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Equal in size to ten 10-story buildings, New York’s Interstate Commerce Center will have an Indoor highway.

THEY gasped when Tom Mix rode his horse right through the swinging doors and into .a western saloon. They laughed when Olsen and Johnson drove a midget car into the elevator of a modern building and then through the halls to a lawyer’s office. (In Hollywood, anything can happen.) But within a few months, New Yorkers will see the start of a building which, when finished, will swallow whole fleets of large trucks, trailers, and cars—said vehicles calmly driving into the building and thence upward on a spiral, four-lane indoor highway to whatever floor their business is on.

This unique “in-building highway,” 32 feet wide and three-quarters of a mile long, and rising at a grade of only 6%, will be one of the outstanding features of the proposed Interstate Commerce Center building to be constructed by the Tishman Realty and Construction Company of New York. Thirteen stories high and covering an area of four square blocks strategically located on the threshold of the world’s commercial marts and routes on lower Manhattan, the new building will be a revolutionary step in architectural design aimed at helping industry meet the inevitable changes and expansions of the postwar industrial era.

“Industry,” observes David Tishman, President of the Tishman Realty and Construction Company, “is now confronted with a problem never before encountered—a problem that will necessitate drastic changes and improvements in business procedure. There are the tremendous potentialities of domestic and foreign markets; accumulated demands for new and replacement goods; an enormous expansion in aggregate buying power; revised distribution methods; and a labor supply far greater than that of the last prewar year.

“It is to coordinate this unprecedented demand, increase efficiency of operation in all branches of business and thus bring about lowered production and distribution costs, that the Interstate Commerce Center was designed.”

The $15,000,000 building, which will be larger than the Port of New York Authority Building and second only to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, will be a veritable “city within a city,” housing not only industries but also restaurants, beauty parlors, barber shops, and retail stores for the 25,000 persons expected to work there. Each organization, leasing one or more floors, will have its own private entrance on the street floor leading to a private lobby with accommodations for reception clerks and switchboard personnel. Each firm will have its own private express passenger elevators, operated by a single button and stopping only at its own floor. Each floor will provide its tenant with over four acres of operating capacity, an area equal to the total floor space of a ten-story building of 100×175 feet. This tremendous area will permit the centralization on a single floor of all branches of a great organization: executive, production, merchandising, and shipping.

But, when it comes to the most amazing feature of the “Center,” the “in-building highway” will cop all honors. Its gentle 6% grade will permit trucks and trailers of maximum size to drive up at high speeds directly to loading platforms on any of the thirteen floors. Sidewalk deliveries, loading and unloading of freight into elevators, traffic-congested streets, jangled nerves and dented fenders will be a thing of the past, because each floor will have adequate loading space and facilities to accommodate at least twenty large trailer trucks. Loading and unloading these trucks will take place at these indoor platforms with a maximum of comfort, night and day, rain or shine.

  1. Dave says: February 17, 20092:39 pm

    Can anybody find any reference to this on the net? I can’t find any evidence it was ever built.

  2. Slow Joe Crow says: February 20, 20093:41 pm

    I don’t know if this one was built, but the Starrett Lehigh building on the West side had a truck sized elevator to serve loading docks on each floor.

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