The residents of upper Orchard Street have been living in a construction zone for almost a decade now. The perpetually stalled hotel project at 180 Orchard Street finally got moving again a few weeks ago, as crews dismantled the two-story concrete skeleton put in place by previous developers. While a lot of people are relieved to see some progress at the site, local residents were not at all pleased about the construction noise reverberating throughout the immediate area, which started as early as 7 a.m. But after a round of calls to Community Board 3 and the Lower East Side BID, the situation seems to have improved.
In a statement, Robert Gormley, vice president of hotel operations with Brack Capital Real Estate, explained:
Brack Capital Real Estate had worked closely with Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3, and Robert Zuckerman, executive director of the LES BID, to arrange a meeting with community members about the work that recently commenced at 180 Orchard. After hearing that some residents had questions about the noise levels of demolition work, we wanted to proactively address any concerns and provide a point of contact at BCRE to ensure an open line of communication with the community. As a result of the meeting, BCRE is ensuring demolition operations start at 8:30 a.m. to help minimize any disruptions.
This week we spoke with David Troutman, one of the residents who attended the meeting. He said some people who usually work at home have been forced to take refuge in local coffee shops during the day. No one’s happy about having to live with the noise and dust for many more months, but he said most residents were at least relieved that the loud sounds have subsided in the very early morning hours. Troutman, who’s lived on the Lower East Side for 25 years, said residents were told the initial demolition phase of the project would last about three more weeks.
CB3’s Susan Stetzer said Brack Capital agreed to provide regular written updates to anyone who requests it (we’ll have details about signing up for email advisories as soon as the company provides them). Brack also committed to holding future meetings with local residents when the construction timetable for the larger project is available.
This mixed-use lodging/retail/parking project, anchored by a 295-room Hotel Indigo, is a joint venture between Brack Capital, which owns 51% of the project, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which owns the remaining 49%. When completed in 2014, the project will bring a much-needed supply of hotel inventory to the quickly developing, highly sought-after Lower East Side of Manhattan. The hotel, which will be managed by IHG, will feature soaring ceilings, residential-style accoutrements (oversized windows, hard-surface floors, spa showers), and spectacular views of downtown. Amenities will include a restaurant, bar, fitness center and outdoor pool.
There is, of course, a hotel building boom on the LES. As we indicated last fall, 13 new hotels are in the works, adding nearly 1700 rooms to the existing inventory, tripling the current capacity.
During last week’s meeting, residents asked about the restaurant/bar as well as plans for an outdoor space. Brack has not gone before CB3 to request a liquor license but company representatives agreed to reach out to community groups when the time comes.
If you’re having problems with construction noise or other issues related to large development projects, you can contact Community Board 3. Here’s the link to the board’s ‘complaint form.”
UPDATE 3:45 p.m. Here’s the text of an email Robert Gormley of Brack Capital sent to residents and business owners this afternoon:
Since last week, we have received a number of emails thanking us for following up on the requests from our meeting. As we discussed, for this demolition phase the jackhammering, rebar cutting and loading of dumpsters will start after 8:30am with the delivery of dumpsters commencing after 8:00am. We anticipate this phase will last for another 3 weeks. We do not have plans for any after hours or weekend work next week at this time. Looking ahead, we plan for the super structure to be completed sometime in the next 12–18 months and all construction concluding in the next 24–30 months… if you know anyone who would like to be included on these emails please forward us their email address to me at email@example.com.