Streams

As the High Line Grows, Business Falls in Love with a Public Park

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The High Line in Lower Manhattan. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

The High Line is growing.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to cut the ribbon on a 10-block extension of the popular elevated public park on Manhattan's West Side Tuesday, and businesses are already clamoring to be near to the new section of the converted freight rail line, which runs from 20th to 30th streets near Tenth Avenue.

If that wasn’t so obvious a decade ago to what extent the High Line itself would become a business. Today, it’s a public park run by a nonprofit, Friends of the High Line. Major donors range from Estee Lauder to Levi's to property developers, and the board is a who's who of arts, real estate and high finance in New York.

When the new section of the park opens on Wednesday, visitors will have the chance to take in the view from the Falcone Fylover, named for a wealthy hedge fund manager and his wife, Philip and Lisa Marie Falcone, who both sit on the board.

Real Estate

The most visible evidence of this is in the air above the High Line where bold facades in glass and steel are popping up all over the area. Many, like Neil Denari’s HL23, explicitly promote their connection to the park.

Rents can range from $60 per square foot to $175, said broker Rafe Evans with Walker Malloy. It all depends on the location, and the quality of the space:  "Side streets are less expensive on a per-square-foot basis than avenue spaces," Evans said.

The city approved 6,000 residential units between 2007 and 2010, according to New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.

Broker Matt Bergey with CB Richard Ellis said he’s seen commercial rents rise $2 to $3 per square foot over the past year to the $55 to $60 range. Earlier this year, the Starrett-Lehigh — where Martha Stewart and Tommy Hilfiger are based — changed hands for $900 million.

It’s All About Position

Two million people visited the park last year, but retailers won't catch them unless they're in the right spot.

Anastassia Romanites, with Pagoto organic natural ice cream, has sold ice cream from a truck at 20th Street near the stairway to the High Line since the part opened in 2009.

Now, she's planning to add a second ice cream truck at 30th Street — the new northern end of the park — because plans include an elevator.

"It's gonna be more convenient because of the elevator," she said. "A lot of people come with the kids. I see them. They struggle to go up the stairs."  


Listen to Ilya Marritz speak to WNYC's Richard Hake about The Highline on The Takeaway.

The High Line in Lower Manhattan.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The High Line in Lower Manhattan.

The site for a beer garden and food cart parking lot at the north end of the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The site for a beer garden and food cart parking lot at the north end of the High Line.

Shaved ice cart on the High Line, one of several businesses allowed to operate in the park.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Shaved ice cart on the High Line, one of several businesses allowed to operate in the park.

New section of the High Line, which will open to the public on June 8.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

New section of the High Line, which will open to the public on June 8.

New apartments are being constructed near the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

New apartments are being constructed near the High Line.

The High Line in Lower Manhattan.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The High Line in Lower Manhattan.

View of Lower Manhattan and the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

View of Lower Manhattan and the High Line.

Spaces for lease cropping up near the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Spaces for lease cropping up near the High Line.

Visitors sit near the Standard Hotel, which overlooks the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Visitors sit near the Standard Hotel, which overlooks the High Line.

Old tracks leftover at the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Old tracks leftover at the High Line.

Pagoto ice cream truck outside of the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Pagoto ice cream truck outside of the High Line.

Apartment and office buildings overlooking the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Apartment and office buildings overlooking the High Line.

Buying shaved ice at the High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Buying shaved ice at the High Line.

The High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The High Line.

The High Line.
Stephen Nessen/WNYC

The High Line.

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Comments [6]

Sara from Long Island

HiHo.

Jun. 12 2011 06:58 PM
Phil Micali from chelsea - right next to HighLine

Wonderful concept and implemented very well EXCEPT for the 23rd Street Lawn area facing west, where the design was supposed to include an evergreen barrier between the intimate private space of a residential building (Marais) and the public space of the HighLine.

Go to FixHighLine on Facebook and Twitter to provide input on "what would you want if you lived literally on the HighLine?" and "what's with the contradiction of absolutely no security and privacy barrier at 23rd Street Lawn area, while many HighLine areas facing public spaces and streets have extensive evergreen and tree foliage?"

All stakeholders of this beautiful park need to provide a solution. It's only fair.

We can forgive the oversight, but not the arrogance of FOHL and Parks Commission Officials who have rejected the idea of a physical barrier at the 23rd Street Lawn, and will not be clear about the formal process for considering and implementing a design change to accomplish it.

www.DoRightThingHighLine.com
info@Do

A design change in the building in back of the Marais (its entrance on 22nd) had an owner obtain a design change to meet his personal preferences of opening up his east facing brick wall

Jun. 08 2011 10:29 PM
cycle3man

The crapiest, most uninformative set of photos I ever saw!!!!!!

Jun. 07 2011 10:14 PM
New Jersey

Precisely what NJ Governor Christopher Christie has done by halting the construction of the tunnel between NJ and NYC, meant to create business by improving infrastructure (except opposite).

Any chance you would rent out Bloomberg for a day so we can get some crap done, create some value ova heah?

Jun. 07 2011 01:00 PM
Annie from Westchester

Love the High Line! And thanks for a very interesting story.

Richard Hake said in passing (and probably in jest), "Hey, we should have a contest to name the neighborhood surrounding the High Line." Well, consider me the first entrant: How about NeHi? As in, obviously, Near the High Line. Simple, right?

Jun. 07 2011 12:39 PM
Tina from Brooklyn

This is so exciting, particularly for the friends of Peter Obletz, without whom none of this would be possible. He was the man whose incredible foresight and vision saved the High Line from demolition when he bought it from the MTA for $1. It was absolutely his passion, but sadly he died way too young, just before this current vision for the High Line was born. It's a real tragedy. Those of us who knew him, who knew what a distinctive, unusual, hip visionary of a man he was, see him in every phase of the High Line development, and somewhere, I really hope he is kvelling.

Jun. 07 2011 10:25 AM

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