Essex Crossing Developers Seek Proposals For 220-Foot Mural

Image shows western facade of Essex Crossing Site 5.

Image shows western facade of Essex Crossing Site 5.

The developers of Essex Crossing are seeking proposals for a gigantic mural to be created on the facade of 145 Clinton St.

That’s one of four buildings under construction in the first phase of the project. The mural could be as long as 220 feet. It will be located on the western side of Essex Crossing Site 5. Proposals are being accepted from both emerging and established artists.

In a statement, Don Capoccia of BFC Partners said, “The Lower East Side’s street art legacy is as rich as any neighborhood in the city, so we’re hoping to both honor and continue that tradition though this mural… We’re eager to see submissions that really speak to the artistic heritage of the LES.” BFC, L+M Development Partners and Taconic Investment Partners make up Delancey Street Associates, the consortium building the 1.9 million square foot project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

More submission information is available here.

In this building, there will be 211 rental apartments, half of them affordable. Market rate leasing is expected to begin later this year. The large wall, near Suffolk St., is adjacent to the site of a future public school. The school has not been funded by the city and state, meaning construction is years away, if it happens at all.

Street art is a theme running through the Essex Crossing project. In June, the developers partnered with LES street artist Hanksy for a show inside a former Essex Street Market building which will soon be demolished for affordable senior housing. One of the buildings in the Market Line, an underground facility in the Essex Crossing complex, will be reserved for galleries, performance spaces and other creative ventures.  According to a press release,  “Delancey Street Associates is also working with LES street artists to facilitate large-scale installations within the Market Line and at several exterior locations.”

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Plans Filed For Essex Crossing Building at 202 Broome St.

Screen grab from Essex Crossing Interactive Map.

Screen grab from Essex Crossing Interactive Map. 202 Broome St. is the third building from the right.

The City of New York and the developers of Essex Crossing are taking the next steps in building the large project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. As The Real Deal noted yesterday, plans have been filed for a 15-story residential/commercial building at 202 Broome St. (between Norfolk and Suffolk streets).

The building, located on project site 3, will include 83 market rate condo units, part of the Market Line shopping pavilion and four floors for offices. Approximately 154,000 square feet have been set aside for commercial use on this site. The condo units begin on the 7th floor. CetraRuddy is the architect of record.

Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, will complete construction next year on the first four buildings. The first phase will include more than half of the 1,078 apartments in the project, as well as a new Essex Street Market, a 14-screen Regal movie theater, a medical center from NYU Langone, a Trader Joe’s supermarket, a Target store and a bowling alley complex called Splitsville Lanes.

202 Broome St. was originally slated to be a mixed-income rental building. Delays in resuscitating a version of the state’s 421-a tax incentive program prompted the developers to change plans. The site 3 building is now 100% market rate, while a building at 140 Essex St. (site 8) will include 92 studio apartments for low-income seniors. Site 4, at 180 Broome St., will be a 25-story building with mixed-income rental housing and more office space. In total, 52% of the apartments in the Essex Crossing project are considered affordable.

market line 1

The Market Line. Rendering by SHoP Architects.

The Market Line is a large subterranean space running below sites 2, 3 and 4. The first phase is set to debut on Essex Street in the fall of 2018. When the second phase of the project is complete in 2021, the full Market Line will be open for business. The small-format retail complex is meant to complement the Essex Street Market and will be food-focused, but also include artisans, clothing designers and other independent retail concepts.

Essex Crossing is a partnership among Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners. The initial plans for 202 Broome St. were filed by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The developers will not take ownership of the site until shortly before construction begins.

Vision For New Essex Street Market Comes Into Sharper Focus

Rendering: Essex Street Market.

Rendering: Essex Street Market.

When the first phase of Essex Crossing opens next year, nearly everything about the large development project will, of course, be brand new. One exception is the 77-year-old Essex Street Market, which is moving to an expanded space on the south side of Delancey Street. Whether the beloved public facility feels connected to its Lower East Side roots will help determine whether the larger residential and commercial development is embraced by the local community.

At a recent meeting of Community Board 3, city officials began to lay out a vision for the new market, which is expected to open at 115 Delancey St. in September of 2018. The presentation was led by David Hughes, vice president and executive director of markets for the city’s Economic Development Corp. (EDC)

As The Lo-Down first reported in April, the EDC, along with the Essex Street Market Vendor Association and the Lower East Side Partnership struck a deal for operating the new facility after years of negotiations. During the community board meeting, Hughes outlined what he called, “a kind of collaborative, hybridized management structure that I think really addresses the needs of this market.”

The city will continue to own and run the facility, while both the vendor association and the Partnership will take on expanded responsibilities for marketing, community relations and programming. The EDC is providing the LES Partnership with funding for a full-time manager to oversee market events and outreach in the neighborhood. The EDC is also extending an existing contract for a part-time staffer working directly with the vendors on special programs and social media. Hughes said the city will bring on an outside contractor to handle maintenance at the new market. The final piece of the puzzle is a community advisory committee, which will offer local feedback to the management team.

Essex Street Market, April 2017.

Essex Street Market, April 2017.

All 28 vendors will be making the move from the current building at 120 Essex St. “They have had their new stalls designed according to their specs,” said Hughes. Delancey Street Associates, the Essex Crossing development consortium, is paying to build the new facility and is covering the vendors’ moving costs. 

As previously reported, there will be two stand-alone restaurants in the Essex Street Market. The city is accepting proposals for those spaces. The EDC is also seeking to add 11 new small-format vendors, and an outside consultant, Robert LaValva, has been hired to help with recruitment. LaValva, the founder of the New Amsterdam Market, is a well-known figure in the New York City food world and a passionate advocate for the city’s public markets, past and present.

“There are things currently missing from Essex Street Market’s lineup,” said Hughes. “Wine, a good sandwich shop, perhaps, flowers, pickles. There are things that we have to actually go after and find and fill those vacancies.” Another goal, he explained, is to recruit local small businesses to join the market, as well as small start-ups. 

New Essex Street Market under construction.

New Essex Street Market under construction.

mezzanine level looking west

The new market covers 37,000 square feet, as opposed to 10,000 square feet in the current 1940s-era building. “There’s a lot more potential and opportunity for programming and events in this new space,” said Hughes. On the mezzanine, there will be a demonstration kitchen and flexible public gathering space. The mezzanine will be used for a wide range of programs, including cooking classes, workshops, talks, etc. Many events will be free, while other ticketed programs will help generate revenue for the market. The 6,000 square foot mezzanine will be available for rent by outside groups.

The city has hired WXY Studio, a design and planning firm, to help reposition the new Essex Street Market. As Hughes put it, “We have an opportunity now to rebrand, to think about who we are.” One developing idea is to use old photos and iconic signage from the historic market to draw a link between the past and present. While Hughes said the market is and always will be geared for the local community, he added, “We’re leveraging tourism connections. We’re thinking above and beyond the local community. We need to bring in other people. We want this market to be a draw. We want it to be like Reading Terminal Market (Philadelphia). You want it to be a destination.”

Rendering: Early idea for new Essex Street Market signage.

Rendering: Early idea for new Essex Street Market signage.

After several Essex Street Market businesses shuttered in 2015, vendors were sharply critical of EDC management, and called on the city to hand over daily operations to an outside not-for-profit organization. That didn’t happen, but the EDC did agree to delegate some responsibilities to the Partnership and the Vendor Association. The community board also stepped in, calling on the city to address to vendors’ concerns about the new facility. At last week’s meeting, Partnership President Tim Laughlin said the city clearly rose to the challenge.

“I think what the community board and the vendor association asked for happened,” he said. “Number one, get someone who’s experienced and gets markets in charge of the portfolio (David Hughes, former head of the Union Square Greenmarket was hired). Make sure the vendors are moving over to a new state-of-the-art facility with no problems. Make sure we have a long-term road map (for operating the market).”  Laughlin argued, “EDC has gone above and beyond what the community board requests were and what our requests were, and I think they deserve a lot of credit. We’re excited to open a facility that is truly going to be a one-of-a-kind community asset.”

In an interview, Vendor Association Chairperson Anne Saxelby also offered encouraging words for the new management arrangement. “I definitely feel positive about the new market,” said Saxelby. It has taken a long time to get here (after many months of negotiations),” she added, “but I think we’re finally in a good spot, and I think the vendors are excited about the move and about the new space.”

essex street market 4

Back in 2011, many local advocates, including Saxelby, fought a losing battle to save the original Essex Street Market building. That fight, however, was over long ago. Now the vendors and many locals are focused on making sure the new market retains its soul in a shiny new home. One drawback of the current historic building is that people walking by cannot see the businesses located inside. The new building, with its glass facade, will offer vendors good street-side visibility. Saxelby said most vendors, who have struggled in the years since the Essex Crossing project was announced, are looking forward to the boost that a new home will hopefully bring.

The new market will serve as a companion to another Essex Crossing amenity, a large subterranean shopping pavilion known as the Market Line. It will begin in the space below the Essex Street Market and extend over three development parcels to the east. There are some fears that the historic market’s unique identity will be subsumed by the Market Line. Both city officials and Essex Crossing developers tell us, however, they’re determined to keep that from happening.

A spokesperson for EDC said the city sees the Market Line as a, “great partner in our common purpose of providing quality food to the Lower East Side community.” But at the same time, “Essex Street Market will continue to be its own, distinct entity given that it is a mission-driven public market with a defined civic purpose. The goal of Essex Street Market will continue to be supporting small businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship, providing access to affordable, fresh food, and preserving the cultural tradition of public markets as strong community hubs with curated events and free programming in a safe and engaging public space. ”

Rohan Mehra of the Prusik Group, part of Delancey Street Associates, agreed. Referring to the Essex Street Market and the Market Line, he said, “they are distinct entities.” Explaining that the nearly 80-year-old Lower East Side market was, “our inspiration,” Mehra said the new small format retail center is intended to complement the Essex Street Market. “The idea,” he said, “is that between (the two markets), both located in one of the most diverse places in New York City, that shoppers can find anything imaginable, at all price points.” Mehra added that the focus of the Market Line, like the Essex Street Market, is on serving the local community. He acknowledged a need to attract shoppers from outside the neighborhood, but explained, “our feeling has always been that if the local community shops there, everyone else will go there, too. Tourists are looking for local flavor, history, character. If we are inclusive, the rest will follow.”

Construction of the new Essex Street Market is expected to be completed by June of next year. The vendors will make the move across Delancey Street in the fall. The developers and city officials have promised that the move will be seamless. The market will remain open until the debut of the new facility.

Anne Saxelby said she hopes local residents will continue to patronize the market in the months remaining before the move. “I’m really excited,” she told us.  “It’s a great opportunity to grow our businesses. I would just encourage people in the neighborhood to keep supporting the market and we’ll get through this transition together!” 


CB3:Essex Street Market Presentation by The Lo-Down on Scribd

A First Look at the New Essex Street Market; City Seeks Two New Restaurants

essex street market 2

A year before the scheduled move of the Essex Street Market into a new home in the Essex Crossing project, city officials are going public with a few details about the new facility. The Economic Development Corp. (EDC) yesterday announced it is accepting applications for two new restaurants and 11 smaller vendors to be part of the expanded public market. We’re also getting our first look at renderings and floor plans.

All of the existing (28) vendors will be moving across the street to 115 Delancey St., on the first two levels of a building that will also include a 14-screen movie theater and rental apartments. The EDC is looking for two restaurant operators for spaces that each measure about 1100 square feet. According to a press release, the city seeks, “independent, locally-based restaurateurs or restaurant groups who are interested in using farm-to-table seasonal produce or other regional foods on their menus.” They will have their own entrances (on Delancey and Broome streets), built into the new façade of the market.”

essex street market 4

The existing vendors have already chosen their locations in the new facility. According to a floor plan, additional spaces are available ranging from 87 square feet to 534 square feet. More information and application materials are available here.

The new market is supposed to open in June of next year and the current market will remain operational up until that time. The ground floor covers 30,000 square feet (about twice the size of the current facility). There’s also a 6,000 square foot mezzanine. There will be a demonstration kitchen for catered events and public classes.  There will also be a “late night zone” for merchants who wish to stay open until 8 p.m. Right now, the whole facility shuts down at 7 p.m.

essex street market 3

essex street market 1

In yesterday’s press release, Vendor Association Chair Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers, said, “I am thrilled about the move to a new space… The market is a Lower East Side institution, and in a city where the retail landscape is becoming ever more homogenized, it’s so exciting to see the expansion and continuation of this unique and diverse community of small businesses. It’s markets like Essex that make New York great!”

Lower East Side Partnership President Tim Laughlin added, “We are excited to partner with NYCEDC to ensure the market continues to thrive and grow supporting existing vendors and welcoming new ones in a state-of-the-art facility; this unique opportunity allows the market to continue supporting a diverse collection of small and independent merchants for many years to come.”

As we reported in April, the Vendor Association, the LES Partnership and the EDC recently came to terms on an agreement for operating the new market. While the EDC will continue to manage the facility, the vendors and the Partnership will take on more responsibilities in marketing and running the market on a day-to-day basis.

The new Essex Street Market is meant to complement a subterranean shopping pavilion known as the Market Line, a major feature of the Essex Crossing mixed-use development. The Market Line will begin directly below the Essex Street Market, eventually extending to the east in two buildings that will be constructed during phase 2 of the project.

Here’s How a Big Box Retailer, Target, Ended Up at Essex Crossing

Essex Crossing Site 5. Rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle.

Essex Crossing Site 5. Rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle.

As the whole neighborhood knows by now, a Target store is coming to Essex Crossing (145 Clinton St.). Many people are dismayed about the arrival of a big box (technically medium box) store on the Lower East Side. Others are looking forward to the convenience of a local Target. Since the news broke on Sunday, readers have been asking, “Didn’t the Seward Park development plan prohibit big box stores?” Here’s the answer to that question.

The subject of big box retail was a point of contention during years of community board deliberations over the formerly city-owned sites. Most community members were strongly opposed to chain stores and large corporate stores.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) that went out in 2012 compelled developers to establish at least two distinct storefronts in ground floor spaces along Delancey Street. Three storefronts were required on Broome Street. An exception was made for a grocery store (the project includes a 30,000 square foot Trader Joe’s below-grade at 145 Grand St.) The provisions effectively forced larger retailers to the second or third floors of some buildings. But the restrictions did not cover Grand and Clinton streets.

A section of the RFP titled, “Community Priorities” placed a limit of 30,000 square feet on retail establishments. As we reported in September of 2012, the city would not budge on this point, refusing to insert the provision into the main body of the RFP.  In a community board meeting earlier that year, a city official said a project with only small-scale retail was not “sustainable.” The official, David Quart, said an “anchor tenant” was essential to the success of the project. Quart said the idea was to attract a good mix of retail businesses – some small, some large – offering a diversity of products at various price points.

Years later a 22,500 square foot Target on the second floor is part of Essex Crossing. The project, of course, also includes the Market Line, a 150,000 square foot public market made up of mostly micro-retailers. Most of the large spaces in the first phase of development are already claimed, so it’s unlikely we’ll see more big box retail when the first buildings open next year. The second and third phases of the project? That’s another story.

A spokesperson for the development team says they actually went beyond the requirements of the RFP. A 65,000 square foot movie theater (an amenity the community requested) is located on the second and third floors of a building on Site 2 of the project.  The grocery could have been placed on the main floor but is instead in a basement space.

Target is Coming to Essex Crossing; 22,500 SF Store Slated For 145 Clinton St. (Updated)

Target will be located on the second floor of 145 Clinton St. Rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle.

Target will be located on the second floor of 145 Clinton St. Rendering by Beyer Blinder Belle.

Target announced today it is opening a store in the Essex Crossing project on the Lower East Side.

The 22,500 square foot, “small format” urban store will be located on the second floor of a building now under construction at 145 Clinton St. The mixed-use building will also include a 30,000 square foot Trader Joe’s grocery store.

A Target spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that the big box retailer “sees tremendous potential” in the New York City market. Full-size Target stores are often well over 100,000 square feet. The small format concept (ranging from 12,000-60,000 sf) had 32 locations at the end of 2016, the Journal reported. A rapid expansion of the smaller stores is planned during the next couple of years.

The Lower East Side Target store will be taking the place of Planet Fitness, which backed out of Essex Crossing after announcing in the fall of 2015 it would be coming to the 1.9 million square foot complex.

The first phase of Essex Crossing, on four sites, will be completed next year. In total, the project will bring more than 1,000 apartments, retail, office space and community facilities to the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. It is being built by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic Investment Partners and the Prusik Group.

UPDATE 5/1/2017 A few more details from a press release put out last night by Delancey Street Associates:

S. Andrew Katz of the Prusik Group said, “Throughout the planning process, the community made clear that a quality, affordable apparel and home goods retailer was a top priority for the neighborhood; we made a commitment to deliver that… With Target, Trader Joe’s, Splitsville Luxury Lanes, Regal Cinemas and NYU Langone’s medical center all slated to open next year, 2018 will be a banner year for Essex Crossing’s commercial spaces and really bring the site to life for the community.”

The Lower East Side location will be Target’s fourth store in Manhattan. The company already has stores in Harlem and Tribeca. A location in Herald Square is scheduled to open this coming fall. Target has announced plans for small format stores on East 14th Street and Hell’s Kitchen.

The LES store is expected to include: food and beverage items; health and beauty “brands most relevant to the diverse guest;” clothing and accessories for both young professionals and children; stationery and home items “dedicated to refreshing small living spaces;” and a CVS Pharmacy.

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Agreement Reached For Operating New Essex Street Market at Essex Crossing

Essex Crossing rendering by Handel Architects.

Essex Crossing rendering by Handel Architects.

A little more than a year from now, in the summer of 2018, a newly expanded Essex Street Market is expected to open at 115 Delancey St. It is part of the big Essex Crossing project now under construction. Earlier this week it was announced that an issue looming over the new facility, the relationship between the Vendor Association and the city, has finally been resolved.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting of Community Board 3, Gigi Li, who chairs the Essex Crossing Task Force, said a preliminary agreement is now in place for operations at the new market. The tentative deal is the result of more than three years of talks involving the Economic Development Corp. (EDC), which oversees the market, the Vendor Association and the Lower East Side Partnership, which coordinates marketing efforts on behalf of the vendors.

In a report to CB3 members, Li said, “I believe that all of the asks (requests) that we had as guidelines… in the project were met.” She added that the “agreement will be further fleshed out to include staff and structure, funding, allocations, as well as all roles and responsibilities (of each partner).” The details of the agreement will not be revealed until July, when the city presents the plan at a meeting of CB3’s economic development committee.

Essex Street Market, April 2017.

Essex Street Market, April 2017.

The new home of the Essex Street Market is under construction on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets.

The new home of the Essex Street Market is under construction on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets.

During the past few years, Anne Saxelby head of the Vendor Association, has been a vocal critic of the way the city runs the market. Several merchants were forced to close their stalls due to dwindling foot traffic. The vendors complained of lackluster marketing to help boost business. Then the EDC brought the Partnership in to help with marketing and provided funding to the Vendor Association for a part-time coordinator. In briefing CB3 last summer, Saxelby was a lot more optimistic, saying improvements (such as bright new interior and exterior murals and a series of public events) had make a big difference. At the same time, she continued to call on the city to hand over operations of the new market to an outside not-for-profit organization.

While all parties have declined to discuss the terms of the agreement, a spokesperson for the EDC signaled yesterday that the city would continue to oversee the Essex Street Market, while the LES Partnership and the Vendor Association would take on larger roles.

LES Partnership President Tim Laughlin said in a statement, “We look forward to continuing a close partnership with NYCEDC, market vendors and other community stakeholders to ensure the new market facility remains accessible and provides and array of community benefits. We are finalizing the extension of agreements that expand the coordinated role that the Partnership and Essex Street Market Vendor Association have played in supporting the market and it’s diverse collection of vendors.”

In the past year, the EDC created a new position, Vice President-Executive Director of Markets, to oversee all of the city’s public market facilities. In September, David Hughes, the longtime manager of the Union Square Greenmarket, was hired in that role. His involvement means EDC is better equipped to deal with the intricacies of operating the historic Lower East Side facility at a time of unprecedented change.

The new Essex Street Market will be part of the larger Market Line, a 150,000 square foot retail pavilion at Essex Crossing. The Market Line will be run by Delancey Street Associates, the developers building the mixed-use project. Meanwhile, the Essex Street Market will be city-operated.

In keeping with an agreement struck with the city years ago, all of the vendors in the current market will move across the street to the new facility. They’ll pay the same rent at Essex Crossing that they’re paying at the time the move takes place. There are currently 25 merchants (with two new vendors opening soon). The 14,000 square foot facility will double in size when the new market debuts next year.

Lottery Opens For 99 Affordable Senior Apartments on Essex Crossing Site 6

Rendering of 175 Delancey St. by Dattner

Rendering of 175 Delancey St. by Dattner Architects.

An affordable housing lottery opened this morning for 99 senior apartments at 175 Delancey St., part of the Essex Crossing project.

All of the apartments, located on site 6 of the large mixed-use development, are one-bedroom units. At least one applicant must be 55 years of age or older. There are various income bands for the apartments, ranging from no income up to 90% of Area Median Income (AMI). Monthly rent will be set from $396-$1254. The largest block of apartments (75 units) are available to households earning between $21,066-$43,500/year.

Half of the apartments have been designated for residents of Community District 3. This project is, of course, rising in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Within the local set aside, former site tenants will have priority for the available units.

You can apply for these apartments through the NYC Housing Connect website. If you would like a paper application, send a request to: Essex Crossing Site 6/ Triborough Finance New Station, PO Box 2010, New York, NY 10035-9997. June 16 is the application deadline.

The Essex Crossing project will eventually include 1,078 apartments, 561 (or 52%) of them affordable. In addition to the 99 apartments, there will be a 55,000 square foot medical facility in this building from NYU Langone, a senior center and social enterprise cafe from Grand Street Settlement and an educational institution (not yet named). The 14-story building, designed by Dattner Architects, includes outdoor roof space.

Essex Crossing Project Manager Isaac Henderson said in a statement, “175 Delancey is designed specifically to meet urgent neighborhood needs – low-income seniors in particular… From the outset, we’ve prioritized our affordable units, and now have begun construction on 313 of the project’s 561 overall affordable units. We’re looking forward to starting construction on the second phase of Essex Crossing later this year.”

A housing lottery for another building, 145 Clinton St., got underway last month. The lotteries for two additional buildings, on Essex Crossing sites 1 and 2, will begin in the coming weeks. The project is being built by Delancey Street Associates, a consortium consisting of BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners.

Essex Crossing Condo Tower at 242 Broome St. Tops Out

242 Broome St.

242 Broome St.

Another building in the huge Essex Crossing development project has been “topped out.” A press release went out earlier today from Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, announcing that 242 Broome St. has now reached its full 14-story height. Three out of four sites in the first phase of the project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area have now been topped out.

The building, located at Ludlow and Broome streets, includes 55 high-end condo units, as well as a 17,000 square foot bowling alley operated by Splitsville Lanes. A still-to-be-named cultural facility will be located in an adjacent building.

In the past week, construction crews have been installing a “curtain wall,” a champagne-colored façade of anodized aluminum. Designed by SHoP Architects, the facade has, “bends and angles in the metal that,” according to the press release, “resemble the iconic fire escapes of the neighboring tenement buildings.”

242 broome #1

242 broome #2

19 apartments in the building are currently listed on StreetEasy, averaging $1950 per square foot. Of those, 11 apartments are listed “in contract,” for an average sale price of $1,750,000 (or $1775 per square foot).

The most expensive apartment snapped up so far is unit #6B, a 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath for $3,950,000. But do not despair! The 2100 square foot penthouse can still be yours for $5.2 million.

Eleven units in 242 Broome St. have been designated for affordable home-ownership. Those apartments will be available starting at around $225,000 for families that meet income requirements. There is, however, a big catch. The tax abatement in the building expires after 15 years. The developers, Community Board 3 and city officials have been trying to work out how those 11 apartments will remain “affordable” after the tax break is no longer in place. The housing lottery for the building has not yet opened.

The first Essex Crossing building to top out was 175 Delancey St. That happened this past August. A second building, 145 Clinton St., topped out in September.

NYU Langone Details Plans For Essex Crossing Medical Center

Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 6; Dattner Architects.

Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 6; Dattner Architects.

NYU Langone Medical Center has filed an application with the State Department of Health for approval of its 55,000 square foot ambulatory care facility at Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side.  The news was first reported yesterday by Crain’s.

In January of 2016, Delancey Street Associates, the consortium building the mixed-use project, announced that NYU had signed a 15-year lease for a space at 175 Delancey St. The medical facility, which will be called the Joan H. and Preston Robert Tisch Center, will be located in the same building housing affordable senior rentals and Grand Street Settlement’s senior center.

Details of NYU’s $32.8 million Lower East Side facility were included in a certificate of need application filed with the state March 7. From the executive summary:

NYU Langone Medical Center proposes to open a new Ambulatory Care Center, NYU Langone Ambulatory Care Center at Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side of Manhattan (Manhattan Community District 3) that will provide residents of this neighborhood with 21st century care, focused on the provision of care in the outpatient setting. Included in this center are both Article 28 and non-Article 28 programs. NYU Langone Medical Center requests approval from the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) for the Article 28 programs that will be located in this new facility. The NYU Langone Ambulatory Care Center at Essex Crossing will include a free-standing multi-specialty Ambulatory Surgery Center consisting of 4 Class C Operating Rooms as well as space dedicated to the provision of Physical Therapy services. It is expected that 2 of the Class C Operating Rooms will be dedicated to General Surgery procedures including ENT, GYN and Endoscopies while the remaining 2 Class C Operating Rooms will be dedicated to Orthopedic Surgery procedures.

In its application, NYU noted space limitations at its Center for Musculoskeletal Care and Ambulatory Surgery Center on 38th Street. It also pointed to “high utilization rates” in the operating rooms at the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and the need for more space for physical therapy services.  The institution expects that more than 9,600 physical therapy visits from residents of Community District 3, now being accommodated at existing facilities, will be shifted to Essex Crossing.

NYU plans to situate its physical therapy center on the ground floor of the building. The ambulatory surgery program will be located on the ground floor and in the cellar level. A few administrative offices will be on the second floor. More details from the application:

Patients will enter this site on the ground floor which is located off Delancey Street.  The Physical Therapy Reception and Waiting Room will be accessed directly off the entrance vestibule. The Physical Therapy suite includes an open therapy and exercise area, a private physical therapy room, office, equipment and supply storage, changing rooms, soiled holding room, janitors’ closet, staff lounge, patient and staff toilets. Passing through the entrance vestibule, directly to the left, is the outpatient surgical waiting room which includes a reception desk, patient toilet, and wheelchair storage… The cellar floor of the program includes the pre-operative holding/recovery area containing 14 patient cubicles and one multipurpose Consultation/Examination/Observation /Perioperative holding/ recovery room.

The new facility is expected to open in late 2018.

Essex Crossing Site 5 Affordable Housing Lottery is Now Open

Rendering: Essex Crossing Site 5.

Rendering: Essex Crossing Site 5.

The moment has finally arrived. Fifty years after hundreds of homes were demolished in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), the first affordable apartments are becoming available on the site.

At midnight last night (Thursday, March 2), the housing lottery for site 5 of Essex Crossing, as SPURA is now known, went live on the city’s housing website.

Out of 211 rental apartments in the building, 104 will be available to individuals and families who qualify for NYC’s affordable housing programs. All of the particulars are online and in the documents posted at the end of this story, but here are the basics:

  • There are 6 units for applicants earning 40% of Area Median Income ($19,680-42,040)
  • There are 53 units for applicants earning 60% of AMI ($30,069-63.060)
  • There are 17 units for applicants earning 120% of AMI ($49,338-126,120)
  • There are 28 units for applicants earning 165% of AMI ($69,326-173,415)

Apartments include studios, plus 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units. The 15-story building at 145 Clinton St. will also house a 30,000 square foot Trader Joe’s, a Planet Fitness and other commercial businesses. A publicly accessible park will be located on the north side of the building (bordering Broome Street). Building amenities include a part-time lobby attendant, on-site superintendent, communal terraces, a fitness room, a yoga room, a children’s playroom, bicycle storage, a dog-wash room, and a resident lounge.

Residents of Community District 3 will receive a preference for 50 percent of the affordable units. Former site tenants of the Seward Park Extension Urban Renewal Area (SPEURA) will receive an additional priority for the units (see the information sheet at the end of this post for more details about qualifying as a former site tenant).

To apply online, go to You can also access the Essex Crossing/Site 5 page directly here. To request an application by mail, send a self- addressed envelope to: Essex Crossing Site 5 / Triborough Finance New Station, PO Box 2011, New York, NY 10035-9997. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than May 2, 2017.

There is an upcoming community information session for affordable housing at Essex Crossing. It will be held Monday, March 6, 6:30-8 p.m. at Seward Park High School, 350 Grand St. The meeting will be hosted by Delancey Street Associates, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Housing Development Corporation (HDC). NO APPLICATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE MEETING.

Essex Crossing includes 1,078 apartments, 561 (or 52%) of them affordable. Affordable housing lotteries for three other buildings in phase one of the project will take place later this year. The first buildings are scheduled to open in 2018. Essex Crossing is being built by BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners.


Squadron Requests Timeline For New Escalator, Elevator at Delancey Street Station

Site 2 of Essex Crossing. Photo by Instagram user @themanmoe.

Site 2 of Essex Crossing. Photo by Instagram user @themanmoe.

The big Essex Crossing development project is on schedule. But even as construction crews work to complete the first phase of the residential and commercial complex next year, there are obstacles to overcome. Here’s one of them.

The project sits above the MTA’s Delancey Street transportation hub. The city’s agreement with Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, required the developers to provide easements for widened and relocated subway escalators on site 2 (Delancey and Essex streets). It also required an easement for a new MTA elevator on site 9 (where the current Essex Street Market is located.)

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, along with other elected officials, sent a letter to the MTA this week, urging the transit authority to make installation of both the escalator and elevator a high priority. “It is critical,” they wrote, “that the construction of the elevator and escalator proceed as quickly as possible. To ensure that the Lower East Side receives the transportation improvements required from the developer and the MTA, we request a meeting with the MTA, Delancey Street Associates, and the Essex Crossing Task Force to discuss the timeline for installation…”

The elevator easement, the letter noted, is not scheduled to be completed until the end of 2018.



Changes Announced in Essex Crossing Affordable Housing Plan

Essex Crossing construction site as seen from Hotel on Rivington, February 2017.

Essex Crossing construction site as seen from Hotel on Rivington, February 2017.

The developers of Essex Crossing last night announced changes in their plan for the large Lower East Side project, including the addition of 61 affordable apartments and more units for low-income seniors. The adjustments, forced by the expiration of the state’s 421-a tax break program, will also mean fewer affordable condo units, fewer affordable apartments for larger families and the elimination of mixed-income diversity in three buildings.

The changes were outlined at a meeting of Community Board 3’s land use committee by Isaac Henderson, project manager of Delancey Street Associates. That’s the consortium responsible for building the residential and commercial complex in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The original plan was heavily influenced by CB3, which spent years reaching a community-wide consensus for the sites.

Essex Crossing was meant to include 1,000 apartments, 50% of them set aside for low- and middle-income residents. 157 of the units were supposed to be condos available for purchase (including 32 affordable condo units). But the plan was dependent on 421-a, a state program that offered generous property tax breaks in buildings which include blocks of affordable housing.  421-a expired more than a year ago and the mayor, governor and State Legislature have been haggling ever since about a new version of the program.

The developers say they’re revamping the housing plan to make sure the project stays on track while the Legislature weighs the latest proposal from the governor (approval in Albany is expected in the not-too-distant future, perhaps by the end of March).

essex crossing overview

The changes do not impact phase one of the construction project on sites 1, 2, 5 and 6. When the first four buildings open next year, more than half of the apartments planned in Essex Crossing will have been delivered, including 311 affordable units.  But the second and third phases of the project will be impacted. Here’s an overview from Henderson’s presentation last night and from an interview with The Lo-Down earlier in the week.

Site 3, located at Delancey and Norfolk streets, was originally planned as a rental building split evenly between market rate and affordable apartments (98 total residential units). Now that project will be 100% market rate condos.

Site 8 (where one of the Essex Street Market buildings now sits) was intended as an 80/20 condo project, including 19 market rate and 5 affordable apartments. It will now consist of 92 studio apartments for low-income seniors.  As senior housing, it’s available for a zoning increase of about 10,000 square feet.

Site 9 (the current home of the Essex Street Market) was meant to be another 80/20 condo building. The developers are now hoping to make it a mixed-income rental project with half of the units designated as affordable. The plan assumes that a version of the 421-a program will be enacted in time to utilize tax incentives on this site. [The Essex Street Market, by the way, is moving to a new building within Essex Crossing and the current facility will remain open until the move occurs.]

Site 10, formerly an 80/20 condo building, is now being refashioned as a market-rate condo project.  A health care clinic has a lease on this parcel until the year 2021, so construction is not expected to begin for a few years.

Rendering: Essex Crossing. ShoP Architects.

Rendering: Essex Crossing. ShoP Architects.

In total, the changes mean there will now be 1.078 apartments in Essex Crossing, as opposed to 1,000. There will be an increase in low-and middle-income units of 61, making the project 52% affordable. The developers are adding 17 additional market-rate apartments.

One goal in revising the housing plan is to add more affordable units for very low-income households. In the new configuration, some apartments are set aside for families earning as little as 30% of Area Median Income (AMI). The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development encouraged the developers the add new income bands, which were not part of the initial Seward Park plan. Under the new plan, 343 apartments will be available to people earning 60% of AMI or below.

One downside in the revised plan is that 20 affordable condo units are being sacrificed. When a new version of 421-a is enacted, it is not expected to include a home ownership program. “Without a tax abatement,” said Henderson, “it’s virtually impossible to do affordable home ownership.” Delancey Street Associates is making up for this loss by creating a larger number of affordable units and by doubling the number of senior units in the project.  The developers are relying on new tax breaks for the senior housing not impacted by the expiration of 421-a.

[In a related conversation last night, board members expressed serious concerns about the 421-a application for site 1, where 55 condo units are under construction. While 11 of those units are designated as permanently affordable, it has come to light that the tax abatement for those apartments will expire in 15 years. The unit owners will then be responsible for thousands of dollars each month in property taxes. We’ll have more about this situation in a separate story.]

When affordable housing lotteries begin in a few weeks, former tenants of the urban renewal area (displaced in 1967) will have priority status. But Henderson explained, “A lot of people are really concerned that the former site tenants, who will receive a 25% preference in each of these projects, won’t have an opportunity to live in these projects.”

“Most of them are going to be senior and most of them are going to be very low-income,” he added.

During last night’s meeting another concern was raised. The changes are forcing the elimination of 30 affordable apartments for larger families. Board member Lisa Kaplan said, “I get, 100%, that there is a real need for very low-income senior apartments.” But she added, “I think a lot of the seniors who are former site tenants and a lot of seniors in our neighborhood live with extended families. And I think the need for affordable units is not restricted to studio apartments (for seniors). There’s an overwhelming need for affordable housing at every apartment size. I regret that we weren’t able to find a solution here that allowed for deeper subsidies.”

Henderson said he understood Kaplan’s concern, which she has apparently voiced repeatedly during private meetings of a Seward Park community task force. But he argued that it’s important to evaluate Essex Crossing as a whole. “If you look at the overall project,” he said, “there are apartments available for a range of incomes (from 40-155% of AMI)” He said 40% of Essex Crossing’s affordable apartments are larger units.

One issue that did not generate much conversation last night concerns the mixed-income makeup of Essex Crossing’s buildings. The community board’s original guidelines placed a high priority on income diversity. Plans called for an equal number of affordable and market rate apartments throughout the project and in each building. This priority has been maintained in most of the buildings. But sites 3 and 10 will now be purely market rate, while site 8 will be all affordable.

Under the new plan, Henderson pointed out, 3 out of 5 parcels in the second and third phases will not require 421-a (or whatever replaces it). Essex Crossing is still dependent, however, on the tax abatement program for site 4 (located at Delancey and Suffolk streets) and for site 9. Delancey Street Associates and city officials are in conversations about a contingency plan should Albany fail to act on a 421-a replacement.

Delancey Street Associates is a partnership among Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners.

Renderings Released For Market Line at Essex Crossing

market line 1

Renderings by SHoP Architects.

Developers of the Essex Crossing project today unveiled renderings of the Market Line, a 150,000 square foot retail complex below Broome Street.

The renderings first appeared in Curbed. The underground pavilion will include many small-scale shops and a large beer garden. It will stretch across three buildings, from Essex Street to Clinton Street. Rohan Mehra of the Prusik Group (part of the development team) spoke with Curbed. Here’s part of what he had to say:

Mehra is, of course, aware of the perception that new projects like this—or megaprojects in general—can change the essential character of a neighborhood, or ignore the concerns of longtime residents. “When you talk about megadevelopments like that, that’s an issue—you’re creating something entirely new and wondering how it’s going to fit in,” he notes. “We’re not trying to create a new neighborhood, we’re trying to represent the next step in the evolution of the Lower East Side.”

The first phase of Essex Crossing is expected to be completed in 2018. It will include the first part of the Market Line and a new above-ground home for the Essex Street Market. The remaining two-thirds of the retail center will come online a couple of years later. If you would like to read more about the Market Line vision, you can check out our interview with the developers, conducted one year ago.



Breaking: Trader Joe’s is Coming to Essex Crossing

Preliminary rendering.

Preliminary rendering.

It’s been a hotly debated question for years now: which grocery store chain is going to end up at Essex Crossing? This morning, the speculation has ended. Trader Joe’s is taking a corner space at 145 Clinton St., site 5 of the large residential and commercial project.

The announcement came a short time ago in separate news releases from the grocery’s communications department and the city’s Economic Development Corp. While the square footage was not announced (Trader Joe’s is notoriously secretive), developers had set aside 30,000 square feet for the grocery store. It will be located in the basement of the 15-story residential/commercial building.

If the quirky California-based chain takes all of that space, it will be one of the company’s larger New York stores. Trader Joe’s currently has Manhattan locations near Union Square, in Chelsea, on the Upper West Side and on East 32nd Street. A second Upper West Side location is in-the-works. This past spring, there was talk of a Trader Joe’s coming to Extell Development’s new 14th Street project, near Avenue B.


Trader Joe’s, Union Square. Photo: Spoon University.

The building at the intersection of Grand and Clinton streets is also set to include a 22,000 square foot Planet Fitness on the second floor. Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2018. The first phase of Essex Crossing also includes a 14-screen Regal movie theater, a Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling alley, a new home for the Essex Street Market, the Market Line shops and a medical center from NYU Langone.

During a community planning process several years ago, local residents said a full-service grocery store was a high priority on the former Seward Park urban renewal site.

Essex Crossing is being built by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners. In a statement, Andrew Katz of the Prusik Group, part of the development team, noted that a commitment was made to fulfill the community’s desire for an affordable grocery. Katz said, “We’re thrilled to deliver on that promise today.”

Figuring out the right mix in Essex Crossing’s commercial spaces is critical. There is some concern in the community that a conventional grocery store might hurt the vendors at the Essex Street Market. Trader Joe’s is less likely to compete with the specialty food purveyors in the historic market, which is moving to a new 30,000 square foot space on the southeastern corner of Essex and Delancey streets.

Trader Joe’s is known for its good prices on high quality gourmet items packaged under the store’s own label. As the company’s press materials boasted, “every item in the store has its own virtues, like high quality ingredients, great flavor, or simply an extraordinary price.” About a dozen new items are introduced each month.

EDC President Maria Torres-Springer said, “Bringing Trader Joe’s to Essex Crossing will help provide families across the Lower East Side with quality, fresh food options in their neighborhood… Increasing food access is yet another way the Essex Crossing project meets the needs of current and future residents, ensuring that this long-anticipated project strengthens the Lower East Side community as a whole.”

The news release also included statements of support from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council member Margaret Chin and Community Board 3 Chair Jamie Rogers. “Trader Joe’s will be a welcome amenity to Lower East Side residents,” said Rogers. “It is an affordable, high quality neighborhood grocery store that meets the CB3’s Guiding Principles for Essex Crossing of providing a diversity of goods at diverse price points. Previous reports of attempts to have Trader Joes expand within Community Board 3 were met with enthusiasm by the community. They will be very happy to hear that we have a firm commitment of Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing.”

The neighborhood lost a Pathmark store on Cherry Street in 2012 when Extell Development bought the site for it’s 80-story mega tower. A grocery store is expected to be part of that project when it is finished in 2019. There’s a Fine Fare supermarket directly across the street from Essex Crossing site 5.

Trader Joe’s has more than 450 stores across the country.