But now, it has been totally gutted and is undergoing a complete transformation by the Sterling Bay Development Firm.
"We're converting this old cold storage building to high tech commercial office space," said Patrick O'Connor, Sterling Bay construction director. "So this will all be modern offices when we're all done with it in a year and a half."
Since the early 1920's, the building was used to store perishable items before they were shipped out to wholesalers and retailers. It was an extremely successful business that has now moved to a modern facility in the suburbs.
Sterling Bay bought the Fulton Market Cold Storage building last fall. They planned to start construction immediately.
But when they walked in, they found ice... Lots of ice.
"When we first came in, it was still frozen solid," said O'Connor. "Like walking into the inside of your own freezer."
The firm needed to melt the ice, but first they called in photographer Gary R. Jenson to shoot still photographs of the process.
Jensen obviously saw much more than just ice.
"He really saw a work of art," said O'Connor. "He did a great job in shooting the conditions as well as anyone could have. He really documented for all time what we found when we first came through. It was as unique a space as you could find with ice hanging from the ceiling and frozen around the columns."
The total meltdown took almost 4 weeks. All that was left behind were the beautiful photos taken by Jensen -- which, by the way, will be used to decorate the new building when it reopens sometime in 2014.