It was built as a speculative development for use as office space or housing and was designed in the Romanesque Revival style with French Gothic detailing. The building was named for Austin Corbin, a president of the Long Island Rail Road who also founded several banks.The Corbin Building has a polychrome exterior of brick, brownstone and terracotta featuring rounded arches with terracotta detailing, while its interior vaulted ceilings employ a Guastavino tile system. Structurally, it preceded the use of steel skeletons for skyscrapers, utilizing cast-iron beams and masonry walls that were load-bearing. The Corbin Building sits on a narrow trapezoidal lot with 160 feet (49 m) of frontage on John Street and 20 feet (6.1 m) on Broadway. The building was rehabilitated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as part of its Fulton Center project, which comprised improvements to the New York City Subway's adjoining Fulton Street station.