Whitney Museum signs contract on new High Line space

October 12, 2009 01:58PM

The Whitney Museum’s proposed satellite location at the entrance to the High Line is gaining momentum, three years after a tentative agreement was reached with the city. Last month, the museum signed a contract with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to buy the site at Washington and Gansevoort streets for $18 million, or half the appraised value of the property. The contract is a win-win for the city, which sees the Whitney as “a great anchor to this cultural district,” according to Seth Pinsky, president of the EDC, and for the museum, which is cramped for space in its current Upper East Side location in the Marcel Breuer Building on Madison Avenue and 75th Street. “This is the only way we can continue to justify building a collection,” said Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s director. “We simply don’t have enough space to show our holdings. And since at least 60 percent of the art we acquire comes through gifts, it becomes more difficult to ask people to donate works if we cannot show them.” The new Renzo Piano-designed space, upon which the Whitney has four years to close and five years to begin construction, will be more than twice the size of its current home, and the agreement will open up the possibility for further expansion into the Gansevoort Meat Market Cooperative site, if the owners do not renew their lease when it expires in 2014. [NYT via Curbed]