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Zwirner Abandons $50 Million Renzo Piano Headquarters in Chelsea

David Zwirner's Los Angeles Gallery. Photo by Keith Berson., courtesy of David Zwirner.

David Zwirner gallery is abandoning plans for a new $50 million Renzo Piano–designed headquarters on West Twenty-First Street in New York’s Chelsea district in favor of an Annabelle Selldorf–designed flagship on Nineteenth Street, the New York Times reports. Gallery owner David Zwirner pointed to a developer’s “financial headwinds during Covid” as part of the reason for the switch. Of note, though the location, architect, and plan for the project changed, the price did not.

Zwirner back in 2018 revealed plans to build a five-story, 50,000-square-foot structure on a corner lot at 540 West Twenty-First Street. The building was to be connected to a large residential tower being built by Casco Development, under the auspices of investor Uri Chaitchik, who had brought in Piano to design both structures, but the development was beset by financial difficulties spawned by the Covid-19 crisis. Had the project come to fruition, Zwirner would have been the first commercial gallery designed by the Pritzker Prize–winning Italian architect. The terms of Zwirner’s extraction from that deal have not been publicly disclosed.

The dealer’s hiring of Selldorf to design the 533 West Nineteenth Street headquarters represents a return to form for Zwirner, who employed the firm to design the gallery’s recently opened Los Angeles outpost and their new offices located at 520 West Twentieth Street in New York. The Selldorf building will be significantly smaller than the planned Piano structure, comprising just two stories and 18,000 square feet devoted to galleries and offices. Zwirner told the Times he remained committed to Chelsea, echoing a sentiment he expressed in 2018, prior to the rise, perpetuated by temporarily low rents caused by the pandemic, of such arty New York hot spots as Chinatown and TriBeCa.

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