Could’ve Would’ve Should’ve

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Irwin Cohen’s plan for the South Bronx

Here’s a sketch by architect Jeff Vandeberg of Irwin Cohen’s plan for the new Bronx Terminal Market, one of many unbuilt fantasies of our age. Cohen’s plan to move the 16 remaining ethnic food vendors at the market across the Major Deegan Expressway and along the Harlem River collapsed when the City Council last week approved the proposal by the Related Companies for a shopping mall at the old market site. Cohen has not given up—the riverfront parcel remains empty–but a lot of the political willpower is lost now that the vendors have agreed to a buy-out.

The design by Vandeberg (who also was Cohen’s architect on his Chelsea Market renovation) would have created 450,000-500,000 square feet of interior space, and left 50-60 feet for the esplanade. That is just about as much square footage as the market now occupies, and since Cohen wanted to add another 50 small outfits—especially cafes and restaurants—the proposed footprint would have caused a bit of a space crunch. Still, the deciding factor, Cohen told The Real Estate, was that the vendors were faced with a decision to get what they could from the buy-out, or hold on for a much more complicated relocation. They took the buy-out, at $30 for each square foot they occupied, but will be forced to move to various locations throughout the borough, losing the synergy Cohen was hoping to capitalize to create a Bronx-style Chelsea Market

-Matthew Schuerman

Could’ve Would’ve Should’ve