Chelsea has changed in astronomical ways since the mid 1990s. Back then, it was a desolate dark neighborhood. I know many people who got robbed walking down the street at night, heading to Florent after going to the clubs, Jackie 60, Hogs & Heifers, Sound Factory, etc. you couldn’t even find a cab. In the daytime it was all meat markets around 14th street.
In the late 90s things shifted. 1995 the sporting complex at Chelsea Piers opened on the West Side Highway, great quality but empty, few would travel that far for a gym. In 1997 Chelsea Market opened, it had been bought by developers out of foreclosure for $10 million. They had retail space, bakeries, vegetable, food, and fish stores, but it was not a hit right away. It was the middle of nowhere. A lot of storefronts were empty. The office space went for nothing.