Archival Collections
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Percy and Harold D. Uris papers, 1901-2003 

Uris, Percy, 1899-1971
Phys. Desc: 
277.5 linear feet papers; 1353 drawings
Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
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Biographical Note

Percy Uris (1899-1971) and his younger brother Harold D. Uris (1905-1982) were raised in New York City, where their father established a successful ornamental ironwork factory. Percy attended Columbia University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1920. After graduation, Percy and his father developed residential properties. Upon completing his degree in civil engineering at Cornell University, Harold joined the family in real estate development. After World War II, the Uris brothers focused on commercial properties and became profitable investment builders in New York City. Percy handled the financial side of the business, including the purchase of properties, negotiation of loans, sale of parcels, assembly of plots, financing, rental pricing, and calculation of profits, while Harold was primarily involved with construction. Commercial properties developed in Manhattan by the Urises included: 380 Madison Avenue; 300 Park Avenue (Colgate-Palmolive Building); 488 Madison Avenue (Look Building); 575 Madison Avenue; 485 Lexington Avenue; 750 Third Avenue; 2 Broadway; 850 Third Avenue; 320 Park Avenue; 350 Park Avenue (Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building); 60 Broad Street; 1290 Avenue of the Americas (Sperry Rand Building); 1301 Avenue of the Americas; 245 Park Avenue; 111 Wall Street; 1633 Broadway; 10 East 53rd Street; and 55 Water Street. The Urises frequently employed the architectural firm of Emery Roth & Sons to design their buildings, including several of those listed above. In 1960, Percy and Harold organized Uris Buildings Corporation and it became a prominent investment builder. The brothers retained private ownership of four buildings: 380 Madison Avenue, 300 Park Avenue, 485 Lexington Avenue, and 750 Third Avenue. Percy and Harold Uris were active alumni of their respective alma maters and generous philanthropists. They established the Uris Brothers Foundation, Inc. in 1956 to direct their donations to several charitable organizations and educational institutions. Two years after Percy's death in 1971, the family's interest in Uris Buildings Corporation was sold to National Kinney Corporation. After Harold's death in 1982, the family appears to have retained ownership of the remaining office buildings until the late 1990s.