Downtown satellite would anchor southern end of High Line. On August 11, 2008, the City Planning Commission approved the Whitney Museum’s plan to build a six-story, 175,000-sq.ft. building at 555 West Street in the West Village of Manhattan. The proposal includes 50,000 sq.ft. for new indoor exhibits, 97,400 sq.ft. for museum support facilities, and 27,600 sq.ft. for a maintenance and operational facility at the southern terminus of the High Line elevated park. The site is bounded by Gansevoort Street, Tenth Avenue, Little West 12th Street, and Washington Street, just outside the Gansevoort Historic District.
In order to facilitate the new development, the Commission approved four applications without modification: disposition of City-owned property to the NYC Economic Development Corporation for eventual sale to the Whitney, site selection and acquisition of the High Line facility for the Department of Parks and Recreation, a special permit allowing museum use in an M1- 5 district, and a zoning text amendment that allows height and setback modifications to accommodate the Renzo Piano design.
Highlights of the plan include a 10,400-sq.ft. open space along Gansevoort Street, known as the Largo, which would display art from the Whitney’s collection and would serve as a public-gathering place before giving way to the museum’s main entrance. A stairway extending from the High Line would connect the Largo, and by extension, the Whitney, to the elevated open space above. Also, Piano’s design would allow for the maximum amount of air and light to reach the High Line since the bulk of the building is located on the western portion of the site and steps down to the east in a series of terraces towards the elevated park.
Unlike the Whitney’s previous plan to construct a nine-story tower next to its Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side, the new proposal has garnered widespread community support. Proponents believe the downtown location will attract a broader audience to both the Whitney Museum and the High Line, as well as provide the museum with space to properly display larger contemporary pieces.
Lead Agency: DSBS,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: MN 2,App’d, 43-0-0
CPC: Whitney Museum of American Art (N 080406 ZRM – text amend.); (C 080407 PCM – acquisition); (C 080408 PPM – disposition); (C 080409 ZSM – special permit, use and bulk) (August 11, 2008). CITYADMIN