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Developers Take First Steps Toward Demolition of Empty Essex Street Market Building

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The Essex Street Market building on the south side of Delancey Street; April 2014.
The Essex Street Market building on the south side of Delancey Street; April 2014.

The developers of Essex Crossing have now filed pre-demolition documents for the old Essex Street Market building on the south side of Delancey Street.  The site is one of nine former urban renewal parcels included in the nearly 2 million square foot residential and commercial project.

Previously, Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, filed initial paperwork to tear down the former firehouse on Broome Street as well as 400-402 Grand St., twin tenement buildings. In the past, they have pointed out that demolition is still several months in the future; the city won’t officially transfer the property to the developers for some time. The first phase of the project, set to begin next year, is focused on development of sites 1, 2 and 5 (see map).

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The Essex Street Market building at 80 Essex St. is not currently used by vendors, although the city sometimes makes it available for special events.  As you may recall, it was the setting for the unveiling by Mayor Bloomberg of the Essex Crossing plan last September. The building includes some great architectural relics, such as the old meat market sign pictured below.  City officials have promised to save some of the historical remnants from the facility and to showcase them in the new complex.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the old Essex Street Market building, September 2013.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the old Essex Street Market building, September 2013.

Upon completion, expected in the year 2018, the site will become home to a newly expanded Essex Street Market. All of the vendors have been invited to move from across the street, where the market was consolidated years ago, when the building opens. At that time, the market buildings north of Delancey Street will be demolished.

The historic market buildings were opened in 1940 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to get the Lower East Side’s many street vendors indoors. During a three-year community planning process, some residents pushed to save the buildings, but city officials insisted on tearing down the old facility, which they believe had become obsolete. The community board eventually relented.

Two businesses on the Delancey Street side of the building, Olympic Diner and the Jade Fountain liquor store, will not be part of Essex Crossing.  So they can be expected to close sometime in the next several months.

The Essex Crossing team anticipates unveiling its architectural plans for phase one in the fall.

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