Chelsea Market Community Givebacks Neither Permanent Nor Guaranteed
GVSHP and fellow community groups in the Save Chelsea Market coalition were disturbed to discover that many of the promised “community givebacks” in the City Council’s approval of the upzoning of Chelsea Market were not legally enforceable, and thus neither guaranteed nor permanent.
The new international developers/owners of Chelsea Market have been granted an upzoning to allow two huge office towers with hundreds of thousands of square feet of space to be added atop the historic complex. However, amenities promised to the public as “conditions” of the approval, such as guaranteeing that 75% of Chelsea Market’s ground floor will permanently remain non-chain food retail uses, have no enforcement mechanism attached to them, no penalty for violation, and no way of rescinding the benefits granted to the developer if they do not comply.
We have encountered numerous cases of developers and institutions receiving generous approvals from the City with promises of benefits to the community which never materialize. Experience has clearly shown that promises to the community without clear legal enforcement mechanisms attached to them are rarely kept and impossible to hold developers to.