Posted on November 22, 2009
That’s the thing about New York department: First an Episcopal Church; then an infamous nightclub; next a retail marketplace: Where else but New York City could such a reinvention take place? The reinvention in this case belongs to what was originally the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, a historic 19th century church. Located at West 20th Street and Avenue of the Americas in Chelsea, the church was later, in what can only be termed severe irony, converted to the Limelight Club, a nightspot, in 1983. Known primarily for drug-infused parties, the club was also associated with Michael Alig, the party promoter who was convicted of murdering a club regular; the event became the basis for the film “Party Monster.” In a sign of the economic times, the building is now set to become a marketplace for small business owners, especially those who may be having trouble getting the finances to open a full store. Cupcake Stop, for example, which has been doing business out of a truck, has already signed on. About 20 tenants in total have committed to taking on space, including Mari’s New York Brownies; the B.R. Cohen Winery; and J. Sisters Beauty Salon. The project (not surprisingly, given its history) has been fraught with building issues, from work being done without a permit to a denial of approval to make certain exterior changes. The complex is now slated to open in March. (It was pushed ahead from this month.) Will it proceed on schedule? Well, if history provides a lesson, it’s that the building may have several more lives ahead of it, in any case.