New York -- New York 1 News is the latest cable network to
announce a move to Chelsea Market in Manhattan, which is turning into a new center for
programmers in the city.
In addition to NY1, Food Network recently leased space for
a test kitchen and studio at the facility, a converted Nabisco cookie factory between
Ninth and 10th Avenues and 15th and 16th Streets. Oxygen
Media, Geraldine Laybourne's cable television-Internet venture, is already ensconced in
the building. And Major League Baseball has a video-production unit there, as well.
"The more, the merrier," Food president Eric Ober
said. "It is becoming a mini-production center."
The former factory, located in one of Manhattan's trendy
neighborhoods, was converted to a facility that now houses a wide variety of food sellers,
both retail and wholesale, from butcher shops to fishmongers to bakers.
One of the unique features of the old facility is its high
ceilings, which make the space ideally suited for TV studios, according to several cable
That was one of the major attractions of the spot for NY1,
said Steve Paulus, the local news channel's senior vice president and general manager.
"Obviously, for a television-newsroom facility, we need unique space," he said.
"There are very limited possibilities in New York City."
NY1 recently signed a long-term lease for 55,000 square
feet at Chelsea Market. The Time Warner Inc.-owned news channel is currently located at 42nd
Street and 10th Avenue, but Paulus said that lease is expiring and he had to
hunt down a new location.
It was opportune, anyway, because the news channel has
expanded, and it needs more room than its current 25,000 square feet. "We're
squeezed," he said. "We need more space."
In fact, NY1 is moving into space that is now being used to
film Oz, the gritty prison series that airs on Home Box Office. "We are
literally in the Oz studio," Paulus said. "When we saw the space, we were
walking through the Oswald Correctional Facility [set]."
NY1's lease at Chelsea Market starts Oct. 1, 2000, and with
all of the renovations that must be done, Paulus doesn't expect to actually move into the
space until 2001.
Food plans to move in next year, possibly in the spring, to
the 28,000 square feet it has leased at Chelsea Market. Ober said his channel's executive
offices will remain in midtown Manhattan, and the Chelsea space will be used for a test
kitchen and studio-production space. Food's lease on its current production space, at 52nd
Street and 11th Avenue, is expiring.
Roughly 8,000 square feet of Food's space at Chelsea Market
is on street level, and the rest is below ground. This means the network could create a
street-level studio where passersby could look in while shows are done live. But Ober said
it's too soon to speculate on that, since Food is currently deciding what production for
which shows will be done there.
Chelsea Market was a natural for Food, according to Ober.
"Once we saw the space, we knew it was ideal," he said. "It's a food
destination, a huge food center with dozens of food companies."
Paulus said he got a tour of Oxygen's headquarters from
Laybourne. The start-up women's network's space at Chelsea Market includes studios where
several of its shows will be created.