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Essex Crossing Developers Reach Out to Chinatown Businesses

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2013 Rendering shows the Market Line on Sites 2, 3 and 4 of Essex Crossing.
2013 Rendering shows the Market Line on Sites 2, 3 and 4 of Essex Crossing.

As the Essex Crossing project begins to take shape on the former Seward Park urban renewal site, the developers are stepping up their small business recruitment efforts. The other day they visited the Chinese Chamber of Commerce offices on the Bowery to talk up the Market Line, a centerpiece of the large residential and commercial development project.

The Market Line is a subterranean shopping pavilion that will stretch from Essex Street to Clinton Street, with a 40-foot wall of glass channeling sunlight underground. Combined with an expanded Essex Street Market, it will span 150,000 square feet. It’s being billed as one of the five largest markets of its type in the Western Hemisphere.


On Wednesday of last week, Rohan Mehra and Andrew Katz of Delancey Street Associates (the development consortium) took their show on the road to Chinatown. They handed out flyers in English and Chinese, touting the new facility as “The City’s marketplace in the heart of the Lower East Side.” The presentation was facilitated by Gigi Li, former chairperson of Community Board 3. Li continues to chair the Essex Crossing community taskforce and is a candidate for state assembly.

Mehra and Katz told representatives of the Chinatown business community that a “key to the success of the Market Line will be that the local community shops here.” There will be about 150 small-scale businesses in the pavilion. The spaces range from 100 to about 1500 square feet. While the rents on a square footage basis will be steep, the developers think the smaller stalls will be financial feasible for a lot of home grown entrepreneurs. The idea is to attract unique retailers — both longtime operators and new businesses — that reflect the diversity of the Lower East Side.

essex crossing overview

The first shops are expected to open alongside the new Essex Street Market in the summer of 2018. The first phase of the Market Line, located on site 2 of Essex Crossing, will consist of 70-80 food focused businesses.  Two more segments of the Market Line will debut in 2019. The site 3 shops will be devoted to fashion retailers, textiles and art. Site 4 will be set aside for prepared foods and small restaurant concepts.

Mehra and Katz plan many similar presentations in different parts of the Lower East Side in the coming months. If you’re interested in talking with them, contact: Andrew Katz at akatz@prusikgroup.com or Rohan Mehra at rmehra@prusikgroup.com.

Essex Crossing will eventually include 1,000 apartments, 500,000 square feet of commercial space and 400,000 square feet of office space. Large tenants already signed on include: Regal Cinemas, Splitsville Lanes (a bowling alley), Planet Fitness and NYU Langone Medical Center.

Read our previous coverage of the Market Line here.

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