Nearly a year after the Andy Warhol Museum announced that it would not be part of Essex Crossing as planned, we’ve been wondering what other cultural institutions might plant their flag in the major new development rising out of ten sites around Delancey Street. Last night, at the project’s first public meeting of the year, an answer may have come out.
So far we know there’ll be a movie theater, park, rooftop farm, supermarket, Planet Fitness, bowling alley, new Essex Market complex, NYU Langone medical center and a Think Coffee that will offer job training in partnership with Grand Street Settlement. But during last night’s construction updates the rep for Site 6 may have let slip the name of the potential cultural tenant, as well.
“Our three current tenants, our commercials, are NYU– it’s going to be a medical facility; ICP, a cultural tenant; And of course our partners, Grand Street Settlement,” he said. Does that mean the International Center for Photography, rumored in October to be gunning for a bigger presence downtown, is a go? The ICP has been in the process of moving to a Bowery location, but it seems that space is not big enough for its facilities in the long term.
But if it turns out to be true, the announcement was clearly premature. When audience members asked for clarification, the rep clammed up and Katie Archer, director of community relations for the developer, Delancey Street Associates, changed the topic. “We are just going to talk about construction today,” she said. “We will give you updates via email and the website.”
We reached out to Essex Crossing’s PR rep and only got this: “We have been in discussions with a number of organizations about the educational facility at site 6.”
Otherwise, the good news is that the pile driving that causes so much noise is about finished for phase 1. That first stage of construction, which includes sites 1, 2, 5 and 6 will mostly be done by mid 2018. The final site, site 10, won’t begin construction until 2021.
Jobs were the other main topic of last night’s meeting. Pay rates at the current construction site range from $13-$25, and about 20 new positions are in the pipeline. Gaspar Caro of the Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN) recommended that those with construction experience and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification apply for construction gigs immediately, while others seek training from Good Old Lower East Side or prepare for “jobs you might be seeing at Essex Crossing in 3, 4, 5, 6 years,” meaning positions “in healthcare, in hospitality and hotels, in retail and customer service, a real nice array of different kinds of jobs.”
Two Lower East Side residents, Carlos Semidey and John Rivera, could barely wait for the panel to finish before they sped over to the Work Force1 table. Semidey, 37, said he lives on Broome Street, across from one of the new construction sites.
“We were told that there were jobs, but because I didn’t have my OSHA, I didn’t know how to go about it,” he said. When he and Rivera saw a flyer posted that mentioned job trainings, they decided to come to the meeting. It was the first time he’d heard about free training options.
“I really want to do something with myself and I know this would make it at least permanent,” he said of the training. “I just want to complete it – then nothing is going to stop me.”