Ratings and Reviews for 21002-1: Empire State Building

21002-1: Empire State Building

Overall Score

View Price Guide Review this Set
  • First Impression Does the set "WOW" you? 9.00
  • Unique Parts/Minifigures Unique parts? Increase resale? 6.00
  • Playability/Build Experience Is this a "FUN" set to build? 5.00
  • Value for money (NEW) "Bang for your buck"? 4.00
  • Theme Popularity Will theme help with resale? 9.00
  • Exclusivity Unique production aspects? 8.00
  • Packaging Does this set stand out? 10
  • Growth Potential Possibility of revenue growth? 10
  • Display Attributes Does this set stand out? 10
  • Conclusion Your final analysis.. 9.00
Review from: comicblast
Reviewed on: Apr 28, 2014
Avatar for: comicblast
Join Date: 12/28/2012
# of Reviews: 67

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I first saw the Architecture theme in a LEGO store, and I was very impressed. The boxes are extremely professional looking, in fact, I would build the set, and display both the set and the box! Overall, the set looks good but it is very small, so it would work well as a display on a smaller shelf. In general, LEGO Architecture sets work well for LEGO collectors who have limited space, and don't want to buy/display larger structures like the Tower Bridge or Taj Mahal. 


The only unique piece in this set is the black 1 x 8 name plate in the base of the set, which reads "Empire State Building". This piece alone goes for $6+ new on BrickLink. The rest of the pieces can be bought easily from the Pick A Brick website for about $10, or from BrickLink for $7-8, since these are very common pieces. Below is a picture of the name plate. 


LEGO Architecture sets are not known for their building challenge or playability, and are mainly geared towards adults and older children (as seen on the age recommendation of 10+). There are some other sets that you might pick up some tips from that have more to do with microbuilding (for example, Fallingwater), but in this set, the most you will learn is how to "stack" and give different parts of your build different dimensions and make certain parts appear larger or smaller. Look below for an image for a better idea of what I'm referring to:

As you can see, this build is very uniform in how it is built, and is extremely solid, in that it is structured and built like an actual building. 


First of all, the Price Per Brick in this set and the Architecture theme in general is dreadful. For this particular set, the Price Per Brick is $0.26, which is 2-3 times more expensive than your average set. Because the series is geared towards older builders, price definitely isn't as much a concern as it might be for a set geared towards younger children. Either way, this set should not be used to part out, unless you can buy it for lower than around $8, because it will be hard to make your time worth it because of the wide accessibility to the pieces in this set. 


The Architecture theme is probably only average in terms of popularity (though only LEGO knows how the theme truly stands up agains other themes), but based on the quantity sold of each set, we see only average or even mediocre popularity, with only about 30 sets sold per month per set. These sets as an investment have done really well, which shows demand for the sets in the future. I think these sets are under-the-radar, especially the smaller ones, so 9/10 for theme popularity.


From what I know, this set isn't exclusive to any store, but most don't carry the sets in-store, because it doesn't sell in high numbers, and doesn't appeal to most children who shop in the LEGO aisle. I'd give this set a 8/10 for this reasoning. Though it isn't exactly a LEGO exclusive, there aren't very many sellers of this set, which makes it slightly more difficult to buy this set. 

PACKAGING | Score: 10

I absolutely love the packaing on the LEGO Architecture sets, because it appeals to a huge AFOL population, with the more mature design, and actually reminds me of Apple's boxes, which are a solid color with minimal design and color. On the side, there is the signature of the designer, Adam Reed Tucker, a designer from Chicago, hense the first 2 sets being Chicago based. Inside the set is a basic guide to the actual building, with information on the history and design which great for educating the consumers of the sets. I definitely think that doing this helps to draw additional adults back into LEGO. 10/10 in packaging.


The two sets that were first released in the Architecture theme, back in 2008, retired recently and so far, they have performed impressively. The 21000-1: Sears Tower is retired, but was quickly re-released as the 21001-2: Willis Tower, after the name change, but has since climbed to 2x above retail, which is impressive considering the only difference is the name plate and a number and word on the box.

The second retired Architecture set is the 21001-1: John Hancock Center. Thus far, there are a handful of sold listings for this set that have broken the $100 mark which makes the Return of Investment over 400%! That's super impressive for a $20 set.

To give a more recent example of an Architecture investment success story, we have the 21010-1: Robie House, which retired only a few months ago. The set has one of the best Price Per Brick ratios in the entire theme, at only $0.09 and retailed for $199.99, and was widely available for as low as $120 on Amazon. The set is already selling for $40+ above retail on eBay, and probably will hit $300 by next year. 

I think that based on these investment values, we can safely assume that the theme offers great potential investment wise, so 10/10!


As I said in the introduction, I really like the Architecture sets because of their size, which allows you to display more of them, rather than having to build a shelf for a set like the Tower Bridge. Visually, this isn't too imposing of a set, but it does its job well and is very accurate and recognizable. Even if someone doesn't know right away, the name plate definitely will help them out! I think these sets are meant to be displayed, especially because of their name-plate that each set comes with, which is similar to the plate LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collectors Series sets come with, with basic biographical information about the build, except there isn't any information on the plate itself, rather the information is found in the information booklet that comes with the set. 

10/10, LEGO!!


Overall, I gave this set a 9/10 because the reasons below:


  • Recognizable and iconic
  • Doesn't take up a whole lot of space
  • Investment potential!!
  • Great packaging and box design


  • High Price Per Brick
  • Can't part out
  • Size could impede visual impact of the build even though it looks great as a stand-alone