Eleven Madison Park Team to Open Events Space at Essex Crossing

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

International Center of Photography at Essex Crossing. Rendering by Moso Studio.

The acclaimed restaurateurs, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, will be opening a private event space on the top floors of the International Center of Photography’s new museum. The announcement came yesterday from Delancey Street Associates, the developers of Essex Crossing. ICP is opening the museum on Essex Street in 2019 as part of the big Lower East Side project.

In addition to Eleven Madison Park, Guidara and Humm’s Make It Nice hospitality group runs the restaurants at The NoMad hotels in New York and Los Angeles. In a statement, Guidara said:

The opportunity to now create a space designed specifically to offer the best events possible is very exciting –and to do that in collaboration with the storied institution that is the International Center of Photography is particularly thrilling. We’re excited to welcome guests into the beautiful, new location and to host a variety of events there – from cocktail parties to formal sit-down dinners, weddings and more.

In October of last year, ICP announced it would be moving the institution’s museum and school to Essex Crossing. The museum will occupy a four-story building that runs straight through between Essex and Ludlow streets. ICP will also occupy two floors of 242 Broome St., an adjacent condo/commercial building.

Just yesterday, we reported that the Gutter, a Brooklyn-based bowling alley, will be taking a 17,000 square foot space in the basement of 242 Broome.


Brooklyn-Based Bowling Alley, the Gutter, Headed For Essex Crossing (Updated)

242 Broome St.

242 Broome St.

A few months before the first phase of Essex Crossing makes its debut, there’s been a change in one of the big commercial tenants coming to the mega-project. A Florida-based bowling concept, Splitsville Lanes, will be replaced by the Gutter, a home-grown bowling alley.

Back in 2015, Delancey Street Associates (the group building Essex Crossing) announced that Splitsville Lanes would be taking 17,000 square feet on the lower level of 242 Broome St. In an interview yesterday, Andrew Katz of the Prusik Group (one of the development partners) explained the reasons for the switch from one operator to another.

Splitsville Lanes, selected for the project after a nationwide search, had never done business in New York City. At some point, the owners of the company came to the developers to ask about taking on a partner with local experience. Delancey Street Associates was open to the idea, said Katz. In the process of locating the right NYC-based partner, the development team got to know the owners of the Gutter, which operates bowling alleys in Williamsburg/Greenpoint and Long Island City.  Splitsville Lanes ultimately dropped out of Essex Crossing, with the Gutter taking over the Lower East Side space.

Image via the Gutter's website.

Image via the Gutter’s website.

In the end, it was probably for the best. The Gutter opened on North 14th Street in 2007, cultivating an old school vibe. As the New York Times noted a few years ago, the venue presents “itself as a cheaper and lower-key alternative to Brooklyn Bowl, its higher-profile neighbor around the corner.” In 2014, Gothamist called the Gutter one of the eight best bowling alleys in the city, praising its “elegant, old school lanes, classic bar and vintage decor.” The existing locations, said Katz, have “a cool, homey feel.” That might be a little harder to replicate in a shiny new real estate project on the Lower East Side, but the owners definitely know New York nightlife.

The entrance to the Gutter will be on Essex Street. Customers will walk into a 500 square foot lobby leading to the main space in the basement. While there are live bands at the Brooklyn original, Katz said the Lower East Side spot will not be a concert venue (there might be live bands from time-to-time).  There will be 12 lanes.

Drinks and food will be served (think typical bowling alley grub, not high-end cuisine). The bowling alley is expected to open before the end of this year. We have reached out to co-owner Todd Powers, but haven’t been able to connect just yet.

242 Broome St. also includes 55 condominium apartments, and a new home for the International Center of Photography (ICP won’t open at Essex Crossing until 2019). There’s about 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, most of which likely won’t be leased until the building is officially opened in the summer/fall.

UPDATE 4/17 This morning we talked with Todd Powers, who owns the Gutter with Drew DeWitt. They already have preliminary drawings, and an architect is working on more formal designs. Powers said the idea is to play off the subterranean space, giving it a Mid-America/Mid-Century basement feel.

The all-wood lanes, like the Gutter’s other locations, will be sourced from a shuttered bowling alley (the ones in Brooklyn came from Iowa).  The place will still feel homey, said Powers, but it will have a bit more polish than the existing venues.

The plan is to serve Neapolitan-style pizza. There will be a full-scale restaurant/kitchen setup. While some live acoustic music is envisioned, the Gutter on the Lower East Side is not meant to be a performance venue. Powers said the build-out will take five or six months once the Department of Buildings signs off on the plans. He’s hoping for a November opening.


Essex Crossing Pulls in $260 Million in Financing For 202 Broome St.

Essex Crossing Site 3, 202 Broome St. Rendering by Moso Studio.

Essex Crossing Site 3, 202 Broome St. Rendering by Moso Studio.

The developers of Essex Crossing announced today that they’ve locked in $260 million in financing for a 14-story mixed-use building at 202 Broome St. This means the mega-project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area has secured 90% of its total financing.

The acquisition and construction loan was provided by Square Mile Capital Management. The building on site 3 of Essex Crossing will include 83 luxury condo units and 175,000 square feet of office space. This part of the project will also include a section of the Market Line, an underground retail pavilion stretching across three blocks. The building features about 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail, as well. The site 3 architect is CetraRuddy. Completion is expected in 2021.

The first phase of Essex Crossing on the initial four sites is nearly complete. A low-income senior building is already fully occupied, and leasing is ongoing for a second rental building at 145 Clinton St. A Trader Joe’s. Target, a medical center from NYU Langone, a 14-screen Regal movie theater and a new Essex Street Market will be opening throughout the summer and fall.

In the second phase of construction, sites 3 and 4 will add a total of 350,000 square feet of office space. The developers have not yet announced those commercial tenants.

Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, is made up of BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners and Goldman Sachs. The development costs have climbed to $1.5 billion, from $1.1 billion, when the project was first unveiled in 2013.


Retail Slump: Measuring the Impact of Mega-Projects Like Essex Crossing

FotoJet (1)

In the Post on Sunday, there was a piece from Steve Cuozzo that carried the headline, “The world’s hottest shopping city is becoming a ghost town.” He noted that major commercial corridors throughout the city are littered with vacant storefronts, and challenged the conventional wisdom from the real estate industry that the current retail slump is only temporary. “Bricks-and-mortar retail is shrinking so swiftly and on such a wide scale,” Cuozzo wrote, “it’s going to require big changes in how we plan our new buildings and our cities — although nobody wants to admit it.”

On the Lower East Side, as in much of the city, commercial blocks are filled with rental signs. The photos posted above were all taken during a short stroll down Clinton Street yesterday afternoon. These aren’t even all of the empty storefronts on the stretch between Delancey Street and East Houston Street — only a sampling. Just this past week, another retailer, Scumbags & Superstars, called it quits.

We’re all familiar with the forces battering both independent retail and large corporate stores. The Post points out that online shopping now accounts for more than 9% of all national sales. Then there are rising rents, and spiraling property taxes, which are passed on to beleaguered commercial tenants. In this neighborhood, there’s another factor: low foot traffic during  daytime hours.

In a followup on Monday, Cuozzo zeroed in on another piece of the retail puzzle: the many new mega-projects under construction throughout New York. “Some 1.2 million square feet of newly minted retail space,” he reported, “are coming to the Manhattan leasing market at three major new developments — Hudson Yards, Manhattan West and Essex Crossing — even as vacant stores blight almost every part of Manhattan.” According to the story, developers are relatively unconcerned about having to lease so much new retail space.

Target is opening a new store at Essex Crossing.

Target is opening a new store at Essex Crossing.

Since Essex Crossing was mentioned, let’s take a look at how leasing has gone in the huge Lower East Side project.

The mixed-use (residential, commercial, community) complex at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge includes 400,000 square feet of retail across nine development sites. Many of the anchor tenants have been under contract for months, if not years. They include: Regal Cinemas (65,000 sf), Trader Joe’s (30,000 sf), Target (22,500 sf) and Splitsville Lanes (17,000 square feet). Then there’s an expanded Essex Street Market (30,000 sf), which factored into the project from the very beginning. Taken together, more than 165,000 square feet of retail is already accounted for.

On top of these spaces, Essex Crossing includes the Market Line, a 120,000 square foot underground shopping pavilion. The first of three sections of that facility will open later this year with about 70 small vendors. Only a few of them have been publicly announced.

But assuming the team at Delancey Street Associates (the development consortium) fills out the Market Line, they will only have another 100,000 square feet of retail left to lease. Essex Crossing isn’t scheduled for completion until the year 2024.

The bigger question on the Lower East Side is what impact all of the new retail will have on existing small businesses and commercial spaces. If Essex Crossing draws a lot of new shoppers to the neighborhood, all retailers could benefit. But what if the project doesn’t become a shopping magnet?  What if the big corporate stores such as Target and Trader Joe’s simply pull customers away from smaller merchants? We’re not going to have answers to these questions until Essex Crossing is open for business in a few months. Some neighborhood leaders are hopeful that other aspects of the project will help lift the fortunes of all businesses. At the top of the list: 350,000 square feet of office space spread across two buildings on Delancey Street. More office workers would mean more daytime street activity and, potentially, more customers.

On Sunday, Cuozzo concluded by arguing that it’s time for the city to rein in retail in new buildings:

We can still avoid becoming a retail ghost town like many of the country’s malls. But to increase demand for our dark storefronts, the city must roll back zoning rules in some neighborhoods that require even more retail in new buildings whether there’s demand for them or not. We should discourage the inclusion of acres of retail in giant new complexes that only add to the glut. Otherwise, the whole town will look like Broadway in the ’50s — a corridor of salad bars and dark windows.


Yes, Trader Joe’s is Coming to Essex Crossing. Don’t Believe the Silly Rumormongering

Rendering of New Trader Joe's at Essex Crossing.

Rendering of New Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing. Image provided by Trader Joe’s public relations office.

Stop the madness! Trader Joe’s is coming to the new Essex Crossing project. No amount of ridiculous rumormongering will change that.

In recent weeks, there’s been all sorts of online speculation — suggestions that the wildly popular market might be backing out of the Essex Crossing project. The other night at the 7th Precinct Community Council meeting, Essex Crossing Community Relations Manager Katie Archer was called on to address the rumors. She assured traumatized locals that everything is on track for a TJ’s opening later this year.

The public relations office at Trader Joe’s has contributed to the confusion, telling a local blogger (SPBuzz) that the company is, “still interested in the Lower East Side as a potential store location,” without acknowledging that it’s a done deal. [An October 2016 press release from the company’s pr office carried the headline, “Trader Joe’s Signs Lease to Open a New Lower East Side Store Scheduled for 2018.”] The location, at 145 Clinton St., is not listed on Trader Joes’ “Store Openings” web page.

We reached out to TJ’s PR Director, Kenya Friend-Daniel, yesterday, who said, “Our plan is to open a store at that location this year.”  She said no one should be concerned about the fact that the opening is not listed on the company’s website. Trader Joe’s, she said, likes to have store buildout details worked out before announcing a target opening date. James Yolles, a spokesperson for the developers (Delancey Street Associates), said the buildout is expected to begin in a matter of weeks.

Trader Joe’s is a notoriously secretive company. In other cities, it has been similarly cagey about opening details. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis spotted work permits for a new store in January but reported, “a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman still would not characterize the permit application as definitive confirmation that the chain is headed to Germantown.”

This past September, a work permit was filed with the Department of Buildings’ for plumbing work at Trader Joes’ Lower East Side’s store. The 30,000 square foot space will be on the lower level of 145 Clinton St., while a smaller Target store will be on the second floor. Target is not quite as shy about trumpeting its LES arrival.


Community Visioning Planned to Address Traffic Tie-ups Around Essex Crossing


For many months, local residents, elected officials and Community Board 3 have been pressuring the city to do something about the traffic bottleneck at Clinton Street and Grand Street. At a meeting of CB3’s transportation committee this week, District Manager Susan Stetzer said she expects officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to present their plans in May. At the same meeting, the committee agreed that CB3 should take part in a broader planning process to deal with traffic congestion in the area.

The problems at Grand and Clinton streets are well documented. The community board expects DOT’s proposal to be narrowly focused on this intersection. There’s a bigger picture, however. By the summer, the first four buildings in the big Essex Crossing development project will open, adding many new residents and retail businesses in the immediate area. At Tuesday evening’s meeting, Tim Laughlin, president of the Lower East Side Partnership, suggested a community visioning process to address all of the traffic concerns.

The visioning would be a collaboration between the Partnership and Community Board 3. It would take into account the impact of Essex Crossing in the blocks between Essex Street and Clinton Street. It would also consider the potential impacts of two proposed projects in the same area: two new towers from the Grand Street Guild and a new residential complex on the former site of the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue.

The committee voted in favor of participating in the visioning exercise. No date has been set as of yet. Reps from Delancey Street Associates, developers of Essex Crossing, have been meeting routinely with city agencies about traffic management. We’re told they would be willing to participate in the partnership-CB3 visioning.

First Signs of New Target Store Appear on Grand Street

IMG_9439The first big commercial ventures will be opening up later this year at Essex Crossing. As you may know, a mid-sized Target store is coming to 145 Clinton St., one of four buildings in the first phase of the big development project. Today we got a glimpse of Target’s signage on the Grand Street side of the mixed residential/retail complex.

According to Target’s website, an opening on the Lower East Side is anticipated in the summertime. The 22,500 square foot space is on the second floor. A 30,000 square foot Trader Joe’s will be on the lower level.

Other major businesses coming to Essex Crossing this year include: Regal Cinemas, Splitsville Lanes and NYU Langone. If you’re interested in jobs from any of these employers, you should reach out to the Lower East Side Employment Network.

GrandLo Cafe is Now Open With a $3 Coffee + Pastry Special


We stopped by the brand new GrandLo Cafe for our morning coffee and to meet the team working at Grand Street Settlement’s social enterprise venture at 178 Broome St.

Manager Adam Perez was behind the counter, along with Cindy Vasquez. The cafe, which will serve as a youth training center, is part of the new Essex Crossing project. Opening week hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (take advantage of a $3 coffee & pastry special this week). The business will be open starting next week 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

We can already tell the GrandLo Cafe will be a good community gathering spot. If you’re looking for a casual meeting destination in the neighborhood, check it out.




GrandLo Cafe Soft Opens at 178 Broome St. March 12

Photo by Grand Street Settlement.

Photo by Grand Street Settlement.

The first commercial business at Essex Crossing opens for business next week.

The GrandLo Cafe, a social enterprise coffee shop run by Grand Street Settlement, will make a soft debut next Monday, March 12. It’s located at 178 Broome St., just to the east of Clinton Street. Next week’s limited hours will be 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. before a grand opening March 19.

Grand Street Settlement is the lead community partner in Essex Crossing, the 1.9 million square foot project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. The cafe will serve as a community gathering spot and as a workforce training center for neighborhood youth. They’re serving Counter Culture coffee and pastries from Brick City Baking Co.

In the same building, Grand Street Settlement is running a senior center. There will also be a medical center run by NYU Langone.


30 Years Later, Revisiting Bobby G’s “Youth of the Lower East Side”

Bobby G's Delancey Street mural, 1984.

Bobby G’s Delancey Street mural, 1984.

The Essex Crossing development project is obviously changing the neighborhood in dramatic ways. A current show at the Hionas Gallery recalls a time, three decades ago, when the former urban renewal site was targeted not for redevelopment — but for radical art.

The longtime East Village artist, Robert Goldman (aka Bobby G), was a co-founder of the activist arts organization ABC No Rio. He was one of the instigators of The Real Estate Show in 1979, in which artists took over a padlocked Delancey Street building to make a statement about the city’s pro-developer policies.

“At No Rio in those early years,” Peter Hionas explains, “(Goldman) engaged the local youth. He had discussions, drawing parties, made videos, and painted their portraits…”  Last month, the Crown Heights Gallery (it was formerly located on the Lower East Side), debuted Bobby G: 1984. It includes individual paintings based on a 50-foot mural painted on an abandoned building at Delancey and Suffolk streets (now Essex Crossing site 3, which is under construction).

Here’s more from the press release:

1984 comprises a selection of works from Bobby G’s acclaimed “Youth of the Lower East Side” portrait series, painted in the early 1980s. The seemingly stoic subjects are most notable for the artist’s use of a thin solution of silver radiator paint, which frames the postured contours of his figures then drips downward with abandon, lending each standalone portrait a vibrancy and gravitas. This is the first time in more than 30 years these works have been exhibited in public.

Back in 2014, the Lower East Side’s James Fuentes Gallery organized a group exhibition centered on the Real Estate Show. You can read about that here.  ABC No Rio is working towards constructing a new building at 156 Rivington St., a site that it has occupied since 1980. The organization’s decaying tenement was demolished early last year.

The show at the Hionas Gallery Backroom is open through the end of the month (Saturdays only).

Photo by Ian Dryden.

Photo by Ian Dryden.






A One-Bedroom Rental at Essex Crossing Will Cost You About $4,000/Month

essex crossing site 5

A market rate one bedroom rental at Essex Crossing will set you back about $4,000 per month.

A short time ago, Delancey Street Associates (the development consortium) went live with 107 apartments at The Rollins, a 16-story building located at 145 Clinton St. An affordable housing lottery was already held for 104 low- and middle-income units at The Rollins, the complex named for Jazz great Sonny Rollins. Tenants of those apartments have been moving in over the past couple of weeks.

According to The Rollins’ website, a studio on the sixth floor runs $2,945. A one-bedroom/one-bath unit on the 14th floor is priced at $4,365. There’s a two-bedroom/one-bath unit for $5,400 and a three-bedroom/3-bath spread on a high floor for $7,940. These are the first market rate units at Essex Crossing to hit the market. The rentals are being handled by Douglas Elliman Development Marketing.

As previously reported, the affordable units at 145 Clinton St. range in price from $519 to more than $3400.

The building includes a concierge service, a resident lounge, a rooftop terrace lounge and an exercise room. There’s also a 15,000 square foot publicly accessible park located adjacent to the building (on Broome Street). It will open later this year, along with a Trader Joe’s and a Target store. Back in December, the developers named the building for Sonny Rollins, who lived at 400 Grand St. (a tenement demolished to build the complex), in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Essex Crossing will eventually include more than 1,000 apartments, half of them designated as affordable. Another rental building will open later this year at 115 Delancey St. An affordable senior building is already fully leased at 175 Delancey St. Essex Crossing will feature a new Essex Street Market (opening in the fall), a large underground shopping pavilion called the Market Line, a medical center from NYU Langone, a 14-screen movie theater, among other amenities.

Delancey Street Associates includes three developers — Taconic Investment Partners, BFC Partners and L+M Development Partners — plus the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group., which has made available about a half billion dollars in financing to build the project.




Living Room

Rooftop Terrace


Coming Home 50 Years Later: Residents Settle In at the Frances Goldin Senior Apartments

Frances Goldin celebrated the opening of 175 Delancey St., January 2018. Photos by Emil Cohen/New York City Council.

Frances Goldin celebrated the opening of 175 Delancey St., January 2018. Photo by Emil Cohen/New York City Council.

On a blustery fall day in 2009, Frances Goldin joined fellow affordable housing activists on a desolate stretch of Suffolk Street. At an annual vigil marking the displacement of 2,000 residents from the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), she climbed up on a rickety platform and demanded the right of return for those tenants. Forty-two years after demolition, it seemed like a futile plea. So last month, on Jan. 29, it was an extraordinary moment when the first building officially opened on the former SPURA site. Goldin was not only present for the ribbon cutting ceremony; she was the guest of honor. The 14-story tower at 175 Delancey St. has been named The Frances Goldin Senior Apartments.

Although the first residents moved in weeks ago, the event was essentially the coming out party for the SPURA project, now branded Essex Crossing. 175 Delancey St. is one of four buildings in the first phase of construction. There will be a glitzier opening later this year when a new Essex Street Market debuts as the centerpiece of the 1.9 million square foot mega-project. But the January event at this building, which includes 99 affordable senior apartments, had an especially local feel.

Photo by Emil Cohen/New York City Council.

Photo by Emil Cohen/New York City Council.

The celebration was held in the building’s light-filled fourth floor senior center, which is run by Grand Street Settlement. The developers (Delancey Street Associates) were on hand, as well as city officials, members of Community Board 3 and several former SPURA site tenants who now occupy apartments at 175 Delancey St.

Goldin, 93, received a plaque and accolades from a succession of speakers. She needed a little help getting to the podium, but once there, Goldin was clearly energized. She pumped her fist, and told the crowd, “I am honored to have my name associated with this beautiful building… (which) will provide quality, accessible housing to 100 of my deserved neighbors. Thank you for this honor!”

Lisa Kaplan, a longtime member of Community Board 3, was given the task of telling Goldin’s story. They first met in 1973 when Kaplan began working for a program at Grand Street Settlement meant to give former site tenants a voice in planning their new community. Goldin was a leader of a coalition called the Lower East Side Joint Planning Council, which spent decades advocating for low-income housing on the SPURA site. In an essay written for last month’s occasion, Kaplan explained why the urban renewal parcels remained dormant for so long. 

Fearful of racial and economic integration,” she said, “the power elite of the neighborhood had halted the development plans in their tracks. Seward Park became an iconic struggle, pitting the largely middle class, already assimilated residents against the newer Latino, and some Asian, immigrants in the community.” 

At that 2009 rally on Suffolk Street, Goldin was considerably more direct. “It hasn’t happened,” she said gesturing to the Grand Street Cooperative buildings in the distance, “because the people who ran the co-ops… didn’t want to be surrounded by tenants who were darker skinned and spoke Spanish. That is racism. That is ugly. That is anti-humanitarian.”

The old “power elite” on the Lower East Side was nowhere to be seen at last month’s celebration. For years, of course, the powerful assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, blocked the construction of new affordable housing on the SPURA site. He finally relented in 2011, after a community task force struck a compromise for 50% affordable/50% market rate housing. Silver and Goldin were bitter foes. Upon seizing power in Albany in 1994, the new speaker called Goldin, “a person who gets paid to make sure there’s controversy” and who “obviously wants to deny her birth” as a Jew. At the Jan. 29 ceremony, Goldin was honored for a lifetime of community activism, while Silver awaits retrial on federal corruption charges (he was ejected from the assembly in 2015 at about the same time the first Essex Crossing buildings were breaking ground). Goldin told NY1 last month “We succeeded and he failed, and that’s good.”

175 Delancey St.

175 Delancey St.

Goldin and her fellow housing activists did not get everything they wanted. She would have preferred a 100% affordable project on the SPURA site, but was ultimately willing to compromise. It was impossible to watch the festivities on that day last month without thinking about how much has changed on the Lower East Side since Goldin’s days of railing against mayors and real estate developers.

Among the speakers was Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, the former Goldman Sachs executive who’s been under fire from affordable housing activists. She made reference to SPURA’s, “very tragic legacy of evicting families that had been (on the Lower East Side) for so many generations.” Glen added, “Administrations kept changing, but one thing that didn’t change is that this community never forgot the promises that were made in those early days. They never stopped pushing. They never gave up.”

City Councilmember Margaret Chin also spoke, saying the first Essex Crossing building is, “a dream come true for seniors in our community who now have accessible, age-friendly and above all, affordable homes.” She looked back on the contentious negotiations between the community board and city officials to make the SPURA project happen. Chin noted that the city only wanted to guarantee affordability for 60 years, a stance that was a deal breaker for CB3. “The city,” said Chin, “they heard loud and clear from the community that nothing but permanent affordable housing was acceptable… They decided to go all the way, and that’s how SPURA came about.”

From the beginning, the community board insisted on the right of return for former site tenants. There’s been a huge effort during the past few years to locate families who lived on the urban renewal parcels in 1967. Six of them now have apartments at 175 Delancey St.

One resident, Elsie Rivera, recalled living at 53 Suffolk St. decades ago. Her family moved to Brooklyn after a fire destroyed their apartment, well before buildings on SPURA were condemned. Rivera entered an affordable housing lottery last year, after hearing about it from old friends on the Lower East Side. She just moved into her new home a few weeks ago. “It’s amazing,” said Rivera. “It is a blessing from God.”

David Rivera holds a photo of his granddaughter while seated in his apartment at 175 Delancey St.

David Santiago holds a photo of his granddaughter while seated in his apartment at 175 Delancey St.

Another tenant, David Santiago, was just 6 years old when his family was forced to vacate an apartment at 161 Clinton St. After years of living in California, he came back to New York to care for an ailing parent (his mom lives in the Grand Street Guild apartments). Santiago, a chef, said he doubted anything would ever be built on the SPURA parcels. He had become involved with a local group, the Seward Park Area Redevelopment Coalition (SPARC). which has helped locate former tenants. Santiago decided to apply for an apartment himself, and moved in to the Delancey Street building about six weeks ago. Asked how he feels, Santiago said, “I think it’s a good thing. Despite the time that it took to happen — it happened. It got done. I’m just happy all the way around.”

More milestones are ahead in the Essex Crossing project. Eight more former SPURA tenants are moving into another building, 145 Clinton St., this month. Meanwhile, a grand opening is scheduled March 16 for the GrandLo Cafe, a non-profit social enterprise venture run by Grand Street Settlement (the cafe is located on the ground floor of the senior building).

At the ribbon cutting, Grand Street’s executive director, Robert Cordero, called it, “the first step in righting a historic wrong.” The opening, he said, comes with an implicit promise, “to serve this community, which will not be broken.”

Essex Crossing is a collaboration among BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. The $1.1 billion project will eventually include more than 1,000 apartments, a new Essex Street Market, a shopping pavilion called the Market Line, a medical center from NYU Langone, among other amenities. 


Essex Crossing Reveals a Few More Market Line Vendors (Updated)

The Market Line. Rendering by SHoP Architects.

The Market Line. Rendering by SHoP Architects.

The developers of Essex Crossing are starting to reveal some of the vendors that will be part of the Market Line, a large subterranean shopping pavilion. The facility, meant to complement the Essex Street Market, will run along Broome Street from Clinton Street to Essex Street. The first third of the Market Line is set to open this coming fall.

Buried at the bottom of Florence Fabricant’s Off the Menu column in the New York Times, you’ll find a few of the featured vendors that will apparently be officially announced later today. They include: Tortilleria Nixtamal, neighborhood favorite Veselka, Kuro-Obi (from the ramen chain Ippudo), Cafe Grumpy, Pilot Kombucha, Ends Meat (whole animal butcher) and Essex Pearl (seafood).

This past September, the developers announced the first two Market Line vendors, Chinatown classic, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, and Schaller & Weber, the Upper East Side purveyor of sausages and German-style smoked meats.

The first part of the Market Line will be located in the basement of Essex Crossing’s tower at 115 Delancey St. (Essex Street). An expanded Essex Street Market will be located on the first and second floors of that building. Last night, by the way, local residents gathered for a community visioning session to help determine the programming for a demo kitchen and public space that will be part of the new market. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin were there to offer words of encouragement.

The first phase of Essex Crossing will also include hundreds of market rate and affordable apartments, a 14-screen Regal movie theater, a Trader Joe’s, a Target store and a medical center from NYU Langone.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m. There’s now a press release from the development team, and profiles of the vendors on the Market Line website.

Tom Birchard of Veselka noted that there was no such thing as the “East Village” when he first came to the Second Avenue Ukrainian restaurant in 1966. It was all the Lower East Side. “Opening a second location in the heart of the Lower East Side,” said Birchard, “is exciting for us for several reasons: We are looking forward to being in the epicenter of immigrant culture and history, a space with other long-standing New York culinary institutions and the next incarnation of the ever-changing Lower East Side culture.”

A few more details about some other merchants.

Ends Meat, currently based in Brooklyn at Industry City, is “a whole-animal salumeria inspired by traditional Italian styles and methods.” In addition to being able to select various meats, shoppers at the Market Line will be able to purchase sandwiches.

Essex Pearl is a new project from the owners of Aqua Best seafood market on Grand Street in Chinatown. At the Market Line, they’ll have a seafood counter and restaurant.

Kuro-Obi is the latest outpost from Ippudo, the popular ramen restaurant chain with locations in the East Village, Soho and Midtown.

–At the Market Line, Nom Wah (Chinatown’s oldest dim sum restaurant) will offer both full menu counter service and take-out.

Pilot Kombucha will be opening its first brick-and-mortar location at the Market Line, “brewing seasonal flavors of kombucha on-site daily.”

Tortilleria Nixtamal will be opening up its first Manhattan location, after starting out in Corona, Queens 15 years ago. The authentic tortillería makes fresh tortillas that contain real corn.

Here are a couple of new renderings of the Market Line:


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At Today’s Essex Crossing Grand Opening, 175 Delancey St. Will Be Named For Frances Goldin

LES activist Francis Goldin on the SPURA site in 2010.

LES activist Francis Goldin on the SPURA site in 2010.

In November of last year, residents began moving into the first completed building at Essex Crossing, the project now under construction in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Today, city officials and community leaders will gather at the building, 175 Delancey St., for the its official grand opening. As we first reported last month, the building has been named in honor of Lower East Side activist Frances Goldin.

Goldin, 93, is a lifelong affordable housing crusader, a hero to many in the neighborhood. She was co-founder of the Cooper Square Committee and fought Robert Moses’ urban renewal schemes. For many decades, she also battled for affordable housing on the Seward Park site. When the community finally came together on a compromise plan in 2012 that called for 50% affordable housing on SPURA, Goldin called it, “not perfect but better than nothing.” In endorsing the deal, she said, “Let’s see this thing built for ourselves and our children.”

175 Delancey includes 99 apartments for low-income seniors, a senior center run by Grand Street Settlement, the GrandLo Cafe also operated by the settlement house and a medical center from NYU Langone.


In the New York Times today, David Santiago, a former Seward Park site tenant, is one of those interviewed. Santiago was just 6 in 1967 when his family was forced from their Delancey Street tenement. He just moved into an apartment in the Essex Crossing building.

We’ll have more after today’s grand opening. In the meantime, check out this video from 2009. Fran Goldin was the first speaker at an annual rally held on the SPURA site to keep pressure on city officials to finally build something. As you can see, she does not mince words.

Help Shape Programs at New Essex Street Market Feb. 5

Rendering of the new Essex Street Market.

Rendering of the new Essex Street Market.

In the fall of this year, a new Essex Street Market will open on the south side of Delancey Street as part of the Essex Crossing project (keep in mind that all of the vendors are still operating until that time in the existing facility).

One feature of the newly expanded space will be a second floor demonstration kitchen and public event space. Coming up on Monday, Feb. 5, there will be a community visioning workshop. It’s your chance to talk about what types of programs, classes and events you’d like to see. The session is being coordinated by the market’s Vendor Association.

The workshop takes place at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of 175 Delancey St. That’s the Essex Crossing senior building that quietly opened to residents a few months ago. You can RSVP by emailing  info@esmva.org or calling (212) 334-6943.