Mancini Duffy repositioning West Chelsea’s Frame Building

November 03, 2020 - Owners Developers & Managers
Rendering, 541 West 21st Street - Manhattan, NY

Manhattan, NY Mancini Duffy is working with Erbo Properties and Higher Ground Development to reposition 541 West 21st St., now known as the Frame Building. Located in the West Chelsea neighborhood, the building was originally constructed in 1915 and previously served as a storage building and for display of arts from around the city.

Mancini worked to redesign the existing structure within its historical context. One of the major interventions Mancini designed as part of the complete building repositioning was the expansion of existing windows and the addition of new windows to maximize light and air. 

The results will be incredible and not often found on mid-block buildings in the area. Additional components of the building repositioning will include all new building systems, and activation of underutilized spaces to transform them into world-class tenant amenities.

Since the existing structure at 541 West 21st St. was designed for storage, the existing façade requires an overhaul to enlarge window openings and allow light and air to penetrate deep into the space. 

Mancini similarly opened up the existing facade as part of a building repositioning of 125 West 25th St., also in Chelsea. Mancini worked with the building owners and development partners to design a new façade with enlarged windows aimed at appealing to top tenants like tech and media companies.

The renovated façade will add a new character to the surrounding neighborhood while capturing the area’s existing drama. The window details with custom-designed frames will add to the building’s re-crafted identity to create a destination attractive to future tenants.

The existing building had little-to-no street presence. With a charge to add prominent street-level retail storefronts, Mancini completely redesigned the street presence at 541 West 21st St. by lowering the first floor to street level. We designed a new entry for the commercial office floors that also will open the facade with installation of a new glass wall. A new canopy will reflect the industrial history of the building and surrounding area.

To create a new tenant experience to match the identity of The Frame Building, Mancini designed an interjection of a two-story building lobby. This new space will be the primary entry for commercial tenants while honoring the history of the building as a destination for the arts. The lobby will showcase pieces from local artists on a rotation to engage the community.

As part of Mancini’s work for the complete building repositioning of 541 West 21st St., they will overhaul the building’s infrastructure for future tenants. These upgrades will include a new building core for code compliance and egress requirements, as well as a complete overhaul to existing building systems. New mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems service the building while maximizing the existing architecture of The Frame Building. These investments in the building will help the building owner command top rents in the area.

To aid in attracting future tenants to the Frame Building, Mancini worked with both the building owner and development partner to design tenant amenities. One of the highlight spaces will include a new roof terrace designed to transform the unused space into a gathering area for tenants and as a community event space. This building-wide amenity will help the building owner command top rent rates in the area.

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