The Rise of ChiBeCa

80 WhitePlans were filed this month with the Department of Buildings for 80 White (above): “CONVERSION OF EXISTING WAREHOUSE BUILDING INTO MIXED COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL USE.” I always figured 79 Walker (right), directly to the north along Cortlandt Alley, would get developed at the same time, because General Tools owns both buildings. But there’s nothing for 79 Walkeryet. UPDATE 3/28: Just got an anonymous tip that 79 Walker is “quietly being marketed.”

That area of northeast Tribeca, which folks occasionally call ChiBeCa (referring to an overlap of Chinatown and Tribeca), is on fire. Here’s a recap of what’s happening between Broadway and Lafayette from Walker to Franklin. But first, a map:

Chibeca map1. Hotel conversion underway at 396 Broadway:

396 Broadway2. New nine-story building (“Cast-iron inversion”) under construction at 83 Walker:

83 Walker3. New nine-story hotel slated for 88 Walker:

88 Walker4. Condo conversion underway at 6 Cortlandt Alley (a.k.a. 372 Broadway):

6 Cortlandt Alley aka 372 Broadway6 Cortlandt Alley5. Recently completed 13-story rental building at 84 White:

84 White6. New 18-story building slated for 59 Franklin (the L-shaped lot includes 358 Broadway):

59 Franklin358 Broadway7. Last but not least, there’s the Todd Merrill furniture gallery coming to 80 Lafayette. It’s going to be huge—it takes up all four window bays you see below—and from the looks of things inside, it’s not far from opening.

Todd Merrill 80 Lafayette1 Todd Merrill 80 Lafayette2

19 Comments

  1. Article fails to mention the opening of Aby Rosen’s new hotel at 138 Lafayette St a/k/a 11 Howard St anchored by a French restaurant headed by Stephen Starr. The City is soliciting bids from developers for 137 Centre St, most likely be converted to luxury apartments. And lets not forget the beautiful block through landmark Peebles Corp is working on right now at 46-50 Lafayette St a/k/a 346 Broadway. ChiBeCa is undoubtedly getting HOT!

  2. I have just now been accused of living in ChiBeCa by an acquaintance. I set him straight as to the significance of Broadway as a dividing line.
    But yeah, it has always surprised me how crappy these few blocks were versus the inherent quality of much of the architecture.

  3. One wonders what would have blossomed in the area if the jail (that effectively cuts off Chinatown from Tribeca) had not been built during the Koch administration.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/11/20/nyregion/koch-is-seeking-to-compromise-on-jail-dispute.html

    • I’m not that knowledgeable about the new jail buildings (though I’d been living here long before they were built), but anyone unfamiliar with the history of the area should be aware that the original criminal courts/detention center buildings, colloquially known as The Tombs, has been adjacent to the current jail since 1940. So it’s not like the idea to build a jail on the border of Chinatown was developed under the Koch administration. There’d already been a huge jail there for nearly a half century.

      • The first jail nicknamed the Tombs was built nearby on the site of the filled in Collect Pond (surrounded by Centre, Franklin, Lafayette, and Leonard Streets) in 1838.

  4. Of course they pushed the envelope to construct a jail facility here in Chinatown! The mentality that the Chinese community is an easy push over still exist in today’s society as evidenced by the Peter Liang persecution case!

    • Actually, Chinatown got a senior center/housing (Chung Park) in exchange for having a jail in the neighborhood. I read it somewhere online but can’t find the article now.

  5. Actually, the first complex opened in 1838, on part of the site that used to be the Collect Pond. Originally filled with fresh water over time the pond became completely polluted and was eventually filled in. Also by that time, the area around it, Five Points, was one of the worst and most notorious slums in the world. When the tombs opened, there was no Chinatown as Chinese immigration not really start in great numbers until years later. According to Wikipedia, in 1870 there were only 200 Chinese people living what would become Chinatown.

    So in a way, the opening of the tombs actually the first step in the revitalization of that dangerous and dirty area.

  6. We were thinking of moving into an apartment a couple blocks away. Is this a safety risk for our family to be so close to this prison? Have there been incidents? Thank you for any advice.

    • The Tombs is a jail (short-term) for people awaiting trial, not a prison (long-term) for convicts. Anyone who escapes the Tombs is looking to get as far away as possible, as fast as possible.

      • Thank you for the reply.
        Still, it’s likely that at least some of these pre-trial individuals are actually criminals. So I would still be concerned a bit about safety. If I sound paranoid, I ask because we used to live near a detention center in another city, and occasionally someone would escape. The police would be out in force searching the neighborhood by car and helicopter and radio advisories to “be alert” and “stay home” because an “individual with a history of violence” was on the loose. Not fun.

  7. It’s either in TriBeCa or ChinaTown. We don’t need another intermediate micro-hood.

Comment: