Essex Crossing

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Essex Crossing
General information
Status Proposed
Type Mixed use
Location Near Essex Street and Delancey Street, Manhattan, New York City 10002
Coordinates 40°43′08″N 73°59′35″W / 40.7188°N 73.9930°W / 40.7188; -73.9930Coordinates: 40°43′08″N 73°59′35″W / 40.7188°N 73.9930°W / 40.7188; -73.9930
Estimated completion 2024
Management Essex Crossing NYC
Design and construction
Architect Taconic Partners

Essex Crossing is a planned mixed-use development in New York City's Lower East Side, Manhattan neighborhood, part of the area known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA).[1] The development, at the intersection of Delancey Street and Essex Street, will comprise 1.9 million square feet of space,[2] and be started in spring 2015 with a projected partial completion of 2021[3][4] and construction scheduled to last until 2024.[4] The development will cost an estimated US$1.1 billion.[5] It will sit on a total of nine city blocks, most of them razed in the 1970s.[6][7]

The project, originally approved as a component of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area in October 2012, is expected to create 1,000 housing units, 1,000 permanent jobs, and 5,000 construction jobs. The project, overseen by developer Taconic Partners, will see built a 60/40 mix of residential and commercial space; created 500 units of permanently affordable housing for low-, moderate-, and middle-income households, and senior housing; and allocated 15,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.[8]

The idea for the 6-acre development was presented to the public in September 2013 by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on a site that was occupied by parking lots at the time (the area formerly contained tenements, which were demolished in 1967).[9][10]


Seward Park Urban Renewal Area[edit]

Span of the SPURA area, with Hotel on Rivington in the center far left and Blue Condo, still under construction at the time of the picture to the center right.

The development is part of the area alternatively known as SPURA, which covers five vacant plots of land acquired as part of a 1965 urban renewal plan, near Delancey and Grand Streets. These sites were originally part of the broader Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, a federal program designed to tear down several tenements to develop low-income housing, called the Cooperative Village. Some original SPURA land was eventually developed, but five lots remain vacant to this day.[11] As SPURA was the largest tract of undeveloped New York City-owned land in Manhattan south of 96th Street,[12] deciding what the “appropriate redevelopment” of SPURA would be has stalled the process and kept it undeveloped.

In 1967, New York City leveled 20 acres on the southern side of Delancey Street and removed more than 1,800 low-income largely Puerto Rican families, with a promise that they would return to new low-income apartments when they were built. However, political corruption abounded, and the new apartments were never built.[10][10] The competing forces within the neighborhood had been debating whether the SPURA area should be used to develop affordable housing within Manhattan Community Board 3, whether some mixed use – low and middle income as well as commercial – or all large commercial retail should be created. This debate is often waged in the community halls of local public school auditoriums and other city meeting places, in newspaper columns,[13][14] at coop board meetings, and at private strategy sessions in individual homes.

During the Koch administration that ended in 1989, the city contracted with Sam LeFrak to build,[15] but massive divided opposition caused it to be withdrawn. The land still sits vacant in 2012.

In January and February 2011, the local community board took the issue of SPURA's development up and came to a community consensus that the area will be built to accommodate mixed use of low income housing, commercial properties/retail spaces and market value homes.[16] The Board, community and city planners and public officials will finalize the plans for development, which is expected to begin within 2011 and completed in stages over a five-year period.[17]

On October 11, 2012, the New York City Council approved the project, then still referred to as SPURA, in a unanimous vote.[8] On September 18, 2013, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a definite plan for the Essex Crossing project.[9]

Construction progress[edit]

In June 2014, demolition of structures in the area commenced, to make way for the development.[18]

On August 2, 2014, it was revealed that a municipal parking lot at Broome and Essex Streets would be closed for soil testing and for planning of the future Warhol museum. Groundbreaking for the crossing was said to come as early as spring 2015, though a definite groundbreaking timeline has not been published.[19]


Upon its completion, it will comprise the Essex Street Market, restaurants, office space, a movie theater, a park, and a museum dedicated to artist Andy Warhol—an annex of a similar museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[20][9]

Essex Street Market[edit]

Essex Street Market, pre-reconstruction

The Essex Street Market is an indoor retail market that was one of a number of such facilities built in the 1930s under the administration of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia at 120 Essex Street, at Delancey Street. The Essex Street Market, which was a group of markets constructed in the 1940s[21] to reduce pushcart congestion on the narrow streets of the Lower East Side, is operated and managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) market is made up of approximately 35 individual stalls that range in size from 90 to 600 square feet (8 to 60 m2).[22] It was in September 2013 that it was announced that the market would be integrated into the Essex Crossing.[9]


Part of the development includes a new public park on Broome Street between Suffolk and Clinton Streets, spanning 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2).[23] The park, which is part of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, will start construction in early 2015 with an estimated completion of 2017.[5] The park, contrary to other city parks, will only be 35% planted, with open spaces, signage, bike racks, and skateboard-proof park benches.[5] It will also include a playground for toddlers, in anticipation for a new primary school nearby.[24]

Warhol museum[edit]

An annex to the main Pittsburgh museum,[25] the Warhol building, which will be 10,000 square feet (930 m2), is scheduled to open by 2017.[4][26] Delancey Street Associates will pay for the museum's construction, while for the first five years, Essex Crossing's developers, Taconic Partners, will pay the museum's bills.[27][28]

The new museum will take up an existing parking lot, and will potentially take up the 75 Essex Street building, a building at the corner of Broome and Essex Streets that some locals are fighting to have landmarked. It was reported that Taconic offered 75 Essex Street's owners a huge sum to redelvelop the building as part of the museum.[12]


Half of the 1,000 units[1] to be constructed at the crossing will be affordable housing.[20] While five buildings will be completed as early as 2018, the entire housing complex will not be completed until 2021.[4]

Political controversy[edit]

The SPURA area, now the Essex Crossing's site, was kept empty, except for parking lots, since 1967 due to suspected political alliances.[10] In 1977, then-to-be-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) head William Rapfogel accompanied then-mayor Edward Koch through the area, promising to turn some 20 acres (8.1 ha) of barren land on Delancey Street's south side into a never-delivered development that had displaced more than 1,800 residents a decade before.[10]

Rapfogel and Silver were accused of promoting specific plans for favored developers, which would maintain the area's Jewish identity, at the expense of other communities. They opposed a 1970s plan for affordable housing, which would have changed the demographics of the neighborhood and brought in more Chinese and Hispanic residents. Silver instead proposed a shopping center with no housing for the site in the 1980s. In the 1990s, they proposed a “big box” store, like Costco, to be built by Bruce Ratner, a developer. Ratner hired Rapfogel's eldest son, Michael, in 2007. Ratner also helped raise $1 million for the Met Council.[10][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project". NYCEDC. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Essex Crossing". Grand St Settlement. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Essex Crossing". Taconic Investment. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Essex Crossing Development Plans Set To Change Lower East Side, Will Cost $1.1 Billion (IMAGES)". Huffington Post. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "SPURA park will offer art, nature and relaxation". The Villager. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Arino, Lisha (22 May 2014). "Community Invited to Give Input on Essex Crossing Park". DNA Info. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Essex Crossing Map
  8. ^ a b Dillon, Kit (10/12/2012). "The SPURA has landed". New York Observer. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Bagli, Charles V. "City Plans Redevelopment for Vacant Area in Lower Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Buettner, Russ (23 March 2014). "They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Kurutz, Steve (November 30, 2003). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: LOWER EAST SIDE; A Plan for Five Vacant Lots Gets Plenty of Vacant Stares". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  12. ^ a b Alberts, Hana R. (28 February 2014). "SPURA Megaproject May Devour Embattled Essex St. Building". Curbed. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  13. ^ News Search
  14. ^ News Search #2
  15. ^ Oser, Alan S. (July 8, 1990). "Perspectives: Changeover in the Housing Agency; Putting a Dinkins Imprint on a Koch Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  16. ^ Sussman, Lesley (March 9–15, 2011). "SPURA design will try to ‘maximize light and air’". The Downtown Express. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  17. ^ "Seward Park". New York City Economic Development Corporation. 
  18. ^ "Tenants prepare to clear out for Essex Crossing demolition". The Real Deal. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Municipal Lot at Ludlow and Broome Closing for ‘Soil Samples’ Ahead of Essex Crossing Development". Bowery Boogie. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Project Page". ShopArc. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  21. ^ Essex Street Market History
  22. ^ "Essex Street Market". New York City Economic Development Corporation. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  23. ^ "Essex Crossing Park to Have Play Area, Native Plantings, Abundant Seating". The Lodown NY. 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  24. ^ "Essex Crossing Park to Feature Toddler Playground and Native Plants". DNA Info. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  25. ^ Cheng, Susan (19 May 2014). "A Branch of the Andy Warhol Museum Will Open in New York's Lower East Side in 2017". Complex. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Cascone, Sarah (19 may 2014). "Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum Is Expanding to New York". Artnet. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  27. ^ Marylynne Pitz (17 May 2014). "lans for Warhol Museum branch in NYC move ahead". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Andy Warhol Annex at Essex Crossing: Developers Picking Up the Bill". The Lodown NY. 2014-05-19. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  29. ^ Alberts, Hana R. (21 March 2014). "Political Cronyism That Delayed SPURA For So Long Exposed". Curbed. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 

External links[edit]