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Gardens, Housing and Art Space Headed to Hell’s Kitchen Under $210M Plan

By Maya Rajamani | October 18, 2016 5:02pm
 A rendering of the new Irish Arts Center.
A rendering of the new Irish Arts Center.
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Courtesy of CHDC

HELL’S KITCHEN — Nearly 300 affordable housing units, new community gardens and revamped cultural spaces are heading to Hell’s Kitchen as part of a $210 million development project.

The nonprofit Clinton Housing Development Company plans to build a total of 280 affordable housing units for a range of incomes at city-owned sites it operates and maintains through a net lease, CHDC executive director Joe Restuccia said.

While 46 of those units will be reserved for senior performance artists and the homeless, a majority of the remaining units will eventually be available through the city’s affordable Housing Connect lottery system.

The development plan involves relocating the site’s existing tenants — including the Irish Arts Center, the INTAR and Medicine Show theaters, and a host of artists who lease studio spaces in the buildings — as the project moves forward, Restuccia said.

All of the current buildings’ tenants will eventually end up back at one of the sites included in the project, with the exception of Cybert Tire & Car Care at 726 11th Ave., which is moving to a building on West 53rd Street to make way for the Irish Arts Center’s new facility, Restuccia noted.

Many of the tenants at the sites have been on month-to-month leases with the city since the 1970s, he added.

“We’re looking at doing them as one plan, where one project will lead to the next, will lead to the next,” Restuccia explained. “It all depends on this relocation of tenants from the buildings from site to site.”

As part of the project, a vacant building at 560 W. 52nd St. formerly owned by the Captain Post Horseradish & Pickle Company will undergo a “gut rehabilitation" that will create 22 permanently affordable apartments, including a superintendent unit, a draft of the plan shows.

After the revamp, a new, approximately 4,000-square-foot community space inside the building will be used by the Police Athletic League, and a vacant lot next to the building will become a community garden known as the Captain Post Garden, the draft shows.


A rendering of the Captain Post Garden, which will be built west of 560 W. 52nd St. (Courtesy of CHDC)

A building at 464 W. 25th St. will be “gut-renovated” and built up to five stories to make way for four permanently affordable apartments and a ground-floor retail space, the plans show. A vacant commercial unit adjacent to the building will be “extended vertically to the full building height."


A rendering of 464 W. 25th St. (Courtesy of CHDC)

At 500-508 W. 52nd St. — a onetime piano factory that currently houses nine artists’ studios, Nakanami Carpentry, the INTAR Theatre and Sonny’s Grocery — the developer plans to build 46 permanently affordable senior housing units for performance artists.

Additionally, the building will include 13,000 square feet of nonprofit office space, which will be used primarily by the Irish Arts Center, Housing Conservation Coordinators and CHDC itself.


A rendering of 500-508 W. 52nd St. (Courtesy of CHDC)

The building’s current tenants will relocate either to 545 W. 52nd St. or to another site within CHDC’s plan.

The 10-story building at 545 W. 52nd St., meanwhile, will house two ground-floor, 99-seat theaters, rehearsal and artist work studios, two art galleries, theater administrative offices and a top-floor event space.

The spaces will be used primarily by Ensemble Studio Theatre, Gallery MC and theaters including INTAR and Medicine Show.

The plan will also create a new "Children’s Garden" in a vacant lot at 543 W. 52nd St. next door.


A rendering of the Children's Garden planned for 453 W. 52nd St. (Courtesy of CHDC)

At 456-460 W. 37th St. and 480 10th Ave., CHDC plans to build a new 18-story building “incorporating the existing building facades," the plan shows. It will house 98 affordable housing units for families and individuals, a 74-seat black-box theater, retail space and a community center to be called the Hell’s Kitchen Community Center.

Meanwhile, a partially vacant building at 552 W. 52nd St. that currently houses the Police Athletic League’s William Duncan Center will become a 13-story building that houses 110 affordable housing units for artist families and individuals, space for the PAL and an art gallery.

CHDC also plans to build a new 1,250-square-foot public garden, known as the Juan Alonso Extension, on a current parking lot at 555 W. 51st St.


A rendering of the Juan Alonso Extension, which will be built at 555 W. 51st St. (Courtesy of CHDC)

The garden will “serve as an entrance” to the new Irish Arts Center facility planned for 726 11th Ave., which is part of CHDC's development plan.



A rendering of the new Irish Arts Center facility. (Courtesy of CHDC)

That building is currently home to Cybert Tire, which will permanently relocate to 540 W. 53rd St. as the IAC’s construction moves forward.


A rendering of the new Irish Arts Center facility. (Courtesy of CHDC)

The project in its entirety is expected to wrap up in 2020, CHDC's timeline shows.