Photo Credit: Delancey Street Associates.
The developers behind Essex Crossing and a nonprofit group called Project EATS yesterday debuted a 9,000 square rooftop farm. It’s located on the 6th floor of “The Essex,” a mixed-use building at 125 Delancey St. (the same building where the new Essex Market is located).
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, produce from the organic farm is being sold in the plaza located on Broome Street between Clinton Street and Suffolk Street. When the first phase of the Market Line, an underground shopping pavilion, finally opens, the farmstead will move indoors. Among the crops now being grown: carrots, turnips, radishes and beets. There will also be some baby kale, mustard greens and arugula.
Project EATS has a network of 10 farms across the city. Part of the organization’s mission is to engage local communities, promoting public health, education and workforce development. Through a partnership with Gouverneur Health, doctors will be able to write prescriptions for patients to receive fresh vegetables, which are subsidized. This year, 100 patients are expected to receive 18 weeks of “food prescriptions.” Project EATS is also running education initiatives and workforce training through the high schools on the Seward Park Campus and providing free Saturday breakfast for local seniors. According to a press release, “The program will expand to include families with children in 2020. The farm will also host a regular program of healthy lifestyle workshops, community dinners, and dialogues.”
Essex Crossing is the 1.9 million square foot project under construction in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. It includes more than 1,000 apartments, half of them designated by the city as affordable. There are also numerous public amenities, including the new Essex Market, a 14-screen Regal movie theater, Trader Joe’s and a health center operated by NYU Langone. The mega project is being developed by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture among L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.
There was more news concerning Essex Crossing this week. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara (best known for Eleven Madison Park) are backing out of plans for an events space in the International Center of Photography’s new headquarters at 242 Broome St. The team is breaking up. Developers told Eater that they pulled out due to delays in the project. The Prusik Group, which handles commercial leasing for Essex Crossing, is now looking for a new operator for the space, which spans two floors of ICP’s building.
Image: Nick Lawrence, Soto Family apartment, October 1969. Silver gelatin print.
Now that the Artists Alliance gallery and project space, Cuchifritos, is settled in at the new Essex Market at 88 Essex Street, they are taking a close look into some of the history of this new location (formerly known as SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area). Their current show, “Keep Me Nearby,” which closes Sunday, July 20th, features six never-before-seen images by photographer Nick Lawrence of the “lived-in apartments that were demolished at SPURA in the late 1960s and early 1970s bring us into homes and lives in 1969.”
Four of these images were taken in the family apartment of Angel Soto, another, with its vivid declaration of “Latin + Soul,” is from a nearby tenement, and the last hints at what was to come: a staircase in 145 Clinton Street, boarded up and awaiting demolition. Nick came to make these photographs while he was an art teacher at a local junior high school, and while pursuing a larger project photographing the teenagers he came to know on the Lower East Side. We are lucky that a few of those teenagers brought him into their homes, and took him on forays into the tinned up buildings around the neighborhood. We are lucky that he had the presence of mind to make these photographs, and to have kept them safely, able to unearth them when in her research for Contested City Gabrielle came asking if perhaps he might have a photograph of anyone’s home at SPURA. To have documentation of spaces of life in the midst of urban renewal is rare, and the meaning of these photographs is both derived from everything that happened at SPURA after they were made, and from the way that many of us can see our own homes and families reflected in them…
Cuchifritos is also hosting walking tours as part of “Layered SPURA,” an ongoing project from artist and urbanist Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani. They write:
Ten years ago, artist and urbanist Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani was invited to enter this tense community to collaborate on a new approach to planning through public history and public art. Created in a multi-year collaboration with community activists GOLES and SPARC, and her students at the New School, the exhibitions and performative guided tours of Bendiner-Viani’s “Layered SPURA” project provided new opportunities for dialogue about the past, present, and future of the neighborhood.
You can find more info about the tour here.
Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 4/140 Essex St. Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle.
The affordable housing lottery for the next Essex Crossing building just got underway. Seniors (62+) may now apply for 84 low-income studio apartments at 140 Essex St. It’s the fourth city-sponsored lottery held so far for the mega-project being built in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.
The 8-story building, which replaces a mostly unused section of the old Essex Street Market, will include ground floor retail, in addition to apartments on the upper floors. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The studio units will be available at 30, 50 and 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Most applicants are required to earn annual incomes between $13,303 and $51,240, although up to eight Section 8 vouchers are available for residents who do not meet the minimum income requirements. Monthly rents will range from $331 to $761. In addition to the 84 units up for grabs in the housing lottery, eight apartments are being set aside for formerly homeless seniors. There’s a 50 percent preference for Community Board 3 residents (Lower East Side/East Village/Chinatown), and 50 percent of the community preference units are prioritized for former residents of the urban renewal area.
To apply online, go to nyc.gov/housingconnect.To request an application by mail, send a self-addressed envelope to: Essex Crossing Site 8/Triborough Finance New Station, PO Box 2011, New York, NY 10035-9997. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than August 20, 2019.
As we mentioned the other day, there will be an info session for the housing lottery next Wednesday, June 26. You can see more details about that here.
Essex Crossing includes 1.079 apartments, 561 designated as below-market rate. There’s one other senior building as part of the project, 175 Delancey St., which includes 99 residential units, as well as a publicly accessible senior center operated by Grand Street Settlement.
Essex Crossing Affordable Housing Lottery; 140 Essex St. by The Lo-Down on Scribd
Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 4/140 Essex St. Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle.
In the very near future, another affordable housing lottery will open for Essex Crossing. The city and Delancey Street Associates, which is developing the Lower East Side mega-project, are poised to open applications for 92 senior apartments at 140 Essex St. But even before the lottery goes live, the developers are spreading the word for a public information session to explain the application process.
The meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 in the Grand Street Settlement Community Room, 175 Delancey St., 6:30-8 p.m. There will be an overview of the online housing portal run by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, a review of eligibility requirements and an opportunity to answer questions. This is not a workshop to actually complete applications – it’s informational only. No applications will be distributed at the event. Translation will be provided in Chinese and Spanish.
The apartments at 140 Essex St. will be all studios, available to seniors 62+ at 30%, 50% and 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). Eligible applicants must have annual household incomes ranging from about $22,000-$45,000. The eight-story building, located on a site that once housed part of the Essex Street Market, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Essex Crossing includes more than 1,000 apartments, half of them designated as below-market rate by the city. 140 Essex St. is one of two senior buildings in the project.
180 Broome St. Photo courtesy of Delancey Street Associates.
Another building at Essex Crossing has been “topped off.” Delancey Street Associates, the developers of the mega-project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, announced yesterday that 180 Broome St. has reached its full height of 26 stories.
The tower, scheduled for completion next year, will include 142 market-rate rental apartments and 121 units designated affordable by the city. The building will also feature 175,000 square feet of office space and a portion of the Market Line, the subterranean shopping pavilion that will eventually stretch across three sites.
A neighboring building, 202 Broome St., will soon start rising on the Essex Crossing campus (excavation work is now being completed). That 15-story market rate condo tower will also include a significant amount of office space. Taken together, the two buildings will boast 350,000 square feet of office space.
Seven of nine Essex Crossing sites are now finished or under construction. Early next month, a new Essex Street Market will open in the sprawling Essex Crossing complex. There will ultimately be more than 1,000 apartments at Essex Crossing, about half of them affordable to low- and middle-income residents.
Delancey Street Associates includes BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.
In case you missed the weekend social media buzz, the Lower East Side’s new 14-screen multiplex is now open for business.
The Regal Essex Crossing made its debut on Saturday at 129 Delancey St. We checked it out on Saturday evening, and were not alone. In the theater showing “Us,” the new Jordan Peele film, the cinema was about one-quarter full. Tickets here will set you back $17.50. Current showings include big Hollywood releases like Captain Marvel, Pet Sematary, Shazam! and Avengers.
The theater is part of a 26-story rental tower on the southeast corner of Delancey and Essex streets. It’s one of nine buildings being developed as part of the Essex Crossing project. A new Essex Street Market will be opening in this same building very soon.
In a press release, Regal notes that the theater includes luxury recliners, reserved seating and “an expanded concessions menu.” The Essex Crossing cinemas include about 1200 seats all together.
The neighborhood now has a big mainstream movie theater, something it’s been missing for decades. Landmark Theaters closed the Sunshine Cinemas on East Houston Street in January of last year (it was focused on indie films). That historic building is about to be demolished for a big office and retail complex. In addition to the Regal, the Lower East Side, fortunately, has the Metrograph, the art house cinema on Ludlow Street that just celebrated its third birthday.
One of the best places to see the current state of Essex Crossing is from high above the Lower East Side. This view, from the 26th floor rooftop terrace of 125 Delancey St., is also a main selling point for 98 market rate rentals in “The Essex,” the tallest tower in the nine building mega-project.
The other night, Delancey Street Associates, which is building Essex Crossing, hosted a soiree to show off the apartments and amenities in The Essex Guests were able to check out model units on the 23rd floor and sample food from vendors at the new Essex Street Market and the Market Line, which will both be located in the building. (Veselka, Nom Was Tea Parlor, Essex Pearl, Formaggio Essex and the Doughnut Plant were among those represented).
The building on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets includes 98 market rate apartments and 98 units designated as affordable. A housing lottery was held for the below-market apartments in December of 2017. According to Isaac Henderson, Essex Crossing project manager, all but a handful of those below-market rentals are already occupied.
Douglas Elliman’s JR Sena, who’s handling the market rate apartments, says leases have been signed for more than half of the available units. Leasing began at the beginning of this year. Studios start at $3,995/month. According to StreetEasy, prices climb up to more than $7,000/month for 3-bedroom/2-bath units. Sena believes the prime location on the Lower East Side (right above the subway station) and unobstructed city views are big factors driving demand. But the developers are also pushing Essex Crossing’s unique amenities. The expanded Essex Street Market is scheduled to open just after Easter, with the first phase of the subterranean Market Line debuting in late spring/early summer (together the two facilities were boast about 100 food vendors). The building also includes a 14-screen Regal movie theater, which will be open any day now. And the development team is quick to mention Trader Joe’s and Target, located in another Essex Crossing building on Clinton Street.
Appetizers from Essex Pearl, which will be opening a seafood counter and restaurant in the Market Line.
From the roof, you can see the progress of 180 Broome St., which is nearing its full 25 stories. Like The Essex, it will include a 50/50 mix of market rate and affordable rentals.
And on the neighboring lot, 202 Broome St., excavation work is just wrapping up. There will eventually be a 14-story tower on this lot featuring 83 market-rate condos. The developers are searching for a large commercial tenant to take 350,000 square feet of office space spread across both buildings current;y under construction.
Over there on your left, you can see The Rollins, a 211 unit rental building. According to developers, the 107 market rate apartments there are fully booked, about a year after leasing got underway.
Four Essex Crossing buildings are now finished with another three under construction. Taken together, more than 500 apartments have now been completed of 1.079 that will eventually be built. Essex Crossing is rising on the sites formerly known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Former site tenants were given priority for the affordable apartments, if they could come up with documentation. We’re told 27 SPURA residents have moved in so far.
Meanwhile, sales continue at Essex Crossing’s luxe condo tower at 242 Broome St. Five apartments are still listed on StreetEasy, including a 3-bedroom penthouse unit for $7.3 million.
Delancey Street Associates (DSA), a joint venture of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.
Beginning next week, you won’t be able to use the stairs leading to and from the subway station on the southeast side of Delancey Street for three months.
According to the notice posted recently by T.G. Nickel, the stairs will be closed for 95 days starting Feb. 27. T.G. Nickel is the general contractor for Essex Crossing Site 2, the building located just above subway entrance. As part of the Essex Crossing project, passageways are being built under Delancey Street. They’re meant to accommodate visitors to the Market Line, a subterranean shopping complex.
It’s not a great time to be limiting access to the subway station. A 14-screen Regal movie theater is just about ready to open on Delancey Street, along with a newly expanded Essex Street Market (coming in the spring).
Clinton Street at Broome Street – Essex Crossing’s Francis Goldin Senior Apartments.
As 2018 draws to a close, here’s a look at what’s new at Essex Crossing. It’s not all about Target and Trader Joe’s, you know.
Earlier this month, Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, announced two new commercial tenants for 175 Delancey St., also known as the Francis Goldin Senior Apartments. The Lower East Side Partnership will be taking about 3,400 square feet on the fourth floor for its offices. Meanwhile, the Chinese American Planning Council is leasing 8,520 square feet on the third floor for its early childhood education programs.
The building is already home to a senior center and social enterprise business (The GrandLo Cafe) operated by Grand Street Settlement. Henry Street Settlement is moving its Workforce Development Center into 175 Delancey, as well. So four local nonprofit organizations will be huddled in Essex Crossing’s easternmost building. [NYU Langone is also located in the complex].
More Essex Crossing details in a Dec. 19 press release:
–While Regal Cinemas was previously expected to open in another building, 125 Delancey St., in time for the holidays, the 14-screen theater is now aiming for a winter 2019 debut.
–For the moment, developers are sticking to a spring opening for both the new Essex Street Market and the first phase of the Market Line, an underground shopping pavilion. As you might recall, the Essex Street Market was supposed to make the move across Delancey Street in October, but the date was pushed back due to construction delays. Vendors are now receiving a rent break from the city, which runs the facility.
–Leasing is expected to begin next year for 98 market rate apartments at 125 Delancey. Another 98 apartments in the 26-story tower were claimed in an affordable housing lottery held earlier this year.
–The developers report that 145 Clinton St. (better known as the Trader Joe’s building) is nearly fully leased. There’s apparently still a 2-bedroom/2-bath unit with a terrace available for $5,995 per month. A publicly accessible park adjacent to the building named The Rollins, will not open until the spring.
–According to the press release, sales at Essex Crossing’s luxury condos at 242 Broome St. have “surpassed 75%.” There are 44 market rate units in that building. They went on the market in the fall of 2016. If StreetEasy is to be believed, you can pick up a 3-bedroom penthouse for around $7.3 million.
Essex Crossing is a 1.9 million square foot project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Three more buildings are now under construction. The developers include BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. Recently the Goldman Sachs CMBS group provided a $8.75 million loan (a refinancing) for the community facility space at the Francis Goldin Apartments.
Rendering: Moso Studio.
Yudai Kanayama and Keisuke Kasagi of Gouie New York. Photo via the Market Line’s Instagram.
More vendors announced for the Market Line, the underground food, retail and art complex coming to Essex Crossing next year.
Yudai Kanayama and Keisuke Kasagi will be opening a sake bar called Gouie New York when the first phase of the Market Line debuts at 115 Delancey St. They’re the team behind Davelle, the Japanese cafe on Suffolk Street; Izakaya in the East Village; and Samurice in the Canal Street Market. According to a press release, the restaurant will include a chef’s table serving Japanese-American and Japanese-European style small plates. There will be a line of sake specifically created for the Market Line.
“We would like to establish a place in between a restaurant and a bar,” Kanayama and Kasagi explained, “where people can eat after dinner, but before going home. In Japan, there are many places where you can have a couple drinks paired with small delicious dishes. Here, we do not have many places where we can do that.” They say the new spot will be, “a sake bar with small but serious eats.”
The Market Line also announced an agreement with Kevin Liang of the Brooklyn-based wholesaler Southeast Asian Market to open a Lower East Side retail outpost. S.E.A. Market will be a grocery store specializing in imported Southeast Asian products. Liang said, “This is like going back to my roots. Not only did I grow up in the neighborhood, my parents owned a grocery store here where I worked starting at age 7 by packing shelves, tagging, etc. The business has grown and changed a lot since then and being able to come full circle is both exciting and nostalgic.”
The Market Line previously announced its first 15 vendors, including Cafe Grumpy, Ends Meat, Essex Pearl, Kuro-Obi by Ippudo, Nom Wah, Pilot Kombucha, Schaller & Weber, Tortillería Nixtamal, Veselka, The Pickle Guys, Doughnut Plant, Castania Nut Boutique, Substance Vitality Bar, Moon Man, Pho Grand, Rustic Table Shuk, the Tenement Museum, and Ample Hills.
The shopping pavilion will stretch for three blocks between Essex Street and Clinton Street. The first phase of the project, located beneath the new Essex Street Market will debut no earlier than the spring of next year. The Essex Market was supposed to be open in its new space already, but as we reported a few weeks ago, it’s been delayed due to construction complications.
The Market Line is a centerpiece of Essex Crossing, the large residential and commercial project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.
A new Trader Joe’s, Target and hundreds of new apartments (some luxury, some below-market rate) are the most obvious signs that the Lower East Side is undergoing dramatic change. But two community organizations are about to remind us that long before Essex Crossing came along, there was SPURA — the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Imagining the LES: Creating Community is coming up Saturday, Nov. 3. Here’s more from the organizers, the Seward Park Area Redevelopment Coalition (SPARC) and Below the Grid lab:
On Saturday, November 3rd from 2:00 to 5:00pm, SPARC and Below the Grid Lab will host Imagining the LES: Creating Community, a day of activities to celebrate the past, present, and future of the SPURA community (now officially renamed Essex Crossing). Fifty (50) years ago a vibrant community of multi-racial/ethnic residents and the tenement buildings they inhabited was destroyed by Urban Renewal. Now a new community of mixed income buildings–including 500 affordable apartments–is rising from these empty lots. Today’s event attempts to begin to knit together the old and new and imagine a strong vision of a more equitable and just neighborhood..
Imagining the LES: Creating Community, will take place on Saturday November 3rd from 2-5pm in the 4th floor Community Center of the Frances Goldin Senior Building: entrance to the event is through the GrandLo Café at 168 Broome St. Suffolk St, between Grand St & Broome St. There will be food and music and activities to include: painting of banners, oral history interviews of residents, and performances from local arts groups. Neighborhood organizations will have tables announcing their programming. A survey will be distributed for attendees to voice their future neighborhood priorities and interests. We intend to bring together old and new residents to enjoy the activities, meet each other and engage in conversation: “How do we honor the past with a more just future?” “How do we bring together the old and the new?,” and “How do we imagine a truly equal city?”
This exciting and vibrant day is the official launch of the SPURA Living History Project, an initiative of SPARC and Below the Grid Lab to raise the profile of this complex history, inspire a new integrated present and future, and with it a new generation of activists and organizers who will carry the legacy of the Lower East Side into the next fifty years!
Here’s the Facebook invite.
No line outside the new Trader Joe’s on Grand Street yet! The 30,000 square foot store in the basement of the Essex Crossing building known as “The Rollins” opens this morning at 8 o’clock. We’ll be checking back later today…
Photo by The Lo-Down
Trader Joe’s has released a statement announcing an October 19th opening at their new Lower East Side store at 400 Grand Street. The company will celebrate with a grand opening event including “live music, food tastings, giveaways, and more,” beginning at 8am on Friday, Oct. 19th. They write:
The new store, which will be the 7th Trader Joe’s location in Manhattan, is located in Essex Crossing on the corner of Clinton & Grand and is easily accessible via the B, D, F, M, J & Z trains. At over 30,000 total square feet, it’s the largest Trader Joe’s on the Eastern Seaboard, and its interior will feature murals that pay tribute to local landmarks and the dynamic spirit of the neighborhood. The store will be open from 8am – 10pm daily.
photo by The Lo-Down
Additionally, the new store looks to be hiring. There was a sign out front stating they are taking applications tomorrow, Oct. 5, between 9am – 5pm.
Trader Joe’s is opening in the basement of the new Essex Crossing building at 400 Grand Street (on the northwest corner of Grand and Clinton streets), beneath the Target store that opened in August. The announcement comes after a bit of rumormongering, raising doubts that the store was indeed opening.
Anne Saxelby, Feb. 2014.
It’s a big blow for the Essex Street Market. On Saturday, a letter went up alongside Saxelby Cheesemongers’ stall announcing that the business, a stalwart in the historic public market, would be closing its Lower East Side location at the end of this month. What’s more — Anne Saxelby — chief advocate for the vendors over the past decade — will not be making the move to the new Essex Street Market next year. She’s keeping a retail space at the Chelsea Market and bolstering her successful wholesale business, which is based in Brooklyn.
Here’s what Saxelby wrote:
I want to reach out personally and let you know that due to certain business pressures and personal circumstances Saxelby Cheesemongers at the Essex Market will close on Sept. 30, 2018 and will not be opening in the new location.
I realize that this will come as a surprise, as I’ve personally devoted many years to this project, advocating for the market and its vendor community. However, over the past few years our sales in the market have declined precipitously. After much reflection it is clear to me that I would be unwise to proceed with opening this store as it could jeopardize the future of Saxelby Cheesemongers.
It is not easy to run a small business in New York (or anywhere for that matter!) And while I feel very attached to the Essex Market, I have to be pragmatic and put the sustainability of my business, our employees’ livelihood and the 50+ farms we support first.
I want to apologize for the timing of this message – so close to the market’s move and opening. My partner and I have been exploring every alternative to this conclusion, but at this time we cannot commit to going forward with opening in the new market. I am very sad about this and do not take it lightly… for the past 12 years the market has been our flagship, our base and our community, and I am very proud of what we built at Essex. The community of vendors, friends, neighbors and customers is unlike any other in New York, and it has been amazing to be part of this community. The Essex Market was, is and will continue to be an amazing, historic, one-of-a-kind destination in New York City, and I wish the new market nothing but the greatest success.
Saxelby Cheesemongers will continue to operate in the Chelsea Market, and we will continue our wholesale operations from our base in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Thank you for your understanding. It has been an amazing run, and I will dearly miss being part of the Essex Market community.
Saxelby opened her little shop in the Essex Street Market in 2006. In focusing on American farmstead cheese, she celebrated small, regional farms and won the respect of New York’s culinary community. Today, Saxelby supplies some of the best restaurants in the city.
In the market, she was first in a wave of merchants who brought new energy to Essex Street. She fought valiantly to save the market when the city vowed to tear in down as part of the Essex Crossing project (then referred to as SPURA). Having lost that battle, Saxelby refocused her energies on protecting her fellow vendors. She was instrumental in the creation of the Essex Street Market Vendor Association. Saxelby was an outspoken critic of the Economic Development Corp., which operates the market, before a deal was struck between the vendors and the city a couple of years ago, and the two sides began working more closely to address concerns about both the existing facility and the new one.
The existing vendors will be moving over to the new market next spring (the move was recently pushed back from next month due to construction delays). The Essex Crossing developers are paying for the buildout of the new stalls, and covering moving expenses. While the vendors are paying the same price-per-square-foot in the new facility, most will incur more expenses because they chose to take larger spaces (Saxelby’s stall would have been 300 sf as opposed to 115 sf in the existing building).
Vendors, in general, have struggled in recent years, due to a drop in foot traffic. Several shops have closed, unable to hold out long enough for the move to the glitzy facility across the street.
The old Essex Street Market has served its purpose for 78 years. Turns out, the 1940 building on the northeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets will be put to use for at least a few weeks longer. While the city has long promised an opening for a brand new Essex Market on the south side of Delancey later this fall, construction delays have now pushed back the opening until next year.
The vendors were told about the delay on Friday, and are expected to attend a walkthrough of the new facility today. Just before the weekend, we received the official announcement from the city’s Economic Development Corp., which operates the market:
Due to delayed construction of the new Essex Market, relocation of existing vendors will occur in early 2019, following the holiday season. NYCEDC will continue to work closely with the vendors association to ensure a seamless moving process and address any additional concerns they may have.
The public market is part of a 26-story residential/commercial building at 125 Delancey St. (the new market address is 88 Essex St.) The facility is being built by Delancey Street Associates, the development group responsible for the big Essex Crossing project. The existing vendors are to be joined by 14 new merchants. The new space is now expected to be available in early December, while the stalls being readied for the new operators won’t be finished until March. That’s because the city takes possession of the market once the existing vendor stalls are ready. A separate contractor is handling the buildout for the new businesses.
Business owners in the current market have no interest in moving during the holidays, their busiest time of year. For this reason, city officials tell us, they’re aiming for an “early 2019″ debut. Some existing merchants prefer to wait until all stalls are ready, and the market can make a big marketing splash. So if the city agrees to wait, it’s possible the new Essex Street Market won’t open for business until the spring of 2019.
In a statement, Delancey Street Associates explained, “This is an incredibly complicated project and we want to take the time to get it right so it’s ready for vendors to open for business without a hitch right when they move in.”
Over the weekend, we spoke with a few vendors to gauge their reaction to the city’s announcement. They had been told to expect a mid-October move, and some businesses have been reducing inventories and hiring new staff in anticipation of the upcoming switch to the new facility. One business, Pan d’Avignon, already removed a cappuccino machine, which it relies on for a big chunk of its daily sales.
Saad Bourkadi of Essex Olive Oil & Spice House, told us he’s disappointed but also understanding of the situation. Boukadi, one of the newer vendors, said business had been slow during the summer months, and he was looking forward to the boost the new market will hopefully provide. He definitely did not want to move during the holiday season and sees the value of opening the new market when it’s fully operational.
John Lavelle of Nordic Preserves is also disappointed in the delay. He and partners Annika Sundvik and Lu Ratunil will be opening an expanded stall with beer and wine, and hot foot items, in the new space. While they were looking forward to a fresh start across the street next month, Lavelle said he’s not a fan of a phased-in opening. He’d like to see all of the vendors open together.
Eric Suh of New Star Fish Market has a different point of view. While he agrees it would be impossible to make the move during the holidays, Suh said it would be far better for his family’s business to shift over to the new market in January. The fish market’s busiest time of the year is in the early spring (due to Lent/Good Friday, etc.), and Suh definitely wants to be up-and-running by that time. He also said it might make for a smoother, less chaotic transition if the existing vendors open first, followed by the new businesses a few weeks later.
At Formaggio Essex, general manager Andrew Clark said he’s perfectly happy to wait until the spring. Like New Star Fish, the specialty cheese/charcuterie store has a steady, loyal customer base. He understands that other merchants are anxious to make the move to a market that will, hopefully, attract more foot traffic. But the timing won’t make much difference to Formaggio Essex. Clark has an attachment to the historic, quirky market building. He’s feeling a bit wistful about leaving it behind, and is in no rush to cross Delancey Street.
The vendors agreed on one thing. They appreciate the fact that city officials came to them with a forthright explanation of the situation. They said managers at the Economic Development Corp. seem willing to work with the merchants to make the best of the delay. The vendors are expected to hold a vote after today’s tour, which will help determine whether the move takes place in January or during the spring.
The building that will house the new Essex Street Market also includes the first section of a shopping pavilion called the Market Line and a 14-screen Regal movie theater. The tower above the commercial complex includes about 200 rental apartments (half of the units were filled through a city-sponsored affordable housing lottery; leasing is now beginning for the market rate units).