Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10th Ave. Gas Station


Time to add yet another casualty to the High Line's hit list, as every single blue-collar business along its length is rapidly being wiped out.

When the blindingly bright luxury condo 245 10th Avenue rose up, wrapping itself around a Lukoil gas station to lean over the High Line, we knew the Lukoil couldn't last. No matter that the gas station was always busy, it just didn't fit with the new neighborhood. The two sides of the condo facing the gas station were built with no windows, obviously awaiting a future tower to come.

And now it's coming.

I walked by recently to find the gas station shuttered, its signs ripped down, and the whole thing surrounded by a wall of tastefully potted shrubbery--musn't upset the neighbors with unsightly developer blight.

A nearby worker told me it closed about a week ago. In a big story about High Line overdevelopment, the New York Post reported that the lot was purchased by luxury developer Michael Shvo "for $23.5 million--about $850 per square foot, which Shvo says is the highest price ever paid for a NYC residential development site."

The Wall Street Journal writes that the site will become "an art-themed, mixed-use condo and retail development that would connect to many of the galleries nearby. 'Something that will combine art, luxury residential, design and architecture,' [Shvo] said. 'We will have river views and we will be looking over the High Line.'"

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: The High Line is an unstoppable hyper-gentrification machine. As one broker told the Post, “It’s Dubai in New York. I’ve never seen such a landscape change so quickly. It’s like they’re building a whole city within the city.” (That same broker also claims that the day CVS opened on 10th "was a good day for West Chelsea." God help us.)

We'll add this one to the ever-growing list of blue-collar businesses shuttered since the second part of the High Line opened in June 2011:

8/2013: 10th Avenue gas station sold for condo tower
5/2013: D&R Auto Parts shuttered
5/2013: GGMC Parking Garage demolished
4/2013: Kamco Building Materials demolished for condo towers
2/2013: Evan Auto moved a block away
1/2013: Edge Auto Rental moved to Brooklyn
1/2013: Central Iron & Metal sold to Related for $65 million
12/2011: Brownfeld Auto pushed out by landlord, demolished for condos
12/2011: Chelsea Mobil sold and shuttered for upscale retail
9/2011: D&R Auto Parts reported 40% drop in profits since High Line opened
8/2011: Bear Auto forced out by landlord for upscale development
8/2011: Olympia Parking Garage closed when landlord quintupled the rent
6/2011: Poppy's Terminal Food Shop changed hands, later shuttered
6/2011: 10th Ave. Tire Shop pushed out for High Line development

Who's next? I worry often about the car wash next door. It's been in business for over 40 years, but for how much longer will the Gods of the High Line permit it to survive?


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that your vilification of some imagined High Line deity is a little misplaced: I agree that the Car Wash is likely to go, but not because Diane von Furstenberg sayeth - it's going to go because the owner, perhaps the very same who has run the business for 40 years, is going to decide he'd rather cash out than keep running a "blue collar business" in the neighborhood. Sometimes you can hide behind the fact that the businesses are just tenants and it's the soulless landlords who are doing the dirty work but the landlords are often families and individuals with humble backgrounds who have been in the area a long time. They feel like they've contributed to "improvements" (I know you wouldn't call them such) in the area, they've taken a risk, it's paid off and they want to retire in comfort. You think New New York has come and pushed out Old New York but I think Old New York has just eaten itself alive. The end result, of course, is the same... It's just that the answer is introspection, not mudslinging.

shimmerstwo said...

By the way the corner where Poppy's used to be is now the Highline Deli

Tom Stir said...

live in the N O W.......



Anonymous said...

The real risk-takers are the people who moved in to Chelsea in the '80s and '90s when it was still sketchy, not these corporate entities with the money to outspend everyone else and construct a generic glass-and-steel condo tower that has no guts. Change is inevitable but it's not always better.

Anonymous said...

To some degree the first comment is true - it's very much like the debate over second homes in rural UK (and I would guess here too).
The villagers bemoan the fact that houses are bought by wealthy folks who spend a few weekends a year there and now the local kids can't afford to buy.
But it was those same villagers who chose (and continue to choose) to sell their homes to these wealthy types - they could sell them for less to locals if they wanted.

In the same way, who are we to judge the guy who sells the building he's owned for 40 years and worked hard in in order to cash out and retire? It's another fucked up bubble so he may as well take what he can and run.
I'm thinking of doing the same with my apartment near Union Square - if someone will give me $600k for a studio (which is madness), aren't I stupid not to take it?

Unknown said...

this is the reason the prospect of a lowline terrifies me

bowery boy said...

I'm not a fan of seeing things change, but I know they do. Hey, I lived in soho in the 80's. But thanks to soho's architecture there was more repurposing of buildings and less tearing down/building up than what's happening around the highline.

Cars are mobile like drops of water. Businesses that serve the car culture do not have to be in a certain location; the cars will come to them. So, these businesses can run to cheaper locations like water runs to the lowest point on a surface.

I'm not sad to see the car business leave the area; I'm not a fan of cars and their exhaust to begin with. But, I am sad to see what is replacing them. There seems to be no plan for the area's future. No plan for a community. The architecture is not creative nor inspiring of neighborhood gathering. Money has become too much of a priority, so West Chelsea is getting the soulless community center that it deserves.

Too bad there was such a lack of leadership in the area, and a mayor who wrongly thinks density's financial boon is the answer to everything. He can't be gone soon enough.

Frank M said...

RE: “Shvo said. 'We will have river views…” Yeah, until another high-rise goes up down the block on 24th Street and blocks your multi-million dollar “river view”.

“…we will be looking over the High Line.'" – Get serious! Your tenants will be looking out their windows at people walking along an old railroad right-of-way planted with flowers! Central Park it ain’t!

As for the $850 per square foot purchase price totaling $23.5 million – not a bad investment when one considers what the apartments will sell or rent for, even after construction and other costs are factored in, minus, naturally, tax incentives granted by the city and state.

Another property that I’m surprised has lasted so long is the parking garage on Tenth Avenue a couple of lots north of the former Lukoil station (which was, incidently, visited by Russian President Vald Putin several years ago when it was bought by Lukoil. That site was a Texaco station many years ago.)

Dave - everywhere said...

I'm somewhat on the fence in this discussion. I also lament the disappearance of the old, familiar sights and places but I also acknowledge that "time marches on" and that a static city is a dead one (If you dont think this is true, spend some time in Venice). It would be interesting to be able to come back to all this in 75 or 100 years and see what the attitude is towards the buildings and culture of NYC that were built in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

historyglass said...

I have lived on 18th Street for 30 years and seen Chelsea go through many changes, many of them good, but the High Line is an alien invader that NOBODY WHO LIVES IN CHELSEA USES!
Many of us have dogs and not only are they not welcome on the cat walk of hell but the streets where we walked our dogs are now clogged with Norwegian backpackers, the tourists are broke Europeans who don't spend ANY money in the neighborhood, they just clog it up.
Try asking people who live in Chelsea about this and watch their eyes roll! We don't want to walk in a slow moving line that moves like an airport security line 3 floors above the street with tourists.
Fuck the High Line and the architecture snobs who bow down at it's (so called) greatness.

Frank M said...

Re: “It would be interesting to be able to come back to all this in 75 or 100 years and see what the attitude is towards the buildings and culture of NYC that were built in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

Most of those structures won’t be standing in 40 years let alone 75 or 100 years. Given the new building codes, light-weight construction and traditional - shall we say “corner-cutting” - methods in the construction and concrete industries they’ll be either no more than photos in history books or high-rise slums with more violations than FDNY and Buildings have summonses to issue. Also, just wait until the first car explodes in the “Park-Your-Jaguar-In-The-Bedroom” building on 24th and Eleventh. Parts of that building will wind up littering a park in Hoboken.

Bart said...

You were all doom and gloom about the gas station on 8th Ave and West 13th Street ( http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2011/09/village-lukoil.html ) but that has re-opened as another gas station (I wonder if it's now actually a Lukoil, which would make the closing of the 10th Ave location make even more sense).

Bart said...

@historyglass I live in Chelsea and I use the High Line and I know plenty of other people who do too. The nice part of living close to it is that you get to go to it when it's not as crowded, like in weekend mornings and evenings or on a light rainy day like today.

Anonymous said...

Not to get all Rand-y but.. "A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom."

Anonymous said...

There isn't any Blue Collar population to serve anymore. Except a few blocks in Manhattan such as Knickerbocker Gardens where "Donnie Brasco" was partially based, Manhattan Plaza where the Irish moved in the 70's and 80's, and a couple of other Blue Collar buildings around 27th and 8th and a few lower income Blue Collar buildings by South Street Seaport where some of the former fish mongers used to work.

The city (Manhattan) is now mainly divided into welfare and rich. Which has created a very strange atmosphere. I just remember growing up with lot of working class people present in the city, now all you see is NYU college kids, very affluent types, and very poor un educated people (no offense to them but facts are facts).

laura said...

anon 5:09, NYC is for rich people & those who do their laundry. guess that explains the closing of laundries. as for the closing of "car" services, im not sure what to say about that. they will have to be in manhattan as thier are millions of cars & trucks. jeremiah should watch this, i would like to know where the next auto district is.

Anonymous said...

I actually think that a reason for no blue-collar workers is because the economy of the U.S. has fundamentally changed. While it was blue collar before with a heavy emphasis on manufacturing, the U.S. has gone to a more service-based economy. Just go to any store and buy a piece of clothing or electronics; almost none of it was manufactured here in the States.

Anyway, I agree with the first comment. I know plenty of people who as immigrants bought a gas station and ran it for years before selling it off in urban areas but are now in areas where their stations have become prime real estate. This is happening everywhere, not just in New York. I think this is because of a fundamental shift in urban areas becoming livable again. For decades, the race riots and white flight made suburbs the most desirable place but because of the shift in our economy, rising oil prices, and really a desire to live in the city, it's inevitable that more and more things will change.

Anonymous said...

@ laura

I believe only 18 or 19% of the population of Manhattan owns cars. The majority of the cars come in from the outer boroughs and the tri-state area. I think that's really why the car dealers are disappearing.

laura said...

anon 3:45- new yorkers rarely owed cars even a long time ago. this is nothing new. if they did, it was for a wkend trip. i thought some of these car businesses are for "repairs". there are still a zillion cars/trucks/cabs in NYC. there will have to be a new car district. personally im not into cars, or gas stations.