The Eight-Day Week
Is there a clear-cut line between southern Chelsea and the Meatpacking District now that both are no longer gritty?
Not really, says a committee that is trying to launch a new Business Improvement District called Meatpacking Area BID that would treat the two areas as one in order to provide maintenance, development and promotional services.
A two-week run of the popular ID Pop Shop starts today at Chelsea Market. Curated by designers Barbara Wilkinson and Raoul Calleja, the ID Pop Shop is a showcase and sale of pieces by 25 of the city’s best independent designers, including Cliff Belts (hand-woven from cork and 100 percent vegan), Raul Frisneda Jewelry (gold Read More
For many neighbors of the Chelsea Market, the biggest concern over a massive addition to the market was the shape it would take and thus its impact on the High Line, which the market abuts. Love it or hate it, the High Line had become a major neighborhood amenity, one people did not want to see get any worse with a massive eight-story addition overhanging it.
Developer Jamestown Properties acceded to demands from the City Planning Commission—which oversaw the rezoning that helped preserve the High Line—to rejigger the building, so what kind of concessions could Council Speaker Christine Quinn possibly extract? Especially since she had reportedly waffled on whether or not to beat back the building entirely as she eyes crossing over to the other side of City Hall.
Well, what better way to appease NIMBYs and preservationists than with architectural protections and schools?
Much of the debate around the expansion of the Chelsea Market has centered around not the former Nasbisco factory turned popular shopping center (and subsequent tourist attraction), but the old railroad trestle next to it.
Part of the justification for expanding the market by 25 percent was that, in addition to providing construction jobs and new office space for the city’s booming tech sector, the developer of the project, Jamestown Properties, would pay about $19 million to the High Line, to help fund ongoing maintenance. But there was also great community outcry over the fact that much of the new addition would be built on the 10th Avenue side of Chelsea Market, directly overhanging the High Line.
Earlier today, the City Planning Commission unanimously approved the project’s expansion, and addressed a few of these concerns.
Gettin' High Line
Last week, the Chelsea Market Coalition released a poll that found broad support across the city as well as on the West Side of Manhattan for a 300,000-square-foot addition to the office and retail complex on Ninth Avenue. Opponents of the plan just sent The Observer the following letter decrying the poll.
Gettin' High Line
The expansion of the Chelsea Market has drawn skepticism from some of the city’s most pro-development quarters, most notably City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, who considers the neighboring High Line one of her hallmark achievements, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, caught between the concerns of her constituents and her boosters in the business community. Both have very powerful sway over the 500,00-square-foot project through the city’s public land-use review process, currently underway.
As for the rest of New York? They seem to like the plan, at least according to a new poll commissioned by supporters of the expansion.
Of the 600 New Yorkers surveyed in all five boroughs on behalf of the Chelsea Market Coalition, roughly half supported the project, with that number growing to 8 out of 10 when given a short description of the expansion, which includes roughly 300,000 square feet within two additions to the popular office and retail hub. What is most surprising about the results is that support among Manhattanites, including those living on the West Side of the island, paralleled or even outpaced support from the rest of the city.
A proposed expansion of the Chelsea Market is as big as some of its neighbors. Does that make it acceptable?
Jamestown Properties wants to add an eight-story addition onto the western end of the former Nabisco factory, which already is seven stories tall and encircles the High Line. Jamestown argues it should be allowed to match its taller neighbors, sating demand for techie office space. Locals counter that to do so would rob the High Line of the light and air and views that help make it more than a glorified Midtown sidewalk.
Borough President Scott Stringer has decided to side with them, voting against Jamestown’s proposal to expand. Among the recommendations he made yesterday to the City Planning Commission is that the bulk of the project should be shifted to the Ninth Avenue section of the building, where Jamestown has already proposed adding a hotel above Buddakkan—another feature Mr. Stringer wants eliminated.
Walking the High Line can be maddening and miraculous, often all at once. The crowds, the new buildings crowding out the views of the Hudson, all atop a highly manicured railroad trestle. Some park.
Yet it remains one of the best places to take in the city and its people—a big part of the reason the park attracts 3 million visitors a year, 10 times the original estimate, and has generated more than $2 billion in economic development.
The project could be considered one of the most successful real estate initiatives since Park Avenue was built by the Grand Central Railroad. And some day, probably sooner than most people realize, walking the High Line will be not unlike strolling down Park Avenue, with a wall of buildings on either side. And still, it will be the city’s new premier address.
Into this renaissance lumbers the Chelsea Market, the project that in many ways made this transformation possible when it opened two decades ago. Now it wants its share of the action, just like everybody else, planting itself on the High Line.
The battle to expand Chelsea Market has once again come to a head—a giant glassy head. Neighborhood residents are none too pleased with Jamestown Properties’ plans, which call for 250,000 square feet of office space to be added to the existing Ninth Avenue structure and the construction of a neighboring twelve-story hotel.
Among Read More
CB Richard Ellis’ Capital Markets Group has secured a $380 million loan for the recapitalization of Chelsea Market, the mixed-use property at 75 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, brokers told The Commercial Observer.