International Center of Photography Confirms Plans to Move Museum & School to Essex Crossing

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.
International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.
International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

Now it’s a done deal. Just a few days after sales contracts hit public records, the International Center of Photography (ICP) has confirmed it is moving both its museum and school to Essex Crossing.

ICP will become the cultural anchor of the large residential and commercial complex in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The 43-year-old institution has agreed to purchase two commercial condominium units, for a total of about 40,000 square feet at 242 Broome St. The facility will include a four-story museum space, which runs straight through between Essex and Ludlow Streets, as well as another 20,000 square feet on the first three fours of an adjoining residential tower.

ICP just moved into a $23.5 million gallery space at 250 Bowery last year. The school will relocate from its longtime home in Midtown. Both facilities will debut in 2019.

Rendering by Moso Studio
Rendering by Gensler.

In a statement, ICP Board President Jeffrey Rosen and Board Chair Caryl Englander said, “We are thrilled to be reuniting the ICP Museum and the ICP School under one roof. This is something towards which we’ve been working for nearly twenty years… It’s gratifying to bring this exciting goal to fruition.” ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell added, “Our Essex venue will continue to reinforce our ties with the vibrant Lower East Side arts community. It enables us to look forward to an exciting future for both ICP and the neighborhood as a whole.”

When the Essex Crossing project was first announced several years ago, the Warhol Museum in Philadelphia was planning to open an annex in the Ludlow Street gallery space. It backed out in 2015. Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, has been working to find a new cultural tenant. ICP has been interested in the space for a long time, but needed to raise the necessary funds to make the move happen.

“Aligning our cultural goals with the Lower East Side’s burgeoning arts scene wasn’t a simple task,” said Paul Pariser, of Taconic Investment Partners. “We wanted to find a world-class institution, but also an organization that would be accessible to the community, from practicing artists to schoolchildren and their families. ICP will deliver that rare blend to the LES, and really help make Essex Crossing the beating cultural heart of the neighborhood.”

The building at 242 Broome St. also includes 55 condominium apartments and a 17,000 square foot bowling alley/entertainment complex called Splitsville Lanes. The residential portion of the building will open in 2018, along with three other Essex Crossing sites.  The building was designed by SHoP Architects. ICP has hired the design firm, Gensler, to work on the interior spaces.

ICP will continue to offer classes at its Midtown location until June of 2019. The school serves around 3500 students each year.

Essex Crossing is a collaboration among Taconic Investment Partners, BFC Partners and L+M Development Partners.