The Woolworth Building was constructed in neo-Gothic style by architect Cass Gilbert, who was commissioned by Frank Woolworth in 1910 to design the tallest building in the world as the Woolworth Company's new corporate headquarters on Broadway, between Park Place and Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan, opposite City Hall. Originally planned to be 625 feet (191 m) high, the building was eventually elevated to 792 feet (241 m).The construction cost was US$13.5 million and Woolworth paid all of it in cash. On completion, the Woolworth building overtook the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower as the world's-tallest building. It opened on April 24, 1913.
With a resemblance to European Gothic cathedrals, the structure was labeled the Cathedral of Commerce by the Reverend S. Parkes Cadman during the opening ceremony, although it was maligned by others due to its eclecticism. It remained the tallest building in the world until the construction of 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building, also in New York City, in 1930; an observation deck on the 57th floor attracted visitors until 1945.