Two Bridges Teams Up With Developer For Project Alongside Extell Tower

235-247 Cherry St.

235-247 Cherry St.

The massive new luxury tower from Extell Development at the former Cherry Street Pathmark site has been stealing a lot of local headlines lately. But it’s not the only new project brewing in the immediate vicinity.

This afternoon, we’re taking a look at a neighboring parcel that once housed the Pathmark pharmacy. At a community meeting this week, Extell’s Gary Barnett said his firm is in talks with the owner and hopes to develop a project there. But the owner of the lot tells us today there are no ongoing conversations because a deal is in the works with another partner.

First, here’s specifically what Barnett said the other night when asked about his plans for the site:

We don’t control the space. We have a lease on a portion of the space. So we don’t have any plans on that yet. We’re talking to the people who own the other space. We’d like to see if we can find a way to build a building… (But there would need to be) input from a number of parties, so I  don’t know if it ever happens, but it could happen.

The parcel, known as 235-247 Cherry St., is co-owned by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund.  This morning, Two Bridges President Victor Papa said, “Extell had expressed interest in acquiring the site. We had to beg off because we’re in contract with another entity, and we’re obliged not to talk with other parties.”

Roy Schoenberg of Cherry Street LLC confirmed today that his company is partnering with Two Bridges for a new building on the site. Papa and Schoenberg said they could not discuss details — including the number of units and the size of the project — since they’re in the midst of working out the fine points.

Two Bridges and Settlement Housing Fund co-sponsored the development of the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area. The last piece of that initiative is meant to be the creation of at least 70 units of affordable housing at 235-237 Cherry. The project will almost certainly include some market rate housing, in addition to the affordable units. The lot is 11,800 square feet.

This week, Barnett said his luxury tower would rise to about 60 stories and include around 800 apartments. A separate 13-story building containing 204 affordable units is also part of the plan. In 2012, Barnett purchased the Pathmark site for $150 million from Cherry Street LLC, Mr. Schoenberg’s company.  He also bought Pathmark’s long-term lease at 235 Cherry.

One other related note. During this past Wednesday night’s event, Barnett said Extell intended to eventually transfer management and ownership of the affordable building over to a community-based non-profit organization.  When asked whether Two Bridges Neighborhood Council is interested, Papa said, “we would take Mr. Barnett up on that offer” because it’s “within our expertise and interest.”  Papa added that Extell has been very responsive in dealing with issues that have come up during the demolition of the Pathmark building. Residents in Two Bridges Tower, adjacent to the Extell site, have complained about noise and other problems from the use of heavy equipment.  “They have been a very good neighbor in the community,” he said.

 

 

  • Anonymous

    This project has left our neighborhood so separated! Papa!? He represents $$$ not the people who actually live and care for the neighborhood. A 3rd building!!!??? Oh you mean more $$$$ sad Papa does not represent Two Bridges Neighborhood as he is a man with no word and false promises… Affordable housing is a cover up earn brownie points… Our tenants are struggling with rent hikes and non energy efficient AC’s!!! in the summer! No excuses! Bring back a affordable supermarket! This whole neighborhood would take 1 path mark over 3 gentrification building any day…

  • TwoBridger

    LET ME SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. VICTOR PAPA DOES NOT LIVE IN TWO BRIDGES, DOES NOT SPEAK FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE NOR DOES HE REPRESENT ANYONE WHO LIVES IN THE TWO BRIDGES NEIGHBORHOOD. Just ask him where he lives.

    His comment, “They have been a very good neighbor in the community,” just shows you how distanced he is from this community. How clear is that suck up attempt? He hasn’t spoken to a single resident-not one- so how the hell would he know?

    As we sit here in our apartments, afraid to go outdoors because of the invasion of the Extell mosquitoes, I can tell you that it has already been hell and the main work hasn’t even’t started.

    Now you know why they were a no-show at the CB3 meeting. The largest development project in all of the LES and they don’t even show up/say a word?! And they supposedly represent the Two Bridges neighborhood??!! Is it clear now folks? Get it right. They only represent themselves, period. Need anymore proof? This is not responsible development. They’ve argued for responsible development, resilient neighborhoods, etc. ALL BULL.

    So putting up another tower that will completely block out all sun, light and air for the adjacent senior building is a good thing? Putting up another tower in FLOOD ZONE A is responsible? Take a look at the picture again. That building to the left is a 10 story senior building (80 Rutgers Slip) where the average age is 85 and most of the residents are non-English speaking Asians. Most of them are not mobile and the ONLY sunlight/air they get is from that direction. Some never leave their residences. If you can, take a visit to the area and you will see why they only built a one story structure on the site. I won’t even get into the building in the rear, 82 Rutgers Slip, which is about to get pummeled by the other Extell projects. Oh, and there are 3 Head-Start/Daycare centers (at 82) that will plummet into complete darkness. Putting another tower up in that location is immoral, plain and simple. I wonder who sits on the board of those two affected buildings….

  • Dia

    Hey Lo-Down, how would they be able to build a tower if Extell owns the lease? And a “good neighbor”? They’re not even in the neighborhood yet. That’s like saying that the Essex Crossing developers are good neighbors. Crazy.

  • Billy

    I so agree !!!! We the residents of this area (and believe me, most of us have lived here a very long time), got the royal shaft when Pathmark sold out and was taken away from us. We have no place to shop. When Pathmark opened in 1985, it was so welcomed in the area. I mean, does anyone realize all the people that shopped there. You have tenants from the Alfred E smith houses, (which consists of what 7 buildings? Knickerbocker Village, (12 buildings) Rutgers housing that extends under different names all the way down to Gouvenuer Housing. The amount of people (families) that were hung out to dry with no place semi affordable to shop is ridiculous, This would never happen anywhere else. But our community “leaders” (some who don’t even live here), only care about the hush money they are getting, and the actual people who make up the community can go to hell.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone realize how absolutely absurd and ludicrous this is to have not one, not two, but THREE large building development projects being built, approximately the same time at a stone’s throw away from each other???

    This is a complete and utter nightmare for all residents at 82 Rutgers Slip, 80 Rutgers Slip (Senior citizen) and Head Start Day Care Center because this area will be totally closed off as a construction zone; not be mention the immense amount of pollutant, harmful debris, dust, and constant loud machinery noise that we would have to endure for the next three plus years. These three large construction projects would tremendously have a negative impact our health and the quality of our daily lives.

    I’m completely flabbergasted when Victor Papa from Two Bridge Neighborhood Council in this article mentioned that Extell “They have been a very good neighbor in the community.” This must be a Victor’s parody of being a “good neighbor” because Extell excavated a huge swamp pit (a major attraction for mosquitoes) in the back of our building at 82 Rutgers or was that meant to be a communal swimming pool (“good neighbor” welcome gift) for us. Not to mention that our building had experienced several inconvenient water shut downs due to Extell’s construction projects. And this just the very beginning stages of the project; they haven’t even begun to built their 60 stories luxury building or the 13 stories affordable building, so I can only imagine what other “good neighbor” surprise gifts that have in store for us.

    So Two Bridge Neighborhood Council, please do NOT ever pretend to speak for us on our behalf or represent us because you have absolutely NO idea what it’s like in disruptive construction zone and flood zone A area. Two Bridge Neighborhood Council does NOT have residences or the community interests at heart; all they are interested in is what will benefit them – their own self interest.
    Shame on you !!! Shame, Shame, Shame on you !!!

  • Anonymous

    Such great news !!! Are you kidding me ??? So instead of utilizing the empty lot 235-247 Cherry Street to build a mini-supermarket, grocery store or farmer’s market (which is essentially what everyone in the neighborhood has been screaming for); Two Bridges Neighborhood Council decides to go into a secretive contract deal to build another affordable / market housing building next to Extell’s project which is going up now.

    If Two Bridge Neighborhood Council is suppose to listen what to is critical and vital in terms of what residents’ needs are in this community, then why isn’t a SUPERMARKET being built instead of another building. Obviously, Two Bridge Neighborhood Council never, ever listens to what our community residents’ needs are. Then why do they even exist as a Neighborhood Group and what exactly is their mission ?? Oh right because apparently, they are only there to serve for themselves and protect their own self interests !!

  • RimaLES

    I still can’t seem to shake the thought that it doesn’t make any sense that Extell would build an ultra-luxury tower for multi-millionaires ( and maybe even billionaires) right next to the very large Rutgers Houses housing project complex. After all, who would want to pay mega-bucks to live there?

    Therefore, the only conclusion that I can reach is that within the 5 years or so of construction, a secret plan will be implemented to move/buy out residents from Rutgers, demolish the nearby Rutgers buildings, and then sell the land to Extell for further developments and gentrification .

    Does anyone know if this could happen? I’m not familiar with the legalities involved.

    Has this kind of thing been done before in NYC? If so, where?

  • RMGDN

    Personally I think there is much drama here and I’m not going to talk about every detail. I do not think anyone will die because there is a building under construction at the site and on the other hand I have not seen any invasion of mosquitoes, do not be exaggerated.

  • http://www.tuffles.org TUFF-LES

    Over the years sentiments have increasingly been that the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council (TBNC) under the direction of Victor Papa has used residents (particularly those now living in the former Two Bridges Urban Renewal Zone) as TBNC’s “bargaining chips” to leverage position at the bargaining table. The bargaining table of various dealings in our community that always seem to result in benefit and control to TBNC, conditional, time-limited and often token benefit to the community with selective input and virtually no transparency or agency to the same. Whether it’s ownership stake at Two Bridges Towers, preferential space at the future Healthcare Chaplaincy Network site slated for the current parking lot of Land’s End II, TBNC’s current office space in what could be a community room for Land’s End II tenants and TA or a move to take ownership of the East River promenade pavilions and parks programming and maintenance; TBNC continues to wield out-sized control in our community. Not to mention the ownership stake in this new “equitable” housing venture.

    Papa is a resident of Southbridge Towers a Co-op, operates an office in a residential building on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge, keeps a stranglehold on the very large community center at Two Bridges Towers which has plenty of office space, while TBNC sponsors block parties in the East Village and often speaks as a voice of residents in the former Two Bridges Urban Renewal area.

    TBNC’s mission:

    “Two Bridges Neighborhood Council has been dedicated to serving the many
    neighborhoods of Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1955. We create equitable
    housing, celebrate cultural diversity through neighborhood-based programs, and
    work together with local residents, businesses, entrepreneurs, and leaders to
    stimulate and maintain economic vitality”

    Now most would be hard-pressed to find fault this mission statement with terms like “equitable housing,” “work together” or “economic vitality.” In fact, this is a great mission statement with valid and worthy objectives. It should be noted however that equitable housing is not the same as affordable housing, working together requires active and commensurately representative involvement from ALL the constituents listed and economic vitality should involve more than the enduring economic interests
    of developers given the desire to work together.

    Those who have posited that there seems to be a bigger development plan for the greater area seem are on to something. Residents in our area and beyond need jobs and other resources which provide beneficial economic offsets not more luxury housing which will bring a critical mass of affluent residents thereby providing more incentive to push out the remaining remnants of affordable and
    culturally representative businesses and community resources.

    We’d be better served by a mini-mall; at least it would be a source of jobs. However, people overwhelmingly want a supermarket that they can afford to shop in brought back and though Pathmark has the right of first refusal, Extell doesn’t give much certainty they will offer a deal which will ensure Pathmark can operate there in the future.

    Is it any wonder Victor Papa sees Extell as a “good neighbor?” After all, he uses himself and his
    organization as a yard-stick.

  • http://www.tuffles.org TUFF-LES

    I can’t speak for folks living in Two Bridges Towers, but I live a block over and have seen more mosquitoes entering my apartment than I have since they turned off the high-intensity flood lights atop my building, though I did not make the initial connection to the huge pool of water at the Extell site. At any rate, it’s not an exaggeration just because you’re not experiencing it.

    I doubt anyone is going to spontaneously “combust” either, but then I don’t think anyone has suggested either dying or catching fire. The point is it is absolutely ludicrous to say.that a construction site uninhabited by people; just construction and very likely large numbers of mosquitoes are good neighbors.

  • Dia

    I am just wondering if you have heard anything about the hospital that was supposed to go up a block away? Waterfront property is prime real estate and that hospital was going to have a front seat. I would imagine that Extell has to be looking at purchasing the lot if it is for sale.

  • Dia

    Gary Barnett, a gazillionare billionaire, walks into a hostile meeting at NYCHA Rutgers Housing complex and tells everyone that he is currently demolishing the only neighborhood supermarket and going to build a 68 story ultra-luxury tower along with a SEPARATE and not equal, affordable housing tower. By the time he left, the crowd, once out for blood, damn near cheered him admist the camera flashes and the requests for autographs. Gangsta.

    And he almost got away with it.

    He probably would have avoided any major community issues if Two Bridges wasn’t going to try and build a third tower. And the statement about Extell being a good neighbor-well, not smart. Don’t they realize that Roy Schoenberg of Cherry Street LLC kept that part of the building purposely empty for more than a decade?! It’s been covered in graffiti for years, and has been a magnet for crimes. Anyone can tell you how empty storefronts adversely affect neighborhoods. Is that being a good neighbor also??!!

    I’ve lived here almost all of my life and I’ve never seen any meeting like this. You just had to be there. The assembled crowd, already pissed at having to sit through some unrelated NYC planning presentation, was cocked and primed. The AC had to be turned down because the standing room only couldn’t hear (or see for that matter) anything that was being presented. That only intensified the collar-loosening. Some old time activist constantly interrupted the meeting with claims of racism and at one point forced the entire CB3 committee to introduce themselves (OK, gangsta also). The police had to be called to monitor the meeting. Some folks left growing impatient of the lack of meeting control and wary of what might happen next. But not Mr. Barnett.

    Here is one of the most prolific developers in all of the US, posse in tow, about to go in front of original LES’s to talk about gentrifying the area. Not his press secretary, or some public relations firm but el jefe himself. Sh*t, he claimed he was the original LESider.

    Now, with folks yelling, “Where’s Extell!?”, and “We need a supermarket!”, he calmly walks to the front (I think he had a slight pimp to his walk) and announces his plan to bring billionaires to the LES. To be fair, his assembled staff seemed quite nervous standing there because I’m sure they’ve never, ever seen anything like this before.

    First he described the “affordable” tower complete with such amenities as a yoga room, a exercise room, a resident lounge and a beautiful rooftop lounge (How do I get on the waiting list).

    Then he hit everyone with the supermarket. His first set of slides included renderings of a beautiful glassy supermarket and a possible pharmacy. He followed this up by asking the supermarket hungry crowd with suggestions. Genius.

    The CB3 committee pressured him with questions about “segregation” but he stood firm in his reasoning. Saying it was the only way to build the project and that he was here to make money. Not one single person even questioned the 60% AMI. He could’ve gone to 80% AMI without a blink.

    There wasn’t a single CBO (community based organization) in the room to pressure him further. When they previously announced plans to build on NYCHA land (or SPURA), GOLES was a lead force in getting them to back off, But not here-check the Two Bridges website and you will see Victor Papa all cuddled up with the leader of GOLES. If another project like this had been announced years back, Two Bridges, GOLES and other CBO’s would have paid additional “volunteers”, to flood meetings like this and be as disruptive as possible. I would know because I was one of them.

    Now Extell did wobble a bit when a local resident asked about his plans for the old Pharmacy and “the nice wall” that will separate the current residents from the development. But most folks seemed to think that Extell would handle this and maybe just add some more much needed retail.

    So what does this all mean? That Two Bridges has been getting away with, “representing” the Two Bridges area for years at the expense of the local residents. I’m glad the residents finally woke up. Imagine if this meeting were held in front of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council Staff? That local activist who was so disruptive in the last meeting, would’ve blown a gasket after seeing who was supposedly representing him.

    As the meeting concluded, Gary Barnett walked out of NYCHA well after 9pm, without so much as a bruise. His “honesty” was respected by most and he looked everyone in the eye who asked him a question. I even think I heard NOTORIOUS B.I.G’s “Hypnotize” playing in the background as he walked out of the door.

    But like I said, he almost got away with it. We await your next move Extell. It better be one hell of a “wall”, you’ll need to chose your partners carefully, and anything you do with Pharmacy lot needs to be respectful of the people who live there. Two towers is a bit to swallow. Three will cause rioting. Adding another “affordable” housing just won’t cut it.

  • http://www.tuffles.org TUFF-LES

    It’s my understanding that Healthcare Chaplaincy (HCC), underwent a name change of sorts. They are now referred to as the very similar Healthcare Chaplaincy Network and have some new members among its ownership.

    At this stage, I think Extell involvement if not already is doubtful. Here’s the link to the HCC legacy site which shows the highlights (if you can call it that) of the plan:

    http://legacy.healthcarechaplaincy.org/userimages/NCPCI_Two_Pager_08192013.pdf

    Complete with an idealized view up South Street with the FDR to the right and the new HCCN building on the left (261 South Street). It’s been a little quiet with these folks though. I’m sure other posters here have a little more. But this has been in the works for a few years. Here’s a Crains article about it from 2012:

    http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120320/real_estate/120329992/nonprofit-puts-its-ues-hq-on-the-block#

    Now if the deal falls through, then we’re talking a whole new ball game. As it stands now and as far as I know, the “palliative” care building is still going there.