January 10, 1912, New York Times, "First Skyscraper With An Elevator, When Mr. Hyde Proposed It His Directors Said an Eight-Story Building Would Never Pay,"
LAWYERS' CLUB MADE IT GO
Its Marble Corridor to the Last Day Was a Show Place for Visitors---Great Dinners Given There.
To the Armstrong Committee in 1905 the Equitable Life officers made an elaborate exhibit concerning the value, income, and cost of the headquarters of the company in the Equitable Building. These items were as follows: Stock value, $15,000,000; Actual cost, $18,781,640; Gross income, 1904, $806,791; Including Society's occupancy, $385,031; Net income,$415,692; At this investigation many curious things were told about the building, among which was that there were numerous electric elevators leading from one floor to another and secret entrances from office to office which were known only to the officers of the company. Yesterday's fire will probably reveal some of these secret passageways.
For several years officers of the Equitable Company have conceded that the building was far too small for the large and valuable plot that it covered, and in 1908 plans were prepared and filed with the Building Department in the City of New York calling for the erection of a sixty-two-story structure, to cost $10,000,000.
In April of the same year a force of 700 clerks was removed from the Equitable Building to the Hazen Building, at Greenwich and Albany Streets. It was believed that the room occupied by this force of clerks would be rented out in offices to a better advantage. many of the records---in fact, the majority of them---were taken to the Hazen Building at this time, and thus were saved from yesterday's fire.
The assessed value of the real estate on which the structure stood was $9,500,000. With the building it is assessed at $12,000,000.