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Exploring the Storied History and Professional Offices in the Chrysler Building

February 16, 2024

The Chrysler Building

At the turn of the 20th century, the average person traveled by horse or train and the term 'automobile' had not yet entered our lexicon. By 1910, things started to change with over 450,000 of the new contraptions making their way down bumpy roads across the United States. A decade later, over 9 million cars were on the streets carrying Americans through their daily lives. By 1930, that number would triple, forever changing the world and making a few people extremely wealthy in the process. 

chrysler | office sublets

Chrysler Model Six from the 1920s

Enter Walter P. Chrysler, head of the multi-million dollar Chrysler Corporation in 1928. Mr. Chrysler bought the property where his building now stands for $2 million from a Coney Island developer and began making plans to build a massive office tower in the heart of New York City. With the automobile industry in full swing and money pouring in, Mr. Chrysler funded his 1046-foot tower from his own pocket. The reasoning behind his new venture was to create a real estate investment for his children. Best dad ever!

The building was never used as a headquarters or office space for The Chrysler Corporation, as is often assumed. However, the buzz created by the building's construction attracted significant media attention, acting as a perpetual advertising campaign that highlighted the company's association with New York City's most remarkable structure.


Mr. Chrysler wanted a bold, modern structure that would be a symbol of the modern age. He hired architect William Van Alen to design the office building. It wasn't just about creating a functional office building but about making a splash. The bigger, the better. At this time in NYC, there began a race to build the tallest building in the world, with The Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street as the leading competitors. 

The Chrysler Building won by a nose after secretly constructing a spire inside the building and hoisting it seven stories above its peak. With the new addition, the Chrysler Building won the race, briefly, before being eclipsed by The Empire State Building about a year later. The competition has continued ever since, with Burj Khalifa in Dubai holding the crown at 2717 feet. 

nyc tallest buildings 1930s | office sublets

Van Alen's design merged the old with the new. After several iterations, he decided to cap the tower with a modernist sunburst crown made of shiny, non-rusting Nirosta steel and backlit to draw the eye in the night sky. Reaching from the corners of the building are gleaming steel-clad eagles and gargoyles. Unlike the gothic limestone gargoyles protruding from the Woolworth Building, these giant creatures are a nod to hood ornaments that could have been mounted to a Chrysler Model Six from the 1920s. 

African mahogany, marble, and granite adorn the grand Art Deco lobby. Elaborate frescoes and a ceiling mural depicting the era's transportation and energy themes rise overhead. 

Sixty-six floors above, the exclusive, invitation-only Cloud Club hosted New York's high society and elite businessmen. It preceded the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center by a few years. The Cloud Club has been closed for decades but will celebrate a grand reopening in the near future.

Leasing Office Space


The Chrysler Building stretches 77 stories above Lexington Avenue and contains nearly 1.2M rentable square feet of office space. The building also includes around 12,000 square feet of retail space. 

Like most NYC office buildings, the floor plates of the Chrysler Building get smaller the higher you go up. These setbacks create a wedding cake effect. The lower/largest floors are roughly 36,000 rentable square feet. As you move into the tower, the floor size reduces to around 11,000 square feet. Once you reach the crown, the floors are as small as 7,500 square feet.

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This is what 11,000 square feet looks like in the Chrysler Building. 

The floor plan depicted above offers insights into a typical layout of a tower floor in the Chrysler Building. You'll notice that the core of the building, which contains the elevators, emergency stairs, shafts, and bathrooms, encompasses the middle section of the floorplate. This design maximizes the number of windowed offices and conference rooms along the perimeter of the floor, ensuring natural light and views for each individual office.

If you are interested in leasing office space in the Chrysler Building and need approximately 1,000 square feet, securing a conventional private suite could prove difficult because the offices typically begin around 3,000 square feet. 

However, you might consider renting office space within a flexible workspace provider in the Chrysler Building. They have furnished offices as small as 100 square feet to move-in-ready team rooms accommodating 20+ people. And there are lots of amenities, like conference rooms, lounge areas, kitchens, IT and receptionist services, mail handling, and more.  

rent office space chyrsler building | office sublets

Lounge area within a flexible workspace in the Chrysler Building

Occasionally, a company that is leasing office space in the Chrysler Building will need to move during the course of their lease. This could be for any number of reasons: they might have outgrown their office space and need additional square footage, or, as many companies have done following the pandemic, they might need to downsize—or "rightsize," as you sometimes hear people say these days.  

Companies often make these adjustments within the same building. Landlords will do everything they can to help a company grow within their building. Downsizing can be trickier. When a company can't make the necessary adjustments within their office building and still has a significant lease term, they usually hire a real estate broker who specializes in subleasing office space. 

If you have a question about subleasing office space in the Chrysler Building or would like a list of currently available sublets in the Chrysler Building, get in touch and we'll assist.


The Chrysler Building has undergone extensive renovations and enhancements in recent years. The installation of new windows and modernized mechanical systems has increased building efficiency, while new the elevator lobbies combine contemporary design with the building's original embellishments, like the ornate wood-paneled Art Deco elevator doors.

Tenants will also find new lighting, new restrooms and corridors, glass entryways into the offices, and various improvements to the common areas. 

chrysler building design | office sublets

Elevator doors and a mural in the Art Deco style

A complete redesign of the arcade level below the lobby, which connects the Chrysler Building to Grand Central, is underway. Much like the arcade at Rockefeller Center, you'll soon find new shops where passersby can grab a quick cup of coffee, a bouquet of flowers, and a bottle of wine, as well as stop in at personal care and wellness retailers. 

On the 27th floor, The Chrysler Club, which is exclusively for building tenants, blends work and leisure. This full-floor amenity space includes a boardroom, conferencing center, a town hall-style meeting area, library and lounge, and even a yoga and meditation room. Billards table? Yep, it has that, too. And there is a spacious pantry area in a relaxed café-style setting offering tables and booths for tenants to enjoy a quiet place to eat lunch, have a coffee, or meet with a colleague. The club overlooks a landscaped terrace on one of the building's setbacks, presenting a visual respite from Midtown's concrete jungle.


The Chrysler Building is located at 405 Lexington Ave, standing at the northeast corner of East 42nd Street in Midtown. It's directly across the street—or avenue—from Grand Central Terminal. There is no need to pop an umbrella when it's raining as the buildings are connected via an underground passageway.

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Grand Central Terminal is located directly across from the Chrysler Building.

Grand Central Terminal is one of the primary transportation hubs in New York City. Not only is it the terminus for the Metro-North Railroad trains, including the Harlem Line, the Hudson Line, and the New Haven Line, which serves suburban commuters from Westchester and Connecticut, but it's also the terminus for the Grand Central branch of the Long Island Railroad

There are also many subway options at Grand Central, like the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S trains. So getting to the Chrysler Building from any borough (except Staten Island, of course) is easy. 


After the workday is done, there are many places to socialize in the Grand Central area, even a few choice options within the train hall itself. Among these, The Campbell and the Grand Central Oyster Bar are iconic destinations, offering a blend of history and ambiance right in the heart of New York City's bustling transit hub.

Formerly known as The Campbell Apartment and now simply The Campbell, this sophisticated bar is a living relic of New York City's illustrious past. The 13th-century-inspired design exudes the opulence and elegance of a bygone era, adorned with a soaring, hand-painted ceiling, leaded glass windows, and a colossal stone fireplace. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better place to enjoy a $22 martini. 

the campbell | office sublets

The Campbell Bar [via The Campbell]

The next stop must be the Grand Central Oyster Bar, a veritable New York City institution, where oyster shuckers have been popping open bivalves for over a century. The space has vaulted, tiled ceilings and a winding lunch counter reminiscent of a Turner Classic Movie from the 1950s. Here, nestled away from the churning footsteps of daily commuters, you can relax and enjoy fresh seafood from a Broiled New Bedford Lemon Sole Filet to Old Fashioned Fish-N-Chips with Tartar Sauce, making it a culinary journey, a historical journey, and perhaps the beginning of a literal one.

The Chrysler Building is not just an iconic piece of New York City's skyline but an enduring hub for businesses, large and small. Born from the automobile revolution with an enduring legacy as one of NYC's most prestigious office buildings, the Chrysler Building embodies the American entrepreneurial spirit. It's a lasting symbol of New York's architectural heritage and a prime location for businesses looking to rent office space inside a historical landmark.