You gotta give it to the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and their friends–they are persistent AF, despite long odds. In their eight-year quest to pass the Chinatown Working Group rezoning proposal, a plan that would create a new special district with more height restrictions and protections to fend off sky-high luxury towers, they’ve kept up a steady stream of rallies against new developments, marches in support of tenants, held town halls (trying to invite the mayor), and even hand-delivered a “gift” to Gracie Mansion.
Anxiety over the 77-story apartment building coming to the Two Bridges waterfront multiplied last night as neighbors grappled with the possibility that two more towers will join it.
In addition to Extell’s controversial One Manhattan Square, L+M Development Partners are feeling out plans for two 50-story twin towers– one at 265-275 Cherry Street, at Lands End II (a pair of Section-8 housing complexes located on a site that was purchased for $279 million a few years back) and a second at Lands End I (257 South Street), which the firm bought last year. L+M has assured that the existing buildings will maintain their Section 8 designation, and preliminary discussions have indicated that the two new towers would likely go up in the parking lots parcels between the East River and Lands End.
The area known as Two Bridges, below the Lower East Side, melting into Chinatown and hemmed in by the waterfront, has long been defined by its mix of mid-rise low-income public housing and affordable housing buildings. Now, within a matter of years it will suddenly have at least two towering skyscrapers in its midst.
A simple red brick building established by a non-profit affordable housing developer two decades ago, 82 Rutgers Slip houses low and moderate-income residents, some who were previously homeless. Just down the street, a glossy 80-story tower from Extell–dubbed One Manhattan Square–is rising where a Pathmark Supermarket once stood. When it’s finished, it’ll boast a fire pit, doggy spa and tree houses, priced to entice the moderate-high-end buyers of Asia (starting at $1 million).
Now that the pile drivers have finished work on the foundations of Extell’s controversial 80-story behemoth on 252 South Street (known as One Manhattan Square), it’s pretty much a done deal.
And last night, a group of Lower East Side residents gathered at the Manny Cantor Center not to protest, this time anyway, but to discuss the inevitable construction issues (like the ones we started seeing almost immediately with the Domino development) and learn more details about the affordable housing portion of the development. Adding to the interiors released a couple weeks ago which included designer bags, the new renderings depict even more things to make rich people feel comfortable, including what’s essentially a “poor door” or, in this case, an entirely separate building.
At an emotional Lower East Side town hall meeting on Saturday afternoon, hundreds of concerned residents, a number of small business owners, and representatives of community organizations were visibly upset. Instead of being met by Mayor Bill de Blasio himself, they were greeted by a representative from the administration. “We have been reaching out to him for months,” Jei Fong, a coalition representative, told B+B. “We personally invited him to this meeting. This is a real slap in the face.”
A controversial new luxury building is trying to attract foreigners to the Lower East Side — but not the type of immigrants the neighborhood is used to. We’re talking about the well-heeled jet set. Yes, that’s literally a Gucci bag in one of the renderings for Extell Development’s skyscraper at 252 South Street.
The company has quietly released a brochure, meant to appeal to foreign investors, that outlines the outlandish amenities inside of what opponents say amounts to an 80-story gated community.
“Lower East Side, not for sale!” “Chinatown, not for sale!” These were the chants on the streets of Chinatown two weeks ago, when protesters, huddled under umbrellas, marched to City Hall to demand the prevention of the 80-story tower currently planned for the East River waterfront. With more luxury apartments on the rise and the commercial landscape following suit, anxiety over the rapid gentrification of the Lower East Side is intensifying.
“Where are you, de Blasio?” That was the question of the afternoon when rain-soaked protesters braved the weather at City Hall to protest rezoning that they claim has led to racism and displacement within their community. According to the organizers of the rally, The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side, Mayor Bill de Blasio told them earlier in the day Wednesday that a representative from his office would come out to address them, but no one showed up. It could have been the rain that kept the nameless flack away, but try telling that to 75 wet, angry people struggling to keep their umbrellas from turning inside out. The next stop, they say, will be Gracie Mansion.
Around 250 local residents, business owners and members of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side met at the future site of a controversial luxury tower and marched to City Hall to protest the construction of Extell’s “Building From Hell.” The rally was a show of support for a rezoning plan being pushed by the Chinatown Working Group as well as a stand against a tax abatement program for developers that opponents say is costing the city millions in revenue.
Lower East Siders rallied against a 56-story building due to rise over the former Pathmark site, with some saying its luxury apartments constituted “racist development.”
Just a few months after the Blarney Cove shuttered on East 14th Street, yet another business is suffering death by developer: Stuyvesant Stationery is closing after 23 years in business.
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