Positioned at the foot of the High Line in the Meatpacking District, the new Whitney Museum will be New York City’s newest world-class cultural destination in one of the City’s most dynamic and distinctive locations.
In May 2011, Mayor Bloomberg and officials broke ground on a new home for the Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The $720 million building and endowment campaign caps a decades-long effort by the Whitney Museum to expand, given the space constraints at its current location on Madison Avenue. The new nine-floor, 200,000-square-foot building, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, will be built on former City-owned property at the southern entrance to The High Line and is scheduled to open in 2015. It will be a world-class venue showcasing the Whitney’s collection of modern and contemporary American art, and it will provide state-of-the-art facilities for enhanced education and performing arts programs.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop is designing the new building, expected to be LEED-certified, in collaboration with New York-based architects Cooper, Robertson & Partners. The building includes:
The new museum project is the result of an extensive partnership between the City of New York and the Whitney Museum. The City sold the roughly 36,000-square-foot City-owned site to the Whitney, is providing a $55 million capital investment in the project, and, through the Office of the Mayor, the Department of Cultural Affairs and NYCEDC, has provided extensive technical assistance to the Museum through the project’s conception and implementation. It was approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council in 2008.
The partnership between the City and the Whitney Museum also keeps the Gansevoort Meat Market—a celebrated local business—in the neighborhood for the next 20 years. The Gansevoort Meat Market, a cooperative of independently-owned businesses under lease with the City that specialize in wholesale distribution and processing of meat for many of the region’s top restaurants and hotels, has been operating at the same site since 1974, with meat businesses existing there since the 1950s. The lease, previously set to expire in 2014, has now been extended to 2031 with new boundaries to allow for the development of the new Whitney Museum and adjacent High Line support facility, ensuring that Manhattan’s only meat cooperative continue its important role in the City’s industrial sector.
The Meatpacking District is a 20-square-block neighborhood on the far West Side of Manhattan, bordered by Chelsea, renowned for its art galleries, cultural organizations, and educational institutions, and historic Greenwich Village. Located 30 feet above street level on a 1930s freight railway, The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street and soon to 30th Street. The public park has helped revitalize the area around it, supporting new residences, offices, restaurants, art galleries, hotels, and shops.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is one of the preeminent institutions devoted to 20th Century and contemporary art of the United States, with a special focus on works by living artists. The museum recently announced a multi-year agreement, in principal, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which the Met will present exhibitions and educational programming beginning in 2015 at the Whitney’s present home, designed by Marcel Breuer, at 945 Madison Avenue.