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Retrofitting New York’s Woolworth Tower Residences

New windows maintain property’s historic detailing while delivering high performance

Woolworth Tower
Photo: Tameo12-Shutterstock and Pierdelune-Shutterstock

The Woolworth Tower Residences at 2 Park Place in Manhattan recently completed extensive renovations on the top 30 floors. Offering sweeping views of New York City, the new windows and terrace doors feature aluminum framing members and panning to maintain the prestigious property’s historic detailing, while delivering modern-day performance and easy operation.

The 33 luxury condominiums range from one to four bedrooms with amenities including a private garage, fitness facility and 55-foot-long lap pool, plus wine storage for each unit and a tasting room. Residents have access to an exclusive entertainment lounge aptly named The Gilbert Lounge in honor of Cass Gilbert, the renowned architect who designed the building in 1913.

Honoring this architectural heritage, developer Alchemy Properties Inc., New York City, worked closely with both New York City-based SLCE Architects LLP and The Office of Thierry W. Despont Ltd. Together with general contractor CNY Group, New York City, and window contractor Kilroy Architectural Windows Inc., Bronx, N.Y., Wausau Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, Wis., was selected to meet the project’s iconic appearance and updated performance.

Working with the Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises Inc.'s building retrofit strategy team, Wausau provided Kilroy with more than 630 units of 4250i INvent Series Simulated Double-Hung Projected aluminum windows for the Woolworth Tower Residences. “As their name indicates, simulated double-hung projected windows look like double-hung windows, but actually project from the plane of the wall, either inward or outward,” says Kevin Robbins, Apogee retrofit strategy team member. “Offset glass planes and narrow meeting rail profiles replicated the appearance of existing windows.”

Kilroy began the multiphased, scheduled retrofit project on the Woolworth Tower Residences in Spring 2016. Floor by floor, the team carefully removed the existing double-hung units, which had been manufactured using non-thermal framing and 1-inch insulating glass without the low-E coatings available today. After removing the previous unit, the rough opening was prepared using pre-assembled, extruded aluminum panning trim to help ensure the new window was easily installed plumb and square.

These new windows feature low-E, insulating glass and polyamide thermal barriers within the aluminum frame of the windows and doors. These windows can achieve thermal performance NFRC U-factors as low as 0.34, a Condensation Resistance Factor as high as 65 and acoustic performance Sound Transmission Class ratings of 31 to 42.

“The combination of these high-performance components—aided by the 4 1/2-inch-deep systems, as well as experienced engineering and quality fabrication—allow for minimal solar heat gain and better air infiltration performance, which supports energy efficiency and comfort,” explains Robbins.

He continues, “In addition to helping maintain the desired interior temperature, the windows and doors also reduce unwanted noise when closed. When the residents prefer to open their windows for natural ventilation, projected windows are easier to open than hung windows and eliminate balances, which require continual maintenance, especially in large sizes with heavy glass.”

The Woolworth Tower Residences’ new aluminum windows and terrace doors offer residents natural daylight and stunning views of the cityscape from nearly every room, as well as the exterior terra cotta ornamentation surrounding them.

Further complementing the buildings’ historic aesthetic, Wausau-based Linetec finished the windows’ exterior aluminum framing members in a color called Dark as Night using a two-coat, 70 percent PVDF resin-based coating. These durable coatings help extend the window systems’ life span and reduce future maintenance.

Robbins summarizes the renovation project’s success, saying, “Now completed, the windows on the Woolworth Tower Residences will provide improved thermal performance, which may be known only to the owner and occupants; while the windows’ visible contribution to the building’s historical look will remain evident to all.”

“The product performance and quality has been excellent,” praises Kilroy’s Executive Vice President Bill Kennedy. “The building owner has stated, ‘Your windows at the Woolworth look beautiful.’ It’s a huge difference!”

Josh Cole serves as the East region market manager for Wausau Window and Wall Systems, Wausau, Wis. He has contributed to hundreds of commercial projects’ window retrofits and is an NFRC Certified Simulator and A.C.E. He can be reached at or (715) 846-3766. For more information, visit