Watch out Chelsea Markets, the SuperPier is Comin’ to Town
We New Yorkers love our shopping. But what we especially love is online shopping. Passing a lazy Sunday morning in the cozy comfort of our bed, ordering up a storm on Amazon.com – It really does beat battling the crowds on Broadway. Let’s face it, we’ve become lazy with our shopping. But with so few incentives nowadays to actually step foot inside a store, who can blame us?
Well, one man has set out to reverse this retail-crushing trend. Young Woo, the visionary commercial developer, has a plan to coax us off our couches and back into the shops. More specifically, his shops: the few hundred or so that will soon occupy Woo’s groundbreaking SuperPier. This inspired project has been years in the making, but as the 2015 completion date emerges, it has started to generate some serious buzz.
In a nutshell, the SuperPier will be a two-story retail hub floating on the Hudson River at the intersection of West 15th Street and 12th Avenue. This is a far cry from what the 60-year-old pier once resembled. The former bus depot and one-time detention center is undergoing a massive makeover. Within two years it will comprise 430 shipping containers, also known as “incubators” or “incuboxes,” each of which will house one or more vendors.
But these aren’t going to be your run-of-the-mill shops. As a longtime supporter of technological and artistic innovation, Woo is reserving his incuboxes exclusively for entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas and products. To find his ideal tenants, he’s hired a team of “specialists” to handpick unsung innovators from around the globe.
Essentially, Woo wants to create a space to showcase emerging talent and help up-and-coming entrepreneurs make a name for themselves in New York, which is just how his Chelsea Art Tower set about supporting “artistes” and designers as they find their footing. To keep the talent fresh, he’s only providing one- to ten- year leases to ensure that the next generation of creative whiz kids benefits from the project.
There’s also talk that the SuperPier will include an Asian Bazaar, theater, and performance space. Add this to the hundreds of eclectic retailors, and it’s shaping up to make for a pretty appealing weekend outing. At this stage, it is unknown what implications this will have for surrounding shops—particularly the Meatpacking District’s current retail mecca, the Chelsea Markets. Woo’s business partner, Greg Carney, told The Observer yesterday that he was confident the SuperPier would help rather than hinder surrounding stores.
There’s no question that this is one of the most ambitious projects New York has seen in years. The project’s official website boasts: “Upon completion in spring 2015, SuperPier will be the most innovative experience in culture, entertainment, dining, and retail in NYC since the opening of Rockefeller Center in 1939.” With Woo already planning to export his SuperPier model to five other cities, he better hope that this bold claim is right.