Chelsea Market Faces Uphill Battle at City Planning

The highly contextual design shift by Studios may have to shift even further... east.

The highly contextual design shift by Studios may have to shift even further... east. (Courtesy Jamestown)

Seems the bad news is about to get worse for Jamestown Properties. The developer’s plans to add 330,000 square feet to New York’s Chelsea Market met with resistance from the Community Board 4 and Borough President Scott Stringer, both of whom gave conditional nays to the proposal designed by Studios Architecture. Now with City Planning’s public hearing set for this Wednesday, Commissioner Amanda Burden has clearly indicated that she is not pleased with the an addition proposed to hover over the High Line along Tenth Avenue. “I remain concerned about the massing and how it effects the High Line experience,” Burden said a pre-hearing review session today.

The two additions to the market include 90,000 square feet addition on Ninth Avenue and a 240,000 square foot addition along Tenth Avenue. As much of the building’s mid-block remains excluded from Jamestown’s plan, it seems likely that area will come in to play. “They do have a whole block,” the commissioner said.

Though not exactly in line with BP Stringer’s suggestion to move all of the massing to Ninth Avenue, it does mean that High Line view planes fundamental to the Special West Chelsea District remain a concern for the commissioners.  Jamestown has already indicated that it is willing to decrease the height of the Ninth Avenue addition from 150 feet high to 130 feet. The addition along Tenth Avenue dropped from 230 feet to 184 feet. Exposed steel trusses at Tenth were redesigned to be clad in a “contextual” terracotta and a wide cantilevered gap has been cosmetically anchored back to the original building with corner posts, despite the fact that the engineering for the cantilever remain in place. Now with the suggestion of moving the building back toward the middle of the block, we’ll see what other design tricks the architects at Studios can pull off as the restraints tighten.

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