Recently, CORE agent Sid Whelan spoke with Christopher Jaskiewicz, Chief Operating Officer of Gotham Organization, one of Manhattan’s leading developers of first-class residential projects, at their stunning new culinary destination, Gotham West Market. Over a fresh farm-to-table lunch, Chris and Sid discussed the origins of this project and the surrounding Hell’s Kitchen real estate landscape.
Sid: So how did this come about? Even by New York standards, Gotham West Market is exceptional. When I first walked in I felt like I was in Europe.
Chris: Well as you know, above us is Gotham West, our new residential rental building, and we wanted to create an unmatched amenity space for our residents. In addition, we wanted to deliver an outstanding destination for all New Yorkers and in particular, those who live in this area. We saw a need for the far West Side to have access to artisanal, non-chain, high-quality restaurants, so we went out and garnered interest from first-rate chefs. Together, we hand-crafted this marketplace.
Sid: That’s certainly true about the need; as a lifelong New Yorker I am very familiar with this area and previously, the scarce food options were delis and pub food. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but no one would go out of their way for it.
Chris: That’s good to hear. We told the chefs and business owners that we’d create the vehicle, that we’d give them with this outstanding facility and then just let them be the experts; let them do what they do best.
Sid: I’ve known of your company for a long time and it seems that your retail relationships are not usually in the restaurant vein, but rather companies like New York Sports Club, Trader Joe’s, Bank of America and Starbucks. Is this a unique and new venture for Gotham?
Chris: Absolutely. But at the same time, what we’ve done is consistent with Gotham’s philosophy; we really work hard to make our buildings fit into the surrounding area and we’re willing to spend money to do it. Here, we wanted to respect the history and authenticity of Hell’s Kitchen, and the architecture and feel of New York’s past.
Sid: And the idea of having multiple providers instead of just one tenant?
Chris: We certainly did not invent the restaurant and food market concept, and we have respect for the great ones such as the Hawker Center in Singapore, Les Halles in Paris and the Ferry Building in San Francisco. We were aware of this model and decided it was the best way to meet the need that we had identified, but we knew we had to do it the right way.