Block Association Believes Relationship Established at Meeting Bodes Well for TF Cornerstone’s Block-Spanning Chelsea Project

Interior demolition has begun on 260 W. 23rd St., the former site of a multiplex cinema. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

BY SCOTT STIFFLER | A current Chelsea-based project from family-owned New York City real estate firm TF Cornerstone puts to rest speculation about the fate of a three-property patch that, in its bustling prime, offered food, film, and finance within the span of just a few feet.

Off the market and destined for demolition are 250 West 23rd Street (a limestone structure informed by the art deco aesthetic, whose Apple Bank branch will relocate across the street to a ground floor space at 278 Eighth Ave.’s newly constructed, 14-story mixed-use building ); 254 West 23rd (whose basement space housed the popular East of Eighth restaurant until Jan. 2017); and 260 West 23rd (home to a 3-story multiplex cinema from 1990-2023).

In their place, eyed for completion as early as mid-2026: A sprawling project extending through the block from West 23rd to 22nd Streets. There will be a 14-story building on West 23rd Street with 130 apartments and 5 street-level retail spaces. On West 22nd Street will rise a 40-apartment, 7-story building with an underground, 35-car-capacity parking garage.

All of this information—and other details directly below—comes to you as content confirmed by Jon McMillan, Senior Vice President and Director of Planning for TF Cornerstone, during a January 29 meeting with the Chelsea West 200 Block Association’s Executive Committee: President Jesenko Vukadinovic, VP John Hunt, Secretary Gina Moss, and Treasurer Pamela Wolff. Also in attendance were Tom Lunke and Melodie Bryant, representing the West 22nd Street Shared Street Committee.

Additional intel and insights gleaned from the summit of stakeholders included the following, as noted in a February 19 email authored by the Chelsea West 200 Block Association’s Executive Committee and sent to the BA’s full membership:

—The interior demolition has begun on the former cinema site and will continue for 10 weeks. Debris is being removed through the 22nd Street loading docks, with efforts to minimize dust and noise. TF Cornerstone assures that this was reviewed with residents of nearby 261 West 22nd Street.

Neighbors want the design of the new building on W. 23rd St. to echo that of this Apple Bank branch. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

—Exterior demolition will begin as soon as permits and protective structures for neighboring buildings are in place. Further demolition debris will be removed from the West 23rd Street side.

—Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2025—lasting for about 18 months, with estimated completion in mid-2026.

—The two buildings will share a main entrance with a staffed lobby on West 22nd Street, connected via a courtyard and a corridor. There will be secure but unattended resident access to the West 23rd Street building. There will be an assortment of one- and two-bedroom apartments in both buildings, averaging 900 square feet. The West 22nd Street facade will be of a muted cream-colored brick, keeping it visually contextual with the block’s residential character.

—McMillan noted that TF Cornerstone has found a place in their project for the iconic clock that sticks out perpendicular from Apple Bank’s façade: It will be relocated a bit further down on West 23rd Street.

The Chelsea West 200 Block Association has asked TF Cornerstone for the following modifications and adjustments:

—Assurance was requested—and given—that the garage will not become a public concession, as a large public garage already exists on the block.

—Echoing a call already made by local preservationist group Save Chelsea, a request was made to incorporate the Art Deco limestone façade of the Apple Bank building into the design of a grand entrance.

—A request for timely periodic updates, with notice before new stages of work begin.

—Note: Just prior to this article’s publication, McMillan told CCNews that the ground floor of West 23rd Street “will be given over to small retail shops and will not have a residential presence other than a discrete secondary entrance to the building.” He also said TF Cornerstone is “very excited about, and supportive of, all the work the block association has done to improve the pedestrian environment on West 22nd Street.” McMillan added that the company also compliments the community on the strong contextual zoning in place on West 22nd and 23rd Streets.

“Mr. McMillan was receptive to our suggestions,” said Vukadinovic, of the January 29 meeting and its aftermath. “We feel we have established a cordial, open relationship with TF Cornerstone that will serve us well through this project.”

On W. 22nd St., looking at the future location of a 7-story building with an underground parking garage. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

 

East of Eighth restaurant closed in 2017. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

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