Dancing To A New (Construction) Beat In West Chelsea

Construction in West Chelsea Even in a city that doesn't sleep, West 27th Street in Chelsea has long had a reputation for staying up late. That rep came courtesy of a bunch of clubs that, for a decade, set the pace for late-night revelry in a neighborhood that was, for years, Manhattan's club capital. Of course, no party lasts forever, and with those clubs closed -- and with Manhattan's club scene now doing its things behind the velvet ropes of the Lower East Side -- West Chelsea's former club capital has become something more upscale, a lot less messy and generally much more... residential. In the Wall Street Journal, Laura Kusisto notes that the stretch of West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue, formerly the site of several notably noisy nightspots, has recently been home to a different kind of boom -- this time, as the home to some new luxury condominium development. With promising new Chelsea condominiums as 200 Eleventh Avenue, 245 Tenth and 133 West 22nd leading the way -- and with the newly opened second leg of The High Line giving the neighborhood some high-gloss glamour (and some high-end green space) -- it looks like the party may not be over in West Chelsea just yet.

Between that new stretch of The High Line, a new theatre troupe that just began performing in the McKittrick Hotel and a spate of new openings at the mainstay galleries lining Chelsea's streets, it's clear that the Chelsea nightlife scene -- whileno longer driven by the thud of nightclub beats -- is still going strong. The arrival of a new boutique hotel later this summer should help move the continued upscale-ification of West Chelsea forward, but what really makes the new condo listings in West Chelsea so uniquely promising is that, well, they look and feel a lot like other Chelsea apartments for sale. The High Line moved the center of the neighborhood a few blocks to the west, which -- along with blockbuster high-end Chelsea condos such as the Nouvel (above, just because it's so pretty), 456 West 19th Street, +Art and the Chelsea Modern further downtown -- has helped make the formerly gritty thoroughfares west of Ninth Avenue some of the hottest blocks in Manhattan real estate.

All of which makes it easy to agree with the Journal's forecast of a bright future for West Chelsea. A span of Chelsea, running from West 16th Street to West 30th, underwent rezoning in 2005 after neighborhood residents complained about the constant activity and unreasonable sound levels, and the club scene's departure for points south has encouraged healthy commercial and residential growth, and made West Chelsea feel notably more like upscale, sophisticated, undeniably adult Chelsea-Chelsea.

"In part because of the unique split zoning, development on West 27th is notably diverse," the Journal's  Laura Kusisto reports. "The first new building on the block was an office condo developed by architecture and development firm FLANK at 520 W. 27th St., which is now home to a shoe company, galleries, a fashion agency, an architecture firm and a recording studio for Alicia Keys." And if the new phase of the High Line does provide a "flurry of new business," as the WSJ predicts, the odds are high a similar residential influx -- and even more new Chelsea condo listings -- will follow. And unlike the crowds that formerly flocked to West Chelsea, these new residents probably won't be fighting for cabs at 4:15am.

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