First proposed in 1999 with the establishment of the nonprofit organization Friends of the High Line, the preservation and reuse of the New York Central Railroad’s West Side Line has been criticized by some as sanitizing the once gritty Meatpacking District.
First opened in 2009, the High Line stretches as far north as 30th Street and will eventually terminate at the Hudson Yards site. Though the High Line can boast a significant role in popularizing the neighborhood both with tourists and New Yorkers, it is neither the first nor only attraction to boost real estate values in the area.
Below, The Commercial Observer looks at some of the real estate landmarks and popular attractions in the vicinity.
The Battle for Chelsea Market
Robert Hammond announced this month that he will step down as executive director of Friends of the High Line at the end of the year. The self-described entrepreneur will leave the organization that he co-founded in 1999 with Joshua David in enviable shape. The High Line—the elevated park that in 2009 opened to the public on a long-abandoned former West Side freight railway trestle—drew 4.4 million visitors last year.
Friends of the High Line is in the midst of a $125 million capital campaign that will help fund stage three of the project and bring its northern terminus to West 34th Street. Once it officially runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District through Chelsea and to the Hudson Yards site, the High Line will serve as a pedestrian artery between three of the city’s most dynamic—and fastest changing—neighborhoods.
Mr. Hammond spoke to The Commercial Observer about the genesis of the project, the surrounding real estate gold rush it has amplified, if not prompted, and the backlash of a vocal minority.
Gettin' High Line
Michael Phillips, a robust, healthy-looking fellow with the sun-kissed wavy blond hair of his California youth, wants to add office and hotel space to the Chelsea Market, the historic former biscuit building that stretches an entire city block.
The plan is fairly straightforward: Add 240,000 square feet of Class A office space on top of the 10th Avenue side of Chelsea Market and add 90,000 square feet of hotel space to the Ninth Avenue portion of the city block-long property.
Why the proposal would cause a flurry of opposition from neighboring groups—save for a singular vote of support from the Friends of the High Line—has been a matter of befuddlement and disappointment for Mr. Phillips, the chief operating officer of Jamestown Properties, the development group that since 2004 has envisioned the building’s upward expansion despite opposition from some residents.
Well, technically train tracks are still train tracks:
“Normally, the farther you get from the subway the less expensive the housing is,” said [Friends of the High Line co-founder Robert] Hammond, who confessed that he rents an apartment in the West Village. “But the closer you are to the High Line, the farther you Read More