International Center of Photography Signs Contract For Essex Crossing Spaces

Original rendering of Essex Crossing/Warhol Museum space.

Original rendering of Essex Crossing/Warhol Museum space.

Construction crews are racing to finish the first phase of Essex Crossing next year. Hundreds of apartments, a 14-screen movie theater, an NYU ambulatory care center and a Trader Joe’s are all part of the huge development project. But one question still remains just a few months from opening day: Who will occupy a 15,000 square foot cultural space at 242 Broome St.?

During the past couple of years, the International Center of Photography (ICP) has been weighing whether to establish a new museum in the Essex Crossing complex, and whether to relocate its school from Midtown Manhattan. Now there’s a new clue about ICP’s intentions.  Commercial Observer reports:

The 43-year-old institution signed a contract to purchase two commercial condominium units—one retail unit and one community facility unit—in the base of the residential condo tower at 242 Broome Street, according to public records.

A check of the NYC Department of Finance database shows that ICP signed a contract for the condo units with Delancey Street Associates (the development consortium) on Oct. 3. A spokesperson for the development team declined to comment. Commercial Observer contacted ICP, but there was no response. There is, of course, a big difference between signing an agreement to purchase a property and actually acquiring the property. So it’s not a done deal yet.

ICP currently has a museum space at 250 Bowery. The institution has been looking  to move its school and administrative offices, currently located at 1114 Sixth Avenue. Back in January, ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell told us the move to Essex Crossing was dependent on the success of a capital campaign. At the time, he said he expected the board of directors to make a decision no later than the summer of this year.

The Essex Crossing museum space sits just to the north of a 14-story condo tower at 242 Broome St. There are four levels set aside for commercial space in the residential building. This past spring, Curbed toured the construction site. The real estate blog reported, “The cultural center will be separated from the main structure by what the architects call ‘Soho Stairs’—a long, vertical, continuous flight of stairs that can be used to access the different floors of the institution.”

The Essex Crossing cultural facility was originally going to be an annex of the Warhol Museum, but the Pittsburgh-based institution backed out of the project in 2015.