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$50 Million Lawsuit Filed Over 47-Story Project Planned on Former Pathmark Pharmacy Site

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235-247 Cherry St.
235-247 Cherry St.

Real estate developer Roy Schoenberg has filed a $50 million lawsuit in connection with a plan to build a 47-story tower on the site of the former Pathmark pharmacy on Cherry Street. The story was first reported by the Daily News yesterday.

As we noted last summer, Schoenberg’s Little Cherry LLC had teamed up with the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund to create a mixed income tower at 237-247 Cherry St. But legal documents filed last week show he’s now suing the non-profit organizations for alleged breach of contract.

The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court, is known as “Little Cherry LLC vs. Two Bridges Housing Development Company and Two Bridges Associates.” In the complaint, Schoenberg’s attorneys say he agreed to purchase the development site in 2012 for $4 million. The project was envisioned as a 47-story tower with 309 apartments, ground floor commercial space and a community facility to be used by Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. There would be 70 rent stabilized apartments for families earning 80% of Area Median Income. A portion of the building would be cantilevered over part of the existing single story structure. This design work-around was made necessary because Extell Development, which is building a massive project on the neighboring site, holds a lease on a section of the former Pathmark pharmacy building until the year 2044.

Schoenberg claims that Two Bridges and Settlement Housing Fund have not lived up to the terms of their deal, which required all parties to help push through approvals with the Department of City Planning for the project.  In order for the tower to be built, the city would need to sign off on a proposal to position the new tower closer to existing buildings than current zoning allows. Little Cherry has already paid around $325,000 to the property owners. The agreement made provisions for additional payments in the event that the City Planning application got bogged down, which is exactly what’s happened.

Two Bridges President Victor Papa declined to comment for this story.

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  1. Enough with all the luxury high rent and/or purchases of apartments that
    are unattainable or unaffordable for residents who have lived on the
    Lower East Side their whole lives. They say they will put a percentage
    of apartments for the low income but the truth is most of these are not
    affordable! What they should be focusing on is the fact that we need
    decent supermarkets so that the ALL residents which include the elderly,
    wheelchair bound, disabled and low income can buy decent groceries. We
    need to spend money on improving our East Broadway subway system and
    poorly run bus stations for the residents that currently live here and
    work. When are the residents of ALL surrounding buildings which include
    THOUSANDS, going to stand up and fight for what is rightly ours? We need
    to gather and protest in numbers!!!! WAKE UP People We Are being PUSHED

  2. This is unacceptable. It’s bad enough that the Extell construction is cracking the sidewalk and risking bringing down the two neighboring residential buildings. Now this other planned building would pretty much smother those buildings. Has anyone seen the plans? You’d be able to reach out and touch that planned building. Packing people in like sardines…. this is the kind of slumlord tactics used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This building CANNOT be allowed to be built.

  3. I know people who live in the senior residents building near the pharmacy there. They have no idea about these companies’ plans, in large part because they don’t speak English. This 47-story plan would box them in like a coffin, and because of their age and language barrier, they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. How is this not victimizing elderly people in search of a quick buck?

  4. Over 300 apartments?! Add that to the units from the Extell buildings, and you’d easily have over 4000 extra people squeezed into the block. Many of them will be professionals, which means in the morning (at least) there’ll be over 4000 people trying to squeeze into taxis, the two bus stations nearby and the East Broadway subway station. And let’s not forget the safety issues with buildings so close to one another. There’s a reason why current zoning doesn’t allow this tower to be built. If anything, this tower would just make the mayor’s whole tale of two cities narrative even worse.

  5. How can two so-called non-profit community organizations, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund be involved and intertwined in this type of shenanigan development dealing? Isn’t both of these organization’s missions suppose to represent and advocate for the creating more affordable (the “key word” here) housing and improving the quality of lives for people who reside in this community. Therefore, how is building a 47-story cantilever tower, which is only offering a measly 70 affordable units (80% of AMI) out of the 309 market rate units, going to benefit this community or let alone the residents who live on this same block (at 80 and 82 Rutgers Slip). Oh and did I forget to mention that, Little Cherry LLC along with TBNC and Settle Housing Fund, are building this 47 story tower on top of a cracked and sinking walkway plaza (let’s give a great big thanks to Extell’s construction project for this).

    So really, let’s be frank here, who are really the big benefactors of this development project, certainly not the residents in this community because we’ll be getting another non-affordable residential high sky tower (with the possibility of creating another “Poor Door” living environment); therefore the true benefactors are Little Cherry LLC along TBNC and Settle Housing Fund.

    This community would much rather strongly advocate for building a 2-3 story hybrid affordable supermarket / pharmacy and possibility adding some food concession stands on the top floor (think of similar concept to Wholefood on Houston Street) as replacement to the former RAC and Pathmark Pharmacy site on 235-247 Cherry Street. And here’s the funny thing and best irony of this whole story, is that TBNC were supposedly strong advocates of retaining another affordable supermarket for this community. What ever happen to that idea or was that only a masquerade or a publicity stunt for publication purposes?
    Otherwise, if TBNC was truly a community focus organization who cares about improving the quality of life for residents in this community, then they would’ve strongly advocated and negotiated with Little Cherry LLC to build another affordable supermarket / pharmacy instead of a 47-story non-affordable housing tower.

  6. Let’s also not forget that TBNC/Settlement Housing sold the property in 2012 and we’re ONLY finding out about this just now. Had Little Cherry not sued, we probably wouldn’t have heard anything until it was too late.

    Completely agree re the 2-3 story supermarket idea. However, that would be less money going into the pockets of Victor Papa and co., so I can’t imagine they’d be keen on the idea. Also, a Whole Foods would be affordable to the people who buy the Extell market-rate condos. So technically, TBNC isn’t lying even though they’re throwing the current residents under the bus.

  7. Wish that someone would start an investigation into what TwoBridges Neighborhood Council really does of substance for the neighborhood. Seems like they just provide nice employment for their staff but their accomplishments are rather meager. Their website shows very few ongoing projects- a yoga class here, a cultural program there, a few events at the senior center. So what? when there are so many pressing needs in the area!

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