Why did Goldman purchase a huge mural for its lobby?
The answer sounds like the answer to the old joke, “Why is the Tappan Zee Bridge so long? Because the Hudson River is that wide.”
For Goldman, the mural was meant as a work around to address a challenge created by New York City zoning rules. Those rules said that the southernmost end of the 739 foot high building could be only 140 feet high.
That’s why the building has a few angular, squarish floors before the enormous curved tower rises above them. More importantly, the rules meant that the elevators in the 43 story building had to be located a significant distance from the entrance.
“They’re about 400 feet from the main entrance at Vesey and West,” a person familiar with the matter explained.
The new art may be scorned by some Goldman employees but even then it is doing it’s job–distracting them from the boring and unavoidable task of walking across a lobby bigger than a football field.
So, in a sense, the lobby art in Goldman’s new HQ is a kind of regulatory arbitrage.