Work begins on 188-unit, mixed-income Chelsea building designed by COOKFOX
Rendering courtesy of MAG Partners
Work has begun on a 188-unit residential project in Chelsea. MAG Partners and affordable housing cooperative Penn South on Tuesday broke ground on a seven-story residential building at 335 Eighth Avenue. Developed under the Affordable NY Program, the building will set aside 30 percent of units for low- and middle-income New Yorkers. The development, situated on the corner of West 26th Street and 8th Avenue, will contain ground-floor commercial space, including a 23,000-square-foot Lidl grocery store.
Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the building will feature a sustainable passive-house design that will match the “neighborhood context,” with the same red-brick exterior seen in the Penn South towers of the surrounding development.
“As one of the most ambitious new high-performance developments in the city, 335 Eighth Avenue will continue the legacy of Penn South, as a community of housing innovation,” Rick Cook, founding partner of COOKFOX, said. “With passive-house design, vibrant planted courtyards, terraces and rooftops, and healthy materials, we will remake the best ideals of urban living for a climate resilient future.”
Penn South, also known as Mutual Redevelopment Houses, was established in 1962 as a limited-equity co-op, meaning the development receives tax abatements when below-market-rate homes are available to tenants. The sprawling residential complex spans between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and from West 23rd to 29th Streets, including 15 buildings, nearly 3,000 apartments, and roughly 5,000 residents.
In 2017, the New York City Council approved a resolution extending Penn South’s tax abatement until 2052, ensuring its continued affordability.
The former building on the site, home to a Gristedes supermarket, a McDonald’s, and a tennis center, required significant repair work that Penn South co-op could not afford. Additionally, the tenant leases were set to expire, which would result in a significant loss of revenue for the property and an increase in monthly maintenance fees for residents of the development.
To prevent this drop in revenue, Penn South and its 15-member Board of Directors searched for a partner to redevelop the site. The board received bids from seven developers before finally selecting MAG Partners, according to the Real Deal.
In June 2021, Penn South announced a plan to redevelop 335 Eighth Avenue alongside MAG, which selected COOKFOX Architects to design the new 200,000-square-foot residential tower.
According to a press release, the design will “bridge the historical character of Chelsea, mid-century visions of urban living and contemporary aspirations for a new building that supports sustainable and healthy living.”
“Penn South has been a model of urban affordability, quality of life, and community cohesion for over 60 years,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, founder of MAG Partners, said. “We’re proud to partner with them on this project that not only supports Penn South but brings significant new affordability and quality-of-life enhancements to the entire Chelsea community.”
The project is expected to be completed by fall 2025.