Standing like an ivy-covered castle in the neo-gothic campus of West Chelsea's General Theological Seminary, the West Building has been around since 1836, making it the oldest surviving GTS building and the second-oldest building in all of Chelsea. The stone fortress on West 20th Street was built as a residence hall for clergy-in-training and in recent decades served as administration space for the Seminary, but that's all about to change.
Over the last few years, as part of its continuing effort to stay solvent and do God's work, the Seminary in Chelsea has been selling off buildings on and around its lush campus, which includes a gated garden called The Close. That process has continued with the historic West Building, which the Brodsky Organization is turning into condos under the name 455 West 20th Street. The renovation is now underway, under the guidance of preservation specialists Beyer Blinder Belle, an architecture firm that has worked on the restoration of Grand Central Terminal, the Chrysler Building and the Apollo and Beacon Theaters.
So what does it take to turn a landmarked church building into a luxury condominium where apartments start at $2.2MM? The Brodsky Organization agreed to give us a sneak peek inside the building—which has never been open to the public—as construction activity picks up.