A New Supermarket For Two Bridges? Residents Press Extell For a Firm Answer

Rendering of 229 Cherry St., by Dattner Architects.

Rendering of 229 Cherry St., by Dattner Architects.

More than four years after the Pathmark grocery store in the Two Bridges neighborhood closed, local residents are trying to turn up the pressure on Extell Development, which is building an 80-story luxury tower where the supermarket once stood.

While Extell executives have said they are attempting to find a new supermarket for the project, there’s been nothing definitive. Tenant leaders (under the auspices of a coalition known as TUFF-LES) sent a letter to Extell President Gary Barnett April 4, asking for concrete information about the search for a new large-scale food store.

Here’s a portion of that letter:

With the development quickly moving along and destined for completion in a year or so we would have expected to hear something more concrete at this time in regards to what supermarket we should expect. We would like to remind you of commitments made to this community regarding the replacement of an affordable, large-scale supermarket; with such a large footprint in our community surely you recognize the obligation to give something back…  Tenants United Fighting For Lower East Side (TUFF-LES) strongly urge Extell to make good on their stated commitments to bring a replacement supermarket back to the Two Bridges community and further provide us with some articulation of what efforts are being made in this regard. We would like to know have there been any expressions of interest and is there anything the community can do to help bring out a favorable outcome with respect to a new supermarket? We look forward to hearing from you.

Pathmark closed it Cherry Street store in 2012.

Pathmark closed it Cherry Street store in 2012.

As of yesterday, the residents had not received a reply from Extell. Kenneth Lowenstein, an attorney representing the real estate developer, appeared before Community Board 3 last night to pitch the developer’s application for 421-a tax breaks. During his presentation, the tenant leaders took it upon themselves to press Lowenstein for a response on the grocery. The answer came this morning via email from Extell executive Raizy Haas:

“Extell Development,” wrote Haas, “is still trying to lease a portion of the retail space in its new development on Cherry Street to a full service, affordable supermarket.  We hope our efforts will be successful and will address the needs of both the community and new residents. We are in communication with several supermarkets and will be providing an update at the appropriate time.”

Back in 2013, local elected officials said they received a commitment from Barnett to create a full-service grocery store as part of the Lower East Side project. Barnett reaffirmed the commitment in a 2014 community meeting. In late 2015, Haas once again spoke of the quest for an affordable grocery, suggesting it could open in 2018. [The supermarket would be located in a 14-story affordable building going up alongside the luxury condo tower, at 229 Cherry St.]

Today we reached out to the local elected officials involved in those 2013 discussions with Barnett. State Sen. Daniel Squadron said, “Extell made a commitment for an affordable supermarket, and that commitment stands. It’s all the more urgent with the looming threat of additional mega developments, and highlights the need for comprehensive development coordination in the area.”

Paul Leonard, City Council member Margaret Chin’s chief of staff, added, “We continue to call on Extell to do the right thing,” by securing an affordable grocery for the development site. “After years of negative (construction) impacts, a new supermarket is the one good outcome” that local residents have been promised. “We urge Extell to deliver on that promise,” said Leonard.

The need for a new grocery has, of course, become more critical with three large-scale developments planned in the Two Bridges neighborhood. While all of these proposed projects include ground floor commercial space, none of the proposed storefronts will be able to accommodate a large supermarket.

The developers (JDS Development Group, L+M Development Partners, the CIM Group and the Starrett Group) are not waiting for a grand announcement from Extell. According to a spokesperson for the development teams, they are working to identify commercial spaces in the immediate area for a full-scale grocery, as well as potential operators. The spokesperson declined to pinpoint the locations under review.

In their letter, residents made it clear they do not want to see a market like Whole Foods in the Two Bridges area. “The needs of the surrounding community,” they wrote, “demand something along the lines of Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Giant, Wegmans and the like; bottom line something that is fitting with the socioeconomics of the existing Two Bridges community.”

New Supermarket, Replacing Cherry Street Pathmark, Could Open in 2018

Developers showed several revised renderings of the 205-unit affordable tower at 229 Cherry St.

Developers showed several revised renderings of the 205-unit affordable tower at 229 Cherry St.

Extell Development’s 80-story luxury tower in the Two Bridges area has definitely not been welcomed with open arms within the community. Concerns about construction noise, gentrification and the shear size of the project have all come into play. But the worst part for many locals was the loss of the Pathmark Supermarket that formerly occupied the development site. Last night, at a quarterly construction meeting with the Extell team, there was renewed talk of a replacement market as part of the new residential and commercial complex.

After the Pathmark store closed in 2012 and was demolished, Extell said it was committed to establishing a new full-service grocery on the site. During a 2014 community meeting, Extell chief Gary Barnett intimated that it would be an affordable market, in keeping with the overall neighborhood’s low- and middle-income demographics. But people have been skeptical.

Raizy Haas, the executive managing the project, said yesterday that an operator had not yet been selected but she hopes the grocery will open in early 2018. That’s when a 205-unit “below-market” building going up alongside the larger project is slated for completion. The grocery will take a 25,000 sq. ft. space in the affordable tower. She made no promises, but said it would be the goal.

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On another topic, Haas said Extell is working with consultants on plans for the plaza area along the east side of the project site. The plaza itself is owned by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund. They also control Two Bridges Tower, a neighboring building. Extell intends to present design ideas to both the owners and the tenant association at Two Bridges Tower in the coming months. Haas said they’re thinking about creating a “green wall” between the two properties, as well as “architecturally pleasing pavement” and new lighting in the area.

This morning, Victor Papa of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council said there’s interest in meeting with Extell about the plaza. “We would welcome such a meeting,” he said, “not so much to emphasize a divide, as to improve the plaza area.” Papa also said he hopes to meet with Extell executives soon about plans for the new supermarket and about damaged caused by construction.

extell1

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Overall, the meeting was a cordial affair. A couple of residents from Two Bridges Tower thanked Extell and its general contractor, Lend Lease, for promptly responding to their concerns. The session was moderated by Trever Holland, tenant president at Two Bridges Tower with help from Community Board 3’s Susan Stetzer. The only hiccup: a new policy at the Manny Cantor Center, which prevented people without identification from attending (it won’t happen again for CB3 events, said Stetzer).

Construction managers said the pile driving operation, the noisiest part of the project, has now been completed. They are in the process of installing a large crane for the superstructure. That will be completed Saturday morning (Pike Street will be shut down during the final installation). They repeated early pledges to repave sections of Cherry Street torn up due to construction and to fix all damage they’re responsible for causing in neighboring buildings.

Finally, the executives were asked about hiring locally for both construction jobs and positions within the commercial businesses created by the project. Haas said Extell and Lend Lease are willing to consider hiring any qualified candidates who contact them via email (250SouthSt@lendlease.com). The project is, however, a union site. Val Jones, a local resident, urged the developers to take more proactive steps — reaching out to local groups about employment opportunities. Preliminary conversations have taken place with the LES Employment Network, a consortium of local job placement centers. That group, however, isn’t equipped to deal with union construction jobs — only permanent positions in the completed project.

The big 80-story tower, including 815 apartments and crazy amenities, is scheduled to open in 2019.

Here’s What’s Left of the Cherry Street Pathmark

pathmark site

A short time ago, we stopped by the site of the former Pathmark store on Cherry Street to see what remains. The answer? Not much. In the months ahead, Extell Development will be building a 68-story residential tower here. You can read our previous coverage for the scant details publicly revealed so far.

Photos: Cherry Street Pathmark Demolition

Photo by Dave Bolotsky.

Photo by Dave Bolotsky.

We have been watching the demolition of the former Cherry Street Pathmark building, ahead of Extell Development’s massive 68-story residential project on the Two Bridges site.  Our friend Dave Bolotsky sent along this photo showing the view from above.

Photos: Demolition of the Cherry Street Pathmark Store

Photos by Trever Holland.

Photos by Trever Holland.

We’ve been keeping an eye on the dismantling of the Cherry Street Pathmark store, the future site of a 68-story tower from Extell Development.  So have local residents.

Extell Begins Demolition of Cherry Street Pathmark Building

Extell Files Documents For 68-Story Tower on Pathmark Site

Extell Reps Meet Local Tenants, Community Board Appearance Delayed

Two Bridges Grocery Guide Released; Extell Tower Could Rise Above 70 Stories

As plans for the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street begin to take shape, a local non-profit is encouraging residents to buy their groceries at small-scale stores throughout the Lower East Side.

Extell Files For Demolition of Former Cherry Street Pathmark Store

Former Pathmark site, 227 Cherry St.

Former Pathmark site, 227 Cherry St.

A few weeks ago we noted that demolition was imminent at at the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street.  Now, almost a year after the large supermarket in the Two Bridges area closed, paperwork has been filed to take down the one-story building.  Extell Development Corp., which is planning a very large residential tower (with ground floor grocery), has filed a full demolition request with the Department of Buildings.  No word yet on Extell’s specific blueprint for the site alongside the Manhattan Bridge.

Demolition Scheduled to Begin at Extell’s Pathmark Site Soon

It’s been almost a year since the Pathmark store at 227 Cherry St. closed to make way for a massive new residential tower from Gary Barnett’s Extell Development Company.  Extell has not disclosed specific plans for the site, but pre-construction work is apparently getting underway sometime soon.

Veggie Van Coming to Two Bridges Neighborhood

Six months after the Pathmark store closed on Cherry Street, the Manhattan Borough President has a plan: the Veggie Van.

New Affordable Housing at 235-247 Cherry St.; An Old Plan Revisited

235-247 Cherry St., December 2012.

235-247 Cherry St., December 2012.

Today’s New York Times report, “Reasons for Crossing Delancey” touched on the future of the former Pathmark site along South Street.  Gary Barnett’s Extell Development bought the large parcel last year and is planning a huge residential tower, apparently with a ground floor supermarket.  The article noted that, “The Two Bridges (Neighborhood Council) owns a lot adjacent to the Pathmark site, where (Two Bridges President Victor) Papa said he would like to build 75 more units of subsidized housing.”

It’s not news that Two Bridges, which along with Settlement Housing Fund built seven affordable housing complexes along the East River, has plans for the site mentioned by the Times.  The parcel, known as 235-247 Cherry St., formerly housed the Pathmark pharmacy.  But given all of the development activity in the area, we thought it worthwhile to revisit the status of this site.

Elected Officials: Barnett Agrees to Grocery Store on Former Pathmark Site (Updated)

The site of the former Pathmark store has been purchased by Gary Barnett.

The site of the former Pathmark store has been purchased by Gary Barnett.

Here’s a Friday afternoon press release from Lower East Side elected officials Sheldon Silver, Margaret Chin and Daniel Squadron:

As part of our ongoing effort to ensure that our Lower East Side neighbors have access to fresh food and other essentials, we met with the developer of the former Pathmark site at 227 Cherry Street and received a commitment that a full-service supermarket will be built as part of the project.  This is an area that is underserved when it comes to the availability of fresh and affordable food. That is why we fought plans to close the Pathmark and have been advocating for another supermarket to replace it. Extell Development Company has assured us that a food market will be built and we look forward to seeing it open. We are also advocating for a temporary market to open while construction is underway.

Gary Barnett Pays $150 Million For Pathmark Site

The site of the former Pathmark store has been purchased by Gary Barnett.

The site of the former Pathmark store has been purchased by Gary Barnett.

It was just about the worst kept secret on the Lower East Side.  Now city finance department records confirm Gary Barnett of Extell Development, one of New York’s biggest developers, is indeed the new owner of the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street.  The property, listed as 250 South St.,  changed hands for about $103,400,000 on March 15.  In a separate transaction, Extell paid $46.5 million to acquire Pathmark’s long-term lease.  So the deal is worth closer to $150 million.

The Pathmark grocery store closed at the end of last year, amid rumors that Extell had made a deal for the site.  Current zoning allows for a nearly one-million square foot building on the parcel, which features views of the East River. It also happens to be surrounded by a lot of public and subsidized housing.  Barnett, who grew up on the Lower East Side, is known for his “over-the-top” luxury projects.