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Renderings: Here’s Your First Look at Essex Crossing (Phase1)

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Essex Crossing Site 2; view from the intersection of Delancey and Essex streets. Credit: Handel Architects.
Essex Crossing Site 2; view from the intersection of Delancey and Essex streets. Credit: Handel Architects.

Tonight at University Settlement’s Houston Street Center, developers of Essex Crossing are unveiling their designs for the first four buildings of the large residential and commercial project coming to the former Seward Park urban renewal site.

Thanks to a press briefing held earlier today, we’re able to bring you a condensed version of what members of the public are seeing this evening. Delancey Street Associates, the consortium building the nearly 2-million sq. ft. project, asked us to wait until the meeting of Community Board 3’s land use committee got underway before we published the renderings you see here.

Essex Crossing Site 2; view from the intersection of Broome and Essex streets. Credit: Handel Architects.
Essex Crossing Site 2; view from the intersection of Broome and Essex streets. Credit: Handel Architects.

Site 2: 80 Essex St./115 Delancey St.

Height: 24 stories/285 feet

Housing: 195 apartments/98 affordable

Projected groundbreaking: Summer 2015

Frank Fusaro and Jason Ivaliotis of Handel Architects explained the concept behind the 24-story building that will rise on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets. The site, which will include a new Essex Street Market and a 14-screen Regal movie theater, is seen as the gateway or centerpiece of the entire complex. The new market will be housed on the ground floor and mezzanine, while a small-scale retail concept known as the Market Line will begin in the lower level of site 2 and eventually extend eastward when the second phase of Essex Crossing is built. The movie theater will be on the second and third levels. The architects said they looked to the immediate surroundings for inspiration, drawing on the nearby tenement aesthetic.  Since the movie theater can’t have windows, designers created a series of folded panels on the building facade to catch the daylight. The panels will be made of a light bronze and dark bronze material to offer additional texture. On the Broome Street side, the market has an open, airy feel with a wall of glass meant to replicate the feel of being outside. There will be a rooftop farm with public access from Broome, as well as as a private roof space for residents of the building.

Essex Crossing site 1; view from Broome Street, looking toward Ludlow. Credit: SHoP Architects.
Essex Crossing Site 1; view from Broome Street, looking toward Ludlow. Credit: SHoP Architects.

Site 1: 242 Broome St. (Ludlow Street)

Height: 14 stories/160 feet

Housing: 55 condominiums/11 affordable

Projected groundbreaking: August 2015

Dana Getman of SHoP Architects described the plan for site 1, where the Ludlow/Broome Street municipal parking lot is now located.  The building will include an annex of the Andy Warhol Museum, with frontages on both Essex and Ludlow streets, commercial spaces and 55 condominium units on the upper floors. The firm was going for a smaller, more human scale, since the surrounding streets feel more intimate. The museum will have ground-level space on the Essex side of the building, where a transparent facade will make it visible to the street, with galleries on the second and third floors on Ludlow. There will also be a sculpture garden on the roof. The facade includes aluminum panels to reflect the colors of the surrounding tenements. There’s a terracing effect as the tower rises.

Essex Crossing site 5; aerial view from the northeast, looking down on Broome and Clinton streets.
Essex Crossing site 5; aerial view from the northeast, looking down on Broome and Clinton streets.

Site 5: 145 Clinton St. (Grand Street)

Height: 15 stories/160 feet

Housing: 211 apartments, 104 affordable

Projected groundbreaking: Summer 2015

Richard Metsky of Beyer Blinder Belle referred to the mixed-use building destined for the southeast corner of Grand and Clinton streets as “nestled in the neighborhood.” He described it as a kind-of bridge between the new buildings planned on Delancey Street and the mid-century cooperatives on Grand Street. The design, he said, is meant to evoke warmness and comfort. The residential entrance will be located on Broome, alongside a 15,000 sq. foot public park that’s being created as part of Essex Crossing. Shops along Grand Street, including a large supermarket, will have an open, transparent feel. Isaac Henderson, the project manager, noted that an original plan called for creating some underground parking on site 5. A community task force, however, objected because the Clinton/Grand intersection is already congested and hazardous for pedestrians. The end result is that there will be no underground parking at Essex Crossing to replace the approximately 500 spaces that are being lost to build the project (more on this issue tomorrow).

Essex Crossing Site 6. Credit: Dattner Architects.
Essex Crossing Site 6. Credit: Dattner Architects.

Site 6: 175 Delancey St. (Clinton Street)

Height: 14 stories/160 feet

Housing: 100 apartments for low-income seniors

Projected groundbreaking: September 2015

Daniel Heuberger of Dattner Architects described plans for a 14-story building on the far eastern end of the project, at Clinton/Broome/Delancey streets. The residences will all be for seniors. Grand Street Settlement will run programs for kids and seniors from the facility and the developers are close to signing a lease with a health care clinic to occupy the second floor and part of the ground floor. The building, Heuberger said, is designed so that the apartments on both the north and south benefit from maximum natural light. There are separate rooftop spaces for Grand Street Settlement and tenants of the building.  Given the fact that the site is located near the Williamsburg Bridge ramp, the building has an industrial feel, with loft-like windows and masonry construction, with metal accents.

That’s it for now. We’ll have more details following tonight’s meeting.

Note: If you’re having a tough time keeping the development parcels straight, have a look at this map:


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  1. Site 2 looks exciting!
    So eager for Essex Crossing to finally come to fruition. Looks like it will be amazing.

  2. Wouldn’t a bus depot and parking garage present opportunities for traffic coming off the bridge to stop right away and stay off Manhattan streets from the get-go? Those two facilities could save a lot of wear and tear on our streets, make the area safer for pedestrians, and save the City billions of dollars. Where are they?

  3. I have a suggestion for the dangerous traffic on Grand and Clinton intersection http://tinyurl.com/pc6vf3a. The very, very, (very, very) few cars that use the south side of Delancey St can instead turn to Suffolk to Grand down to the River or wherever they’re going. The Grand Street FDR traffic can be diverted (actually, the Grand Street exit is very long, It can hold a Delancey St/Willamsburg Bridge exit at the start, alleviating dangerous Grand Street Congestion and allow the Grand Street Coop traffic easier access to their destination) up the south side of Delancey right onto the bridge along with the present Clinton Street /Grand traffic.

    Jac Zagoory

  4. Most research shows that adding more parking increases traffic. Starving the neighborhood of parking discourages car ownership by locals and encourages visitors to use public transit to get here. All of these buildings are being built within 3 blocks of a multi-line subway station and three of the four will have local bus stops directly outside their doors.

  5. A bus depot there would definitely not work as the Chinatown bus owners and Chinatown leaders want to keep the buses on the streets in order to have maximum flexibility, to continue to skirt the law, avoid paying fees, and to have passengers frequent local Chinese businesses ( like fast-food, bakeries, groceries, etc.)

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