It’s been awhile since there’s been much news to report about Essex Crossing, the nearly two-million square foot residential and retail project coming to the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. But today we have a few new details to pass along.
First off, the development team (known collectively as Delancey Street Associates) has chosen a design team for the first phase of construction. When the city, awarded the Seward Park contract last fall to L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners and BFC Partners, two architectural firms were already in the mix. Now those architects, SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle, have been joined by Handel Architects.
According to Peter Schottenfels, a spokesperson for the developers, SHoP will be responsible for site 1, at Ludlow and Broome streets, where an annex of the Andy Warhol Museum and condominiums are going to be built. Beyer Binder Belle will design a building on site 5 consisting of about 200 apartments, as well as a 35,000 square foot grocery store and a dual generation school run by the Educational Alliance. SHoP, Handel and Hugh A. Boyd of Market Ventures (a specialist in public markets) will collaborate on site 2, where the new Essex Street Market, a movie theater and apartments will be situated. As previously reported, the phase 1 plan calls for breaking ground on four sites (1, 2, 5 and 6) in the spring of next year. Site 6, east of Clinton Street, is designated as affordable senior housing.
The design firms are just now getting down to work. But during last week’s meeting of Community Board 3’s land use committee, it became clear things are going to begin happening on the former urban renewal site relatively quickly. During a conversation about the fate of several residents living in a building at 400 Grand St. (located on site 5), city officials said the developers have asked to take possession of the parcel as early as this summer. While suggesting the timetable could be flexible, Vivian Louie, an assistant commissioner with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said “the target move-out date is June 30.” She cited the need for the developers to perform asbestos tests and other tests before construction gets underway (we’ll have a separate story on the 400 Grand Street situation later).
Schottenfels said Delancey Street Associates is on target for a spring 2015 groundbreaking. But he added that it’s too early to predict when the architects would be prepared to unveil their designs for the first sites. “We don’t have a firm timetable yet.,” he said. “While we are working on the preliminary designs, there is still a lot of pre-development work to do including plans for infrastructure and (coordination with the MTA).”
The developers are required to meet with a community task force appointed by CB3 each quarter. They last briefed the full land use committee back in October, and took a few questions from the general public. Last week, Linda Jones, the committee chairperson, provided a short report detailing the most recent task force briefing.
Schottenfels did not indicate when the team would schedule another appearance before the wider group, but noted, “we communicate regularly with task force and community board members and are seeing various committees.” Per a requirement in the contracts signed with the city, they’ll begin working with CB3’s parks committee next month to design a 15,000 square foot green space set aside on Broome Street. We’ll have details concerning that meeting as soon as they are released.
A community board member, Ricky Leung, has been appointed to work with the design team to offer feedback on Essex Crossing’s overall aesthetics.