Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request reveal preliminary plans for two new residential projects along the East River that would dwarf anything built on the Lower East Side in a generation or more.
Taken together, the buildings would add more than 2100 residential units and 1.7 million square feet to the Two Bridges neighborhood. That’s twice as many apartments and nearly the same square footage planned in the big Essex Crossing project, which is often referred to as one of the most significant real estate projects in New York City.
The FOIL request was submitted to the Department of City Planning by State Assembly member Alice Cancel, who has been collaborating with local residents concerned about over-development. While developers have acknowledged the existence of the projects in the past, we’re now getting our first real look at the potential scale of their plans.
The details are included in “pre-application statements” submitted to the city earlier this year. It should be noted that these documents only offer glimpses of developers’ early plans. Their proposals could change dramatically in the months ahead.
Here’s what the documents show.
In April, the Starrett Corp. submitted a pre-app for a parcel at 271-283 South St. (bordering Clinton Street). According to the document, the developer wants to put up a 60-story building with 741 apartments. The square footage would total around 620,000 square feet and would “utilize floor area from an adjacent tax lot.” Starrett indicated it planned to participate in the city’s inclusionary housing program, meaning there would be some affordable units. The project would border Lands End I, an affordable housing complex Starrett sold last year.
The pre-application statement for 260 South St. was filed in January of this year. L+M Development and the CIM Group (Two Bridges Associates LP) spelled out plans for a 1.1 million square foot building on a site now used for parking. There would be 1400 apartments, including 350 affordable units. The parking spaces, part of the adjacent residential building (Lands End II) would be relocated in a lower level lot. The document states, “The proposed development would also enlarge the (existing) ground floor retail fronting Cherry Street and improve the open space amenities along Rutgers Slip.” The proposed building would rise to 66 stories, or 718 feet.
Two other projects, Extell Development’s 80-story mega-tower and a 77-story rental building by JDS Development, will create about 1600 apartments in the immediate area. Local elected officials have asked the Department of City Planning to put all of the proposals through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). If the agency agrees, the local community board, borough president and City Council would be able to weigh in on the impacts in the neighborhood. Taken together, the projects would add 3700 apartments to a three-block stretch along the waterfront.
This morning, we contacted Two Bridges Associates about its upcoming development plans at 260 South St. A spokesperson said:
Our goals for this project include a number of meaningful community amenities and infrastructure improvements, as well as the preservation of existing affordable housing and the creation of new affordable housing. Planning for the project is still in the early stages. We look forward to sitting down with community stakeholders very soon to begin what we hope will be a productive, collaborative process over the coming year as our project undergoes environmental review.
As for the Starrett Corp., spokesperson Jordan Isenstadt told us:
The development of our site at South Street and Clinton Street is in an exploratory phase. While still in the very early stages of planning, our goal is to answer Mayor de Blasio’s call to provide affordable housing, strengthen the community and fulfill a long-standing desire to better utilize a site that has been earmarked for development for decades. We look forward to a transparent and collaborative process as our plans advance.
Meanwhile, Assembly member Alice Cancel said she is still reviewing the pre-application statements. The documents, she said, will allow the community to assess the developers’ plans and decide how to respond. “We need to map out a stretegy,” she added “to protect the neighborhood.”