Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the November issue of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.
Along upper Orchard Street one sparkling fall afternoon last month, young shoppers strolled in stilettos, popping in and out of the tiny, trendy boutiques that seem to multiply overnight lately. The perfume of fresh-cut flowers banked along a new corner bodega wafted down the block, overlaid with the pungent smell of roasted garlic from one of the pizza joints. Shopkeepers hawked leather goods on the sidewalk while workers hammered away inside Mi Casa Es Su Casa, yet another new restaurant opening soon. A woman with a suitcase asked directions to The Hotel on Rivington. A few blocks south, a group of tourists set out from the Tenement Museum for a walking tour of the way things used to be.
This eclectic mix — of the fashionable and the old-fashioned, the outgoing and the up-and-coming — forms a large part of the Lower East Side’s charm and draw. Combined with cheaper real estate prices than most of the rest of Manhattan and easy public transit access to more tourist-centric parts of the city, the neighborhood’s character helps paint a portrait of a place that developers could envision new hotels succeeding.
Issac & Stern Architects’ renderings of 180 Orchard St., a future Hotel Indigo.
After living with sidewalk sheds and scaffolding for almost five years, it can be hard to imagine how upper Orchard Street will look when two long-delayed hotel projects are completed. Luckily, the professionals over at Issac & Stern Architects have been hard at work providing us some renderings.
The larger of the two projects in the firm’s portfolio, a 26-story, 250-room Hotel Indigo on 200,000 square feet at 180 Orchard St. owned by Brack Capital, may quickly be nicknamed “Blue II,” if the drawings are true to color. The smaller project, a 10-story building with 33 suites planned on 17,000 square feet at 163 Orchard St., seems to lean green. Thanks to grandfathered zoning, both buildings will tower over their tenement neighbors.
Meanwhile, another Brack Capital project on the LES, a CitizenM Hotel planned at 185-191 Bowery, has also made a recent appearance on the Internet.
- Tenants in the Vladeck Houses push for new security cameras in wake of recent violence. (DNAinfo)
- Seven people, including an Elizabeth Street Tenants Association leader, were charged yesterday with defrauding the city’s housing program of more than $250,000. (WSJ)
- You are invited to the funeral for 35 Cooper Square. (EV Grieve)
- More on yesterday’s news that the stalled construction monstrosity at 180 Orchard would become an upscale hotel. (GlobeStreet, The Real Deal, Curbed)
- An Orchard Street art gallery’s sexually explicit paintings spawn outrage. (NY Post)
Crain’s is reporting today that Brack Capital Real Estate and hotel industry giant IHG have struck a $46 million deal for a joint venture that will turn a longtime Lower East Side eyesore into a 290-room hotel to be completed in 2013.
Is 180 Orchard, the stalled hotel/apartment complex on the market? While the following listing does not include an address, the description sounds a whole lot like the so-called “hell building”:
BLOCK THROUGH DEVELOPMENT SITE FOR SALE
PRIME DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY
LOWER EAST SIDE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
We have some new information this morning about the fate of 180 Orchard, the infamous stalled hotel/residential/retail complex just below Houston Street. Last week, we reported the developer, Morris Platt, had resumed negotiations with the Department of Buildings to get the project moving again. Platt did not return our phone calls, but yesterday afternoon we did hear from Sion Misrahi, whose real estate firm is in charge of leasing the ground-floor commercial space.
Once upon a time, the building was destined to become a combo hotel/apartment complex. But Misrahi said Platt now wants to make 180 Orchard 100-percent residential, abandoning plans for the hotel. Banks aren’t all that interested in financing hotel projects these days, he explained, so Platt has asked the DOB to approve new plans calling for apartments on the upper floors and retail street-side.
Back in August, we brought you news of the cheerful beautification project underway at 180 Orchard, the stalled condo/hotel project lovingly renamed by Curbed, “the Orchard Street Hell Building.” At the time, LES artist Marco was painting a mural on the side of the boarded up construction site, he said, at the request of the troubled building’s owner. Now, six long years after he broke ground, the owner, Morris Platt, appears to be engaged in another battle with the city to get the project “un-stalled.”