No fee rental apartments in Chelsea have been among the most coveted properties in Manhattan for over a decade now. No surprise, really: families, young professionals, and creative types of all kinds love the community’s rather unique combination of nightlife (there are scads of first-rate neighborhood restaurants here), its opportunities for both recreation and relaxation (Chelsea Piers, Hudson River Park), its ample public transit options and, with its more than 400 galleries, Chelsea also hosts one of the world’s greatest concentrations of contemporary art. But as several bits of news these past few weeks make clear, Chelsea is far from done, development- and quality-of-life improvement-wise.
The controversial expansion of the much-loved Chelsea Market, for example, seems to moving forward, with owner Jamestown Properties adding more than 200,000 square feet of office space to the historic, block-long structure (without, by the way, changing the facade). Last fall the modified plan–no hotel, ground floor must contain retail, less large overall, $5 million given to public housing and $12 million to the High Line–was unanimously approved by the City Planning Commission. But even before Jamestown breaks ground on the new construction, the Chelsea Market itself will be revamped, with at least eight new food vendors moving in to the space vacated when Amy’s Bread moved their baking facility off site.
In other news, the neighborhood’s biggest corporate tenant Google is giving back to its Chelsea rental apartment resident neighbors by blasting free WiFi across a huge swath of the area, from Gansevoort to 19th Streets, and from Eighth Avenue to the West Side Highway. Residents, business owners, visitors to any of the many public spaces all will now have ready access to free WiFi.
And high-end corporate neighbors–and the stores and services that follow–are only going to become more prevalent for Chelsea rental apartment residents. As the Wall Street Journal reports, office space rents in two new towers (on Washington Street, below, and West 22nd) are expected to fetch at least $100 a square foot, a threshold that only a very few buildings have passed anywhere in Manhattan. So Chelsea residents can expect continued growth–and I haven’t even mentioned nearby projects like the final phase of the High Line, and the new downtown home for the Whitney Museum– hopefully completed without changing the basic character of the neighborhood.