Limelight Marketplace - The Traveller


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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Limelight Marketplace

Limelight building in 2010

Limelight Marketplace Built in 1840 – An Episcopal Church

Limelight Marketplace is lodged in a building which was built in 1840s and was an Episcopal church, Manhattan’s well-known former house of worshipfor over a century prior to be bought by a commune in 1970. It was sold for $495,000 to Odyssey Institute, a drug counselling organization before one of the New York’s most modern club promoters Peter Gatien bought it for $1.65 million and took charge in 1983.

The club had been dubbed Limelight and the famous artist, Andy Warhol had hosted its inaugural party there. Being popular as it was with the clubgoers, it was also famous with the police who sometimes locked its doors on receiving complaints on drug use and dealing.

Limelight was notorious for its drug powered parties and closed in 2001 though the other clubs operated in the space till 2007.Towards 1996, the Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation a company dealing in retail spaces had bought the church when the club went into bankruptcy after Mr Gatien fell behind on his mortgage and gained full control after buying the building in 2001 for $3.2 million. The space is now utilised as a mall with boutiques as well as restaurants though the concept is getting off the ground.

Combination of Gift Bazaar & Departmental Stores

Mr Menashe, who seems to have background in retail, has been leasing the space from Ashkenazy for unrevealed terms. With around 35 upscale boutiques and restaurants within it lancet windowed walls on Avenue of the Americas in Chelsea, the Limelight Marketplace in the 19th century landmark church, is a combination of gift bazaar as well as departmental stores.Vendors tend to set up alongside within the 12,000 square foot complex, some of which in small berths of 100 square feet where shoppers could pay for their purchase at the central checkout counters.

There are 60 spaces in total and the building is about 90% leased according to the developers. Some of the tenants have taken more spots like Brocade Home, a SoHo store which uses nine berths on the second floor with one on the ground floor. Other established brands include Le Sportsac, Baci Gelato as well as the bootmaker Hunter, its first stand-alone New York store.

While the marketplace recall the church’s heyday as a club, Mr Menashe had made attempts to change it looks and on a particular tour of the space while drills droned, he observed that in several places limestone wall had been scraped of 15 layers of paint, revealing it natural surface.

With gut renovation of a $15 million, the interior has been made much brighter in the building’s often belligerent quarter century as a nightclub though the space has retained the maze-like feel which was a hallmark of the Limelight.

According to the project’s developer, Jack Menashe, who had gone to the Limelight in the late 1980s several times, stated that they wanted that feeling of discovery like finding something new and exciting around every corner, though did not want to be that associated with the past. The church for over a century, whose cornerstone had been laid in 1844 at West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue, had not seemed notorious.

However, a century later, a decreasing congregation led the church to merge and in 1976 after the last Mass was celebrated, a commune by the name Lindisfarne Association took over before leaving for Colorado after some years.

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