LPC approves COOKFOX’s plans to convert Chelsea’s historic Terminal Warehouse into an office complex

Posted On Wed, January 22, 2020 By

Posted On Wed, January 22, 2020 By In Architecture, Chelsea, New Developments

All renderings by COOKFOX

The entire city block bound by 11th and 12th Avenues and 27th to 28th Streets in West Chelsea is occupied by the Terminal Warehouse complex, a former freight distribution hub built in 1891. After losing its place in the shipping industry in the 1930s, it then became infamous in the 1980s and ’90s as the home of The Tunnel nightclub. Now, after years as a mini-storage facility and commercial offices, the structure will once again see new life, this time as a wholistic, modern office complex. L&L Holding and Normandy Real Estate Partners have partnered with COOKFOX architects to adaptively reuse the building, preserving and restoring its historic elements, as well as to add shops and restaurants on street level, a central courtyard, and a contemporary glass addition. Yesterday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved the plans.

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX
Renderings by COOKFOX

The Terminal Warehouse was constructed in the late 19th century, a time when the train tracks along 11th Avenue led “to the freight yards of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad,” according to Daytonian in Manhattan. Because of its proximity to the Hudson River, the trains, and the roads, the site was appealing to industrialist William W. Rossiter, who commissioned architect George Mallory to design the seven-story brick, Round Arch-style building. It was actually constructed as a unified series of 25 different buildings, all coming together in 24 acres of space. The huge arches along 11th and 12th Avenues were designed to allow trains in. They ran along a pair of train tracks through the center of the building that connected to the docks at the Hudson River.

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX
Renderings by COOKFOX

All of these architectural elements exist today and will be preserved. According to a press release from L & L Holding, the total 1.2 million-square-foot project will involve “the preservation, restoration and/or replacement of 3.2 acres of brick masonry; 756 windows; 338 pairs of iron shutters; metal signage, chimney, flagpole and other historic details.” They also tell us that, through dendrochronological research, the team was able to determine that “the oldest timber used to create the columns, girders, joists and floor deck were taken from trees that started growing in 1512, making them 508 years old today.”

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX
Renderings by COOKFOX

The aforementioned 670-foot train tunnel, still complete with its exposed rails, will also be restored and will be flanked by shops, restaurants, and other public spaces. The center of the building will receive an outdoor courtyard and landscaped terraces.

In addition, the remaining 500,000 square feet of storage space will be converted into modern, state-of-the-art office spaces. The floor area that’s being removed for the courtyard and some double-height interior spaces will be transferred to a new addition on the western portion of the building, which “will minimize the visual impact of the redevelopment from within the West Chelsea historic district and remain within the building’s current, as-of-right zoning envelope,” according to a previous press release.

Terminal Warehouse, Chelsea, COOKFOX
Rendering by COOKFOX

Current retail tenants include Porchlight restaurant, Manhattan Wine, Between the Bread, Avocadoria, and Agavi Juice. Uber, L’Oréal, and architectural firm Grimshaw are among the commercial tenants.

This is not COOKFOX’s first time redeveloping a historic warehouse into commercial space; they are also working on the conversion of Hudson Square’s St. John’s Terminal into offices for Google.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on September 17, 2019, and was updated on January 22, 2020, to reflect the LPC vote. 

All renderings courtesy of COOKFOX

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Neighborhoods : Chelsea

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