Local community activists are stepping up their campaign against Extell Development’s massive new residential project at the former Pathmark site on Cherry Street.
The luxury project, now under construction, was initially expected to rise 71 stories, dwarfing any other building on the Lower East Side. Buildings Department documents filed earlier this month suggested that the company was shrinking the building to 56 stories. A coalition says its planning a protest tomorrow at the site.
Groups participating include: the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Chinatown Tenants Union, Chinese Staff and Workers Association (CSWA), CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities (CAAAV), Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Mujeres Y Hombres Luchadoras, and National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS). Here’s their advisory:
Community based organizations, residents, and small businesses of the Lower East Side and Chinatown are rallying to demand that Mayor de Blasio stop Extell from constructing an ultra-luxury skyscraper for the 1% on the Lower East Side waterfront. The tower could potentially rise 700 feet and be twice as high as any surrounding development. Despite recent news that Extell is bringing the tower down from 72 to 56-stories, the community is still opposed. The Extell tower is being built on a former publicly-owned lot (the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area) that housed a Pathmark on 227 Cherry St., the only affordable supermarket serving the surrounding low-income community. Since the Pathmark was closed in 2012, residents have struggled to find quality affordable groceries. Furthermore, the Extell tower will be built in the middle of several NYCHA and publicly subsidized low and moderate income developments. The local community fears that the Extell tower will accelerate the privatization of the surrounding public housing and will result in the mass displacement of low-income families of color that will ultimately destroy Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We are demanding that the Mayor support a community based re-zoning to protect the local neighborhood, and especially public housing, which is at risk of being privatized.
Most, if not all, of the groups involved in tomorrow’s rally are part of the Chinatown Working Group, a coalition that has been working on a neighborhood master plan for the past six years. In February, the Department of City Planning rejected the plan, which called for a rezoning of Chinatown and the surrounding area. Members of the Chinatown Working Group are asking for Community Board 3’s help in lobbying the city to change its mind.
The protest takes place tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Cherry and Pike streets.