 1910, the pool measured 15 by and was later drained. It was restored in the mid-2010s as part of the conversion of the Woolworth Building's upper floors into residential units.
The Woolworth Building contains a system of high-speed elevators capable of traveling 700 ft per minute. The Otis Elevator Company supplied the units, which were innovative in that there were "express" elevators, stopping only at certain floors, and "local" elevators, stopping at every floor between a certain range.
The next day, February 2, 1960, more than twenty black students, recruited from other campus groups, joined the sit-in. This group included four women, and they sat with school work to stay busy, as they sat from 11am to 3pm. The group was again refused service, and were harassed by the white customers at the Woolworth store. However, the sit-ins made local news on the second day, with reporters, a TV cameraman and police officers present throughout the day. Back on campus that night, the Student Executive Committee for Justice was organized, and the committee sent a letter asking the president of F.W. Woolworth to "take a firm stand to eliminate discrimination."
The basement of the Woolworth Building contains an unused bank vault, restaurant, and barbershop. The bank vault was initially intended to be used as safe-deposit boxes, though it was used by the Irving National Exchange Bank in practice. In 1931, Irving moved some $3 billion of deposits to a vault in its new headquarters at 1 Wall Street, and the Woolworth Building's vault was converted into a storage area for maintenance workers.
The structure has a long association with higher education, housing a number of Fordham University schools in the early 20th century. In 1916, Fordham created "Fordham Downtown" at the Woolworth Building by moving the School of Sociology and Social Service and the School of Law to the building. The Fordham University Graduate School was founded on the building's 28th floor in the same year and a new Teachers’ College quickly followed on the seventh floor. In September 1920, the Business School was also established on the seventh floor, originally as the School of Accounting. By 1929, the school's combined programs at the Woolworth Building had over 3,000 enrolled students. Between 1916 and 1943 the building was also home at various times to the Fordham College (Manhattan Division), a summer school, and the short-lived School of Irish Studies. In 1943, the Graduate School relocated to Keating Hall at Fordham's Rose Hill campus in Fordham, Bronx, and the rest of the schools moved to nearby 302 Broadway because of reduced attendance due to World War II.
Deutsche Woolworth GmbH & Company OHG is a chain of department stores in Germany and Austria. It was a former subsidiary of the American F. W. Woolworth Company.
It took months for Woolworth to decide upon the general construction company. George A. Fuller's Fuller Company was well experienced and had practically invented skyscraper construction, but Louis J. Horowitz's Thompson-Starrett Company was local to New York and despite being newer, Horowitz had worked for Fuller before so had a similar knowledge base. On April 20, 1911, Thompson-Starrett won the contract with a guaranteed construction price of $4,308,500 for the building's frame and structural elements. The company was also paid $300,000 for their oversight and management work, despite Woolworth's attempts to get the company to do the job for free due to the prestige of the project.