Before we get to the countdown, a caveat: this list only considers buildings that were demolished on purpose by their owners. If it included all tall structures that are no longer standing, number one, two and four would be occupied by the three World Trade Center buildings tragically destroyed on September 11th, 2001.
Height: 446 feet, 33 stories Completed: 1930 Demolished: 1964 – to make way for the General Motors Building. Interesting fact: A scene in episode one, season two of Mad Men has Don and Betty Draper celebrating Valentine’s Day with drinks and room service at The Savoy-Plaza Hotel in 1962, two years before it was demolished in real-life.
9. Ardmore Park Block One, Two and Three, Singapore
Height: 449 feet, 36 stories Completed: 1978 Demolished: 2009 – to make way for a new condo development. Interesting fact: The Ardmore Park Block buildings were a set of identical triplets. All three were the exact same height and shared the exact same bland design.
Height: 458 feet, 41 stories Completed: 1983 Demolished: 2008 – because the owner of the building wanted to expand the mall that the Hennessy Centre shared its lot with. Interesting fact: The unattractive, mostly concrete building had a short 15-year life. Probably because it was unattractive.
Height: 463 feet, 39 floors Completed: 1982 Demolished: 2013 – as the New York Times explains it, the hotel was a victim of the vagaries of commercial real estate in Tokyo, “where high property values, changing design standards and other factors have conspired to create a bull market for demolition.” Interesting fact: The demolition of Tokyo’s Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka was unique in that it didn’t involve wrecking balls or explosives. A crane was used to take out all the beams, concrete and paneling from the inside — bit by bit and floor by floor. So, to any observer who had the patience to stand around and watch the weeks-long event, it would have appeared as though the building was slowly disappearing. Luckily you needn’t put yourself through that sort of tedium. The building disassembly was documented with a video camera and the film has been sped up for your viewing pleasure. Watch it here.
Height: 465 feet, 31 stories Completed: 1993 Demolished: 2009 – to make way for much-need and more lucrative office space. The building was located on one of Hong Kong’s most valuable business sites. Interesting fact: The hotel was packed during the 1997 British return of Hong Kong to China, but occupancy fell to three per cent six years later during the SARS outbreak.
Height: 487 feet, 33 stories Completed: 1908 Demolished: 1968 – to make way for One Liberty Plaza. Interestingfact: The City Investing Building was part of a cluster of buildings (which included the Singer Building, the Hudson Terminal and the Equitable Building) that were all among the tallest in the world during the early part of the 20th century, making this portion of the New York City skyline one of the most photographed scenes of the time.
Height: 492 feet, 38 stories Completed: 1972 Demolished: 1999 – after suffering extensive damage from a fire that broke out on the 22nd floor in 1991. Interesting fact: For eight years after the fire, One Meridian Plaza sat vacant and damaged in the center of Philadelphia’s business district. The building was caught in litigation between the owners and the insurance company over how much the insurers would pay the owners and how demolition would proceed.
Height: 517 feet, 39 stories Completed: 1974 Demolished: 2011 – the Deutsche Bank building was heavily damaged due to flying debris during the September 11th attacks. It was eventually torn down to make way for Five World Trade Center. Interesting fact: The building was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, the same architecture firm that designed the Empire State Building.
Height: 526 feet, 45 stories Completed: 1925 Demolished: 1965 – to make room for the First National Bank Building (now Chase Tower). Interesting fact: The Morrison Hotel was the first building in the world outside of New York City to have more than 40 floors.
Height: 612 feet, 47 stories Completed: 1908 Demolished: 1968 – to make way for One Liberty Plaza. Interesting fact: For a very brief period, the Singer Building was the tallest building in the world, until 1909 when it was surpassed by the Metropolitan Life Tower.