Construction began on September 19, 1939. After almost 8 years, the building was inaugurated on June 27, 1947 as S�o Paulo's tallest, being 161.22 meters in height. It remained S�o Paulo's tallest skyscraper for nearly 20 years. In the time of inauguration it was also tallest skyscraper outside United States . During much time the building was easily identifiable due to the luminous signboard that shone from its roof. In the following year a French magazine called it the biggest structure of armed concrete of the world, because many big buildings (including the Empire State Building, which at the time was the world's tallest) were constructed with metal. In the decade of the 1960s the building's name was changed to "Edif�cio Altino Arantes", an homage to the first Brazilian president of the bank, Altino Arantes Marques. Since then, the building has not undergone any significant external alterations, even after the 2000 sale of Banespa to the Spanish financial group Banco Santander Central Hispano.