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Reaching a high point on the Lower East Side

By REBNY President John Banks 

New Yorkers should be proud of the progress they can see taking place every day on the iconic Lower East Side.

After several decades of community engagement and a City-run RFP process, Essex Crossing is now taking shape in the heart of the Lower East Side — and that makes it a great time to reflect on the positive impact the six-acre development will have on the neighborhood and our city as a whole.

This development represents the best of what can happen when the city works together with builders and local stakeholders to strengthen neighborhoods.

Formerly known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), Essex Crossing is being built on land that previously sat largely vacant since the 1960s.

Now, the team of Delancey Street Associates (DSA) – L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners and Taconic Investment Partners – is developing these nine sites with an incredible mix of much-needed retail, office and cultural space, a public park, and quality mixed-income housing.

I am particularly excited about the Market Line, a 150,000 s/f retail destination that will anchor several of the project’s buildings across Sites 2, 3 and 4 along Broome Street.

While food halls are popping up all over town, the Market Line will be much more than just a spot to grab a bite. Modeled after the great public bazaars of the world – think Seattle’s Pike Place Market, La Boqueria in Barcelona or Borough Market in London – the Market Line will feature an eclectic array of delicacies, quirky places to shop, and a beer hall – all in a free-flowing subterranean passage connected to the street level through a 40-foot glass wall.

Finally, the Market Line will seamlessly connect to the new home of the historic Essex Street Market, where current vendors will enjoy a significantly upgraded space after DSA moves them across the street in 2018.

Another important feature of Essex Crossing is the development team’s commitment to delivering a large chunk of affordable housing in the first phase of construction, with 310 of the 500 planned overall affordable units scheduled for completion by summer 2018.

The first building to top out is emblematic of that commitment: 175 Delancey, which will be home to 100 percent affordable senior apartments, a 55,000 square foot urgent care center run by NYU Langone and a senior community center and “social enterprise café” job training center, both run by DSA’s nonprofit community partner, Grand Street Settlement.

On the other end of the spectrum, 242 Broome Street, designed by SHoP Architects of Barclays Center fame, is a 14-story, 55-unit luxury building that will truly raise the bar when it comes to condo living on the LES, and is already attracting a stream of buyers looking to be at the center of the action.

The building will also house a Splitsville Luxury Lanes and a soon to be announced cultural facility.

All of this will be tied together by an impressive combination of retail tenants, many of which are already signed up.

It’s important to remember that the development team made specific commitments to the community about addressing local retail needs. Impressively, all of those commitments have been met: from a Trader Joe’s to a Planet Fitness to a Regal Cinemas and, of course, that urgent care center at 175 Delancey.

Too often, the conversation around development in our city falls into an unfortunately predictable conversation about development, assuming change and improving the lot of current residents are anathema.

New Yorkers from across the city to should take heart in what’s happening at Essex Crossing, where a team of engaged developers are partnering with the City to serve a number of critical local needs, and have fast-tracked the elements of the project that the community most yearned for.

Where for 40 years parking lots sat vacant, a project geared toward serving and enhancing the diverse LES is rising.

In other REBNY news:

Our next “Commercial Crossfire” panel discussion will take place on Tuesday, November 29 from 5:30pm to 7pm at the REBNY Mendik Education Center (570 Lexington Avenue). This free seminar is open to our commercial members and also requires registration. To register and get more info, please contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com.

We’ll host our Residential Sales Agent Boot Camp Seminar on Dec 1 at 9am in the REBNY Mendik Education Center. For registration details check the REBNY Events calendar at rebny.com

Our Commercial Brokerage Division will host its annual Holiday Luncheon with guest speaker Paul J. Massey on Monday, December 5 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (301 Park Avenue, Empire Room). The event is sponsored by ABS Partners Real Estate LLC, Ariel Property Advisors, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, and Jones Lang LaSalle. Tickets are $125 per person and may only be purchased by REBNY members at www.rebny.com. For login help or to purchase a table, contact Desiree Jones at djones@rebny.com.

Please join our 121st Annual Banquet on January 19, 2017 and a celebration of the achievements of NYC City Planning Chair, Carl Weisbrod; MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner Companies; Marc Holliday of SL Green Realty Corp.;  Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management; Bill Dacunto of Silverstein Properties; Peter Riguardi of Jones Lang Lasalle and Lindsay Ornstein of Transwestern. Purchase tickets early and online at www.rebny.com/banquet. I also encourage you to consider making your company’s brand more visible to our membership by pursuing a sponsorship opportunity for the Banquet or advertising in REBNY’s 2017 Journal.

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