The Essex Crossing megaproject is taking shape in the Lower East Side, most notably with the Market Line, the 150,000 square-foot retail area serving the project’s buildings. Within will be the new home for the neighborhood’s beloved 76-year-old Essex Street Market, upon which concept the modern retail destination was built. As 6sqft previously reported, the SHoP Architects-designed market will be among the largest in the nation. Principal Rohan Mehra of the project’s retail development firm Prusik Group told Curbed that he compares the new market to Seattle’s Pike Place Market or Barcelona’s La Boqueria, “hubs of activity” all. The Market Line will stretch over 700 feet across three buildings, incorporating the new city-operated Essex Street Market and several new spaces.
essex street market
The $1.1 billion Essex Crossing project will be a 1.65 million-square-foot, mixed-use mega-development anchored by 1,000 residential units and a mix of cultural, community, and retail facilities. Of course, a project of this magnitude is not without controversy, and perhaps the biggest debate was over the loss of the 75-year-old Essex Street Market. But new details have emerged on how the market will actually be expanded and transformed into one of the five biggest markets in the country, according to Curbed. Known as the Market Line, the bi-level space designed by SHoP Architects will cover 150,000 square feet and connect three sites along Broome Street. It will be a foodie/retail promenade with a floating garden, beer hall, galleries, tech incubators, and, according to renderings, an outpost of Smorgasburg.
Here’s our first look at what the site of the storied Essex Street Market could hold. Known simply as “Site 9” in the Essex Crossing mega-development, the 12-story mixed-use development would contain market-rate condominiums and two levels of commercial space at its base. The design of the market-replacing building was penned by GF55 Partners who hope the brick, metal, and glass structure will “co-exist with the area’s visual clutter and loudness of the Williamsburg Bridge traffic.” In the sole image provided, a distinguished two-story base recalls the structural features of the nearby Williamsburg Bridge. According to their description, the commercial base is for a restaurant with various bars and dining areas.
Image courtesy of MNCY
Long considered the capital of Jewish America, this overpoweringly cramped neighborhood was considered by many to be the greatest concentration of Jewish life in nearly 2,000 years.
Between 1880 and 1924, 2.5 million mostly-impoverished Ashkenazi Jews came to the US and nearly 75 percent took up residence on the Lower East Side. According to the Library of Congress, by 1900, more than 700 people per acre were settling in a neighborhood lined with tenements and factories. And as quickly as they descended on the streets, all sharing a common language (mostly Yiddish) and most certainly, similar backgrounds, they quickly established synagogues as early as 1865 (the landmarked Bialystoker Synagogue, whose congregants were mostly Polish immigrants from Bailystok), small shops, pushcarts teeming with goods, social clubs and even financial-aid societies.
By 1910, the Lower East Side’s population was well over the five million mark, but sadly, such congestion habitually caused havoc.