The 60-year development of Washington Market

As part of Stellar and Vornado’s presentation to Community Board 1’s Land Use Committee on their plans for a new tower at Independence Plaza, they mapped the FAR on the Washington Market Urban Renewal Area to date. It made me think I needed a refresher on what is a 60-year-old history, so here goes.

Everything from Barclay to Hubert, Greenwich to West was once Washington Market, the city’s biggest and most bustling food market that opened in 1812: a city within a city of five-story cast-iron mercantile buildings that by the 1880s had 500 vendor stands with more than 4,000 farmers’ wagons visiting daily. The entire 11-block long, three-block wide swath was razed in 1962, as part of a redevelopment plan that included a school, a college, subsidized housing, and office space. (The park was an afterthought.) The area was then divided into parcels. Here’s a rundown of what we have now, after 50 years of development, from north to south:

  • 1 —  Traveler’s Building, now Citi (388 Greenwich) (1986)
  • 2A & 2C — BMCC from Chambers to N. Moore along West Street (1983)
  • 3A — Independence Plaza two north towers (80 N. Moore and 40 Harrison) (1975)
  • 3C — Independence Plaza south tower (310 Greenwich at Duane, just north of Washington Market Park) (1975)
  • 4 — Washington Market Park (1978)
  • 5C — 200 Chambers (2003) and PS 234 (1988)
  • 5B — 111 Murray (2018), 101 Warren, 99 Warren, Whole Foods (2008)
  • 5A — 101 Barclay aka 240 Greenwich (Bank of New York Mellon) (1983), 125 Barclay (DC-37) (1932)

NB: The map above is color coded for the utilization of FAR. So the BMCC site is really really ripe for development. Over the years I have always heard rumors that Related wanted to buy that to develop it, and move BMCC to Midtown…

Just about everything razed and built out on the site engendered protests over the decades, largely for the same reasons neighbors are dissenting now: density, height, services to support the new residents. I can’t address the density just yet on the proposed site: if their plan remains the same, the floors will be 100 x 100, but “it’s too early in the design process to estimate the number of units,” the Stellar press rep told me.

So as to height, which is why I started this post. Here are the buildings on the Washington Market Urban Renewal Area in descending order:
111 Murray — 792 feet
Citi — 496 feet
101 Warren — 428 feet
Bank of New York Mellon — 361
Independence Plaza — 356 feet
200 Chambers — 301 feet

And some in the neighborhood and in Fidi for reference:
56 Leonard — 796 feet
Woolworth Building — 792 feet
One Wall Street – 654 feet
45 Park Place (stalled out) — 667 feet
125 Greenwich (under construction still) — 912 feet
One Manhattan Square — 847 feet
8 Spruce Street — 827 feet

And finally, the image gallery:

101 Warren and 111 Murray


101 Barclay – Bank of New York


200 Chambers

56 Leonard

125 Greenwich

45 Park Place

One Wall

Woolworth Building

One Manhattan Square

8 Spruce Street



  1. Here’s an amazing podcast episode about the history of Tribeca and Washington Market. Highly recommend.

  2. That bmcc overpass is perhaps the ugliest thing in Tribeca. It’s ridiculous cb1 is so stringent on the littlest things for businesses and then have this in the background

  3. LOVE this real estate history survey! Thanks so much. (And great podcast suggestion from Randy in the comments too.)