What The New York Times Got Wrong About Essex Crossing

IMG_5823

The other day in The New York Times, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman called the Essex Crossing project, “one of New York’s most promising new mixed-use developments.” He even dubbed it the “anti-Hudson Yards.” The Lower East Side mega-project, with its “boxy, mostly bland exteriors,” did not win him over for its aesthetics, but because it is the product of, “long years of ground-up neighborhood consultation and holistic planning.”

Kimmelman makes some legitimate points about Essex Crossing, but his review contains at least one major factual error and several mischaracterizations.  Let’s take a closer look.

In recounting the contentious history of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), he noted that former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his pal, William Rapfogel, successfully blocked affordable housing from being built on the sites for decades. Kimmelman wrote, “Mayor after mayor failed to make headway. Ultimately, Mr. Silver was convicted on corruption charges, Mr. Rapfogel went to prison for a kickback scheme and a path cleared for Essex Crossing…”

Sheldon Silver on Grand Street in 2011.

Sheldon Silver on Grand Street in 2011.

That’s just not what happened. Silver was arrested in January of 2015, four years after a community task force agreed on development guidelines, a framework that Silver endorsed at the time (the project developers were named in September of 2013). His arrest and conviction have cast Silver’s role in the Seward Park saga in a different and unsavory light, but it’s simply wrong to assert that Essex Crossing happened as a result of his downfall.

This may seem like a trivial matter, but it really isn’t. The project is a reality today because a diverse collection of local activists came together to finally break an impasse that had vexed the community for four decades. They spent more than three years in often tense negotiations, collaborating with city planning and housing officials, to finally make a deal. After Community Board 3 approved the SPURA planning guidelines in January of 2011, there were still many hurdles to clear for the project to win final approval. But this was the most critical step.  Federal prosecutors can obviously claim credit for taking Silver down. It was members of the Lower East Side community, however, who cleared the way for redevelopment of the Seward Park sites.

IMG_5624

While Kimmelman wrote that, “Essex Crossing results from long years of ground-up neighborhood consultation and holistic planning,” he downplayed the role played by the community in shaping the project as it exists today. It’s true that the development team — Delancey Street Associates — has worked collaboratively with neighborhood leaders and embraced the local vision for the Seward Park sites. But what gets lost in the Times’ piece is this unambiguous fact: the SPURA Task Force laid out in detail what the project would become.

The more-or-less 50/50 mix between market rate and below-market rate apartments? Protections for the Essex Street Market vendors? Assurances that former SPURA site tenants would have first dibs on affordable apartments? A publicly accessible park on Broome Street? A commitment to making sure there’s no “poor door” at Essex Crossing and that market rate apartments and affordable apartments are integrated? Buildings that feature varied architectural styles and are contextual to the neighborhood? A new grocery store? All of these features were spelled out in excruciating detail in the community’s planning and design guidelines.

IMG_5776

Now Delancey Street Associates has delivered on the plan and city officials from both the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations deserve some credit for making sure of that. And the developers have added some of their own innovations. They were required to create a new, expanded home for the Essex Market. To their credit, they not only ensured that the market serves as a centerpiece of the whole project, but they also committed to creating the Market Line, a subterranean shopping pavilion under three Essex Crossing buildings that is meant to showcase unique, small-scale New York-centric businesses. Time will tell whether both the Market Line and the new Essex Market  will be successful. Concerns have been raised lately about a glut of food halls across the city; they’re seemingly an amenity that every high-profile mega-project must have! But with vendors like the Pickle Guys, Nom Wah, Veselka and Essex Pearl, you can’t say the developers are not making an effort to keep the Market Line local.

Kimmelman points out that the developers, in a savvy move, decided to deliver many of the community benefits (most of the affordable housing, a medical center, the Essex Market, etc.) in the early phases of construction.  He also makes this point:

The project’s developers expect to rake in plenty of cash from all the market-rate condos, apartment rentals and commercial office and retail spaces. Rising real estate values on the Lower East Side have accelerated neighborhood gentrification but also helped subsidize the project’s abundance of affordable housing and community services. I was curious to learn that Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn’t yet showed up for any of the official openings at Essex Crossing. Its profitability makes a good argument for demanding more in the way of public benefits from other large-scale private developments.

There may be some truth in this assertion, but here again Kimmelman is only telling part of the story. The city always envisioned the Seward Park project as a self-sustaining development which did not rely on a lot of city subsidies. The market rate apartments and commercial rents do help fund the affordable housing and community amenities. But here’s a huge caveat.  The developers purchased the SPURA land for around $500 million, perhaps half what it was worth at the time. City officials always said that this discounted price served as a kind of subsidy of its own in which the developers agreed to provide affordable housing and other goodies for the community in exchange for the bargain land deal.  Could developers in projects across the city provide more benefits to local communities? Of course they could. But it’s deceptive to portray Essex Crossing as just another private development. It is being built on formerly public land.

Renderings show the East River waterfront with four new large-scale towers.

Renderings show the East River waterfront with four new large-scale towers.

One last point.  Kimmelman wrote:

If you have been anywhere near the Lower East Side lately you could hardly have failed to notice the egregious new supertall that the opportunistic developer called Extell has imposed some blocks away along the waterfront around the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Other developers are now bidding to erect more towers there. Taking advantage of anomalous zoning regulations, these projects have provoked some very loud, angry protests from residents who feel the buildings are being shoved down the throats of a largely poor, immigrant, low- and mid-rise community.

Really? Who are those “other developers” seeking to build more “supertall” towers on the waterfront? As many Lower East Siders know, the co-developer of one of these projects is L+M Development Partners, a lead partner in the Essex Crossing development consortium.  Local activists and community groups are now in court trying to block the waterfront projects. Wasn’t it kind of important to acknowledge this?

IMG_5786

A lot of Lower East Side residents have mixed feelings about Essex Crossing. We can appreciate what has been brought to the neighborhood: more affordable housing, a sustainable Essex Market (we hope), Trader Joe’s! At the same time, everyone recognizes that the Lower East Side, one of New York’s last authentic neighborhoods, will never be the same. The project is without question an engine of gentrification. Many locals would agree that Essex Crossing is a “model development.” We can acknowledge that without buying into faulty narratives about how the project came to fruition over the past decade.

ASVP Mural is in the Works on Suffolk Street

ASVP mural

There’s a new mural coming to the neighborhood, via ASVP and Delancey Street Associates. The 10,600-square foot mural will decorate the Suffolk Street side of The Rollins, one of nine sites at the Essex Crossing megaproject. The mural was selected from more than 85 submissions from around the world.

Rooftop Farm Opens at Essex Crossing, While Eleven Madison Park Team Drops Lower East Side Project

IMG_0344

Photo Credit: Delancey Street Associates.

The developers behind Essex Crossing and a nonprofit group called Project EATS yesterday debuted a 9,000 square rooftop farm.  It’s located on the 6th floor of “The Essex,” a mixed-use building at 125 Delancey St. (the same building where the new Essex Market is located).

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, produce from the organic farm is being sold in the plaza located on Broome Street between Clinton Street and Suffolk Street. When the first phase of the Market Line, an underground shopping pavilion, finally opens, the farmstead will move indoors. Among the crops now being grown: carrots, turnips, radishes and beets. There will also be some baby kale, mustard greens and arugula.

Project EATS has a network of 10 farms across the city. Part of the organization’s mission is to engage local communities, promoting public health, education and workforce development. Through a partnership with Gouverneur Health, doctors will be able to write prescriptions for patients to receive fresh vegetables, which are subsidized. This year, 100 patients are expected to receive 18 weeks of “food prescriptions.” Project EATS is also running education initiatives and workforce training through the high schools on the Seward Park Campus and providing free Saturday breakfast for local seniors. According to a press release, “The program will expand to include families with children in 2020. The farm will also host a regular program of healthy lifestyle workshops, community dinners, and dialogues.”

Essex Crossing is the 1.9 million square foot project under construction in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. It includes more than 1,000 apartments, half of them designated by the city as affordable. There are also numerous public amenities, including the new Essex Market, a 14-screen Regal movie theater, Trader Joe’s and a health center operated by NYU Langone. The mega project is being developed by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture among L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.

There was more news concerning Essex Crossing this week. Daniel Humm and Will Guidara (best known for Eleven Madison Park) are backing out of plans for an events space in the International Center of Photography’s new headquarters at 242 Broome St. The team is breaking up. Developers told Eater that they pulled out due to delays in the project. The Prusik Group, which handles commercial leasing for Essex Crossing, is now looking for a new operator for the space, which spans two floors of ICP’s building.

Cuchifritos Project Examines Essex Crossing (SPURA) History

Image: Nick Lawrence, Soto Family apartment, October 1969. Silver gelatin print.

Image: Nick Lawrence, Soto Family apartment, October 1969. Silver gelatin print.

Now that the Artists Alliance gallery and project space, Cuchifritos, is settled in at the new Essex Market at 88 Essex Street, they are taking a close look into some of the history of this new location (formerly known as SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area).  Their current show, “Keep Me Nearby,” which closes Sunday, July 20th, features six never-before-seen images by photographer Nick Lawrence of the “lived-in apartments that were demolished at SPURA in the late 1960s and early 1970s bring us into homes and lives in 1969.”

They write:

Four of these images were taken in the family apartment of Angel Soto, another, with its vivid declaration of “Latin + Soul,” is from a nearby tenement, and the last hints at what was to come: a staircase in 145 Clinton Street, boarded up and awaiting demolition. Nick came to make these photographs while he was an art teacher at a local junior high school, and while pursuing a larger project photographing the teenagers he came to know on the Lower East Side. We are lucky that a few of those teenagers brought him into their homes, and took him on forays into the tinned up buildings around the neighborhood. We are lucky that he had the presence of mind to make these photographs, and to have kept them safely, able to unearth them when in her research for Contested City Gabrielle came asking if perhaps he might have a photograph of anyone’s home at SPURA. To have documentation of spaces of life in the midst of urban renewal is rare, and the meaning of these photographs is both derived from everything that happened at SPURA after they were made, and from the way that many of us can see our own homes and families reflected in them…

Layered SPURA with Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani

Cuchifritos is also hosting walking tours as part of “Layered SPURA,” an ongoing project from artist and urbanist Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani. They write:

Ten years ago, artist and urbanist Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani was invited to enter this tense community to collaborate on a new approach to planning through public history and public art. Created in a multi-year collaboration with community activists GOLES and SPARC, and her students at the New School, the exhibitions and performative guided tours of Bendiner-Viani’s “Layered SPURA” project provided new opportunities for dialogue about the past, present, and future of the neighborhood.

You can find more info about the tour here.

Affordable Housing Lottery Opens For Essex Crossing’s 140 Essex St.

Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 4/140 Essex St. Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle.

Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 4/140 Essex St. Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle.

The affordable housing lottery for the next Essex Crossing building just got underway. Seniors (62+) may now apply for 84 low-income studio apartments at 140 Essex St. It’s the fourth city-sponsored lottery held so far for the mega-project being built in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

The 8-story building, which replaces a mostly unused section of the old Essex Street Market, will include ground floor retail, in addition to apartments on the upper floors. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The studio units will be available at 30, 50 and 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Most applicants are required to earn annual incomes between $13,303 and $51,240, although up to eight Section 8 vouchers are available for residents who do not meet the minimum income requirements. Monthly rents will range from $331 to $761. In addition to the 84 units up for grabs in the housing lottery, eight apartments are being set aside for formerly homeless seniors. There’s a 50 percent preference for Community Board 3 residents (Lower East Side/East Village/Chinatown), and 50 percent of the community preference units are prioritized for former residents of the urban renewal area.

To apply online, go to nyc.gov/housingconnect.To request an application by mail, send a self-addressed envelope to: Essex Crossing Site 8/Triborough Finance New Station, PO Box 2011, New York, NY 10035-9997. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than August 20, 2019.

As we mentioned the other day, there will be an info session for the housing lottery next Wednesday, June 26. You can see more details about that here.

Essex Crossing includes 1.079 apartments, 561 designated as below-market rate. There’s one other senior building as part of the project, 175 Delancey St., which includes 99 residential units, as well as a publicly accessible senior center operated by Grand Street Settlement.

 

Essex Crossing Affordable Housing Lottery; 140 Essex St. by The Lo-Down on Scribd

Info Session Scheduled as Next Essex Crossing Affordable Housing Lottery Looms

Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 4/140 Essex St. Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle.

Rendering of Essex Crossing Site 4/140 Essex St. Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle.

In the very near future, another affordable housing lottery will open for Essex Crossing. The city and Delancey Street Associates, which is developing the Lower East Side mega-project, are poised to open applications for 92 senior apartments at 140 Essex St. But even before the lottery goes live, the developers are spreading the word for a public information session to explain the application process.

The meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 in the Grand Street Settlement Community Room, 175 Delancey St., 6:30-8 p.m. There will be an overview of the online housing portal run by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, a review of eligibility requirements and an opportunity to answer questions. This is not a workshop to actually complete applications – it’s informational only. No applications will be distributed at the event. Translation will be provided in Chinese and Spanish.

The apartments at 140 Essex St. will be all studios, available to seniors 62+ at 30%, 50% and 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). Eligible applicants must have annual household incomes ranging from about $22,000-$45,000. The eight-story building, located on a site that once housed part of the Essex Street Market, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Essex Crossing includes more than 1,000 apartments, half of them designated as below-market rate by the city. 140 Essex St. is one of two senior buildings in the project.

IMG_4015

Essex Crossing Tower at 180 Broome St. Tops Off at 26 Stories

180 Broome St. Photo courtesy of Delancey Street Associates.

180 Broome St. Photo courtesy of Delancey Street Associates.

Another building at Essex Crossing has been “topped off.”  Delancey Street Associates, the developers of the mega-project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, announced yesterday that 180 Broome St. has reached its full height of 26 stories.

The tower, scheduled for completion next year, will include 142 market-rate rental apartments and 121 units designated affordable by the city. The building will also feature 175,000 square feet of office space and a portion of the Market Line, the subterranean shopping pavilion that will eventually stretch across three sites.

A neighboring building, 202 Broome St., will soon start rising on the Essex Crossing campus (excavation work is now being completed). That 15-story market rate condo tower will also include a significant amount of office space. Taken together, the two buildings will boast 350,000 square feet of office space.

Seven of nine Essex Crossing sites are now finished or under construction.  Early next month, a new Essex Street Market will open in the sprawling Essex Crossing complex. There will ultimately be more than 1,000 apartments at Essex Crossing, about half of them affordable to low- and middle-income residents.

Delancey Street Associates includes BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.

created by dji camera

Regal Opens New 14-Screen Multiplex at Essex Crossing

IMG_3303

In case you missed the weekend social media buzz, the Lower East Side’s new 14-screen multiplex is now open for business.

The Regal Essex Crossing made its debut on Saturday at 129 Delancey St. We checked it out on Saturday evening, and were not alone. In the theater showing “Us,” the new Jordan Peele film, the cinema was about one-quarter full. Tickets here will set you back $17.50. Current showings include big Hollywood releases like Captain Marvel, Pet Sematary, Shazam! and Avengers.

The theater is part of a 26-story rental tower on the southeast corner of Delancey and Essex streets. It’s one of nine buildings being developed as part of the Essex Crossing project. A new Essex Street Market will be opening in this same building very soon.

In a press release, Regal notes that the theater includes luxury recliners, reserved seating and “an expanded concessions menu.”  The Essex Crossing cinemas include about 1200 seats all together.

The neighborhood now has a big mainstream movie theater, something it’s been missing for decades. Landmark Theaters closed the Sunshine Cinemas on East Houston Street in January of last year (it was focused on indie films). That historic building is about to be demolished for a big office and retail complex. In addition to the Regal, the Lower East Side, fortunately, has the Metrograph, the art house cinema on Ludlow Street that just celebrated its third birthday.

IMG_3306

IMG_3285

IMG_3290

IMG_3294

IMG_3292

IMG_7363

Impressive Views and Pierogi Lure Tenants to Essex Crossing’s Flagship Building

IMG_3025

One of the best places to see the current state of Essex Crossing is from high above the Lower East Side. This view, from the 26th floor rooftop terrace of 125 Delancey St., is also a main selling point for 98 market rate rentals in “The Essex,” the tallest tower in the nine building mega-project.

The other night, Delancey Street Associates, which is building Essex Crossing, hosted a soiree to show off the apartments and amenities in The Essex Guests were able to check out model units on the 23rd floor and sample food from vendors at the new Essex Street Market and the Market Line, which will both be located in the building. (Veselka, Nom Was Tea Parlor, Essex Pearl, Formaggio Essex and the Doughnut Plant were among those represented).

IMG_3064

The building on the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey streets includes 98 market rate apartments and 98 units designated as affordable. A housing lottery was held for the below-market apartments in December of 2017. According to Isaac Henderson, Essex Crossing project manager, all but a handful of those below-market rentals are already occupied.

Douglas Elliman’s JR Sena, who’s handling the market rate apartments, says leases have been signed for more than half of the available units. Leasing began at the beginning of this year. Studios start at $3,995/month. According to StreetEasy, prices climb up to more than $7,000/month for 3-bedroom/2-bath units. Sena believes the prime location on the Lower East Side (right above the subway station) and unobstructed city views are big factors driving demand. But the developers are also pushing Essex Crossing’s unique amenities. The expanded Essex Street Market is scheduled to open just after Easter, with the first phase of the subterranean Market Line debuting in late spring/early summer (together the two facilities were boast about 100 food vendors). The building also includes a 14-screen Regal movie theater, which will be open any day now. And the development team is quick to mention Trader Joe’s and Target, located in another Essex Crossing building on Clinton Street.

IMG_3003

Appetizers from Essex Pearl, which will be opening a seafood counter and restaurant in the Market Line.

Appetizers from Essex Pearl, which will be opening a seafood counter and restaurant in the Market Line.

IMG_3021

IMG_3031

From the roof, you can see the progress of 180 Broome St., which is nearing its full 25 stories. Like The Essex, it will include a 50/50 mix of market rate and affordable rentals.

IMG_3027

And on the neighboring lot, 202 Broome St., excavation work is just wrapping up. There will eventually be a 14-story tower on this lot featuring 83 market-rate condos. The developers are searching for a large commercial tenant to take 350,000 square feet of office space spread across both buildings current;y under construction.

IMG_3028

Over there on your left, you can see The Rollins, a 211 unit rental building. According to developers, the 107 market rate apartments there are fully booked, about a year after leasing got underway.

IMG_3030

Four Essex Crossing buildings are now finished with another three under construction. Taken together, more than 500 apartments have now been completed of 1.079 that will eventually be built.  Essex Crossing is rising on the sites formerly known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Former site tenants were given priority for the affordable apartments, if they could come up with documentation. We’re told 27 SPURA residents have moved in so far.

Meanwhile, sales continue at Essex Crossing’s luxe condo tower at 242 Broome St. Five apartments are still listed on StreetEasy, including a 3-bedroom penthouse unit for $7.3 million.

Delancey Street Associates (DSA), a joint venture of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.

Subway Stairwell on Essex Street to Close For Three Months

IMG_2900

Beginning next week, you won’t be able to use the stairs leading to and from the subway station on the southeast side of Delancey Street for three months.

According to the notice posted recently by T.G. Nickel, the stairs will be closed for 95 days starting Feb. 27.  T.G. Nickel is the general contractor for Essex Crossing Site 2, the building located just above subway entrance. As part of the Essex Crossing project, passageways are being built under Delancey Street. They’re meant to accommodate visitors to the Market Line, a subterranean shopping complex.

It’s not a great time to be limiting access to the subway station. A 14-screen Regal movie theater is just about ready to open on Delancey Street, along with a newly expanded Essex Street Market (coming in the spring).

IMG_2899

Essex Crossing Update: New Nonprofit Tenants, Movie Theater Delayed

Clinton Street at Broome Street - Essex Crossing's Site 6.

Clinton Street at Broome Street – Essex Crossing’s Francis Goldin Senior Apartments.

As 2018 draws to a close, here’s a look at what’s new at Essex Crossing. It’s not all about Target and Trader Joe’s, you know.

Earlier this month, Delancey Street Associates, the development consortium, announced two new commercial tenants for 175 Delancey St., also known as the Francis Goldin Senior Apartments. The Lower East Side Partnership will be taking about 3,400 square feet on the fourth floor for its offices. Meanwhile, the Chinese American Planning Council is leasing 8,520 square feet on the third floor for its early childhood education programs.

The building is already home to a senior center and social enterprise business (The GrandLo Cafe) operated by Grand Street Settlement. Henry Street Settlement is moving its Workforce Development Center into 175 Delancey, as well. So four local nonprofit organizations will be huddled in Essex Crossing’s easternmost building. [NYU Langone is also located in the complex].

More Essex Crossing details in a Dec. 19 press release:

–While Regal Cinemas was previously expected to open in another building, 125 Delancey St., in time for the holidays, the 14-screen theater is now aiming for a winter 2019 debut.

–For the moment, developers are sticking to a spring opening for both the new Essex Street Market and the first phase of the Market Line, an underground shopping pavilion. As you might recall, the Essex Street Market was supposed to make the move across Delancey Street in October, but the date was pushed back due to construction delays. Vendors are now receiving a rent break from the city, which runs the facility.

–Leasing is expected to begin next year for 98 market rate apartments at 125 Delancey. Another 98 apartments in the 26-story tower were claimed in an affordable housing lottery held earlier this year.

–The developers report that 145 Clinton St. (better known as the Trader Joe’s building) is nearly fully leased. There’s apparently still a 2-bedroom/2-bath unit with a terrace available for $5,995 per month. A publicly accessible park adjacent to the building named The Rollins, will not open until the spring.

–According to the press release, sales at Essex Crossing’s luxury condos at 242 Broome St. have “surpassed 75%.”  There are 44 market rate units in that building. They went on the market in the fall of 2016. If StreetEasy is to be believed, you can pick up a 3-bedroom penthouse for around $7.3 million.

Essex Crossing is a 1.9 million square foot project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Three more buildings are now under construction. The developers include BFC Partners, L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners, the Prusik Group and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. Recently the Goldman Sachs CMBS group provided a $8.75 million loan (a refinancing) for the community facility space at the Francis Goldin Apartments.

Rendering: Moso Studio.

Rendering: Moso Studio.

Sake Bar, Southeast Asian Market Coming to the Market Line

Yudai Kanayama and Keisuke Kasagi of Gouie New York. Photo via the Market Line's Instagram.

Yudai Kanayama and Keisuke Kasagi of Gouie New York. Photo via the Market Line’s Instagram.

More vendors announced for the Market Line, the underground food, retail and art complex coming to Essex Crossing next year.

Yudai Kanayama and Keisuke Kasagi will be opening a sake bar called Gouie New York when the first phase of the Market Line debuts at 115 Delancey St. They’re the team behind Davelle, the Japanese cafe on Suffolk Street; Izakaya in the East Village; and Samurice in the Canal Street Market. According to a press release, the restaurant will include a chef’s table serving Japanese-American and Japanese-European style small plates. There will be a line of sake specifically created for the Market Line.

“We would like to establish a place in between a restaurant and a bar,” Kanayama and Kasagi explained, “where people can eat after dinner, but before going home. In Japan, there are many places where you can have a couple drinks paired with small delicious dishes. Here, we do not have many places where we can do that.” They say the new spot will be, “a sake bar with small but serious eats.”

The Market Line also announced an agreement with Kevin Liang of the Brooklyn-based wholesaler Southeast Asian Market to open a Lower East Side retail outpost. S.E.A. Market will be a grocery store specializing in imported Southeast Asian products. Liang said, “This is like going back to my roots. Not only did I grow up in the neighborhood, my parents owned a grocery store here where I worked starting at age 7 by packing shelves, tagging, etc. The business has grown and changed a lot since then and being able to come full circle is both exciting and nostalgic.”

The Market Line previously announced its first 15 vendors, including Cafe Grumpy, Ends Meat, Essex Pearl, Kuro-Obi by Ippudo, Nom Wah, Pilot Kombucha, Schaller & Weber, Tortillería Nixtamal, Veselka, The Pickle Guys, Doughnut Plant, Castania Nut Boutique, Substance Vitality Bar, Moon Man, Pho Grand, Rustic Table Shuk, the Tenement Museum, and Ample Hills.

The shopping pavilion will stretch for three blocks between Essex Street and Clinton Street. The first phase of the project, located beneath the new Essex Street Market will debut no earlier than the spring of next year. The Essex Market was supposed to be open in its new space already, but as we reported a few weeks ago, it’s been delayed due to construction complications.

The Market Line is a centerpiece of Essex Crossing, the large residential and commercial project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

Community Event Seeks to “Knit Together Old and New” on Former SPURA Site

43851631_481717315640783_5420881835796201472_o

A new Trader Joe’s, Target and hundreds of new apartments (some luxury, some below-market rate) are the most obvious signs that the Lower East Side is undergoing dramatic change. But two community organizations are about to remind  us that long before Essex Crossing came along, there was SPURA — the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Imagining the LES: Creating Community is coming up Saturday, Nov. 3. Here’s more from the organizers, the Seward Park Area Redevelopment Coalition (SPARC) and Below the Grid lab:

On Saturday, November 3rd from 2:00 to 5:00pm, SPARC and Below the Grid Lab will host Imagining the LES: Creating Community, a day of activities to celebrate the past, present, and future of the SPURA community (now officially renamed Essex Crossing). Fifty (50) years ago a vibrant community of multi-racial/ethnic residents and the tenement buildings they inhabited was destroyed by Urban Renewal. Now a new community of mixed income buildings–including 500 affordable apartments–is rising from these empty lots. Today’s event attempts to begin to knit together the old and new and imagine a strong vision of a more equitable and just neighborhood..

Imagining the LES: Creating Community, will take place on Saturday November 3rd from  2-5pm in the 4th floor Community Center of the Frances Goldin Senior Building: entrance to the event is through the GrandLo Café at 168 Broome St. Suffolk St, between Grand St & Broome St. There will be food and music and activities to include: painting of banners, oral history interviews of residents, and performances from local arts groups. Neighborhood organizations will have tables announcing their programming. A survey will be distributed for attendees to voice their future neighborhood priorities and interests. We intend to bring together old and new residents to enjoy the activities, meet each other and engage in conversation: “How do we honor the past with a more just future?” “How do we bring together the old and the new?,” and “How do we imagine a truly equal city?”

This exciting and vibrant day is the official launch of the SPURA Living History Project, an initiative of SPARC and Below the Grid Lab to raise the profile of this complex history, inspire a new integrated present and future, and with it a new generation of activists and organizers who will carry the legacy of the Lower East Side into the next fifty years!

Here’s the Facebook invite.

Trader Joe’s, 7:15 a.m.

IMG_2199

No line outside the new Trader Joe’s on Grand Street yet! The 30,000 square foot store in the basement of the Essex Crossing building known as “The Rollins” opens this morning at 8 o’clock. We’ll be checking back later today…

Trader Joe’s Lower East Side Store Announces October 19th Opening

Photo by The Lo-Down

Photo by The Lo-Down

Trader Joe’s has released a statement announcing an October 19th opening at their new Lower East Side store at 400 Grand Street.  The company will celebrate with a grand opening event including “live music, food tastings, giveaways, and more,” beginning at 8am on Friday, Oct. 19th. They write:

The new store, which will be the 7th Trader Joe’s location in Manhattan, is located in Essex Crossing on the corner of Clinton & Grand and is easily accessible via the B, D, F, M, J & Z trains. At over 30,000 total square feet, it’s the largest Trader Joe’s on the Eastern Seaboard, and its interior will feature murals that pay tribute to local landmarks and the dynamic spirit of the neighborhood. The store will be open from 8am – 10pm daily.

photo by The Lo-Down

photo by The Lo-Down

Additionally, the new store looks to be hiring.  There was a sign out front stating they are taking applications tomorrow, Oct. 5, between 9am – 5pm.

Trader Joe’s is opening in the basement of the new Essex Crossing building at 400 Grand Street (on the northwest corner of Grand and Clinton streets), beneath the Target store that opened in August. The announcement comes after a bit of rumormongering, raising doubts that the store was indeed opening.