Amid Chelsea Exodus, Bortolami to Relocate to Tribeca in 2017

The gallery building in Chelsea will be redeveloped into condos.

Bortolami's new space at 39 Walker Street. Photo: courtesy Bortolami, New York.

Bortolami is the latest gallery to leave the Chelsea arts district amid rising rents and construction. The gallery, owned by dealer Stefania Bortolami, confirmed on its website that it will relocate downtown to 39 Walker Street in Tribeca in April 2017.

After spending six years on West 20th Street, Bortolami says she is relieved to leave the area behind. “I’m pretty happy to be going away from Chelsea,” she told Art News. This whole block is going to be torn down to become condos—it’s insane. Not only here, but every block. They’re tearing down, tearing down. It’s changing very, very rapidly.”

According to the gallerist, she will pay the same rent for the larger, 9,000-square-foot space downtown. “It’s exciting,” she continued. “From the point of view of a gallery like mine, it makes no sense anymore to stay here.”

Art News’ report suggested that Bortolami’s move may have been involuntary. The gallery’s building at 520 West 20th Street has reportedly been earmarked for redevelopment into condos.

Bortolami's Chelsea space at 520 West 20th Street. Photo: Bortolami via Facebook.

Bortolami’s Chelsea space at 520 West 20th Street. Photo: Bortolami via Facebook.

More and more galleries face a similar fate and are gradually moving away from Chelsea, the nucleus of New York’s vibrant art scene. After a first wave of relocations to Manhattan’s Lower East Side around 2007, a second wave is currently in full effect. In fact, Bortolami’s block on West 20th Street has already lost Alexander and Bonin, which relocated to Tribeca; Elizabeth Dee, who moved to Harlem; and it will soon lose Anton Kern, who will move to Midtown.

Meanwhile, Mike Weiss Gallery recently closed shop, citing a long-running dispute with construction workers next door to the gallery’s space on West 24th Street.

With its industrial architecture and wealthy residents, Bortolami believes that Tribeca could become a future destination for New York galleries. The area is already home to the likes of Kate Werble Gallery, Maccarone, Alexander and Bonin—and as of April 2017, Bortolami.

“I think there will be a few more people,” the gallerist predicted. “I know there are some galleries that need to move from Chelsea.”


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