Disney’s new headquarters building in New York hits a major milestone, celebrates with topping-out ceremony

four hudson square disney
Credit: The New York Times

Construction is progressing nicely on the New York building that will soon house production studios, offices, retail space, and a public food court owned by The Walt Disney Company. so much so, that a “topping out” ceremony was held last week.

Located at 137 Varick Street in New York City, Disney’s new structure is referred to as Four Hudson Square. It takes up an entire city block bound by Varick Street to the east, Spring Street to the south, Hudson Street to the west, and Vandam Street to the north.

four hudson square disney

Artist Rendering of Disney & ABC building/Credit: The New York Times

In January of this year, construction had only reached ten floors, and as of last week, crews placed the building’s highest steel member.

Earlier this month, a topping-out ceremony was held in celebration of a significant milestone in the construction of The Walt Disney Company‘s newest building: the placement of the topmost beam in the new structure’s framework. A topping-out is a sure sign of progress and one that is celebrated by those who have a part in the new building’s development.

“A lot of times, those on location at the time the topmost beam is to be placed are invited to sign their names on the beam,” said Dwight Tyndall, Senior Engineering consultant at Click Engineering in Dallas, Texas. “Their names are then forever a part of the structure.”

This type of celebratory practice isn’t reserved just for The Walt Disney Company, and it isn’t uncommon. It’s often carried out at buildings of notable size and significance, but a topping-out celebration can happen for any construction project. And though there are some things about construction that are the same across the board, Tyndall says that each topping-out ceremony is different.

“It depends on the the project,” he said. “Some have a ceremony with dinner and a big celebration. It just depends on the project and the companies behind it.”

The Walt Disney Company‘s ABC former building in New York was located on the Upper West Side, but Disney sold the building after announcing plans to move those operations to a new location in the Big Apple.

disney abc building new york

Credit: Commercial Observer

Disney sold the building it owned since 1949 on Columbus Avenue and a nearby parcel on West End Avenue for $1.2 billion to Silverstein Properties. Silverstein developed three of the completed World Trade Center towers and other New York projects. It was then that Disney signed a lease on the Hudson Square space. The lease is up in 99 years and cost the House of Mouse $650 million.

“We’re excited to invest in the growth and development of Hudson Square,” it said in a statement, “and commit to Disney’s long-term future in New York.”

Structures on the Hudson Square space were demolished by 2020 to make room for the new build, a steel-framed superstructure, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and developed by Silverstein Properties. The building encompasses 1.2 million square feet spread out over 22 stories. The entire structure stands 338 feet tall. The building will house film and production studios, including the studio where ABC’s The View will be filmed, as well as office space, and a large ground floor retail space.

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“This move represents an historic step forward toward our long-term vision for our New York operations,” said Robert Iger, CEO of Disney in 2018 when the move from the Upper West Side was first announced. “The Hudson Square district is rapidly becoming a dynamic, innovative hub for media, technology and other creative businesses.”

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Credit: Business Insider

The new building at Four Hudson Square will feature a pair of 320-feet towers made of glass and green terra cotta, as well as a public food court on the ground floor, and several landscaped terraces. In all, the new build will boast 30,000 square feet of outdoor space.

four hudson square disney

Credit: The New York Times

four hudson square disney

Credit: The New York Times

Disney and ABC understood the need for security features in and around the new build as well. Four Hudson Square will feature sidewalk bollards all around the property. There will be minimal Disney and ABC signage, and Disney is forgoing any street-level, glass-walled TV studios.

The new structure will be completed sometime in 2024.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!