Iconic NYC Building’s Stunning Ground Level Transformation
Constructed in 1930, Starrett-Lehigh, the mammoth 19-story, 2.3 million-square-foot building, occupies a full city block in West Chelsea. The striking eight plus miles of oversized “ribbon” windows allow for stunning Hudson River views, from the Statue of Liberty to the George Washington Bridge.
This massive structure, originally housed offices and warehouse space, rose directly above the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s freight yard, making it a hub for freight arriving on boats from New Jersey. The structure was ingeniously designed so trucks could easily enter the building on multiple levels to quickly unload and transport goods.
Now home to a host of creative brands, this landmark building’s ground level recently underwent a renovation by HLW International LLP, adding much needed amenities. With the recent opening of “The Depot” marketplace and “The Expo” event spaces, the building’s (pre-pandemic) 5,000 inhabitants have an entire city block of retail, fitness, a food hall, and a premiere event space inside the existing building.
Step in to the entrance right off 11th Avenue to see an impressive installation of nine Renlita custom opening solutions separating the new retail and event spaces. On one side of “The Expo” space, (4) Renlita S-2000 Hingeway Doors, with frames powder coated in a sleek black finish and furnished with ample glass panels, let in light and elevate the large space. Each door is 14’ tall with the whole opening measuring 70’ wide.
Made in the USA, Renlita S-2000 Hingeway Doors are constructed from commercial grade steel sections. These doors use counterweight technology for smooth, quiet operation. The door folds nicely along a horizontal hinge and moves upwards creating an awning effect.
On the other side of the space, (5) Renlita S-550 Lift-Away Doors are designed to rise into the ceiling space. Their design is similar to the Renlita S-500, but this door is unique in that two separate panels are lifted as opposed to one. Beautiful custom fixed transom panels surround each of the S-550’s to finish out the sleek “wall” of Renlitas. Each individual door is 14’ tall x 13’ wide.
Designed specifically for this installation, the operation of all the doors takes place in one central location, as all the individual key switches were mounted on one box.
What’s unique about the retail spaces in “The Depot” is that they face “The Expo” space and the street. The doors draw from the natural light entering the stores from the street, pushing daylight into the event space creating a sense of openness, even if the doors are closed. The Renlita doors offer added flexibility as any or all can fully open up to “The Expo” space. With dramatic 20 ft. ceiling heights, this dynamic space instantly transforms into a 5,000 sq. ft. column free venue on demand. Outfitted with the latest light and sound systems, “The Expo” is a unique, polished venue capable of hosting anything from a modest private event to a full-on fashion show.
We are proud to have worked with RXR Construction & Development LLC/NYC and HLW International LLP on this unique project. It was an honor to have the opportunity to develop such a creative, flexible space within this iconic structure. We look forward to seeing the space come to life as we enter the new normal.
HLW International LLP
RXR Construction & Development LLC/NYC
PRODUCT / COMPONENTS:
Renlita S-2000 Hingeway and S-550 Lift-Away