Rendering: SHoP Architects
Three projects that include the construction of four towers and the creation of nearly 3,000 housing units in Two Bridges meet all zoning requirements and can move forward without City Council approval, an appeals court ruled Thursday. The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that had stopped the Manhattan megaproject from going ahead.
Rendering: Handel Architects.
State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron upheld an August 2019 ruling that four towers planned for the Lower East Side Two Bridges development cannot move forward. The judge’s decision invalidates the City Planning Commission’s 2018 approval of the towers on the grounds that City Council authority regarding the land-use review process was illegally bypassed and that the controversial skyscrapers must go through the city’s full application process. The ruling prevents the Department of Buildings from issuing permits until the multi-billion dollar project has the proper approvals. The decision represents a rare victory for those opposed to the skyscrapers, including the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and several Lower East Side and Chinatown community groups.
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A recent ruling by a panel of state appellate judges may add more delays–at the very least–to the rise of JDS Development Group’s proposed addition to the multi-tower Two Bridges development on the Lower East Side/Chinatown waterfront, The City reports. The ruling states that the property’s long-term leaseholder, Little Cherry LLC, which has 25 years left on their lease at the currently-vacant 235 Cherry Street, must have a say in how the property’s development rights are used. The developer plans to stack a 1,000-foot, 100-story waterfront apartment tower on top of and cantilevered over the Two Bridges Senior Apartments and one-story retail space–and they need the Cherry Street property’s development rights to move forward.
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Rendering: Handel Architects.
State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has extended a temporary halt on the Two Bridges high-rise development after hearing testimony on several lawsuits aimed at the controversial project in the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Gothamist reports. As 6sqft previously reported, several groups of Lower East Side residents and other community organizations filed a lawsuit against the city to stop four skyscrapers from rising in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood. The lawsuits accuse the city of illegally approving the multi-billion dollar project, claiming the City Planning Commission bypassed City Council authority regarding the land-use review process and that one of the towers violates a 32-year-old deed restriction that ensures housing for low-income residents with disabilities and the elderly.
‘An 800-pound gorilla’
Rendering via Handel Architects
A group of Lower East Side residents on Friday filed a lawsuit against New York City to stop three luxury developments planned for Two Bridges. The residents, who are being represented by the Lower East Side Organized Neighbors (LESON) and the Asian-American Legal Defense Fund, argue the new skyscrapers violate zoning rules meant to protect against out-of-scale development (h/t Bowery Boogie).
Rendering courtesy of Handel Architects.
Update 12/7/18: The City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer filed a suit in the Manhattan Supreme Court “claiming city planners usurped the Council’s authority over land-use issues in approving the project,” reported The Real Deal.
The City Planning Commission gave the green light Wednesday to a controversial application filed by four developers to build three new residential towers in the Lower East Side’s Two Bridges development, which are expected to add 3,000 housing units between them, The Real Deal reports. 700 units will be affordable. The large-scale residential towers were approved in a 10-3 vote on Wednesday, after a lengthy, often acrimonious review process. The towers are comprised of JDS Development’s 1,000-unit rental tower at 247 Cherry Street, L+M Development and CIM Group’s 798-foot tower at 260 South Street; and Starrett Corporation’s 730-foot building at 259 Clinton Street.
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Via Handel Architects
During a City Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday, local residents and officials of the Two Bridges community voiced their strong opposition to four towers planned for the Lower Manhattan neighborhood. Those who testified against the buildings questioned the developer’s draft environmental impact study (DEIS), which found the projects would not cause displacement, amNY reported. Developers also announced measures to mitigate the potential adverse effects on the neighborhood, which include upgrading the F train station at East Broadway, improving public parks, and implementing flood protection measures.
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259 Clinton Street via Perkins Eastman
Additional details and a new rendering have been unveiled this week for a 62-story Lower East Side skyscraper designed by Perkins Eastman Architects, nearly two years after 6sqft first wrote about the project. Located at 259 Clinton Street, the tower is a part of a controversial three-building project coming to the waterfront of the Two Bridges neighborhood. According to YIMBY, latest plans for 259 Clinton Street, developed by Starret Development, call for a 730-foot tower, slightly higher than an earlier 724-foot proposal.
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For many New Yorkers, the Lower East Side is one neighborhood that still has a lot of authenticities and good ‘ole New York grit left. It has been described as Manhattan’s “last frontier of cool. The promised land of old as well as new… Where the Godfather lives side by side with a hipster movie.” Put more tangibly by Benjamin Baccash of Taconic Investment Partners, the developer of LES’s Essex Crossing, “The Lower East Side has wonderful restaurants, art galleries, and great street life. It’s a real neighborhood and that’s what a lot of people are looking for.”
In addition to great diversity, personality, and transportation, the city is undertaking huge improvements on the east river waterfront, and developers are erecting new developments at all corners of the ‘hood. Ahead, 6sqft takes a look at everything that’s keeping the Lower East Side a vestige of old New York during its contemporary resurgence, from massive projects like Essex Crossing to a booming art gallery scene.
As Irving Berlin once said, “Everybody ought to have a Lower East Side in their life.”
The historically low-income, low-slung neighborhood of Two Bridges–the area along the East River, near the footings of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges where the Lower East Side meets Chinatown–has become a high-rise hotbed over the past year. Despite the controversy that the four planned projects, all upwards of 700 feet, have caused, they’re moving along fairly swiftly, and The Lo-Down now has the big reveal for the final site–Starrett Group‘s 259 Clinton Street. Perkins Eastman Architects have designed the 724-foot, 62-story glass tower, which will have ground-floor retail and 732 apartments, 25 percent of which will be permanently affordable with a good chunk being set aside for low-income seniors.
More details and renderings ahead