Plans for the Woolworth Building began in 1916, when F. W. Woolworth took ownership of the American Building and part of the Paddock Block. After Woolworth's death in 1919, the Woolworth Corporation continued ahead with plans for a new building. The American Building and the section of the Paddock Block bought by Woolworth were then demolished, and the Woolworth Building was completed in 1921.
Declining occupancy forced the closure of the Woolworth Building in 2007. In June 2008, a developer announced plans that would convert the Woolworth Building into a hotel. These plans hinged on two factors, an engineering assessment of the building, and the availability of parking for customers. The developer officially took ownership of the building in July.
It was announced in September of 2009, that the building would receive a $2.5 million historic preservation grant from New York State. This grant will enable the building's developer to go forward with his plans to renovate the structure into a hotel and restaurant.
As of December, 2010, developers were still finalizing the financing for the renovation project, and hoped to begin work sometime in 2011.
Plans for a hotel were scrapped, and plans were revamped to include a mixture of apartments and retail space. Parking for the building currently remains a stumbling block, with the city working with investors to convert the current Citibus depot, or developing the green space next to the Woodruff Professional Building.
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