We take it all back. Lately we’ve written stories about how soaring land values, near the High Line, coupled with developers’ mania for building luxury condos, have forced a number of Chelsea art galleries to fold.
Now comes a very different thread to the narrative. The developer Related Companies plans to add 15 new gallery spaces in and around its luxury condo project at 520 West 28th Street, the Wall Street Journal reports. Related is also borrowing a European concept and building the High Line Nine, a galleria with a cafe, wine bar and other amenities that will house nine of the 15 galleries beneath the High Line park.
“Right now, we believe the strongest market is the gallery market,” says Greg Gushee, executive vice president at Related, despite the fact that the number of galleries in Chelsea has dropped during the last decade as retail rents have increased and luxury condo buildings have pushed out several art dealers. “West Chelsea is known throughout the world as a gallery district,” Gushee adds, “and that’s why galleries have to be here.”
Go ahead and question that logic, but there’s no denying that some big fish are already biting. Paul Kasmin Gallery currently has three locations in West Chelsea, and it will add a 5,000 square-foot gallery next to Related’s condo tower and also occupy one of the nine spots in the galleria.
Two blocks away, at 540 West 26th Street, the developer Savanna and the Silvermintz family are building a 12,400 square-foot retail space at the base of its 166,810-square-foot mixed-use commercial building. The space, with 20-foot-high ceilings, will be tailored to the demands of a major gallery.
“We want to cater to the larger, more established gallery,” says Michael Silvermintz, a partner of the Silvermintz family real-estate business.
Larry Gagosian is surely reaching for his phone.
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