After months of heated debate, the City Planning Commission unanimously agreed upon a modified Chelsea Market earlier this month. The decision will be put to a final vote on Oct. 29.
The proposed expansion, to be carried out by the Jamestown Management Company, will increase the size of the Chelsea Market by approximately 25 percent, funnel $13.3 million into High Line maintenance and contribute another $5.7 million toward affordable housing projects in Chelsea.
The chairman of the City Planning Commission, Amanda Burden, believes the expansion is crucial for Chelsea.
“With these modifications, I believe this will be a great addition to the West Chelsea neighborhood,” Burden said. “The additional office space will serve what has become a destination for creative and technology industries and this new development will provide critical amenities to the High Line.”
Many are excited by news of the expansion, as well as the $300 million in economic growth that Jamestown Management predicts will occur.
“A vibrant commercial environment has always been a major factor in the success of street life in NYC,” said Eric Galipo, a professor of urban planning at Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. “The Chelsea Market has been a major factor in the revitalization of west Chelsea and its continued success as a retail and recreational destination is tied to the success of the market, the High Line and the rest of the adjacent districts.
Scott Gordan, a 33-year-old Chelsea resident, supports the expansion for the housing projects that come with it.
“I’m completely for all sorts of affordable housing,” Gordan said. “If my company didn’t pay me extra to live close to my office, I wouldn’t live here.”
But others worry the project will make the area more congested and block the view from the High Line, leaving the area much less attractive.
“Despite the fact that the expansion itself seems to benefit businesses in Chelsea, blocking off the view of the High Line and increasing congestion in the area may have the
unintended consequence of hurting retailers by decreasing the turnout of tourists,” said Stern freshman Max Gordon. “I would imagine a lot of them visit Chelsea for the High Line.”
Some tourists, however, say the Chelsea Market itself is the biggest attraction in the area.
“[The Chelsea Market] is very, very nice. They made something special out of an old building. I would like that kind of stuff all over the city,” said Bengt Odeholl, a 63-year-old tourist from Sweden.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 18 print edition. Isaac Marshall is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]