Part II in our series comparing the construction of two Tallest Building in the World projects — the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center. See here for Part I. Unless otherwise noted, information and quotes are from “City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center.”
Neither building, was built because there was a particular demand for office space. The Empire State Building was built because a unique site became available and offered an opportunity to build to scale. The World Trade Center was built because the Port Authority had money burning a hole in its pocket. Both buildings were landmarks, but took a long time to find tenants.
P.S. That Chase Manhattan merger is a story in and of itself. The Manhattan Bank was Aaron Burr's bank. Hamilton did everything he could to keep Burr from getting a bank. Burr finally got the charter by pulling a fast one as part of running a water supply company after a cholera epidemic. Its charter had a poison such that it could not be taken over, so, technically, the Manhattan Bank acquired Chase, though the reality was more the reverse. (I assume the Chase Bank was Salmon Chase's bank. Chase was Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, so he funded the Civil War and the purchase of Alaska. I'll bet there's quite a story behind his bank as well.)
So interesting! Thanks for sharing.