In another installment of “the rent is too damn high,” Two Bridges residents are demanding that the city increase its oversight of the mega-towers coming to the Lower East Side waterfront, which are set to add thousands of luxury units to the lower-income and working-class community.
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.
We all remember when superstorm Sandy plunged the East Village into darkness after a 14-foot storm surge caused an explosion at the ConEd station (in fact, there’s a movie out Friday set during that very historical moment in 2011). Luckily, we haven’t seen any storms of that scale since, but Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t taking any chances. Today he announced more funding for the city’s climate resiliency plan as part of the 2017 city budget. The waterfront plans aren’t just going to protect Manhattan from more flooding– they’ll also double as a huge new public space.
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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).
We heard quite a few gripes over the city’s steps to “activate” the abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street at Wednesday’s Community Board 3 meeting, and it seems the city heard them loud and clear…ish.
Board members worried that the subterranean site was on its way to being given to the Lowline project with a Christmas bow on it, and asked that a new Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the space be put on hold and restarted with community board input on guidelines and criteria.