525 William Penn
Place - Citizens Bank Tower
(The Original U.S. Steel Building)
525 William Penn Place (also known as the Citizens Bank Tower) was built during Renaissance I in 1951 for the Mellon National Bank and the U.S. Steel Corporation. At 41-storys (520 feet) tall, it stood as the second tallest building in the Pittsburgh skyline until the construction of the U.S. Steel Tower in 1970. Presently it is the third largest office building by square feet in downtown Pittsburgh.
525 William Penn Place was one of the first skyscrapers built in Pittsburgh as part of the Renaissance I building initiative to rebuild downtown Pittsburgh from the ground up. The building was built by Pittsburgh Pirates owner John W. Galbreath in large part with loans from the Mellon National Bank. At the time of construction, Mellon purchased floors two through eight.
The original plan for the building was to construct the ground floors in the same architectural design as the Mellon National Bank on Smithfield Street, which stood adjacent to the skyscraper, and to allow open flow of Mellon employees between the two buildings. This plan was later modified during construction to give the entire building it's own modernist style and an open shared lobby with three elevator banks and multiple passages between the skyscraper and the adjacent Mellon National Bank. United Steel Corporation leased the floors 9 through 37 for their headquarters. The top floors were reserved for the T. Mellon & Sons Company, various Mellon family charities offices, and a penthouse for philanthropist Richard King Mellon.
U.S. Steel was the primary tenant until 1970, and the building was refered to as the "Steel Building." When U.S Steel moved out, Mellon leased the remaining floors and occupied the entire building, naming it the Mellon Bank Center. In April 1982, Mellon Bank purchased the remainder of the building for $10 million. Upon the completion of the Mellon Corporation's new headquarters building in 1983, the Mellon Tower, the building was renamed Three Mellon Center. In 2002, the building reverted back to it's original name, 525 William Penn Place.
Mellon Bank remains the owner of 525 William Penn Place and occupies approximately half the building. The remainder of the space is leased to various businesses and law firms, with Citizens Bank as the largest tenant. Although the skyscraper is still referred to as both Three Mellon Center and by it's original name of 525 William Penn Place, Citizens Bank leases from Mellon the signage rights to the building. This includes the right to erect signage at the top of the tower and above the entry closest to Fifth Avenue. Hence the building's newest title, the Citizens Bank Tower.
Some interesting facts about 525 William Penn Place include the many short-distance elevators located throughout the building. Four small-capacity elevators exist that provide service only between floors two through eight. Two more elevators exist for service only between floors 38 and 41. In the basement garage, accessible by vehicles from Oliver Avenue for deliveries, there exists a working vehicle turntable. Trucks enter, unload, and then "turn around" by operating the turntable to exit the building. There is also a tunnel that runs between 525 William Penn Place and One BNY Mellon Center on Grant Street, running under the Union Trust building. This tunnel connects all three buildings, and while not open to the public, remains in daily use by building tenants.
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