Chelsea’s Mike Weiss Gallery Closes Amid Construction Nightmare
It’s a mental health issue according to the gallerist.
New York-based art dealer Mike Weiss confirmed the closure of his eponymous gallery on West 24th Street in the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district, after he says the construction surrounding the building of the FitzRoy luxury condominium next to his space made it impossible for him to remain in business.
Backed by real estate developer JDS and Largo investments, properties in the 10-story $74.5 million development at 514 West 24th Street are on the market for between $5.2 million to $16.5 million.
According to Weiss, persistent problems with construction workers in the past year and a half range from noise complaints to flooding, damage to walls, floors and artworks, and even cases of physical and verbal assault directed at himself and his staff.
“At a certain point it’s not even a money issue, it’s a mental health issue,” Weiss told artnet News in a telephone interview. “Every day we’re dealing with it,” he added. “Whether we have to dust off the paintings, or [deal with] noise, or headaches… I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had to go to the doctor, or we just had to leave halfway through the day.”
Weiss stressed that the decision to close was not financial, but a result of the untenable situation his neighbors put him in. “We’ve done very well over the years, we all do our thing, we work for reviews, we contextualize the gallery correctly, we work hard to be able to present ourselves to the public in the best way possible,” he said. “We survived through the hurricane, the drop in the market in 2007, all the low points.”
The situation became so bad that Weiss claims foot traffic dropped by over 90 percent since construction started. He said some collectors were unable to find his space because barricades and scaffolding disguised the entrance, while others abruptly broke off negotiations due to excessive noise.
“At a certain point you just have to leave,” Weiss said. “You reach a tipping point and say it’s just not worth it. Just for your mental well-being… to put my staff through this is just too much.”
In an email to artnet News a representative of the JDS Development Group & Largo Investments said, “The FitzRoy has not been issued any violations by the Department of Buildings related to the numerous baseless complaints from the Mike Weiss Gallery. Additionally, the frivolous injunction filed by the galley was withdrawn. The partnership behind The Fitzroy has a long history developing and building successful projects that enhance their neighborhoods with minimal impact to their immediate surroundings, a track record the partnership takes great pride in. JDS Development Group & Largo Investments do not take their responsibilities as good neighbors lightly, and they are excited to bring this dynamic new addition to the West Chelsea community.”
Weiss told artnet News that he wasn’t yet sure about the future of the gallery, saying that he plans to deal privately for now, with his long-term plans remaining open.
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