The Eisner Brothers building at 75 Essex St. has been on and off the market in recent years. A tipster yesterday pointed us to a new listing for the property, which borders Site 1 of the Seward Park development project.
About three years ago, property owner Shalom Eisner was asking $18 million; the price then dropped to $17 million. The new pitch from broker Bond New York is for $21 million. What difference has three years made? Well, for starters the real estate market has rebounded in a big way. But more significantly, the building is adjacent to a city-owned parking lot that is destined to become part of Essex Crossing, the mixed-use project set to break ground sometime in the next 18 months.
Here’s the rendering from Delancey Street Associates, the developer, depicting the proposed Andy Warhol Museum right next door to 75 Essex. The parcel has frontages on Broome and Ludlow streets but also wraps around the Eisner building to Essex. In addition to the museum, the developers plan residential units on Site 1, including condos. The development team has not indicated whether it would try to acquire the privately-owned property. According to the Bond listing, the building has about 12,400 square feet, and the property possesses nearly 32,000 square feet in air rights.
In January of this year, Friends of the Lower East Side, a preservation group, asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect 75 Essex, which was once home to the Eastern Dispensary. Here’s part of the organization’s plea to the commission:
We request that the Landmarks Preservation Commission consider for landmark designation the Former Good Samaritan/Eastern District Dispensary. Designation has taken on new urgency because the building is surrounded by Site 1 of the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development. While the building is not on the site, it could be damaged by work conducted around it or it could be diminished by inappropriate development surrounding it. The dispensary is eligible for the National Register and is mentioned in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Development… Eastern District Dispensary was established on Grand Street in 1832, during a major cholera epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 3500 people, mainly destitute Irish immigrants crammed into filthy hovels in the fourth and sixth slum wards of downtown Manhattan… When Eastern District and Good Samaritan Dispensaries consolidated and erected the building at 75 Essex Street in 1890, there were close to a dozen of these publicly financed neighborhood dispensaries operating in Manhattan… After a law was passed in 1899 that only the indigent could be treated at city-operated dispensaries, visits became a source of shame and the number of patients declined. Dispensaries gradually phased out as hospitals opened outpatient clinics. After Good Samaritan/Eastern District Dispensary closed in the 1950s, the building was converted to store, office and storage space. It is currently occupied by Eisner Brothers, a sportswear retailer… The dispensary was designed by architects Rose & Stone in the style of a freestanding Italianate palazzo with a symmetrical façade organized in a tripartite division. When erected on the northwest corner of Essex and Broome Streets, in a neighborhood composed mainly of rows of tenements, it stood as an example of municipal responsibility and philanthropic concern.
The group has not received any information as of yet as to whether the Landmarks Commission is inclined to consider the proposal.