With the recent announcement of the Whitney Museum’s new outpost planned for construction at the end of the Highline Park in the Meatpacking District, Downtown will be forever changed. The Renzo Piano (Think Pompidou, Paris)designed 55,000sf art museum will be a cultural anchor of historic significance that will forever alter the fabric of the area, more recently famous for restaurants, fancy boutiques and slick hotels. The Highline Park will provide a connection between a world-class museum and the world’s strongest concentration of contemporary art galleries, making the West Side a cultural destination unlike any other anywhere in Manhattan, or the world. And it will fuel New York real estate.
With 3 million visitors in its first year alone, the Highline Park in itself has been a huge draw: but with a limited span open, its true ‘facebook-style’ connectivity effect has yet to be felt when the extension opens up the park from 20th Street to 28th Street, the streets where the bulk of the galleries are located. I leave it to your imagination what else will follow, but I predict that within 5 years, the area will be unrecognizable from its current state. I suspect a strong retail element will follow, as well as continued residential construction to add to the already superb mix from architects such as Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban, Annabelle Selldorf, Neil Denari and Frank Gehry. The very best may be yet to come.