What was here before the West Coast (95 Horatio Street)?

The West Coast entrance courtesy of Google Street View

The West Coast entrance courtesy of Google Street View

We received several emails from readers asking about the history of their building following our post about Bagatelle. 95 Horatio Street, aka “The West Coast” is a 320-unit rental property that takes up almost a full block from Horatio Street to Gansevoort Street and Washington Street to West Street. This property encompasses nine lots that were combined over the years into one property. 

This property is located in the Gansevoort Market Historic District, which GVSHP proposed and successfully advocated for the designation of. At the time the designation report was written in 2003 the properties on this block had been combined into two addresses: 95 Horatio Street and 91 Horatio Street. 95 Horatio Street is the address given to the nine buildings which previously held the addresses 521-525 West Street (aka 113-115 Horatio Street) and 527-531 West Street (aka 100-102 Gansevoort Street), 104-108 Gansevoort Street (aka 533-535 West Street ), 94-98 Gansevoort Street, 90-92 Gansevoort Street, 84-88 Gansevoort Street, 802-816 Washington Street (aka 76-82 Gansevoort Street and 91-95 Horatio Street), 105-107 Horatio Street, 109-111 Horatio Street, 97-103 Horatio Street). There is an event space located at 91 Horatio Street.

These buildings were all constructed between 1897 and 1932. Seven out of the nine buildings (all except 97-103 Horatio Street) were owned or leased at some point by the Manhattan Refrigerating Company, serving as its headquarters, powerplant, and cold storage warehouse from 1926 to 1979. This building is in fact in many ways responsible for the Meatpacking District becoming the Meatpacking District. Back before refrigeration was common, cooled air was produced in these buildings and pumped through an elaborate pipe system to buildings throughout the area to allow them to store meat. Those within the piping system largely became meatpacking plants, and the system largely defined the boundaries of the neighborhood for many years.

The Manhattan Refrigerating Company was incorporated in 1894 as the successor to the 1890 franchise of the Greenwich Refrigerating Company that supplied refrigeration to the West Washington Market, which was located across West Street. Dozens of other companies owned or rented space on this block through 1980. Most were frozen food companies selling meat, fruit, seafood, poultry, and dairy. Detailed descriptions of each of the buildings are available in the designation report pages from pages 95-114 (pages 103-122 of the PDF).

Prior to the removal of the high line

Prior to the removal of the high line

In 1980, West Coast Co. (Rockrose Development Corp.) purchased the properties – seven of the nine from the Manhattan Refrigerating Company. In 1982 the property opened as a rental property, with the conversion to rental units being completed in 1985. A secondary conversion of the building completed in 1994 added 38 new units. The property is now owned by TF Cornerstone, and “The amenities offered in this grand luxury building stretch from a 24-hour attended lobby to a 2-level rooftop sundeck with a children’s playground. Each home includes a modern kitchen and bath, oak parquet floors, and high ceilings.”

A section of the high line used to run through the building but was removed during the conversion. Now located directly across from the new Whitney Museum, the building serves as a perfect location for public art, and to pay homage through art to the building’s role in the neighborhood’s history.

The building now encompasses almost 400,000 square feet of residential space, and the commercial spaces that opened in 2011 on Washington Street now include high end retailers such as Intermix and Christian Louboutin.

If you are interested in the history of your address, email us and we may write about it.

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Sam Moskowitz