Warehoused! New Historic District to Hug the High Line

 The handsomest factories and warehouses around the High Line got a kiss from the city on March 18, when the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) calendered a proposal for a new industrial historic district in West Chelsea.  When the LPC calendars a proposal, it has a high chance of being approved.  The hearing is scheduled for May 13.  Read the LPC’s statement about the district after the jump. 

Here’s a map of the district:

 west-chelsea-hd__proposed.jpg

[Click to enlarge. Courtesy NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission]

There are many people and groups who’ve helped make this happen, most notably New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who provided crucial leadership on this initiative, as she has done on so many other important projects in our neighborhood (including the High Line!).  State Senator Tom Duane also championed the effort, as did the Society of the Architecture of the City.  That said, the historic district was originally the brainchild of a longtime Chelsea resident and Community Board 4 member, Ed Kirkland.  Ed has been pushing for this historic district for years — it’s one of many ways this dedicated preservationist and tireless community activist has worked to ensure that the most valuable historic resources of our community are maintained.

We’re excited about this district, because it joins the High Line’s preservation in demonstrating the importance of preserving industrial architecture and infrastructure.  Some of the buildings in the district are among our favorites in the High Line neighborhood, including the Starrett-Lehigh Building, the New York Terminal Warehouse Company’s Central Stores, and many others.

west-chelsea-otis-elevator-building.jpg

[The Otis Elevator Building, built in 1911-1912, is one of the buildings in the proposed West Chelsea Historic District.  Photo courtesy NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.]

Other buildings in the proposed district include: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Freight Warehouse; the RC Williams Warehouse; the Cornell Iron Works, and the Reynolds Metal Company.

Read the LPC’s statement about the district after the jump.

Statement about the West Chelsea Historic District by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission:

The proposed West Chelsea Historic District is significant as one of the few remaining industrial areas associated with Manhattan’s once-thriving port and waterfront. The three large properties between 11th and 12th Avenues are directly tied to waterfront business, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company Freight Warehouse, the Starrett-Lehigh Building, and the New York Terminal Warehouse Company’s Central Stores. The long blocks of West 26th and West 27th Streets between 11th and 12th Avenues form one of the city’s most impressive industrial streetscapes.  The remaining structures centered around the presence of rail facilities. The R. C. Williams building, for example retains a second-floor loading dock opening directly onto the High Line. Several buildings were constructed for companies that had a notable impact on the city’s development: the Otis Elevator Company, the Cornell Iron Works and the Reynolds Metal Company. Ranging in date from 1885 to 1930, most of the structures are brick-faced with stone trim and intended for manufacturing or storage. Styles include classical revival, Beaux Arts, Moderne and modern. Many of the buildings are designed by significant architects including Cass Gilbert, Clinton & Russell, Cory & Cory, Schickel & Ditmars, and the noted industrial architect, William Higginson.

A number of these buildings have been flagged in environmental reviews by LPC staff as appearing to be eligible for individual Landmark designation, these include: the New York Terminal Warehouse Company’s Central Stores, the Cornell Iron Works building, the Reynolds Metal Company buildings, the Williams Building and the Otis Elevator building.

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