Built in the former National Biscuit Company factory complex where the Oreo cookie was invented and produced, the complex fills an entire city block bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets, with a connecting bridge over Tenth Avenue to the adjacent 85 Tenth Avenue building, which was also part of the Nabisco complex but is now separately owned. In addition to the retail concourse, it also provides standard office space for tenants, including media and broadcasting companies such as Oxygen Network, Food Network, MLB.com, EMI Music Publishing and the local New York City cable station NY1. Also, more recently, Google has moved into some of the second, third, and fourth floors along with its subsidiary YouTube on the fifth.
Retail facilities were introduced into the building by connecting the original back lots of individual buildings to a central, ground-level concourse with entries at 9th and 10th Avenues (completed in April 1997). Anchor stores include the Chelsea Market Baskets, Manhattan Fruit Exchange, BuonItalia, Anthropologie, and the Buddakan restaurant. There is also the Fat Witch Bakery, Amy's Bread, Ruth's Bakery, Chelsea Wine Vault, Eleni's Bakery, The Lobster Place, Dickson's Farmstand, The Green Table, Chelsea Thai and Friedman's Lunch, as well as a variety of smaller stores selling cheese, artisanal salt and olive oil, chocolate and flowers.
In January 2006 on the 10th Avenue side, Morimoto, owned by Food Network "Iron Chef" Masaharu Morimoto and designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, opened. The Food Network films its shows Iron Chef America and Emeril Live in the Chelsea Market complex.
The developers of Chelsea Market have encouraged a symbiotic relationship among their tenants with the vendors supplying the restaurateurs with fresh ingredients, such as seafood, vegetables, fruit and meats. The presence of television companies in the same building also brings media attention to the site and the businesses that are found there. The site also allows businesses to combine their manufacturing and retail assets under one roof.
Construction of baking facilities by local concerns at this location began in the 1890s, and merger of several companies into the National Biscuit Company (often then known as NBC) occurred in 1898. Nabisco continued to expand the facilities until the company’s departure for the suburbs in 1958. The final configuration consists of 19 separate structures taking up the entire city block, and included both production areas and offices. Several decades of varying levels of occupancy and light industrial use followed Nabisco's departure as the commercial character of the neighborhood declined. Since its redevelopment by new owner Irwin Cohen with Vandeberg Architects in the 1990s, the complex has featured a retail concourse at ground level with office space above, and is distinguished by its light-hearted touches and re-use of historic urban artifacts.
The majority of the original buildings consist of heavy timber wood construction with brick facades and were designed by the firm of Romeyn & Stever. There is also an interior pedestrian bridge on some upper levels to allow people to cross from the north to south sides of the courtyard. The building on the Tenth Avenue side is a later structure designed in the 1930s by Nabisco's then-architect Louis Wirsching Jr. that replaced the original baking facilities there. Its construction coincided with that of the High Line, allowing a freight train siding to be built directly within the building itself. Rail and aluminum-clad walking bridge connections were also added going across 10th Avenue to tie in the existing 85 Tenth Avenue building across the street.
Above Chelsea Market, passing through the building on the 10th Avenue side, a new urban landscape, called the High Line opened in the spring of 2009. This abandoned, elevated railroad track has been converted to an urban oasis or greenway, which now forms a continuous route between the Javits Convention Center and the trendy Meatpacking District.
Expansion and Controversy
As of 2012, current owners The Jamestown Group had received approval to proceed with a planned 6-story office tower expansion above the western portion of the site, despite significant opposition by community and activist groups. Construction of the expansion project has not yet started as of 2014.
- "About Chelsea Market", Chelsea Market website
- "Related Company Properties page for 85 Tenth Avenue building".
- Sharon Wong (May 23, 2013). "Traces of Chelsea Market’s Industrial Past in the Meatpacking District". Untapped Cities. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- John Holusha (October 10, 2004). "Uncommon Aesthetics in an Old Factory Site". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Christopher Gray (August 7, 2005). "From Oreos and Mallomars to Today's Chelsea Market". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Jessica Dailey. "Chelsea Market Begins Interior Work, Towers Coming in 2015". curbed.com. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
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