By Brian J. Pape, AIA, LEED-AP
On our last stroll, in the October 2017 issue of WestView, we ventured up to West 12th Street and 6th Avenue and over to the Hudson River. It’s pretty quiet between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue, but once you cross into the Meatpacking District, things really heat up.
North of Horatio Street, Greenwich Street ends, 9th Avenue begins, and little Gansevoort Plaza is formed where Little West 12th Street splits off for a few short blocks. Besides the many buildings guarded with barricades in preparation for the new work, the streets are dug up for new utilities. New cobblestones are being placed to replicate the former paving character on many of the local streets.
The mixed-use Theory store building constructed in 2006 at 40 Gansevoort Street was designed by Morris Adjmi Architects. It was the first ground-up development approved under the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s (LPC’s) jurisdiction when the Gansevoort Market Historic District was legislated in 2003.
The Gansevoort Hotel Group built the area’s first luxury hotel at 18 9th Avenue in 2004. Designed by the Stephen B. Jacobs Group, it has 187 rooms and 23 suites. The Group liked the cache of the street so much that it kept the ‘Gansevoort’ name for hotels in other locations.
Between Greenwich and Washington Streets, nine buildings at 46-74 Gansevoort Street, controlled by developers William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital Associates, will become three lots comprising almost 111,000 square feet of commercial space designed by BKSK Architects. New five- and six-story-plus penthouse designs were proposed for retail and mixed-use buildings, to replace the old two-story Meat Market buildings at 60-74 Gansevoort Street; LPC approved them in June 2016 when the penthouses were eliminated. The local community and the preservation group Save Gansevoort sued the City after that, even though 80 Gansevoort Street (across the street) is one example of other taller buildings that were part of this district. Although construction continues on the smaller buildings, 60-74 Gansevoort Street is in limbo for now.
In the latter stages of development is the new Restoration Hardware Store at 9 9th Avenue (a.k.a. 7 Little West 12th Street), which is adding two glassy floors above a gutted, two-story shell of old brick facades. William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital Associates are the developers, MJM Associates Construction is the contractor, and Wormser + Associates Architects is the architect. New sidewalk canopies are being erected to mimic the old Meatpacking structures. Last year, the foreman and contractor, Harco Construction, was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a workman on this site.
Around the corner, at 55 Gansevoort Street, Restoration Hardware is also developing a new 14-room hotel called ‘RH Guesthouse’ by gutting the existing, small, triangular-shaped, five-story 1887 historic brick structure. The designer is Caroline Otto of Anderson Architects and the preservation consultant is Jacqueline Peu-Duvallon. The LPC approved the modified plans in March 2017.
Stepping next door at 15 Little West 12th Street is the through-block building built in 2011 by Taconic Investment Partners; they also developed the building on 14th Street that houses the Apple Store. The surprising 80,000-square-foot total on five floors includes an Arhaus Furniture shop. We see that every old building on Little West 12th Street has been rehabbed for new uses, which are mostly high-end retail.
Arriving down at Washington Street, we join the hustle and bustle of the High Line, the 2016 Whitney Museum by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and the 338-room Standard Hotel, which includes the Standard Grill, completed by Ennead Architects (formerly the Polshek Partnership) in 2009.
With such intense development pressure, one might wonder how the Meatpacking businesses manage to remain in this hot area. It is by design: The NYC Department of City Planning put an easement on the remaining Meat Center at Gansevoort Market, which guarantees their low rent leases for 10 years or more. (The Gansevoort Market Meat Center, which still exists, north of the Whitney Museum, is what remains of the businesses that defined this area.)
Across West Street from the Whitney Museum, the Gansevoort Peninsula is being cleared for Hudson River Park uses. The former NYC Department of Sanitation transfer station buildings, where garbage trucks dumped their loads onto barges waiting at the docks, are being demolished. Though still in the planning and design stages, at least one idea has been revealed to the public. (Consult page 29 for more information.)
Next to the Gansevoort Peninsula is the site of Barry Diller’s recently abandoned Pier 55 project, Diller Island. Yet, in a October 26, 2017 New York Times article, Mr. Diller said that Governor Cuomo called him to revive the park project, with a promise to resolve any lawsuits, and provide government funds to complete other Hudson River Park projects. Mr. Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg, have been heavy supporters of the High Line from its inception, along which are their business buildings.
Heading back to the intersection of Washington and West 13th Streets, 837 Washington Street is a retail space containing a twisting, steel upper-floor exoskeleton that was designed by Morris Adjmi Architects in 2013; it now houses a Samsung electronics showroom.
At 860 Washington Street is the new all-glass 10-story office and retail building which is nearly complete. It is offering rents of $150 to $200 per square foot, which is a new high for the area. Built by Romanoff Equities and Property Group Partners and designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, occupants will include Alibaba, the e-commerce giant; SoFi, a financial tech firm; and Tesla, which will incorporate a new electric car showroom.
Next door on 13th Street, another huge new building under construction is the all-glass commercial building by architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, for William Gottlieb Real Estate and 40-56 Tenth Avenue Ventures LLC. (The contractor is Cauldwell Wingate Company LLC.) The 116,000 square feet of commercial space, including two floors of retail topped by 10 floors of office space, will abut the High Line and 10th Avenue, with a faceted facade called ‘Solar Carve.’
One of the last remaining parking lots is on 10th Avenue between West 13th and Little West 12th Streets, and it is ripe for future development. We will keep you informed as plans for that site develop. We hope you enjoyed this stroll.
46-74 Gansevoort Street Unless stopped by a lawsuit now pending, nine buildings at 46-74 Gansevoort Street, numbered from the left, will become three lots comprising almost 111,000 square feet of commercial space, including two five- and six-story buildings at the right end of the block. Photo by Brian J. Pape.
55 Gansevoort Street
Restoration Hardware is also developing a
new 14-room hotel called ‘RH Guesthouse’
by gutting the small, triangular-shaped 1887
historic brick structure at 55 Gansevoort
Street. In the background, the Whitney Museum looms above the High Line Park trees. Photo by Brian J. Pape.
The new Restoration Hardware Store at 9 Ninth Avenue is adding two glassy floors above a gutted out two-story shell of old brick facades. To the left of it is 15 Little West 12th Street, a 2011 new commercial building. Photo by Brian J. Pape.
‘Solar Carve Tower’
at 40 10th Avenue.
These two floors of retail, topped by 10 floors of office space, will abut the High Line Park and 10th Avenue, with a faceted facade called ‘Solar Carve.’ Photo by Brian J. Pape, of the Studio Gang rendering.
860 Washington Street
Occupants of this space will include Alibaba, SoFi, and Tesla, which will feature a new electric car showroom. Photo by Brian J. Pape.
837 Washington Street
837 Washington Street is a 2013 retail space consisting of a twisting, upper-floor exoskeleton that now houses a Samsung electronics showroom. Photo by Brian J. Pape.