Whitney eyes spring groundbreak

By Albert Amateau

The Whitney Museum’s executive director gave Community Board 2’s Institutions and Art Committee an updated look Monday at designs for the new museum planned for Gansevoort St. at the High Line’s south end.

Whitney Director Adam Weinberg said the museum was on track to acquire the city-owned site in early 2011, begin demolition of existing structures in February and hold an official groundbreaking on May 24.

Completion is expected in 2015, but Weinberg could not be more specific.

Although details like the exterior color of the Renzo Piano-designed museum have not yet been decided, Whitney executives said the museum’s highest elevation will now be 166 feet, a bit shorter than originally proposed.

Piano is also designing the High Line maintenance-and-operations building, which will connect to the elevated park but not to the museum. The “M & O” building should be completed by the same time as the museum, Weinberg said.

Members of the committee, chaired by David Gruber, waxed enthusiastic at the presentation of a new Whitney that will be returning to the neighborhood it left in 1930, when it moved from W. Eighth St. to the Upper East Side.

“This is the best project I’ve ever seen since I’ve been on the board,” said committee member David Reck.